Well, so much for Kiper and McShay’s pre-draft prospect rankings. The 2012 Rookie class has been drafted. Depending on where exactly they went, their fantasy value may have shot up or plummeted. The right situation and supporting cast can have everything to do with the success of a young rookie in the NFL.
Here are my top ten fantasy stars for 2012. This is for the 2012 season only, not keeper leagues.
1. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay-The Boise State standout IS going to be the starter in Tampa. He is a true 3-down feature back. I keep hearing comparisons to Ray Rice, but I think he plays much more like Emmitt Smith. Expect a 1000 yard season and 8-10 Touchdowns.
2. Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis-Great size, blazing speed, and enough other receivers on the field to prevent him from being routinely double covered. He will be the #1 receiver in St. Louis, which bodes well for his owners. I expect Sam Bradford to have a breakthrough season like Matt Stafford had last season and Quick should be the primary beneficiary.
3. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland-He is, in my opinion, the best overall offensive player in this draft, quarterbacks included. He is not #1 on this list simply because of who he plays for. The entire offense will be geared around Richardson, and everyone knows it. Because of this, he’ll get his touches, but he’ll have to fight hard for every yard he gets.
4. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona(Pictured above)-Lining up opposite of Larry Fitzgerald puts him at an advantage right out of the gate. He’ll see nothing but one-on-one coverage most of the year and should be open on most routes. The only problem is the lack of a clear-cut starting quarterback for the Cardinals. With some stability at the position, Floyd should flourish.
5. Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis-Fleener was Andrew Luck’s favorite target at Stanford. History tells us a rookie quarterback’s best friend is his tight-end. Fleener should start immediately and see plenty of looks as Luck scrambles around all season, playing from behind. He has Gronkowski-esque size and speed and will be Luck’s safety value.
6. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington-One of Griffin’s most underrated qualities is how careful he is with the ball. He doesn’t turn it over much. He’ll be playing from behind most of the year, so he’ll air it out plenty. I also assume he’ll be forced to utilize his world-class speed more often than he wants to. This should net solid numbers every week, perhaps good enough for a #2 QB on your roster.
7. Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville-Like Richardson, Blackmon would be much higher on this list if there was more around him. Lack of solid quarterback play and not much else at the receiver position for Jacksonville will make it fairly easy for defenses to keep Blackmon in check; however, his raw talent should overcome some of that. He’s poised for long-term success, but I’d pen him in as a #2 or #3 receiver in your lineup this season, which will yield inconsistent results.
8. Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee-RG3’s main man at Baylor has the chance to be the next Steve Smith (Panthers). If Kenny Britt can stay healthy, Wright should be in one-on-one coverage on slant routes, which he often turned into long touchdowns at Baylor. He’ll also get plenty of deep looks. I’m not sure how effective he’ll be in the red-zone, due to his size.
9. Mohammed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati-I was shocked Sanu went as low as he did. I expect him to crack the starting lineup opposite A.J. Green relatively quickly. He is flat out better than Jerome Simpson, so that shouldn’t be an issue. He can be a traditional possession #2, but is also a productive deep-route runner. His experience running the wildcat in college adds some potential bonus value, as he may be called on to do the same near the goal line for the Bengals.
10. Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis-The end is near for Steven Jackson, and everyone is well aware of it. Expect Pead to get multiple carries every game in order to maximize Jackson’s production and health. Speaking of health, the oft-injured Jackson makes Pead a nice handcuff. If nothing else, he is worth a late round pick to store on your roster in case Jackson goes down.
Five others to consider: Stephen Hill, WR, NY Jets; Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver; Devier Posey, WR, Houston; Michael Egnew, TE, Miami; Devon Wylie, WR, Kansas City