The next year’s Fantasy Football season starts in late April when representatives from all 32 NFL teams descend upon Chicago for the 2015 NFL Draft. We thought we’d take a look at which players might flash some Fantasy potential among the early draft picks.
Sure, there are going to be a handful of offensive linemen, pass rushers and some cornerbacks taken in that first round, but we’re just concerned with which players will we be judging from a Fantasy perspective next summer.
Top 5 Fantasy Football Rookies for 2015
The scouts aren’t real crazy about this batch of rookies, but the underclassmen that declare their draft eligibility will certainly make a big difference on this crop. Remember, these players aren’t ranked in order of where they’ll go in the NFL Draft, but instead, which rookies will go first in Fantasy Football drafts in August of 2015.
1. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
ESPN.com’s Todd McShay likes the Ravens to pull the trigger on the first running back drafted in the first round since 2012. But this all sounds good in December, but is it that crazy to think running backs will continue to drop into the second and third rounds, as very few rookie running backs made a difference in 2014? Outside of Jeremy Hill, who replaced a fellow second-round running back in 2013’s Giovani Bernard, the running backs position was a big bust for 2014.
Even so, a starting rookie running back is Fantasy gold – unless you’re Bishop Sankey. Gordon is a nice sized back that will help replace Ray Rice.
“Gordon is a good value pick at this point, and he also matches a need for the Ravens. They’ve been decimated by injuries to the cornerback position this season, so they could look for help here, but Gordon is a particularly good fit because Baltimore is more of a zone-blocking team now under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, and Gordon is coming from a zone-blocking scheme at Wisconsin. He does a very good job of being patient for holes to open and then exploding through them with great acceleration.” – Todd McShay, ESPN.com
2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Tampa Bay
A fast, athletic quarterback with great size and instinct, the Heisman winner should step in immediately for the Buccaneers. Granted, Lovie Smith isn’t a gambler by nature, but consider the weapons Mariota will have around him, including one of the top sophomore wide receivers in the league in Mike Evans, and a young stud tight end in Austin Seferian-Jenkins in his second year.
“Here’s the impression I got from the NFL people: Mariota is not as good a prospect, or as no-doubt a quarterback, as Andrew Luck was in the 2012 draft. But he’s a more accurate thrower, and better in the pocket, than Robert Griffin III was in that same draft.” – Peter King, SI.com
3. Amari Cooper, WR, N.Y. Jets
McShay has Cooper going to the Jets with the sixth pick in the draft, which is precisely why I don’t have him higher. The Jets’ quarterback situation won’t be figured out by next September, as they won’t get one of the top guys coming out of college (Mariota and Winston won’t fall to the Jets), and the term “great free-agent QBs” doesn’t make any sense.
Cris Carter, who met Cooper in high school in South Florida, loves him and sees something special in the Alabama wideout.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do in the pros, but since Ozzie Newsome, Alabama has the best wide receiver that they have had in the history of their school and his name is Amari Cooper. He is a true junior from Miami and he is fabulous. His ability to run routes- I met Amari when he was in high school at a football clinic and he’s probably the most advanced wide receiver that I have seen at a young age since Randy Moss. He as unbelievable speed, unbelievable demeanor, route running, the sky is the limit.” – Cris Carter on ESPN”s Mike and Mike Radio Show.
4. Todd Gurley, RB, Detroit
Well, he’ll be rested, that’s for sure. After getting suspended, then un-suspended, then tearing his ACL in mid-November, the Georgia Bulldog should be ready to play in time for training camp. We’ve already heard the comparisons to Marshawn Lynch, and the 6-foot-1, 226-lb. back should certainly be able to move the pile.
“I was wondering where to put Todd Gurley, and I think this is a good spot. The Lions have taken the top player on their draft board before, and they could use some help at running back with Reggie Bush being phased out. Gurley provides major value here, as he was a top-10 prospect prior to his ACL tear. “ – WalterFootball.com
5. Jameis Winston, QB, Tennessee
While there are plenty of young wide receivers I should really consider putting here over Winston, including Devante Parker, Kevin White and Devin Funchess, it’s tough to think of what Winston could do if he got with the right set of coaches in the NFL.
“Have bumped him up a little as he’s played well after his latest off-field issue, but those questions aren’t going away. He needs time to prove doubters wrong. He has special instincts for a QB, and good training is obvious. Winston’s natural gifts are clear — size, arm strength, athleticism — but so is the ability to manipulate the pocket, see pressure early and deliver the ball to the right target. He needs to be consistent with ball placement and timing, and again, decision-making.” – Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com
Are there some college players you think will be better Fantasy Football players next season than these five guys?