Every year fantasy football owners put too much emphasis on an aging player, especially ones from their favorite team. Younger players are drafted to help replace these older guys and in some cases take away their starting job. Knowing what NFL rookies to draft for the upcoming fantasy football season is tricky, but doing a bit of research can help owners select these young players and hopefully they become a vital part of your championship winning team.
Here is a look at the top rookies for the upcoming season that have the best chance for success. These players should be taken in the middle rounds of your draft, leaving the top spots for proven players that you know will have a good season.
Football experts knew the St Louis Rams needed help at wide receiver, especially with the departure of Danny Amendola and the front office didn't disappoint with the drafting of West Virginia wide out Tavon Austin in the first round. Austin is considered a player in the same mold as Percy Harvin and fantasy football owners only hope he has the kind of production in his first year in the league. Austin should become a vital part of the Rams offense in 2013 and perhaps the best candidate for Rookie of the Year in the league.
Another youngster stepping into an ideal situation is running back Eddie Lacy of Green Bay. The Packers have lacked a solid running game for the past couple of years and were looking to add a player that can take over the weak back field situation with the team. Lacy had a stellar career at Alabama and has all the tools needed to become a successful back in the league. Not only is this young man excellent at catching the ball out of the back field, he was also very good at picking up blitzes in college, that should get this rookie plenty of playing time in the upcoming football season and a good duel threat back for fantasy football owners.
Pittsburgh is looking for a replacement for Rashard Mendenhall this season and drafted Le'veon Bell of Michigan State in the second round just for that purpose. Bell was a workhorse for the Spartans having carried the ball nearly 400 times last year and with a good training camp, could enter the year as the starter for the Steelers. This young running back is a player to keep a close eye on in the preseason and with a good showing, he could become one of the top sleepers in fantasy football this season.
Another rookie running back in position to excel this season is Montee Ball of the Denver Broncos. Veteran Willis McGahee is coming off a serious injury that had him miss most of last season and Ball could take advantage of the situation with a strong training camp. At Wisconsin, Ball had over 5,000 career rushing yards and 83 touchdowns and with Peyton Manning at quarterback, he will learn the ins and outs of the offense and a possible starter at some point this year.
For those owners looking to grab a young tight end in the later rounds, Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles has the most promise. At 6'6” this rookie has the size, but also the speed and hands to become a force on offense for the Eagles this season. With depth a big concern for owners, Ertz could become a big asset in fantasy football this year and a player to watch over the next few seasons as he gains some experience at the professional level.
Over the last couple years, rookie quarterbacks have made a big impact in the league and fantasy football. This year most experts would probably pick NY Jets Geno Smith as the top option, but another youngster to watch for is Matt Barkley of the Philadelphia Eagles.
New head coach Chip Kelly coached against Barkley while at Oregon and is looking to install his fast break offense with the Eagles. The team does have Michael Vick and Nick Foles, but both struggled last year and that could open the door for the former USC signal caller. Kelly is trying to take his college offense and make it work at the NFL level and having a player he can mold this off-season could make Barkely the starter this season and a good option for a late round pick for fantasy football owners.
Smith is still a legitimate option for those looking to add depth to their rosters this summer. With the ability to scramble and a strong arm, the former West Virginia quarterback could takeover as the starting signal caller for the NY Jets, but with so few weapons around him, Smith could struggle until this team fins him some decent talent on the offensive side of the ball.