Top 16 Fantasy Football Rookies: Zach Sudfeld, Cierre Wood impressive

by Nicholas Minnix on August 28, 2013 @ 08:15:00 PDT

 

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Wide Receivers

FANTASY FOOTBALL-RATED

  1. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
    St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin
    The eighth overall selection has had no problems learning his offense's complex playbook. At 5-foot-8, 174 pounds, Austin is far from imposing, but DBs should be frightened when they get a taste of his speed, burst and ability to change direction. Nice hands, too. He could be a PPR steal.
  2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
    This Clemson star's concussion would have to sideline him for a while for him to fail to line up opposite Andre Johnson this season. Hopkins isn't physical, but his varied skills otherwise and 6-foot-1, 214-pound frame provide him with more than enough to complement the stud. He should be a solid WR5 in Year 1.
  3. Kenbrell Thompkins, New England Patriots
    The most impressive rookie wideout in Pats camp is the one they (or any other team) didn't draft. Thompkins' reportedly top-notch athleticism, hands and feel for the game haven't been tested yet in the regular season. But he has a huge opportunity, with a big payout if he continues to take advantage of it.
  4. Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
    This Southern Cal product was perhaps the most polished wideout available. He's a good bet to be a starter early in his rookie campaign, if he doesn't open the season as one. Buffalo's QB play conspires to limit Woods' redrafter upside, but he could be useful as a fantasy depth choice.
  5. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers
    The Steelers have scaled back the aerial attack a bit this year, and Wheaton projects to be in line for snaps on passing downs only, initially. Still, the 5-foot-11, 189-pounder is a burner with smarts and warrants a pick in deep redrafters. Year 2 is an excellent bet, but Wheaton may even push Emmanuel Sanders at some point in 2013.
  6. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
    Patterson, the third wideout selected this year, will likely make a mark on special teams first. He's a physical specimen and immediate deep threat, but how long will it take him to pick up the finer points of his profession? Fantasy owners shouldn't expect much early on because of a Christian Ponder-led aerial attack and that question.

DEEP SLEEPERS

  • Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints
    Stills is a good athlete and fast learner, with above-average speed, but he's unpolished. The loss of Joe Morgan makes Stills a favorite for No. 3, however, although New Orleans has brought in a couple of vets and remains on the lookout for others. Nick Toon is sounder fundamentally and a threat as long as he's heatlhy.
  • Quinton Patton, San Francisco 49ers
    Patton was kind of a steal in the NFL Draft, according to many observers. The rookie will compete with multiple players for the looks available once Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin get theirs. Still, it's not inconceivable that Patton stands out from his competition and contributes, at least semi-regularly.
  • Ace Sanders, Jacksonville Jaguars
    You might expect Sanders' 5-foot-8, 175-pound frame to be a liability, but word is that his smarts and quickness have made his size moot. He's already projected to line up in the slot for the Jags -- and start in place of Justin Blackmon while Blackmon serves his four-game suspension. Sanders has sneaky deep PPR appeal.
  • Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
    Dobson has plus size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), knows how to use his physicality in all aspects of the game and possesses great intelligence. The second-rounder may never be an elite player, but the Pats believe he's underrated. Their offense is one of the most difficult to learn, but he's begun to impress. He's improving as a dynasty-league prospect.
  • Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
    San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen
    Speed isn't his strong suit, but Allen (6-foot-2, 206 pounds) does almost everything else well and is a probable steal for the Bolts. The new coaching staff doesn't have to be beholden to SD's vets, so if Allen shows that he's good enough, then he'll play. He's a great dynasty choice who could be ready by Year 2; injuries may allow him to ascent before then.
  • Josh Boyce, New England Patriots
    New England drafted Boyce two rounds after Dobson, but the former should out-produce the latter in Year 1, if things break right. Boyce has reportedly picked up the O quickly, especially impressive given that he missed OTAs. Redrafters may understandably be hesitant to draft one of the Pats' rookies, but they should follow their exploits.
  • Stedman Bailey, St. Louis Rams
    A significant camp believes that Bailey isn't much less of a prospect than his former West Virginia and current Rams teammate, Austin. The issue is the team's pecking order, which probably includes Austin and second-year man Chris Givens, at least, ahead of him. Still, Bailey is in the mix, and he may be a decent free-agent pickup in some weeks.
  • Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo Bills
    This former Texas Longhorn is a burner. Despite his unimposing size (5-foot-9, 183 pounds), he doesn't shy away from physical play. He may be destined for return duties primarily, as a rookie. Depending on how well the Bills' new coaching staff cultivates its up-tempo offense and QB EJ Manuel, Goodwin could be a nice player for deep dynasty players, though.
  • Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
    If Miles Austin (or Dez Bryant) is injured, then Williams will play. Plausible, right? The 'Boys believe that the talented Marshall product is quite similar to Austin, in fact. But Williams probably won't be worth much until that happens, and if it does, he'd likely share the looks. Austin's contract runs through 2016, too, unfortunately.
  • Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
    This University of Tennessee product will probably require time to incubate. Patterson overshadowed him a bit, but Hunter is a top-notch prospect in his own right. The problems are Hunter's unsteady hands, lack of physicality and the capable players the Titans can play while he matures. He's strictly dynasty material for hopefuls.

Next up: Tight Ends

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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