Fantasy Football: What To Expect From the Rookies

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Gauging a rookie’s success early on is a mistake many fantasy team owners make. You just can’t be that optimistic sometimes unless you see at least a few games. And, with that said, the preseason doesn’t count. We’ve seen a lot of rooks tear it up in the preseason only to do little to nothing afterward (we’re looking at you N’Keal Harry).

There are a few guys though that are set up in some pretty good situations. There’s a number of players out there that have been awarded the luxury of some good protection and or good coaching. There are also some that really just haven’t. Let’s investigate a little further.

Quarterback – #16 Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars

While the Jags made headlines for all of their moves this past summer, they didn’t really improve their team all that much. They brought in Urban Meyer to coach. They brought in Tim Tebow to try out at tight end. They drafted Lawrence first overall and they went running back in a bizarre choice later in the first round as well. Sadly, as well, that running back Travis Etienne injured himself before the season started and will miss his entire rookie campaign.

With that said, it’s really only Lawrence, James Robinson, and DJ Chark out there in Jacksonville. Their o-line is still a mess and their defense is still among the worst. It could be a very long season for the former Clemson king.

Wide Receiver – #1 Ja’Marr Chase – Cincinnati Bengals

Drafted high in the first round this past summer, this guy is no sleeper, but the jury is out a little bit on how successful he’ll be in year one. While he does have his college quarterback Joe Burrow chucking him the pigskin, he still plays for the Bengals and that kind of sums it up. Cincy is close, but they’re not quite there just yet in the AFC North.

They did update their offensive line a little bit this offseason, but it wasn’t done in a full-on game-changing way. With all that said, however, Chase still could be destined for one heck of a year. He hasn’t averaged less than four catches a game yet and already broke the century mark in week one. It’s clear he and Burrow still have their LSU chemistry working in full and they really could have a great season together.

Running Back – #35 Larry Rountree III – Los Angeles Chargers

This guy actually set a lot of rushing records at Missouri before the Chargers nabbed him in the sixth round this past summer. Rountree has a very bright future in LA as he has already jumped both Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson on the depth chart and is taking second-string snaps with the Bolts. Roundtree enters a Joe Lombardi run system with some of the best pass and run protection in the NFL.

The Chargers added a lot of talent to that line this past summer, along with first-round tackle Rashawn Slater, and have looked rock solid thus far this season. Another thing Rountree has going for him is starting back Austin Ekeler is a little injury-plagued as he only appeared in just 10-games last season. In other words, Larry could see a lot of snaps in his freshman year.

Tight End – #8 Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons

Similar to the story of Trevor Lawrence above, Kyle Pitts is also kind of stuck in a no-win situation. Pitts was heavily regarded as the best tight end in this past summer’s draft and seemingly is heading into a great system. On the one hand, Pitts and Calvin Ridley should see the majority of the target share there. They have a pocket passing QB with a great track record connecting with tight ends and are in an indoor stadium so there’s never any worry of battling the elements.

What Pitts doesn’t have working in his favor is a quality offensive line, coaching staff, and or quarterback at this point in time. We’re sorry to say it, but the days of Matt “Ice” Ryan are pretty well through. The team needs a shakeup under center in a bad way. This will certainly hurt Pitts, but the allure of his size, hands, and speed will still continually keep him in the game-changer conversation.

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Ryan Sullivan

Expert on Hockey

Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.