Previous Rookies to Keep an Eye on in 2013
As we enter the off season, here is a list of former rookies to keep an eye on next season for fantasy football. Many of them will be given an opportunity to build on the success they've already achieved as rookies. Some of them will play a larger role next season due to team attrition. Avoid the sophomore slumps, the players at the top of each position below have the highest upside.
QB Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts 2-14 record in 2011 earned them the 1st pick overall in the 2012 Draft where they drafted Andrew Luck. The horseshoe on the Indianapolis Colts logo must be "lucky" in deed as the team transitioned from a guaranteed Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning to a rookie QB with no NFL experience week 1. Just in case Luck didn't have enough pressure following a legend, he also lost his Head Coach early in the season as Coach Pagano's battle against leukemia forced him to take an indefinite leave of absence from his coaching duties most of the season. Andrew Luck rose to the occasion and led the Colts back to the playoffs with an 11-5 record on an aging team. He threw for 4,374 yards, 28 touchdowns (including 5 rushing) and 18 interceptions in his rookie season. He also ran for 255 rushing yards. His performance also put him in consideration for Rookie of the Year along with Robert Griffin III.
QB Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Russell Wilson was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft as a mobile quarterback with the unique gift of accuracy while throwing on the run. He threw for 3,118 yards, 30 touchdowns (including 4 rushing) and 10 interceptions in his rookie season. He also had the 3rd most rushing yards by a QB with 489 yards. His performance led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record, a playoff birth and put him in consideration for Rookie of the Year along with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
QB Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
The Redskins paid a HUGE price to move up from the 6th pick in the 2012 Draft to draft Robert Griffin III with the 2nd pick overall. The Redskins gave up their 6th pick of the 1st round and their 2nd round pick in 2012, as well as their 1st round picks in 2013 and 2104. The early results would say RG3 was worth it as he led the Redskins to a NFC East Divisional Championship with a 10-6 record and may earn him Rookie of the Year honors. RG3 threw for 3,200 yards, 27 touchdowns (including 7 rushing) and only 5 interceptions in his rookie season. He also had the most rushing yards by a QB with 815 yards. His promising upside is greatly tempered by his style of play. He suffered a concussion and knee sprain this season resulting from taking big hits while on the run. In the Wild Card game against Seattle, RG3 suffered even more damage to his knee tearing his LCL and his ACL, both required surgery in the offseason. It was the second time he has torn his ACL in that knee. Tearing his ACL twice in the same knee increases his risk to tear it again. Going forward I would have huge concern for his ability to stay healthy long term.
QB Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns)
Brandon Weeden was drafted with the 22nd pick of the 1st round by the Cleveland Browns. He set a new record as the oldest player drafted in the 1st round at the age of 28 years old. Not since Chris Weinke on the Carolina Panthers has another quarterback come into the league with so many questions about his age. Weeden's rookie performance brought many ups and downs, like most rookies do. He threw for 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns but he also threw 17 interceptions and lost 1 fumble this season. The emergence of Josh Gordon as the primary receiver helps Weeden's future prospects.
QB Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins)
The Redskins used their 4th round pick in the 2012 Draft to draft Kirk Cousins to be the backup for RG3. The Redskins went against conventional "wisdom" drafting two QB's even though they had other needs to fill. Their draft strategy paid off and gave them the insurance policy needed to overcome the injury risk associated with RG3's style of play. Cousins will be at least a sleeper next season and maybe more depending when RG3 is able to return. He threw for 466 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions this season.
QB Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles)
The question remains if Nick Foles did enough during his audition to be the QB of the future for the Eagles. He threw for 1,699 yards, 7 touchdowns (including 1 rushing) and 5 interceptions this season. Drafted in the 3rd round pick of the 2012 Draft, he is credited to have a strong arm with great accuracy on short passes but, the question remains "will those skills play into Chip Kelly's new offensive scheme?"
RB Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The Buccaneers used the 31st pick of the 1st round to draft Doug Martin a rare franchise RB in the NFL out of Boise State in the 2012 Draft. Martin was absolutely amazing in his rookie season. He ran for 1,454 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns (including 1 receiving) and loss only 1 fumble all year. He also caught 49 receptions for 472 receiving yards.
RB Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns)
The Browns also gave up three draft picks to move up just one position in the 1st round to draft Trent Richardson a rare franchise RB in the NFL out of Alabama. They gave up the 4th overall pick in the 1st round as well as 118th, 139th and 211th picks in the 2012 Draft to move up to the 3rd overall pick. He ran for 950 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns (including 1 receiving) and didn't loose any fumbles all year. He also caught 51 receptions for 367 receiving yards.
RB Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins)
The Redskins 6th round pick in the 2012 Draft broke the mold of Mike Shanahan's running backs by putting up consistent, reliable points week-to-week. Alfred Morris brought huge value in the draft as he led the Redskins backfield with 1,613 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns, and loss 3 fumbles this season.
RB Vick Ballard (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts used their 5th round pick to draft Vick Ballard in the 2012 Draft. He was best RB in the Colts backfield this season. Ballard ran for 814 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns (including 1 receiving), 17 receptions, 152 receiving yards this season.
RB Ronnie Hillman (Denver Broncos)
The Broncos have shocked most fantasy players by giving Moreno the bulk of the carries once Willis McGahee was lost for the season. Ronnie Hillman more long term potential for the Broncos. Hillman was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 Draft. Hillman ran for 330 rushing yards and 1 touchdown this season. He also caught 10 receptions for 62 receiving yards.
RB David Wilson (New York Giants)
The Giants picked David Wilson with that last pick in the 1st Round of the 2012 Draft. Like many rookies, his performance had many highs and lows this season. He ran for 358 yards, 4 touchdowns and lost 1 costly fumble in week 1. Look for Wilson to validate his 1st round pick if Bradshaw misses anytime due to injury next season.
RB Daryl Richardson (St. Louis Rams)
The Rams 7th round pick in the 2012 Draft ran for 475 yards and loss 2 fumbles as the most productive backup for Steven Jackson this season. If Steven Jackson does not resign with the team as an Unrestricted Free Agent, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead would compete to become the Rams starting running back.
RB Isaiah Pead (St. Louis Rams)
The Rams 2nd round pick in the 2012 Draft was surpassed by the Daryl Richardson on the Rams depth chart. If Steven Jackson does not resign with the team as an Unrestricted Free Agent, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead would compete to become the Rams starting running back.
WR Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville Jaguars)
The Jaguars drafted Justin Blackmon in the 1st round with 5th pick in the 2012 Draft. Expectations abound for such a high pick so the first half of the season was disappointing. But in the second half of the season, Blackmon began to come into his own once Henne became the starting QB. He caught 64 receptions for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2012. He also caught a 2 point conversion.
WR Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns)
The Browns gave up their 2nd round pick in the 2013 Draft to acquire the only player selected in the NFL Supplemental Draft this year, Josh Gordon. Josh Gordon was the most productive WR for fellow rookie Brandon Weeden after week 6. He caught 50 receptions for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. Those numbers should improve with a full season as the Browns primary WR.
WR T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts)
T.Y. Hilton was the Colts 3rd round pick in the 2012 Draft. His ability to stretch the field helped him find a niche as the No. 2 WR behind Reggie Wayne. He caught 50 receptions for 861 yards and 7 touchdowns this season.
WR Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans)
The Titans 1st round pick in the 2012 Draft was Kendall Wright. He should be the top rated WR for the Titans in 2013. He caught 64 receptions for 626 yards, and 4 touchdowns in 2012.
WR Rod Streater (Oakland Raiders)
Rod Streater signed with the Oakland Raiders as an Undrafted Free Agent after the 2012 Draft. He flew under the radar even though he posted a 4.46 40 yard dash on his pro-day back in March 2012 coming out of Temple's run heavy offense. His speed is comparable to Chris Givens of the Rams who posted a 4.41 at the Combine. He produced strong efforts in relief of Denarius Moore in the second half of the season. He caught 39 receptions for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught a 2 point conversion.
WR Michael Floyd (Arizona Cardinals)
Michael Floyd was drafted as a Jr. out of Notre Dame by the Cardinals with the 13th pick in the 1st round of the 2012 Draft. He was the 2nd WR drafted overall. He caught 45 receptions for 562 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2012.
WR Chris Givens (St. Louis Rams)
The Rams 4th round pick in the 2012 Draft quickly became Sam Bradford's best deep threat with break-away speed. Chris Givens caught 42 receptions for 677 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. A larger role in 2013 will be in the works for Givens if the Rams are unable to resign Unrestricted Free Agent, Danny Amendola.
WR Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals)
The Bengals drafted Mohamed Sanu with their 3rd round pick in the 2012 Draft. He was placed on IR after suffering a stress fracture in his foot after wwek 12. He caught 16 receptions for 154 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. He also threw a 73 yard touchdown to A.J. Green on a trick play in week 3. Look for Sanu to play a larger role in the Bengals offense next season.
WR Ryan Broyles (Detroit Lions)
Ryan Broyles was the Lions 2nd round pick in the 2012 Draft. He was placed on IR after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in week 13. He caught 22 receptions for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
WR Stephen Hill (New York Jets)
The Jets drafted Stephen Hill in 2nd round pick in the 2012 Draft. Stephen Hill caught 21 receptions for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2012. If Hill can build a report with the Jets new QB, he may claim the primary receiver role for himself.
WR Rueben Randle (New York Giants)
Rueben Randle was drafted out of LSU with the 2nd round pick of the Giants in the 2012 Draft. Still working his way up the depth charts. He could have a larger impact in 2013 if the Giants are unable to resign Victor Cruz as an Unrestricted Free Agent. Randle caught 19 receptions for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.
WR Brian Quick (St. Louis Rams)
Brian Quick was drafted out of Appalachian State with the 1st pick of the 2nd round of the 2012 Draft by the Rams. Still working his way up the depth charts. He could have a larger impact in 2013 if Danny Amendola leaves in free agency. Quick caught 11 receptions for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
TE Dwayne Allen (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts pair of rookie TE could become the next Gronkowski and Hernandez as Andrew Luck continues to develop. The Colts 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft is once again competing for looks with fellow rookie Coby Fleener. Allen has 40 receptions, 482 yards, and 3 touchdowns in his rookie season.
TE Coby Fleener (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts invested their 2nd round pick in the 2012 Draft in a familiar target for Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener. Fleener was Luck's primary receiver at Stanford so they had a natural report coming into the NFL. Missing four games this year due to injury gave Dwayne Allen an opening to surpass him on the depth chart for this year at least.
K Blair Walsh (Minnesota Vikings)
More teams might consider drafting a kicker in the upcoming draft after seeing the success of the Vikings 6th round pick in the 2012 Draft. Blair Walsh made 35 of 38 field goals attempted, including 17 of 20 on field goals over 40 yards. He also made all 36 of his extra point attempts. Maximizing your total points scored week-to-week even at Kicker can be the difference maker between a win and a loss.
K Steve Zuerlein (St. Louis Rams)
The Rams 6th round pick in the 2012 Draft, Steve Zuerlein showed some promise in 2012. He made 23 of 31 field goals attempted. Although he struggled with field goals over 50 yards making only 7 of 13. He made all 26 of his extra point attempts. Maximizing your total points scored week-to-week even at Kicker can be the difference maker between a win and a loss.