During the 2016 season there were multiple rookies who likely became big contributors in your weekly lineup. Especially if you were lucky enough to draft/pick up someone like Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys, Michael Thomas of the Saints, or Jordan Howard of the Bears. Those three are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes contributions from rookies. During the stretch run of the fantasy season both Rob Kelley and Tyreek Hill became borderline must starts for a period of time. The 2017 season will be no different, and choosing the right rookie could mean the difference between struggling just to get into the playoffs or making a run at your fantasy league title. Let’s take a look at some of the players who could become that “guy” this year.
Dalvin Cook RB MIN- While the Vikings added Latavius Murray in the offseason, he hasn’t been on the field yet in training camp due to offseason ankle surgery. With Murray on the sideline, reports out of camp are that Dalvin Cook is looking legit in pads as he is showing good speed and vision. After watching him at Florida St. this isn’t a surprising development. I initially expected they would ease him in, and have him become the primary back by midseason-ish. Now that Murray might not even be back in time for the start of the season Cook will have the starting job week one, and won’t relinquish it. 2017 Prediction: 800 yds rushing, 5 TD’s, 250 yds receiving, 3 TD’s
Leonard Fournette RB JAX- The highest drafted running back in this years draft should be the #1 back behind Bortles from week one, and it would be foolish if he wasn’t. While I like Chris Ivory, he isn’t nearly the back that Fournette could be. The Jaguars should look to give Fournette well over 200 carries this year, and really it should be close to 250. He has proven to have good vision and excellent power which he should as he is 6 ft 240 lb. Look for him to wear teams down, and really take off in the second half of games. 2017 Prediction 1050 yds rushing, 8 TD’s, 150 yds receiving, 1 TD.
OJ Howard TE TB- Howard was easily the best, and most talented TE to come out of the draft. He routinely made big plays for a powerhouse Alabama team, which includes multiple big plays in the College Football Playoff. He has solid hands, and deceptive speed. While his blocking needs some work, he’ll have plenty of room to operate underneath and up the seams because of Desean Jackson and Mike Evans on the outside. With the Bucs lack of a slot receiver, look for Howard to be targeted early and often. 2017 Prediction 550 yds receiving, 5 TD’s.
Curtis Samuel WR CAR- Samuel has home run potential written all over him. The Panthers have a good tight end, at least solid possession receivers, and 2 good running backs. The receiver out of Ohio State could provide that one missing element in the offense which is big play potential. His style of play reminds me of a Percy Harvin type as he lined up all over the field on offense (and they share the same head coach). If Samuel can adjust to lining up primarily as a slot receiver, he could help take that offense to the next level. 2017 Prediction 550 yds receiving, 3 Td’s, 125 yds rushing.
Other Potential Contributors-
Christian McCaffrey RB CAR: Explosive runner/receiver, but in a backfield that will have a lot of td’s taken by Cam and Stewart.
Kareem Hunt RB KC/Samaje Perine RB WAS: With incumbent Spencer Ware/Rob Kelley serving as a solid back last year, I fully expect Hunt/Perine to dominate the carries by the end of the season.