This year had a very different sort of draft than usual and the first round served up precious little fantasy excitement as lineman after lineman was drafted. This was the first time in 49 years that no running back was drafted in the first round. But the second round erupted with five of them and by the end of the third round, there's plenty of fantasy hype to shower on the new set of rookies. There is every reason to expect that we will collectively overvalue more than a few of them.
Last season saw five different rookie quarterbacks become the starter for their team and three more had significant playing time - that was freakish. 2013 may not have more than one or two end up under center. Then again four of those were taken in the first round and only one was selected this season. Wideouts are always a bit spotty in performance in their first season and even last year saw only moderate success for any of the four first rounders. Justin Blackmon came around about mid-season but none of the others really accounted for much.
Running backs are always of interest despite the waning value they hold in current offenses. 2012 served up notice that where a player is taken is not necessarily that important since Vick Ballard (5.35) and especially Alfred Morris (6.03) became fantasy starters along with the duo of Trent Richardson and Doug Martin both producing great fantasy stats.
Here's the first look at the Top 10 fantasy rookies as of the end of the draft. And until training camp opens and the pads go on - you just cannot be sure about any of them.
1. RB Eddie Lacy (5-11, 231, 4.53/40 - Alabama) Green Bay Packers 2.29
Despite falling to be the 4th running back drafted, the needle is certainly pointing up for this Alabama bruiser who finished 2012 with 1,322 rush yards on 204 carries (6.5 YPC) and scored 17 touchdowns. He fell probably on concerns with his health – he was a big back who picked up foot and ankle injuries in college plus a little concern that he has been a workhorse and could wear down earlier in his career. But he is also considered a very tough runner with some moves and is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield. More than all that, he ends up in Green Bay where the Packers already mention him as an every down back and he won’t ever face an eight-man front thanks to Aaron Rodgers. But he won’t run 25 times in any game and maybe not even 20 but he will get goal line opportunities. The Packers also drafted the highly ranked Johnathan Franklin who could end up as the complement to Lacy as the smaller, third-down back.
Fantasy Expectation: If Lacy can win a full-time role, his outlook is very high for this season and even just as a scoring back should provide decent fantasy value. The deciding factor in this will be training camp where Lacy will have to prove that Franklin doesn't need much of a role.
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