Rookies: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defensive Linemen | Linebackers | Defensive Backs
Every season, a handful of rookies make a big splash in the NFL and make for solid fantasy contributors. Both offensive and defensive rookies fall into this category, so let’s take a look at some of the candidates on the defensive side that could be solid fantasy starters (or backups) in 2009.
Patrick Chung (S – New England): Chung steps into a fantastic spot, with position flexibility as a strong or free safety. He’ll bide time behind Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders, but will likely step in as the starting SS very soon.
Vontae Davis (CB – Miami): Davis fits the mold as one of those playmaking, impact cornerbacks that somehow manage tackles a safety or in some cases, a linebacker, would be proud of. Davis will have to beat out the venerable Eric Green and a few also-rans for the starting spot for the Dolphins. DB is always an ultra-deep position, so don’t go drafting Davis until the final rounds in larger redraft leagues or just keep your eye on him as a free agent.
Louis Delmas (S – Detroit): Like his rookie LB counterpart DeAndre Levy, Delmas was drafted into a pretty sweet spot: starting for a horrible defense. Levy has been impressive in camp and has the starting FS spot locked down. Delmas should be the first rookie DB taken in this year’s fantasy drafts.
Malcolm Jenkins (CB – New Orleans): Like Vontae Davis, Jenkins is a big, strong, fast corner that will make plays. Jenkins will start the season as a spot player but will likely man one of the starting spots by mid-season. He’s just too good to keep on the bench.
Rashad Johnson (S – Arizona): Unfortunately, there are talented players that are drafted into not-so-great positions, at least in terms of producing instant fantasy value. Johnson is an incredibly gifted defender with a nose for the ball, but will have to play hard and have either Adrian Wilson or Antrel Rolle go down with injury for him to have any value.
Mike Mitchell (S – Oakland): Yeah, who? The Raiders inexplicably took the Ohio safety in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, but I guess they wanted their guy. He’s set to start at SS, a spot that could prove to be rather fruitful. Don’t overpay, but Mitchell could actually perform in the 2009 season.
William Moore (S – Atlanta): Moore has shot up the overall DB rankings as he all but nails down the starting SS spot for the Falcons. Thomas DeCoud will have something to say about this, but my money would be on the very effective Moore. Another situation where you don’t want to overpay for a DB, but if you can get him late/cheap, he could produce significant results.
Alphonso Smith (CB – Denver): Smith flew a bit under the radar coming into the NFL Draft but has a solid pedigree and resume coming from Wake Forest. He’ll spend time opposite ultra-stud Champ Bailey, which could mean plenty of opportunities.