The incoming crop of rookies from the NFL Draft adds even more potential options to the rookie pool for fantasy football, making those fantasy football rookie rankings even more important. Whether you’re looking to add freshman options to your squad or just interested in what this squad brings to the table, these are the best fantasy football rookies you should be targeting this year in your draft.
Whether you’re in a super-flex / 2 quarterback league or just a standard league, each of these players will give you some sort of edge when drafting your squads. With some rookies having to save time and prove to their teams that they deserve to be drafted, it may have to wait for some production – but by the end of the year, you can still reap the benefits of invest in these recruits.
Top Fantasy Football Rookies
10. Mac Jones
QB – New England Patriots
With the New England Patriots bringing back Cam Newton as an option for the QB, they decided to take the fifth and final QB of the first round by drafting Mac Jones from Alabama, who could very easily take the reins of that team early in this season. season. With Newton still looking like the starter in camp and reps, it looks like Jones is having an uphill battle at this point.
However, head coach Bill Belichick isn’t necessarily a patient coach at this point in his career and may seek to develop Jones on the fly, which can help accelerate his fantastic value early in the year – in More, with the team’s public position on Newton’s thoughts towards the COVID vaccine, this could open up an opportunity for Jones to take over.
9. Zach Wilson
New York Jets
The biggest offensive rookie in profile added to the New York Jets this year, QB Zach Wilson has a lot on his shoulders as he enters his first season – but no other burden is heavier than what Broadway throws on QB of the Jets.
Wilson is given the initial work from the get-go, immediately offering a glimpse of his talent, which will also come with his tracks. But the fact that the BYU rookie draft stock isn’t very high, especially in the redraft leagues, can help preserve some late-round value if you’re looking to try out a lottery ticket.
8. Javonte Williams
RB – Denver Broncos
Drafted as the eventual RB1 for the Denver Broncos, UNC rookie Javonte Williams appears to be the best Tar Heel RB to be drafted this year (ahead of NYJ’s Michael Carter). Additionally, with Melvin Gordon III entering his final season of his contract and his history of sawtooth injuries, Williams will take this offense into account immediately.
The Broncos host a QB battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, placing even more emphasis on a strong running offense, something that has typically been a 1-2 punch in the past. With Phillip Lindsay having left town, Williams can fill that rhythm-changing role behind and alongside Gordon, delivering potential FLEX value on a weekly basis with RB2 on the rise.
7. Ja’Marr Chase
WR – Cincinnati Bengals
Considered the highest wide receiver in this year’s draft, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase enters an attack for the Cincinnati Bengals having to fight for targets immediately among Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Having a collegiate relationship with QB Joe Burrow certainly helps boost his stock, but Chase has struggled throughout camp and doesn’t look like the dominant college WR he was drafted to be.
The Bengals were in desperate need of adding offensive line talent early on to help protect Burrow, but having gone with Chase instead, it behooves the rookie to play early on. His draft stock will likely follow his name and not his potential, so make sure you don’t hit Chase – he should be the third wideout caught in this offense in most draft formats.
6. DeVonta Smith
WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Like Chase, Alabama’s DeVonta Smith has been selected to become his new team’s top wideout. But what differs between the two is that Smith goes into a home run situation, as the Eagles are completely devoid of usable WR options that can consistently open up for Jalen Hurts.
Smith, like Chase, enters the pros who already have a pre-established relationship with his QB, as he was at Bama when Hurts was too. Plus, with Smith showing up in both camps and preseason so far, the sky’s the limit for the WR rookie, though these pundits don’t believe his ‘leaner build’ will hold up this season. .
Keep an eye out for his MCL sprain he suffered at camp, as there is a risk of a flare for him. But the fact that he returned as soon as he did so with little boost means he appears to be at full speed again.
5. Justin Champs
QB – Chicago Bears
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first round was the Chicago Bears winning their rookie QB of the future at Justin Fields, even with veteran Andy Dalton in the offseason. What Fields has produced so far has excited coaches and fans alike, but he certainly has more work to do if he is to work his way through to earn some valuable starting time this year.
With Fields set to play a good chunk of the final preseason competition for CHI and Andy Dalton being named the Week 1 starter, the QB pecking order appears to be fleshed out at Motown. But at some point, Fields will be forced to act, and you can see why you actually used a later turn selection to draft it.
Allow 4-6 weeks for Fields to end up seeing his first major action tastes for the Bears – AKA doesn’t drafte Fields as a QB1 starter.
4. Kyle Pitts
TE – Atlanta Falcons
Possessing one of the craziest pre-draft hype for a rookie winger in NFL history, Kyle Pitts joins the Atlanta Falcons offensive in hopes of carving out the lion’s share of targets released by Julio Jones’ trade. But that offense revolves around Calvin Ridley, and Pitts will have to win whatever he gets, potentially capping his fantastic relevance.
The hype resulted in an inflated average draft position (ADP), coming off the board as TE4, ahead of Mark Andrews and TJ Hockenson. If his ADP deflates a bit, then go ahead and grab him, but reaching him as an unproven prospect might be a bit risky here – but smart.
3. Trey Lance
QB – San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance’s path to getting started as a rookie is just as murky as Fields’, but with Jimmy Garoppolo likely set to come out at some point this year, Lance will be waiting backstage until his number is out. called. But, with the San Francisco 49ers having gone through an unexpected year of decline last year, consistency on the upside may be the route Kyle Shanahan wants to take.
The Niners have a ton of offensive talent and Lance has shown he can be the QB they need so far in the preseason, so adding him in for an influx of work later in the year. is exactly the kind of positive thinking you need to have when looking for a late sleeper.
2. Trevor Lawrence
QB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Given the starting job right out of the gate (Gardner Minshew be damned), Trevor Lawrence has a plethora of weapons at his disposal as a rookie under Urban Meyer. Even with the end-of-season injury suffered by RB Travis Etienne, their rushed attack is in good hands with James Robinson.
Lawrence is capable of throwing assists at DJ Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr., three solid options that can help him get under his feet at the start of the year – having Lawrence nested in the top 20 for QBs this year. ranking year is an easy task, with the potential for him to finish in the top 15, a likely outcome.
1. Najee Harris
RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
The easy selection for the most promising and best fantasy football rookie entering the league this year is Pittsburgh Steelers starter Najee Harris. As PIT looks into what will likely be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season, Harris will be relied on early and often to help ease his shoulders.
Buyer, beware though – while rookies usually get a discount, Harris carries an average RB10 price tag, meaning you’ll have to pay until round two for an unproven option. Harris’ advantage is unmatched in this draft class and is a smart investment, but passing on safer options for the home run could cost you a few points in the long run.