Originally published: Thursday 6 March 2014
Rookie players may not be sought after players in fantasy football drafts. It would be extremely rare to find a rookie drafted in the first couple of rounds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be of value to a fantasy team. Rookies can come with a lot of hype surrounding them, but that hype isn’t carried into fantasy drafts the same as it is into the real thing. This is because rookies don’t have the same kind of expectation that established players do, and therefore, present less of a risk to fantasy owners. Nevertheless, rookie players can often be important pieces of the puzzle, and be the difference between make and break.
Take Eddie Lacy, for example. Last year was his rookie season, and he ran for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, racking up plenty of fantasy points for his owners. He is obviously a good player, but his significant playing time was helped by injuries to players in the Packers’ passing game. The same could be said for Alfred Morris. 2012 was his rookie year and he amassed 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a fifth-round pick, expectations for Morris would have already been low, but he would have been a wise pick up on waivers for those who didn’t draft him in the first place – I imagine he wasn’t selected in many leagues’ drafts.
There may be players in this year’s draft that will follow in the footsteps of players like Lacy and Morris, and one of those might be West Virginia 23-year-old running back Charles Sims. Now his fantasy value will largely depend on which team drafts him, what role gets in the team, his workload, and the scheme – but his performance at the Senior Bowl where he was described as the ‘top running back’ has earned him some plaudits. NFL analyst Matthew Berry has ‘his eye on’ Sims, and acknowledged him as a “three down back” who “can both run between the tackles and catch the ball” – so if he has an advanced role in a team, he could become a valuable asset for any fantasy football team.
Charles Sims’ playing style has been compared to that of Matt Forte – who was fantasy’s second-best running back last year’, and has the potential to be a steal. It isn’t recommended to use an early pick on any rookie, but Sims may be a good, low-risk pick up in the later rounds.