Top Rookies

Everyone loves the new shiny toy and many fantasy owners have a tendency to reach for rookies, seeing only their potential, and overlooking trustworthy veterans. While rookies typically don't provide high end fantasy production, there are of course exceptions and here we outline the best bets for rookie draft picks this season, in PPR scoring. The following are must-draft players for Keeper and Dynasty leagues and are ranked for redraft leagues, sorted by WP Value - their value adjusted for roster settings. The projections are for the 2017 season and the player's age indicates how old that player will be when the season begins.  Updated: Aug 15/17

Top 300 Players | Rookie Dynasty Rankings | Draft Kit

Top Projected Rookies for 2017

1. Dalvin Cook, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 229 845 6 41 306 2 200.10

The Vikings never expected Cook to fall as far as he did in the second round of this year's draft, but when it happened they weren't shy about making a move to get him. Despite signing Latavius Murray to replace Adrian Peterson, Minnesota clearly sees Cook as the long-term answer in this backfield, and with good reason. After a highly productive college career Cook failed to wow at the combine-in fact, he was downright terrible in some often telling measurables. But Minnesota obviously believes the college tape over the combine times, and on full display at Florida State was a three down back that showed patience and burst, excellent receiving ability, and an above average penchant for pass protection. Already the early returns seem to indicate that Cook could render Murray nothing more than a short yardage and change of pace option before he even makes his way off the PUP list. Cook is not without risk however, as ball security has always been a bit of an issue. Still, he continues to be on the rise in dynasty drafts and could legitimately approach 300 touches even as a rookie.

2. Christian McCaffrey, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 172 704 4 50 412 3 199.60

A dual-threat out of the backfield or in the slot, McCaffrey joins a Panthers team that is looking to keep Cam Newton upright and out of the line of fire after a tough a 2016 campaign and offseason shoulder surgery. Enter the dynamic McCaffrey. He's unlikely to pose an immediate threat to the bulk of Jonathan Stewart's rushing workload, but the Panthers are going to look for ways to get the ball in his hands. Initially it seems like the passing game and a change of pace role are where the rookie will make his mark. But let's face it, the Panthers didn't use a top ten pick on an offensive skill player whose snaps are going to be limited for very long. Stewart is entering his age 30 season and has never been the healthiest player to start with. And while McCaffrey doesn't profile as an every down back, a fair comparison for his first couple seasons is probably something in line with Reggie Bush's entering the league: 150 or so carries and 100+ targets in the passing game. For a player with McCaffrey's ability, 250+ touches should be plenty to threaten low RB1 or high RB2 status in fantasy.

3. Leonard Fournette, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 257 983 7 29 241 1 195.40

Jacksonville has made no secret about their desire to hand Fournette as much of the workload as possible. After a couple disastrous seasons of T.J. Yeldon, and the addition of Chris Ivory leading to little improvement, the Jags used the fourth overall pick on the consensus top running back in the draft. Fournette is a beast of a back that drew Adrian Peterson comps throughout his prep and college career. And while he may never quite live up to that hype, there's no denying that he has a chance to be a special player. After a 2016 season in which Blake Bortles' limitations were on full display, expect the Jaguars offense to run through Fournette, with the explosive rookie getting as much work as he can handle. He still has a ways to go from a receiving standpoint, but the Jacksonville defense is steadily improving and the ideal game plan from week to week is going to be pounding the rock with Fournette 20+ times a game.

4. Joe Mixon, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 210 924 6 31 238 1 187.20

As horrific as it was, at this point we'll set the off-the-field incident in Mixon's past at Oklahoma aside and focus on his fantasy fortunes. With that in mind, it is important to note that while some teams had taken him completely off of their draft board, the Bengals were willing to use a mid-second round pick on selecting Mixon and all the baggage that comes with it. That should tell you a lot about how special they think he can be. At 6'1" and nearly 230 lbs with sub 4.5 speed, Mixon is a freak athlete. Running as the complement to thumper Samaje Perine at Oklahoma the past two seasons, Mixon averaged better than 6.5 yards per carry and hauled in 65 passes. And as much as we hate comps, the LeVeon Bell, Arian Foster, and Ricky Watters comparisons aren't crazy, Many thought on talent alone that he was the best back in this draft. He'll need to learn run with a little more urgency behind a suspect Bengals offensive line, but if he does he could force Cincinnati to leave him on the field early and often in his rookie season.

5. Corey Davis, WR Top Rookies Injury Update

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 65 794 5 172.40

The number five overall pick in the draft, Davis dazzled early in training camp before a hamstring injury started to cost him valuable snaps. While he isn t the elite size-speed combination that we often think of in a number one wideout, Davis is an absolute technician as a route runner and attacks every throw with a my ball mentality. Even without elite measurables, he s gifted enough to threaten NFL defenses at all levels, and should prove to be a red zone weapon early on. The addition of Eric Decker and the presence of Delanie Walker may negate some of the touchdown upside early in his career, but Decker is in his age 30 season with a history of serious injuries and Walker is already 33. While the time missed in training camp is likely to slow his rookie season production, it would not be at all surprising if Davis was the top pass catching option in the Titans offense by season s end.

6. Kareem Hunt, RB Top Rookies Rising Stock

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 163 624 5 34 273 2 161.70

Hunt is the other half of what is going to be a painful fantasy backfield scenario for owners going forward. Spencer Ware has been far better over a season and a half than many expected, but he did seem to slow a bit as the season wore on in 2016. With that in mind the Chiefs went out and took one of the more intriguing running back prospects in the draft, in Kareem Hunt. While the measurables don't jump off the page, his college production behind a dreadful offensive line is impressive. He's a bigger back that can make tacklers miss and find more yards than what is blocked, but like Ware he lacks breakaway speed. He's a capable pass catcher and could eventually supplant Ware as the starter, perhaps as early as this season. The far more likely scenario though is that, barring injury, the two backs cannibalize each other's production over the next couple years until the Chiefs have to make a decision on Ware's contract after the 2018 campaign is a wrap.

7. Zay Jones, WR Top Rookies

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 62 687 4 154.70

The trade of Sammy Watkins to Los Angeles and the abrupt retirement of Anquan Boldin opens the door for Jones to make his mark as a rookie. Yes, Jordan Matthews is now in town and the "number one" option, but his durability concerns persist and in the final year of his contract he was more of a dice roll for a team that needed receiver help. He's also going to run out of the slot, while Jones projects to spend plenty of time outside. An elite athlete, he put up an eye-popping 158 receptions as a senior at East Carolina last year, but was vastly underrated due to the short average depth of target. Rest assured that it had more to due with his quarterback and the offense he was playing with, and he'll be able to get open downfield in the NFL. He's in for a large rookie year workload, but this is still going to be a run-heavy offense so temper the early expectations. That said he's in a pretty ideal spot for both redraft and dynasty purposes.

8. Samaje Perine, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 154 763 6 18 121 1 148.40

It sounds like Rob Kelley may hold onto his role in the Washington offense to start the season, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where the talent of Perine doesn't eventually win out here. They are more than a little similar as players, early down thumpers that aren't brought down easily and make tacklers pay at the end of runs. Neither player catches passes particularly well, and that's Chris Thompson's role in this offense anyway. But Kelley has nothing in the way of wiggle, while Perine showed much better vision and elusiveness in his time at Oklahoma. Even if Kelley manages to hang onto the job in Washington this season, it's difficult to envision a scenario where Perine doesn't overtake him eventually.

9. John Ross, WR Top Rookies

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 55 613 4 140.30

Limited through training camp by injury, Ross likely starts the season buried on the depth chart. It's a somewhat unassuming start considering Ross was the ninth pick overall this spring and broke the combine record for the forty yard dash when he clocked a 4.22 in Indy. Injured throughout his college career, his long term dynasty outlook hinges entirely on his ability to stay healthy. So taking on a limited role as a rookie may actually improve his chances at NFL longevity. Though he's a solid route runner and posses good hands, The Bengals already have quite a few pass catchers locked into significant targets in the offense. Expect Ross to be a situational deep threat and pick up snaps in three and four wide sets this season. But with starters A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell turning 30 and 31 years old respectively in the next twelve months, and Tyler Boyd looking more and more like an oversized slot receiver, Ross is going to get his opportunity soon.

10. Curtis Samuel, WR Injury Update

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 49 583 4 131.30

11. Jamaal Williams, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 154 652 4 14 137 1 120.90

With Green Bay electing to continuing using Ty Montgomery as their top running back, the second string role will likely come down to a battle between Williams and fellow rookie Aaron Jones. Taken a round earlier, Williams probably has a slight edge here, but he's got a lot to prove. He's not really a plodder, but he's also not a guy that makes many people miss in the open field. He profiles as a physical back that will get what is blocked, but not a whole lot more due to his lack of both elusiveness and patience. With the Green Bay offense running through Rodgers he isn't going to be much more than a short yardage or change of pace option even if he does wind up backing up Montgomery. His biggest asset right off the bat is his readiness in pass protection. It's an area Montgomery struggled in last season, and if Williams has a chance to make some noise in the preseason that could be the differentiator.

12. Kenny Golladay, WR Top Rookies Rising Stock

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 47 529 4 123.90

13. Mike K. Williams, WR Injury Update

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 44 527 4 120.70

Already missing time with a disk issue, it s possible the Chargers first round pick may not see the field as a rookie, and even then it will likely be on a limited basis. A big bodied receiver that wins at the catch point, Williams isn t a burner, but he s going to overpower most defensive backs, even at the NFL level. He doesn t create great separation so playing with a quarterback like Philip Rivers, who can throw him open or is willing to give him a chance to win footballs in coverage is a big plus. On the downside, he joins a crowded receiving corps with Keenan Allen returning from injury and Tyrell Williams emerging as a talented young receiver. And second year tight end Hunter Henry is also going to draw his share of the targets as well. Williams is unlikely to contribute in year one so he s a bit of a dice roll in leagues where he can be stashed.

14. Alvin Kamara, RB Top Rookies

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 42 157 1 40 312 4 114.90

Kamara has a bright dynasty future and should carve out some passing downs work as a rookie, but barring an injury to starter Mark Ingram or veteran Adrian Peterson, it's difficult to imagine him having a huge impact in 2017. A versatile back, the Saints took Kamara in the third round and envision him filling their immediate needs as a change of pace and passing downs back, but Ingram has proved a capable receiver throughout his career and has caught 50 and 46 balls respectively over the past two seasons. Kamara is a fantastic dynasty option in this offense, but if Peterson can recapture some of his form in New Orleans then it's difficult to see Kamara handling more than 100-125 touches in 2017.

15. Cooper Kupp, WR Rising Stock

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 45 522 3 113.20

16. DeShone Kizer, QB

Com Yds TD Int Rsh Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 304 3,231 18 14 46 231 2 218.34

Going into the 2016 college football season, Kizer was the top quarterback prospect on more than a few draft boards. But a poor junior season in which he failed to live up to expectations, and was even benched at times, sent Kizer's stock tumbling to the point where many questioned his choice to leave school a year early. Still, Kizer looks the part of NFL quarterback at 6'4" and 235lbs, with excellent mobility and a big time arm. He's still a long way from fulfilling the Steve McNair comparisons that have been thrown around, but you can't teach size and athleticism. The expectation had been that Kizer would land in a spot that allowed him to compete in camp, but ultimately had him spend most of year one watching from the sideline. And while that still may be the case, reports out of Cleveland suggest that he may be in the mix for early playing time after all. The Browns have done a solid job of acquiring building block-type talent on both sides of the ball, and if they believe getting Kizer under center sooner will help speed up the clock on their rebuilding effort, with his dual threat ability the rookie could offer some interesting upside for 2017 and certainly needs to be on the radar of every dynasty owner. He's going to open camp competing with Cody Kessler for the starting nod and should garner the backup role unless he's thoroughly and completely outplayed by Brock Osweiler, which no one expects.

17. Marlon Mack, RB Sleepers

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 79 366 2 29 241 1 105.70

The Colts used a fourth round pick on the dynamic Mack, as they continue to ride with 34 year old Frank Gore as their feature back. Mack ran behind some atrocious offensive lines at USF, and still managed to average more than a hundred yards per game over three seasons as the starter. That's a pretty good sign that he might be able to deliver on the promise Josh Ferguson didn't fulfill last season. While the coaching staff has been talking up Robert Turbin this offseason, heading into his age 28 season with his third NFL team, the career backup has never really flashed starter-type upside. A bit undersized, Mack isn't a banger and there are questions about his ball security and penchant for trying to turn every play into a home run, but he's hands down the most explosive running back on this depth chart.

18. Evan Engram, TE Injury Update

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 52 547 3 124.70

Engram is one of the most intriguing sleeper picks entering the 2017 fantasy football season. He was a first round draft pick of the New York Giants in May and will add speed and athleticism to an already stacked Giants offense. Engram is expected to start Week 1 and has an opportunity to become QB Eli Manning's coveted security blanket. The Ole Miss Rebels product helped lead the team to three straight bowl appearances and racked up 2,320 yards on 162 receptions. He's a promising tight end talent with an extremely high ceiling and a player the Giants have craved since Martellus Bennett left the team as a free agent in 2013. The Giants coaching staff is very impressed by Engrams work ethic and is quickly learning the Giants playbook. Given the Giants are predicted to be a top-5 fantasy offense and boasts one of the most feared wide receiver trios in Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and 2015 second-round pick Sterling Shepard, Engram could be overlooked by weary defensive coordinators, immediately increasing his draft value.

19. Carlos Henderson, WR Injury Update

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 43 468 3 107.80

20. O.J. Howard, TE Bust

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 44 512 4 119.20

Howard is entering his rookie season and is expected to be atop of the Buccaneers TE depth chart once training camp commences in August. Howard's size combined with his long reach and freakish athleticism has fantasy owners salivating over his fantasy potential in the Jamies Winston led Bucs offense. His attitude and work ethic have never been a problem in the past, which Koetter will welcome with open arms after the Austin Seferain-Jenkins drama of last season. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a new shiny toy to deploy in what is shaping up to be an explosive offense that is expected to compete in a pass-heavy division. Howard will still be in tough to find targets with WR Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson in the mix, but his size and speed will be troubling for opposing defensive coordinators. If you are looking to punt at the tight end position, Howard is an attractive option.

21. ArDarius Stewart, WR

New York Jets, Bye: 11
Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 36 438 3 97.80

22. David Njoku, TE

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 45 451 3 108.10

Just barely 21 years old heading into the season, the Browns traded back into the end of the first round to select Njoku with the 29th pick overall in this year's draft. Capable of playing all over the formation, Njoku's athletic ability is unquestioned, but he's going to be a bit of a project. We know the tight end learning curve is a steep one for NFL rookies and with the Browns rebuilding from the ground up, they can afford to be patient with him. Despite being relatively young (19 and 20 years old) in his two full college seasons, Njoku was able to utilize superior size and strength to punish college tacklers and rack up enormous YAC totals, averaging better than 11 yards after the catch over his college career. He'll find more formidable tacklers at the pro level, but the tape suggests he's not going to be shy about teeing off on NFL defenders, either with or without the ball in his hands. It make take some time to develop as a receiver, but if he can get there the upside is huge for Njoku.

23. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 31 405 2 83.50

For a team that already has Antonio Brown and expects Martavis Bryant to be reinstated any day, Smith-Schuster brings a physical presence to the Steelers receiver position that figures to be a perfect addition. He's a football player through and through and an absolutely warrior, with or without the football in his hands. He lacks the sort of speed and explosiveness that NFL teams covet, but he doesn't need much separation to win football and he does all the little things well. With so many mouths to feed in Pittsburgh, targets are going to be the real question. But if he can prove himself early on then he can have success at the NFL level as an Anquan Boldin-type wideout, a player to whom he often draws comparisons.

24. D'Onta Foreman, RB Injury Update

Rsh Yds TD Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 74 383 3 11 74 0 72.70

With such bad quarterback play from Brock Osweiler last season, the Texans leaned heavily on Lamar Miller from the jump. And the results were less than fantastic, as Houston's new feature back wore down quickly and missed the final two games of the season with injury. Enter third round pick D'onta Foreman, who was brought in as an upgrade over current backup running back Alfred Blue. While Blue hasn't been bad, he's in the final year of his rookie deal and just doesn't have the upside of a player like Foreman. But Foreman doesn't come into Texans camp without his own warts. Pass protection and ball security are known issues, and many would like to see the 235 pound back run with more authority and thump, as despite his size he had a tendency to dance a little too much. The battle between Blue and Foreman is one to keep an eye on, given the amount of running the Texans are expected to do this season. Long term Foreman should be able to capture the backup role for Houston and could see some added goalline and short yardage work.

25. Josh Reynolds, WR

Rec Yds TD Pts
2017-18 (proj) 28 317 2 71.70

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