coaster 450x253 The Rookie Roller Coaster

Written by Joe Carpenter

The offensive rookies in this draft have now gone through OAT’s, training camp, and  preseason games. There has been a few rookies that started this journey, low on our dynasty boards or not on them at all, who have surprised us and now need to be recognized. With the ups come the downs, and there have been a few players who have took a hit and have slipped down our dynasty rankings.

Here is a list of the guys to go out and get on your team along with a list of guys to be cautious about.

GUYS TO GET:

Kenbrell Thompkins – Thompkins was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Cincinnati, now he is one of Tom Brady’s main targets. Thompkins is a wide receiver who fits in perfectly with the Patriots because he can work on the outside or in the slot, which will keep him on the field and help his numbers this season. He is a receiver who is versatile (one thing that the Hoodie likes) which will hopefully translate into reliability as a target for Brady.  Gronk being out for part of the season only helps Thompkins’ numbers, but even if Gronk is healthy, Thompkins will see the field a lot and his stats will be solid. In the preseason, Thompkins had 13 receptions for 142 yards, a lot coming in preseason game three. In game three he had eight catches from Brady for 116 yards, which proves his draftability for your squad.

Christine Michael- Michael is a running back who had four predecessors go in the 2013 NFL draft and I believe those teams will be upset they didn’t take Michael. Michael is in a backfield with Beast Mode, but Michael adds the speed dimension to the Seattle backfield. He has really busted out this preseason with 27 carries for an NFL high 186 yards. Michael’s burst when he hits the hole and speed after he gets through that hole is ridiculous. He also has soft hands that will help in catching the ball out of the backfield and produce stats that way also. Michael does have Lynch taking carries from him but he is worth owning on your dynasty team, as he seems to be a favorite to get plenty of carries this year and to be the future for the Seahawks.

Ace Sanders- Ace is a wide receiver that was pretty much known as an awesome return man and an okay wide receiver. The preseason has shown that he is an impressive return man for the Jaguars with great decision-making, but we have also seen that he is a really notable receiver. Justin Blackmon will be out for the first four weeks with his suspension, so its looking like Ace will be starting opposite of Shorts. Dynasty drafters went early and got Tavon Austin (smart move) but if you weren’t able to get him, I see Jacksonville using Ace the same way as Austin. Switch Austin and Ace in there college offenses and we’re looking at Ace being one of the top receivers taken. I see Ace as a player that is worth getting and holding on to for your dynasty team, as he has shined at wide receiver for the Jaguars and will most likely be on the field as the 2 or the 3 for Jacksonville.

Kenny Stills- Kenny is a wide receiver for the Saints, a team looking for a bounce back year with their head coach’s return. We all know that Sean Payton and the Saints love to pass the ball and Stills will produce early and often for them. Stills had a rough first game for the Saints, with one fumble and a dropped pass, but ever since Stills has had seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Stills has had three of his seven receptions go for 20 yards or more as he uses his explosive speed to get behind defensive backs. Stills will be the number three guy in New Orleans but he will be sure to produce, as he seems to already have gained the respect of Drew Brees with his physicality. Stills will go up with a defender on him and grab the ball out of the sky. Stills is in a great situation and has used it to his total advantage. If I were you, I would find a way to get him on your roster.

Markus Wheaton – Markus has come on strong this preseason for the Steelers, making them forget Mike Wallace easily. Wheaton has been very impressive this preseason, catching seven receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He has seemed to built chemistry with Big Ben quite well and we all know that’s a plus. Wheaton will also be the number three guy this year in Pittsburgh’s offense where he will run across the middle or run deep routes past slower defenders. Wheaton should be the number two guy next year as Emmanuel Sanders will be testing the waters in free agency. I expect Wheaton to be a valuable dynasty player this year and definitely for many years to come.

 

Caution:  

Cordarrelle Patterson- Patterson is high on many draft boards and many dynasty owners’ hearts, but I don’t see it. Patterson is very raw at the position, where he has only played one year at a Division 1 school. He can return kicks and punts, but I don’t see him being a huge impact at wide receiver. There happens to be  a guy in Minnesota named Adrian Peterson who is pretty much the offense and he has until 2018. Adrian Peterson won’t always be super-human, but he has two to three more years in the tank and that’s only going to hurt Patterson. The Vikings just signed Greg Jennings in the off season to a five year deal, and he will be there go to receiver, which will also hurt Patterson’s production.

If those things weren’t enough to scare you away, just realize that he has Christian Ponder throwing him the ball, who in two years has 49 touchdowns with 37 interceptions. Ponder in 2011 finished 30th in passing above a guy named Tebow and right below John Skelton.  And in 2012 finished 25th in passing right above Mark Sanchez. Patterson’s preseason stats show the same thing with 8 receptions for 84 yards and no touchdowns. I am not seeing a real good reason to expect good things out of Patterson besides the return game.

Entire 2013 QB draft class- I am not sure if I have seen a QB draft class worse than this one. If your best option is E.J. Manuel or Geno Smith, then you have to know that these guys will not be starting for you. I do not see any of these guys making impacts for your team any time soon, if at all. The Bills are starting this year with a rookie head coach, only adding to their troubles. There is a study out there that shows when the first quarterback is taken outside of the top ten; they generally do not produce (you can read more about that here). Following this logic, Manuel will not have a good career. Geno Smith is in Circus City, USA and don’t tell me he looked good last week throwing a touchdown with 199 yards. I will see your 199 and 1 and raise you 3 interceptions? Geno has terrible field awareness and he locks onto his first target. I can’t say I see any quarterbacks in this class doing anything in the NFL, maybe Mike Glennon, but that’s a stretch. Stay away from these quarterbacks, wait till next year if you need a QB.

Montee Ball- Lets start with this season. I see Ball sharing carries with Hillman, which we all know will hurt his stats. There is a guy in Denver named Peyton Manning and watching them this preseason shows me they are going to use a hurry up offense and a lot of passing. Montee Ball has 25 carries for 80 yards, that’s 3.2 YPC average, ouch. Now lets look long term, Ball is more of a smaller back and not really the build of a starting running back. He had great numbers in his last couple years at Wisconsin but I would warn against him based on past Wisconsin running backs and their lack of NFL success. Wisconsin relies on a weak BIG 10 and their monsterous O-line to run an offense that boosts their running back production.  I look at the past and I don’t see Ball being a guy that you can rely on for dynasty production.

A slight breeze in the NFL can change the fates in our favor. It can close doors and create opportunity.  Make sure you are checking the weather all the time in your leagues so you can stay ahead of the trends and dominate your leagues.  Happy Labor Day…