In one of many 2010 Fantasy Football articles to come, here are my 2010 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings. There will be many more 2010 Fantasy Football features in the late spring and summer, including tons of 2010 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts, Player Rankings, Sleepers and Busts. I'll also have an extensive 2010 NFL Fantasy Football Preseason Stock Report.
2010 Fantasy Football Rankings - Rookie Rankings (April 29):
Note: This is for standard re-draft leagues
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson dived into piles for 2-yard gains last year, yet he was a good fantasy back because San Diego's offense was great enough to give him 10 touchdowns. Even people who don't like Ryan Mathews as a prospect will acknowledge that he'll be better than the 2009 version of Tomlinson. Mathews should be able to compile around 1,100-1,200 rushing yards and 10 scores, but he'll lose receptions to Darren Sproles.
Ben Tate, RB, Texans
Michael Lombardi predicts that Ben Tate will win Offensive Rookie of the Year and rush for 1,500 yards in 2010. I think that could happen; with Steve Slaton coming off injury, Tate doesn't have to share carries with anyone. The Auburn product is a perfect fit in Houston's offense. Remember all of those instances when the Texans failed to get into the end zone from the 1-yard line? At 220 pounds, Tate will score in those scenarios.
I had Tate ranked ahead of Ryan Mathews early Thursday morning, but Michigan Mike really brought up a great point on the forums. If Tate fumbles a couple of times, Gary Kubiak will pull him out of the lineup completely. We've seen Kubiak's quick hook before, and it ruined things for all Steve Slaton owners last year.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
C.J. Spiller will probably be overdrafted because of his name. He'll start - no way Buffalo is keeping its No. 9 overall pick on the bench - and he could eclipse 1,000 rushing yards and 1,400 total yards. However, his fantasy value won't be as strong because he won't score many touchdowns. Buffalo's offense is so anemic that it won't have too many trips into the red zone. And Spiller's not a goal-line back anyway. He'll be fun to watch, but like Fred Jackson last year, he won't be a consistent fantasy producer until the Bills get a legitimate quarterback.
Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
Jahvid Best has huge injury concerns, but if he can stay healthy, he should have a great rookie season. Unlike C.J. Spiller, Best doesn't have to split carries with anyone because Kevin Smith is hurt. If Best plays all 16 games, he should be able to compile 1,500 total yards and about 5-6 touchdowns. His injury risk keep him below Spiller, Ben Tate and Ryan Mathews, however.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
Demaryius Thomas can't run routes or catch the ball consistently, but does that really matter in Josh McDaniels' offense? McDaniels will utilize Thomas like he used Brandon Marshall in Weeks 1-16 and Jabar Gaffney in the final game of the season - and Gaffney caught 14 balls for 213 yards in the finale. Assuming McDaniels doesn't sour on Thomas - and with Josh "I'm Josh f***ing McDaniels" McDaniels there are no guarantees - Thomas could have a prolific rookie year.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Dez Bryant's overblown character concerns dropped him all the way to No. 24, where the Cowboys happily scooped him up. This was probably better for Bryant, as he'll be in a highly productive offense with talented targets like Miles Austin and Jason Witten, who will draw attention from him.
Having said that, I normally don't like drafting rookie receivers, and Bryant's name could cause him to be overdrafted in most leagues. I think he'll be good for about 800-900 yards and 6-7 touchdowns in his first season.
Arrelious Benn, WR, Buccaneers
Arrelious Benn struggles with drops, but he's a very talented receiver. He's already penciled into Tampa Bay's starting lineup, and should be good for at least 700-800 yards and a couple of touchdowns in 2010. It'll be fun to watch Benn and Josh Freeman progress together.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals
The Bengals ordinarily don't like drafting poor blocking tight ends in the early rounds, but they apparently thought Jermaine Gresham's talent was great enough to change their draft strategy. Carson Palmer will utilize his new weapon early and often next year. Look for a big year from Gresham.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is a first-round talent who fell into the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft because of back issues. All reports indicate that he's healthy, however. If so, Tom Brady will utilize him often, especially in the red zone.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Browns
Montario Hardesty will be the thunder to Jerome Harrison's lightning. The Tennessee rookie will get the goal-line work - if there even is any goal-line work. The Browns won't be in the red zone much in 2010.
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Panthers
Jimmy Clausen in all likelihood will be a great franchise quarterback for the Panthers. That said, I wouldn't recommend drafting him as anything more than a high-upside backup this season. Carolina has a run-oriented offense and won't ask Clausen to do too much right away. Best-case scenario, I could see Clausen post 2008 Matt Ryan-esque numbers (3,440 yards, 16 TDs, 11 INTs) with tons of potential for a breakout 2011 fantasy season.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings
He'll be worth picking up as a handcuff for Adrian Peterson. If Peterson goes down, Toby Gerhart will carry the load in Minnesota's impressive offense.
Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs
The Chiefs plan on using Dexter McCluster in the slot, meaning he's worth a late-round flier in PPR leagues.
Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks
Golden Tate will likely play in the slot as a rookie, meaning he'll have more value in PPR leagues. Considering how much of an enigma Charlie Whitehurst is right now, I'd recommend looking elsewhere because someone will likely overdraft Tate because of his name.
Damian Williams, WR, Titans
Damian Williams is a great route-runner, but his production will always be limited as long as he plays with Vince Young and that run-heavy offense.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers
Brandon LaFell is a talented pro-ready receiver, but John Fox has a dubious track record in regard to playing rookies over veterans. I wouldn't trust LaFell to start, though I'd like him as a late-round flier if he does.
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
Coming out of a spread offense, Sam Bradford is not ready to play in the NFL right away. Bradford is not like Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez; those were all pro-style quarterbacks. With mediocre/young talent around him in St. Louis and barely any familiarity with playing under center, Bradford will likely struggle as a rookie if he plays.
Mardy Gilyard, WR, Rams
Mardy Gilyard projects as a good deep weapon for Sam Bradford down the road. Unfortunately, St. Louis' entire offense is a work in progress right now. I wouldn't recommend drafting Gilyard this year in non-dynasty leagues.