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Not So Popular Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch

If you’re looking for rookies named Edwards-Helaire, Lamb, or Jeudy, you won’t find them here. Instead, read about not-so-known fantasy football rooks to consider.

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We already know certain rookies… I’m looking at you, Clyde Edwards-Helaire… that will have significant fantasy football impact this season. Let’s take a look into which more slept-on rookies could have a significant enough season that will warrant them a roster spot on your fantasy football squad. Make sure to keep an eye on these rooks.

QUARTERBACKS

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals, 49.5% Rostered (per ESPN)
While Joe Burrow is obviously a well-known rookie, his actual fantasy production is in question. The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line should be fully healthy, which provides Burrow some security. In addition, former Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green has been a picture of health, himself; something the franchise hasn’t seen since 2018. Burrow will also have receiver Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and two solid pass-option backs in Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins, 11.2%
News broke recently what we all expected from the Miami Dolphins, as they officially named Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback for Week 1. This will serve 2020 NFL Draft fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa well, as the young quarterback has struggled with injuries, and is still currently recovering from a hip injury. If Tagovailoa can transition his college form to the NFL – a sensational, mobile, accurate quarterback who won a National Championship as a freshman back in 2017, then Tua will be a tough player to deal with, not only in the AFC East, but in all of the NFL.

RUNNING BACKS: 

Anthony McFarland Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers, 3.9%
Pittsburgh has a dilemma in the backfield. McFarland Jr. might be the answer. In only his sophomore season, James Conner earned a Pro Bowl appearance after totaling 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns in 2018. Despite this breakout season, in his third year (in which Conner missed six games due to injury), his yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns were cut in half (715 and seven, respectively) in 2019. His replacements in Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels were serviceable at best, but speedster Anthony McFarland Jr. should be considered a dark horse to fill this spot. If Conner goes down, watch out for MacFarland Jr. to make the most of any opportunity.

James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars, 7.5%
Five words. The departure of Leonard Fournette. This left Ryquell Armstead, eight-year veteran Chris Thompson, and rookie James Robinson left to fill the void. Armstead was the projected starter, but, spent 19 days on the reserve/COVID-19 list and then had to go on it again. According to head coach Doug Marrone he will be out for “a while.” This quote came with the release of the first official depth chart that slates Robinson as the featured back. 

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts, 24.6%
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke on Pittman Jr. saying, “…he has certainly looked great.” Reich continued, “He’s big, strong, and fast. He’s done a great job of learning the offense very quickly. Very smart player. Strong hands and just a strong player with the ball in his hands.” He should be the ideal X option opposite T.Y. Hilton, and has a great quarterback under center in Philip Rivers. The physical rookie should be able to hang with the best receivers of his class, and there are a lot of great ones.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers, 8.8%
The Pittsburgh Steelers passing offense is looking much stronger than last season, in part due to generational star Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury. The clear-cut number one option, JuJu Smith-Schuster, with second option Diontae Johnson are poised for a breakout season together. Previous third option, James Washington, might lose his spot to rookie Chase Claypool. Washington started camp on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and hasn’t been able to show the big-play ability Claypool possesses. With Big Ben under center, there should be more than enough footballs to catch.

TIGHT ENDS:

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears, 1.6%
The highest drafted tight end in the 2020 NFL Draft, Cole Kmet has shown flashes of being a great tight end. He is solid in pass-blocking situations, but needs to improve his blocking mechanics largely due to the demands of the Chicago offense; tight ends typically go in motion and block in open space. What also doesn’t help is the presence of Jimmy Graham. But, of all the tight ends in this class, he possesses the most talent and could consistently start for the Bears later in the season. Once he does, expect a fair share of targets, including in the red zone.

Devin Asiasi, New England Patriots, 0.8%
Devin Asiasi won the lottery in terms of getting selected by the perfect franchise for him. Not only did he land on a team without a single answer for the tight end position, but with perennial contender, the New England Patriots – a team notorious for utilizing the tight end position, and a team with football mastermind Bill Belichick, as well as offensive genius Josh McDaniels. Asiasi possesses perhaps the best speed and athleticism of all the tight ends in the class, and has solid hands. However, he is a poor blocker, which will hinder his opportunities and performance. But, as previously mentioned, the tight end camp in New England is extremely weak. For now, Ryan Izzo will start, but expect Asiasi to replace him mid-season once he gets adjusted.

Holden is a young writer with an avid passion for sports. He is currently a sophomore at CUNY Queens College. Holden has worked on multiple publications including Hardwood and Hollywood, The Knight News, and the Long Island Herald. He would prefer if you don’t mention Super Bowl 52.

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