The NFL Draft is an exciting weekend for football fans. It inspires hope and is a sign that summer is right around the corner. However, for fantasy owners, it is the beginning of the fantasy football pre-draft process. After each pick is announced, fantasy owners begin making their own fantasy draft board. They are always looking to identify potential game changing players who can help win bragging rights and other friendly wagers. The following is an early short list of can’t miss fantasy rookies.
Tavon Austin: WR St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford was arguably the happiest quarterback watching round one of the NFL Draft. After losing Danny Amendola to the New England Patriots, Bradford now has a faster and more explosive receiver to target in Tavon Austin. Besides his ridiculous combine numbers, Austin had NFL scouts giddy because of his big play ability and knack for finding the endzone. In Morgantown, Austin scored 40 touchdowns in variety of different ways (just ask the Oklahoma Sooners). Expect Austin to be the Ram’s Swiss army knife. Look for them to give him the ball as many times per game as possible.
Le’Veon Bell: RB Pittsburgh Steelers
With the departure of Rashard Mendehall, the Steelers starting running back spot is up for grabs. Historically, head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers love to run the football. Combine a run heavy offense with Bell’s natural talent and toughness as a runner. It should equal a reliable fantasy back.
Last season, as the Spartan’s main workhorse, Bell ran for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. At 6″ 1′ 230 lbs, Bell is a bruiser (yet very nimble) capable of carrying the ball 20-25 times per game as well as handling the goal line duties. If he can remain healthy, expect the Steelers to ride Bell as they hope to regain their status as one of the toughest teams in the league.
Robert Woods: WR Buffalo Bills
Leading up to the draft, all NFL fans heard that USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s numbers were misleading because he had the two best wide receivers in all of college football to throw too. If that was the case, then why did Roberts Woods fall to the second round?
And the answer is, no one knows. At 6″1′, Woods possesses adequate size, good speed, and great run after the catch ability. In Woods’ three year career as a Trojan, he totaled 33 touchdowns.
Last season, despite being overshadowed by ‘the best receiver in college football’, Marquis Lee, Woods totaled 76 receptions, 846 yards and 11 touchdowns. With receiver Stevie Johnson, and running back CJ Spiller likely to attract the majority of each opposing defenses attention, Woods should have lots of room to operate in Doug Marrone’s new up tempo style of offense.