Top 10 Fantasy Football Rookies 2014

johnny manziel


Football season is just around the corner and that means Fantasy Football Drafts are happening now.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 NFL rookies for the upcoming season based on an average of rankings from the top Fantasy Football writers in the business.

The rankings averaged are a combination of ESPN and‘s to create the most accurate list of rookies you want on your Fantasy team.

Here’s what you need to know about the rookies:

1. Bishop Sankey (RB, Tennessee Titans)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,870
TD- 20
AVG (yds per carry)- 5.7
ATT (attempts)- 327

YDS- 3,496
TD- 37
AVG (yds per carry)- 5.4
ATT (attempts)- 644

Bishop Sankey is one of many talented running backs in the 2014 rookie class. He has a ton of athleticism and speed that made him the top RB at the University of Washington. What really puts him above the other talented rookies is a matter of luck.

The Titans are lacking a guy that racks up substantial rushing yards and Sankey will be filling that position as their go-to man over Shonn Greene. It is also a matter of whether or not he can compete against defenses in the NFL as opposed to the college defenses he has faced previously.

Sports writer for The Washington Post Gene Wang said:

At 5-foot-9, 209 pounds, Sankey has the physical stature to handle a full workload, and even though the Titans appear poised to use running back by committee approach, Sankey doesn’t have much in the way of competition for meaningful carries. Tennessee’s other running backs include third-down specialist Dexter McCluster and ailing Shonn Greene, who missed OTAs recovering from a second knee surgery.

2. Sammy Watkins (WR, Buffalo Bills)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,464
TD- 12
AVG (yds per rush)- 14.5
REC (receptions)- 101

YDS- 3,391
TD- 27
AVG (yds per catch)- 14.1
REC (receptions)- 240

Sammy Watkins is a top notch player with a huge amount of talent and an even bigger mind for the game. His wit and awareness of everyone around him on the field puts him above other talented wide receivers. Watkins is also a track star making him seemingly impossible to catch, especially since he can catch just about anything thrown at him.

The reason he isn’t ranked No. 1 is the reason why Sankey is ranked No. 1- team placement. Watkins has all the ingredients necessary to be a star WR, but he needs the players around him to be able to catch up. As the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, EJ Manuel‘s throws might put up a bit of a challenge for Watkins although he should be able to handle the inaccuracy most of the time. Not only does he have a shaky quarterback, but he will be fighting for chances against Mike Williams and Robert Woods. If Manuel gives Watkins enough chances, he could come in huge with fantasy points.

Sports analyst A.J. Devine of said:

He has already been possibly the most impressive player on the field throughout OTAs and minicamp and has looked the part of a true No. 1 wide receiver. Now that defensive backs will have more freedom to jam receivers at the line and get away with more contact during practice, will Watkins continue to impress?

3. Mike Evans (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,394
TD- 12
AVG (yds per rush)- 20.2
REC (receptions)- 69

YDS- 2,499
TD- 17
AVG (yds per catch)- 16.5
REC (receptions)- 151

Mike Evans is a 6 feet 5 inches, 231 pound former basketball star that can jump. Luckily, Tampa Bay no longer has Mike Williams which will leave Evans with a lot of opportunity on the receiving side of things. However he still will be competing against Vincent Jackson for the number of receptions he’ll get this season since Jackson is literally the same exact size with a similar playing style. Of course as a rookie, he will have to gain a lot of experience to be a top wideout in the league.

We should expect to see Evans accumulate big numbers for red zone run ins.

Evans was ranked as a top rookie for Madden ’15 based on his playing skills.

Sports writer Nick John said:

Just like the real life Mike Evans, his virtual counterpart should be an absolute monster in the red zone, with a 93 jumping rating, and a 90 for spectacular catch. That means that not only can he go up and locate the ball, but when he does, he can miraculously bring it in with one hand, or with a highlight-reel dive.

4. Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Carolina Panthers)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,011
TD- 15
AVG (yds per rush)- 18.7
REC (receptions)- 54

YDS- 1,506
TD- 19
AVG (yds per catch)- 17.9
REC (receptions)- 84

Kelvin Benjamin is another rookie that got lucky with the draft. Since he is now a Carolina Panther, he will be the chosen wide receiver over the mediocre wideout performances of Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood and Jerricho Cotchery who are supposed to be taking the place of Steve Smith, Ted Ginn and Brandon LeFell.

Chances are Newton will be choosing Benjamin to throw to, especially in the red zone. The question is how quickly he can develop into a player with experience which he should get a decent amount of this year.

According to projections by CBS Sports’ Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard:

While Smith is aging and declining, LaFell has his youth before him, and therefore is ineligible for excuses. He had the perfect opportunity to step up in 2013, and his failure to do so resulted in a spot on the Patriots’ roster. Under Benjamin, the #2 position should have a great impact in 2014.

5. Johnny Manziel (QB, Cleveland Browns)


2013 Regular Season:
Completion Percentage- 69.9
YDS- 4,114
TD- 37

CMP%- 68.9
YDS- 7,820
TD- 63

The famous Johnny football might be a little overrated, but there is no doubt that Mr. Excitement will throw up some cool plays. Manziel’s arm is not the strongest, but his ability to improvise has proven to be extrememly successful. Another setback to Manziel is that he is not the fastest guy out there by far which could prove to be a challenge in the big leagues. However, his rushing skills are top notch.

Chances are Manziel will make the mistakes of a rookie, forcing the Browns to choose Hoyer in front of him at first. If Manziel has a breakout game, he could bring in fantasy points after he gains the experience.

Larry Hartstein of CBS Sports reported via The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria, Ohio:

Brian Hoyer was the “clear winner on Day 2 of the quarterback competition. The Browns’ clear frontrunner “was fluid and sharp all practice, and the ball only hit the ground a couple of times.”

Rookie Johnny Manziel struggled after looking good Saturday. “He one-hopped a couple of throws, failed to get a handoff to Dion Lewis, badly overthrew Jonathan Krause on a post and was nearly intercepted on a high pass over the middle.”

6. Terrance West (RB, Cleveland Browns)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 2,509
TD- 41
AVG (yds per carry)- 6.1
ATT (attempts)- 413

YDS- 4,854
TD- 84
AVG (yds per carry)- 6.1
ATT (attempts)- 802

Terrance West is a huge prospect as the top running back for the Browns. His size is a huge plus at 5 feet 10 inches and 225 pounds with a work ethic to match. Not only is his stature perfect for his position (expect him to be barreling through the red zone), but he is fast. Although his competition wasn’t as tough as other rookies, the fact that he went to Towson University should shadow over the fact that he runs a 4.54 40.

West will most likely be given the ball over Edwin Baker, Chris Ogbonnaya and Dion Lewis. Other than Ben Tate who is constantly out with injury, West should be lighting up the field and putting up big points in fantasy this season.

Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine said:

I was a little shocked with Terrance today. I had to double check my roster card to make sure I was looking at the right number. He did some nice things in the one-on-one period. That’s always a bonus when you have a running back that’s not just one-dimensional.”

Kevin Jones of followed up saying:

West’s first razzle-dazzle play was against linebacker Craig Robertson. The Towson product put on a shimmy shake with his feet, essentially crossing up Robertson like a point guard would in basketball. The juke move freed up West, who hauled in the catch from Johnny Manziel and moved his burly frame up the field.

Minutes later West beat another linebacker in deep coverage, only this time the reception was of the one-handed variety – and it went for a tippy-toe touchdown in the corner of the end zone.

7. Jeremy Hill (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,401
TD- 16
AVG (yds per carry)- 6.9
ATT (attempts)- 203

YDS- 2,156
TD- 28
AVG (yds per carry)- 6.2
ATT (attempts)- 345

The Bengals offense is generally strong, ranking Hill somewhere after Giovani Bernard and before BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Hill’s size and athleticism put him in a good position to get opportunities and rake in some touchdowns if Hue Jackson keeps his word of balancing out the offense this season.

The reason Hill won’t be in from of Bernard is because of Hill’s style of play that makes him prone to injury along with his lack of versatility in running. Either way, he will have a decent amount of playing time and receptions to get substantial fantasy points.

Anthony Cosenza of said:

Bengals 2014 second round pick Jeremy Hill exemplifies both of those features for the orange and black. For two consecutive years, the team has used a high pick on a running back, which shows their desire for offensive balance and be a physical force in the bruising AFC North. Hill comes in as the big back with a bit of wiggle and big-play capability–something that wasn’t seen in the backfield in the first two years of the Andy Dalton era.

8. Odell Beckham (WR, New York Giants)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,152
TD- 8
AVG (yds per rush)- 19.5
REC (receptions)- 59

YDS- 2,340
TD- 12
AVG (yds per catch)- 16.4
REC (receptions)- 143

Odell Beckham’s success this year depends on his ability to run so fast that no one will be near him. This is a definite possibility based on how fast he is because if he doesn’t, his lack of strength will be a problem. No matter what, he will be deadly on deeper plays as opposed to plays within the red zone. As a top receiver and expert in long runs with an average of 19.5 yards per catch in his final season at LSU, he could score huge points in the fantasy league.

This is all assuming that he is healthy enough to play. Reports from training camp aren’t looking very promising as New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin gets more an more frustrated everyday Beckham is out of training camp with a hamstring injury. He has missed 4 sessions thus far.

Tom Coughlin said of his performance at training camp:

He actually looks pretty good out there moving around. We just hope it’s a real short period of time.”

9. Tre Mason (RB, St. Louis Rams)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,816
TD- 23
AVG (yds per carry)- 5.7
ATT (attempts)- 317

YDS- 2,979
TD- 32
AVG (yds per carry)- 5.8
ATT (attempts)- 516

There is one person standing in the way of huge fantasy points for Tre Mason and that is the Rams’ top running back, Zac Stacy. However, Stacy can’t do it alone and Mason will be there to fill in that spot. Mason has quick feet and is more skilled than Cunningham and no doubt will the rookie be second in line to Stacy. Although Mason stands at just 5 feet 8 inches, he is fearless and solid which allows him to gain as many yards as he does.

Mason will score a lot of Fantasy Points, the question of how many exactly relies on Stacy.

SB Nation’s Tevin Broner said:

The Rams drafted Tre Mason in the third round and expectations are high for him. In fact some people think that he could replace Stacy as the starter.

Who will win the battle to backup Stacy? Well it’s hard not to think that Mason will get the first crack at the job, but Cunningham won’t give up the spot easily.

10. Jordan Matthews (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)


2013 Regular Season:
YDS- 1,477
TD- 7
AVG (yds per rush)- 13.2
REC (receptions)- 112

YDS- 3,759
TD- 24
AVG (yds per catch)- 14.3
REC (receptions)- 262

Matthews biggest flaw as a WR is that he was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles. That said, he will be competing against players in an extremely skilled offensive team that include LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. Matthews is no doubt more skilled than Cooper and Maclin’s injury history could open up a lot of opportunity for Matthews given the Eagles equalize their passing and running games.

Marc Sessler of said:

With his 4.46 speed and 6-foot-3 frame, Matthews turned heads during non-contact drills. Doing the same with pads on is a different world, but the Eagles dynamic rookie has a legitimate shot to earn a starting spot during training camp.

Adam Levitan of Yahoo Sports said:

Said more succinctly, there are a lot of mouths to feed, and opportunities for Matthews will not be as plentiful as they would be in other offenses around the league.

With that disclaimer in place, Matthews continues to impress. Matthews had one series in which he caught three consecutive passes from Mark Sanchez.

To see the full list of rookie rankings from the cited sources, click the links below: