5 Rookies Targets in Re-Draft Leagues

Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Every season the dynasty owner in me gets excited about the influx of talent that I can pick in rookie drafts. However finding rookies targets in re-draft leagues can be a much harder task. You have to find a spot where you see a path to playing time with the talent to succeed. Names like Tyler Lockett, David Johnson, and Jeremy Langford emerged as legitimate fantasy options in 2015. This season five players beyond Ezekiel Elliot stand out as rookies you should not only consider in re-draft formats but ones you should target in drafts as they are likely to help you sooner than later.

Michael Thomas | WR | New Orleans Saints

Michael Thomas enters this season with a ton of potential to impact in year one. The Saints are transforming their passing attack giving Drew Brees a host of new weapons beyond Brandin Cooks. Thomas is the perfect compliment to Cooks on the opposite side. He has the physical size that can help him be a great target for Brees. He is a decent enough athlete that can get open in coverage. Willie Snead and newly added Coby Fleener will get targets as well but with Brees having more than 620 attempts in eight of his ten seasons in New Orleans there should be plenty to go around. Marques Colston had 67 targets last year in only 13 games. Thomas could be around 80 targets if he plays all 16 games which would set up for a nice season for him. He can be a strong flex or WR3 option for the majority of the season.

Josh Doctson | WR | Washington Redskins

Josh Doctson is another bigger, physical receiver entering his rookie season in the NFL. Doctson is incredibly interesting because the Redskins have a need for targets beyond Jordan Reed and the potential for to impact is great. He has incredible ball skills and Kirk Cousins can utilize him early and often, especially in the red zone. In his final two seasons at TCU, Doctson had 25 touchdowns. Pierre Garcon had 110 targets a season ago and Jamison Crowder had 79 in his initial season. Doctson can replace Garcon in the offense and end up with 90 or so targets. Cousins showed enough a season ago to show he can facilitate fantasy relevant options a season ago.

Browns Corey Coleman

AP Photo – Charles Rex Arbogast

Corey Coleman | WR | Cleveland Browns

A season ago Travis Benjamin 966 yards receiving on 68 catches. The Browns offense got him 124 targets. Benjamin left during the offseason to warmer weather with the San Diego Chargers. This left a golden opportunity for a pass catcher, which some thought may be Josh Gordon. However, Corey Coleman will fill that role this season for the Browns. Not only does he do a lot of what made Benjamin great but he arguably does it better. He’s great in space, has the speed to run the deep routes and the ability to win at the in coverage. His route tree is not vast but for this season that shouldn’t be a problem. He will be a target monster in an offense full of rookie pass catcher and Gary Barnidge. There is absolutely a scenario where Coleman gets the same 120 plus targets, catches a few more and is a solid WR2 for most of 2016.

Wendell Smallwood | RB | Philadelphia

While the names have changed one thing fantasy owners have known for years is the backup to Ryan Mathews. He has played all 16 games one time in his six year career, averaging 12 games a season. Wendell Smallwood is a running back that only should be know but should be targeted. He is a physical runner that has a ton of potential and could garner carries even without an injury to Mathews. Smallwood has already impressed head coach Doug Pederson especially as a pass catcher. Via Phillyvoice.com “Here is a guy I think can be explosive, has shown some explosiveness,” Pederson said. “I really like the fact how he catches the football out of the backfield. I think that is something that is just a gift that he has. He’s a natural, a natural pass catcher.” While a lot of preseason quotes are more fluff at this point this shows there is a clear organizational belief in Smallwood and something to be monitored as the season approaches.

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Alex Collins | RB | Seattle Seahawks

There is some serious concern about the health of one of last years rookie sensations Thomas Rawls. The organization grabbed not one but two running backs in the 2016 NFL draft in order to stabilize the position. C.J. Prosise is the name that was selected first and is the one the majority of the dynasty community seems infatuated with. However the name that grabs my attention especially if Rawls has to miss time to start the season is Alex Collins. For what it’s worth Coach Pete Carroll “absolutely” expects to have Rawls in Week 1. Collins is a physical running back that will fit in the Seahawks offense immediately. He gets down hill in a hurry and finds space between the tackles. In the long haul Prosise probably has more potential as a true three down back. Collins showed during his time at Arkansas that his team can lean on him and he will produce. He had three straight thousand yard plus seasons with averaging over 5 yards carry in each season. Keep an eye towards Seattle as the offseason progresses. For more on the situation check out my full preview of the Seahawks backfield.

Heading into drafts this summer make sure to not become enamoured with too many of these players. It’s worth taking a shot one or two rookies but loading up will ultimately leave you dissapointed come seasons end.

For more Fantasy Football content check out Fake Pigskin’s Angle of Pursuit podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

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