By: Aaron May
New Kids on the Block | 5 Rookies Demanding our Attention
Football season is underway, and week 1 is in the books. There was blood, sweat, and tears (for David Johnson owners), We got a little taste of everything in the NFL’s 2017 kickoff week. While some teams lost players to injury, It wasn’t all negatives around the league this past week. We were fortunate enough to see an emergence of players from the 2017 draft class, and they look GOOD. In fact, they looked so good that they are basically DEMANDING our attention. Let’s take a closer look at 5 rookies who made a splash in week 1 that you need to start considering for your Fantasy Football roster.
In the season opener this past Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs blew out the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots. Coming into this game many of us were considering the possibility of an undefeated season for New England. There was one thing that was not factored in to that equation, and his name is Kareem Hunt. When the Chiefs lost their starting RB in Spencer Ware, there were rumors of a committee looming. Those rumors were shut down when Kareem Hunt exploded for 246 yards from scrimmage and 3 TDs. Thats 46.1 fantasy points! Hunt carried the team on his back and looked like a consummate professional doing it. He showed a great ability to break tackles and displayed sharp vision. With all of his touches going for positive yardage, Hunt is proving he can carry the workload and be effective against the best in the league. If you can get him, do it now! Workhorse running backs are hard to come by, and this one is going to continue his path as a dominate force in an explosive offense.
Coming out of FSU as the most productive back in school history, I considered Dalvin Cook the best running back of the 2017 draft class. I am certain I wasn’t alone but after an abysmal combine and the 4th worst RB Sparq score of the class, Cook was being sold up the river. People were talking about Latavius Murray being in a committee with Cook and getting the goal line carries. This was justified, but knowing Dalvin from his time at Florida State, he was more motivated than ever to prove himself. Cook is a great football player and he demands respect. In week 1, he showed the world why they need to pay attention to his abilities. Cook was getting the work of a bell cow running back during this season opener versus the New Orleans Saints and took full advantage. He compiled an impressive 137 yards from scrimmage and 18.2 fantasy points in his first bout with the Vikings. Even though he failed to get into the end zone, Cook was able to display his big play ability we saw from him in college. He is going to be the center piece that drives this offense for years to come. It is time to wake up and put Dalvin Cook on your radar.
Week 1 was a rough one for the Chicago Bears. They lost their WR1 Cameron Meredith to a knee injury. Even with that loss, they still put themselves in a position to win, but Jordan Howard’s receiving struggles continued. He dropped a routine pass in the end zone that would have ultimately won Chicago the game. There is a ray of light despite the early adversity for the Bears. That light was Tarik Cohen, the rookie running back out of North Carolina A&T. After and explosive preseason effort from Cohen, we knew he earned himself a place in the Bears offense going forward. What we didn’t know was just how quickly he would get involved and become a true factor; for Chicago and your fantasy roster. While Cohen didn’t put up huge numbers in week 1, he was able to scrap his way to 113 scrimmage yards and a touchdown; a total of 21.3 fantasy points. He was on the field a ton, and was used all over the field. Jordan Howard is there, but Cohen’s talent in pass catching should allow him to get a sizable amount of looks each week. Look out for this kid, he is the real deal and should help the bears adapt in Meredith’s absence. Don’t be afraid to pay up for Cohen, he is a top waiver priority this week, especially for David Johnson owners.
Cooper Kupp out of Eastern Washington was one of my favorite receivers of this draft class. He has amazing hands, and is a very polished route runner. When he landed with the Rams, it was a great scenario for him to get work in game time situations early and often. Even with the additions of Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, quarterback Jared Goff quickly developed a rapport with the talented rookie. In week 1, Kupp and Goff were able to keep their nice preseason rolling right on over into the Rams opener against the Ravens. In this dismantling of the Baltimore Ravens, Cooper Kupp was the most targeted player for the Rams. It was no surprise that he was able to haul in 4 of 6 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. Earning 15.6 fantasy points along the way. I knew Kupp would grow to become a start-able Fantasy Football asset, but I did not realize it would happen so quickly. He has the eyes of Goff and the young QB needs a target he feels comfortable relying on. Cooper Kupp is that target. I want this guy on all my teams, and so should you!
Perhaps the most intriguing of the rookie receivers, Kenny “Rocket” Golladay is out to prove he is the future of the Detroit Lions passing attack. Stealing the hearts of Lions fans and Fantasy Football owners everywhere, Golladay has come on strong in 2017. He was drafted by Detroit out of Northern Illinois in the 3rd round. Rocket hype was strong right out of the gate, looking extremely polished as a route runner in camp and catching everything thrown his way. Golladay continued to add coal to the fires of this unstoppable hype train throughout the preseason, making massive plays and catching touchdown passes. As the excitement mounted, most figured Golladay to fade into irrelevance once the regular season started. With Ebron, Jones, Tate, and Riddick consuming Stafford targets, it didn’t seem like Rocket would be able to find enough to be a fantasy asset in 2017. Week 1 he proved all doubters wrong. Kenny Golladay lit the world on fire, racking up 4 receptions for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns. He showed that he isn’t just the future in the Lions pass attack, but the present as well. When you can make huge plays in the end zone like Golladay did week 1, you gain the trust of your coaches and your quarterback. Stafford has been dying for a weapon to replace Megatron, and it looks like Rocket is going to the be that weapon. Amassing 20.9 fantasy points in week 1 has taken Golladay to the top of waiver pick ups heading into week 2. If you need to add some upside to your roster, go and get this guy.