Training camps are in full swing, and a full slate of preseason action is set to begin this week. Players are vying for roster spots, and rookies are looking to leave that lasting impression on coaches. Rookies are always tricky to figure out when it comes to fantasy football drafts and monitoring them during the season if they were not drafted in your draft, however, let’s look at five rookies that you should monitor leading up to your draft and throughout the season on waivers.
TE Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions
Whoever coaches the Iowa Hawkeyes tight ends needs a raise. Iowa has produced guys like Dallas Clark, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant amongst others who have been drafted into the NFL over the years. LaPorta seems to be the next great Iowa tight end to impact his team. He has already taken a majority of the first-team snaps in training camp and has become a consistent target for QB Jared Goff. The Lions seem poised to take another step this season toward becoming a playoff contender and LaPorta, who was drafted in the second round, could play a big part in Detroit making the playoffs. The best part? LaPorta is flying under the radar in fantasy drafts as of right now so if you miss on the big names, LaPorta would be a perfect late-round value pick for your team if you stock up on wide receivers and running backs.
RB De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins
Achane has left an impression on coaches early in camp because of his explosive speed and pass-catching ability. The former Aggie is currently day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, but it is hard to imagine it will be something that will keep him out long-term. Yes, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are in line to get a majority of the touches but keep in mind that both of these backs have extended injury histories and Mostert is 31 years old. Since Miami seems to be all-in on winning, the duo of Mostert-Wilson will have to be productive, and if not, the third-round selection may get an opportunity. Achane is perfect to select in later rounds if you feel comfortable with your depth.
WR Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants
Hyatt was selected in the third round out of Tennessee, and he is off to a hot start in camp. Hyatt’s speed is the biggest trait that has stood out the most, topping 24 mph. The Giants have many options at receiver currently, but the door is wide open for the rookie to snag a starting spot. While most experts are downplaying the Giants’ offense this coming season, Hyatt could be someone that adds another dimension to the passing game to support QB Daniel Jones. The former Volunteer has his sights set on Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is a lofty goal for a third-round pick, but who is going to catch him? (See what I did there?) Hyatt could be worth a late-round pick in your draft purely based on the upside of his role in the offense and the lengthy injury history of guys like Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell and Wan’Dale Robinson.
QB Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
Richardson has been splitting first-team snaps with QB Gardner Minshew, but it seems that Richardson may have more momentum to start Week 1. With the Colts’ first preseason game coming up on Saturday, both quarterbacks will have a chance to position themselves above the other based on their performance. Richardson has been impressive early and has received praise from coaches and players so far due to his poise under center and his arm talent. Head coach Shane Steichen has previously worked with Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts, so Richardson has an opportunity to be special in year one making plays with his arm and with his legs. The fourth overall pick could be another value pick just from the rushing attempts alone if you wait to draft a quarterback.
WR Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens
Nothing but high praise has come out of the Ravens camp for Flowers, who was selected in the first round. Flowers’ crisp route running and ability to separate from the defense has been highlighted by many that have watched Flowers in camp. He has an opportunity to establish himself as WR1 for Baltimore in his rookie year as the Ravens are still searching for that franchise receiver as Rashod Bateman recovers from his season-ending injury last season and Odell Beckham Jr. teases retirement after two ACL surgeries. Flowers is going higher in drafts than others on this list but do not be afraid to take him, because he could impact your fantasy team for the better.
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