2016 Fantasy Football: Top Rookie Options
The 2016 NFL Draft is now behind us and we can really begin to focus on the fantasy season now. There are still a few free agents on the market, but for the most part rosters are set. In this article I’ll be covering the best fantasy option at each of the primary offensive positions.
QB Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos
Round 1, Pick 26
There is a decent chance Mark Sanchez could begin the season as the Broncos starting quarterback. Even if he is the Week 1 starter, how long do you think it is that Mr. Butt Fumble can hold off the team’s first-round pick? Lynch graded out as the best quarterback in this year’s draft in my opinion, and he couldn’t have landed in a more favorable situation. He has two things that Carson Wentz and Jared Goff do not, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. If I’m drafting one rookie QB this season, which I will not be doing, it would definitely be Lynch. I have him ranked comfortably ahead of Goff.
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Round 1, Pick 4
This couldn’t be an easier choice. Elliott is far-and-away the most valuable asset acquired in the 2016 NFL Draft from a fantasy standpoint at any position. I have already seen him drafted in the first-round of redrafts. While that’s too high for me, don’t be shocked if his ADP ends up in the top 12 this season if not higher. If you want him, you’re going to have to reach for him. This Cowboys hype train has been chugging along since the minute DeMarco Murray signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Every free agent RB since has been rumored to Dallas and every back they’ve signed has become an instant fantasy darling. It all culminates here with Elliott. As much as I didn’t like the pick in real life, it’s hard to give many valid reasons why he shouldn’t be a tremendous fantasy option behind that offensive line.
WR Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Round 2, Pick 40
Shepard should immediately step in as a starting receiver in New York. The Giants previously had Myles White penciled in as the WR2 (or Victor Cruz if you’re an optimist). That’s a nightmare and Shepard is in position to be an immediate impact player. He has brilliant feet and may have been the most precise route runner in the draft. He explodes off of the line, beating defenders with ease, and is incredible at creating separation at the top of his routes. On top of his speed, he also has the quickness, balance and awareness to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. He’s a tough player as well. The only knock on him is his size at 5-foot-10, 194 pounds. With Eli Manning and the Giants’ pass-heavy attack, Shepard could be a fantastic option.
TE Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
Round 2, Pick 35
Antonio Gates is getting older and larger by the minute and the Chargers reached for Henry at the top of the second round. Clearly they view him as Gates potential long-term replacement or at the very least Ladarius Green’s replacement. Gates is slowly being eased out of an every-down role and the assumption is Henry is the next man up and future starter. Philip Rivers loves his TEs and Henry has to be considered a sleeper. Despite his age and appearance, Gates is still very effective, but that could end any year. Not to mention his health concerns. Tight ends generally take a few years to develop, but Henry is way ahead of any other rookie TE right now.