Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys – Elliott has all the makings of an elite NFL running back. The Cowboys wouldn’t have drafted him fourth overall if he wasn’t going to be the feature back. We all saw what Demarco Murray did in 2014 behind that offensive line. Elliott won’t rush for 1,800 yards, but he’s poised for a great rookie season.
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns – Coleman is exactly what the browns needed. He’ll come in and be the number one receiver in Cleveland on day one. Josh Gordon will likely miss the entire 2016 season, which means coleman is going to see a lot of targets. Expect big things from Coleman as long as a quarterback can get him the ball.
Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins – The argument could be made that Doctson was actually the best receiver in the Big 12 last year. He’s a big receiver, has great hands and is great and going up and getting the ball at its highest point, which makes him a red zone threat. Everyone knows fantasy football is all about the touchdowns. Defenses will have to focus heavily on Jordan Reed in the red zone, which should allow Doctson to make some noise as a fantasy rookie.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints – Drew Brees has a red zone target once again in Michael Thomas. Thomas measures 6’3, 212 lbs and is a physical receiver. Thomas won’t come in and immediately be what Jimmy Graham was to Brees, but even a poor man’s Jimmy Graham would make a hell of a rookie. Again, it’s all about touchdowns, and expect Thomas to get plenty of red-zone targets.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings – Treadwell is a physical freak who has a bright future ahead of him. The only reason he isn’t higher on this list is because the Vikings don’t score a lot of touchdowns through the air. Teddy Bridgewater has been impressive in his first two seasons, but he doesn’t put up big numbers. He’s thrown just 14 TD’s in each of his two seasons in the NFL. Treadwell will be a solid rookie receiver, but don’t expect consistent TD production throughout the season.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans – It’s a rookie receiver’s dream to be lined up opposite Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins exploded last year, and will attract much of the defensive attention, which should allow Fuller to have a solid rookie season. Brock Osweiler still has a long way to go to prove he can be a consistent NFL quarterback, but he showed flashes in Denver that should get fantasy owners excited about Fuller’s potential as a rookie.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants – Shepard wasn’t drafted nearly as high as the other receivers on this list, but he’s in a great situation. Odell Beckham Jr. will garner a lot of attention, which should create more targets elsewhere. Victor Cruz claims he’s healthy, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Dwayne Harris is the only other receiver who would be ahead of Shepard on the depth chart. Shepard should see enough playing time as a WR3 to make him worthy of a mid-to-late round pick in your fantasy draft.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans – Demarco Murray will be the starter in Tennessee, but the Titans didn’t pick Henry in the second round to sit the bench. Henry will split carries with Murray and will likely get some goal line carries and have a chance to vulture some TD’s. Let’s not forget Murray’s injury history. Henry has plenty of value as the backup in Tennessee.
C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks – With the retirement of Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls returning from injury, Prosise will have a great chance to see playing time in Seattle. Prosise was a third round pick, and is probably already a better pass-catcher than Rawls. Prosise will get some third down action, and is a Rawls injury away from being the starting running back on one of the best teams in the league.
Paul Perkins, RB, Giants – Rashad Jennings is really the only back ahead of Paul Perkins on the depth chart in New York. Shane Vereen is there as well, but Vereen is primarily used as a receiver out of the backfield. Jennings has been injury prone throughout his career. With all the running backs who have gone down the past few years, don’t be shocked to see Perkins burst on to the scene if he gets a chance. If you draft Jennings, Perkins is a must in the late rounds to insure that pick.