Let’s face it, picking rookies is hard. Studies have shown that the first round pick is a 50/50 proposition. Second round picks are 25/75 and beyond that there is very little chance that the player you pick will be fantasy relevant. So why bother? Well, because there’s always a chance! You like the feeling when you hit on Jimmy Graham in he third round and can brag about it for the rest of your days. With this in mind, here is a list of second tier rookies who are worth investing in based on value inherent in their situations that is not yet perceived by the market:
Keith Marshall, RB WAS – Marshall was Todd Gurley before Todd Gurley. He was a 5-star RB recruit that went to Georgia and started lighting the world on fire as a freshman but then injuries derailed him and by the time he was fully healthy Gurley and Chubb had taken over. He’s elite athletically and has the size and instincts to be a top RB in this league. If he stays healthy, he only has Matt Jones in front of him.
Pharoh Cooper, WR LAR – The Rams WR corps is made up of Tavon Austin and…and…and…ugh, not much. Kenny Britt is what he is at this point, Brian Quick has yet to break out and may never will, Stedman Bailey may never fully recover from his gunshot wound (though our prayers are with him) and everyone else is a rookie or nobody. In steps Cooper who could see most of his veteran competition gone next season. Austin is at the end of his rookie deal and Britt and Quick are on one year fliers.
Jonathan Williams, RB BUF – Admittedly, Williams is stuck behind some talented backs but does that mean that you discount him if he has the size, speed, vision to be a back in this league? No, not if you’re cool with sitting on him for a couple of years until his opportunity presents itself. He might not get much play behind Shady McCoy and Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee but when he gets a chance…watch out.
Jerell Adams, TE NYG – The Giants are constantly buying cheap on high potential, low experience TEs and Adams is the next in line. He’ll be behind Larry Donnell and Will Tye this year but Adams has more athleticism than those two (which is saying a lot btw) and was drafted higher (as Donnell and Tye went undrafted). So, there is nothing to believe he won’t be mixed in when he’s ready and by next year he could be at the top of the food chain.
Wendell Smallwood, RB PHI – Smallwood is not small, not in scatback sense of the word. He’s 208 lbs and runs a 4.47 forty. He hits the hole like a mack truck and without hesitation which NFL coaches LOVE. Smaller RBs have been workhorses in the past and the only real competition he has in front of him is 29 year old Ryan Matthews. Smallwood will see the field this year and if Matthews gets injured, he’s really the only back on the roster that can take over 3 down duties.