When looking at the rookies from a fantasy perspective, there is no silver bullet. With any scouting, whether it’s fantasy or real life, there is a lot of subjectivity. You would think with the amount of advanced statistics available you could mitigate the risk by using metrics. Though useful, they are only part of the equation. Maybe there is a magic algorithm somewhere in the ether that will eventually reduce this to a numbers game. Until the string theory of scouting is discovered, I use this.
Tape- What does he look like on tape? TV, youtube etc… Did he dominate? Was he running people over, making people miss and running by them? Do these skills translate in to the NFL?
Situation- How many players at his position are in front of him? What are their skill levels? Age? Years remaining on their contracts? Salary cap concerns?
Talent- How did he measure up in the combine and pro day? Did he dominate on the field? Does he have a unique characteristic that can make him successful? Is he too small to be anything more than a 3rd down back or are his hands so bad he is only a 2 down back?
Scheme- What scheme is he playing in? This is not always an absolute, but you should have idea of what type of offense he is in. Does he fit what the team wants in a RB? How does this scheme impact the player?
Run/Pass Ratio- How much do they pass? How much do they run? Be careful with this one. EX. Drafting a WR4 on Seattle is not going to help you much unless you feel he can become more than a WR4 down the road.
Preseason Games – This is where you can tell a lot about what the team thinks of the player, how they will use him and how he stacks up against NFL competition. Be careful watching a player going against 2nd and 3rd string players…
These rankings are slanted towards Dynasty Leagues
Ebron, Eric – Lions
He is probably the most athletic TE in the draft. However, he isn’t Vernon Davis, so please don’t compare him to Davis athletically. Fantasy wise he is in a good situation in Detroit, but not great. There are several unknowns. For one the offense IS NOT THE SAME AS LAST YEAR. There is a whole new offense that will be more balanced. I would not expect 600+ passes again from this team. If they did, it would be a big upset. There are already two competent TE on the team in Fauria and Pettigrew. Neither are world beaters, but I can’t foresee either giving up their position without a fight. As I recollect back to the Colt’s offenses of the mid- 2000’s, there was a lot of 2 TE offense or “12” personal. In that, one of the TE’s, Dallas Clark, was the “Joker” or detached TE(the one that lines up in multiple positions and doesn’t block much.) I would imagine this is what Ebron will become. Even with all the weapons around him, I think he can be a very effective TE in this offense.
Seferian-Jenkins, Austin – Buccaneers
The big get bigger. One of the tallest receiving corps in the league just got taller. ASJ adds yet another redzone threat to 6’5” Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Jenkins is probably the most complete TE in the draft and this could allow him to start earlier than his one dimensional counterparts. He has size and speed. The Jeff Tedford offense should play into his strengths. The only thing I worry about is the amount of touches he will get with all the talent around him. His long term prospects look very good.
Amaro, Jace – Jets
He can’t block a lick, but he won’t be asked to block. He could be Geno Smith’s or Mike Vick’s best friend this season. Jets have an inexperienced WR group behind Decker and Kerley. Amaro will have to beat out Jeff Cumberland for some PT, but they are two different types of TE’s and should be able to coexist in “12” personnel.
Fiedorowicz, C.J – Texans
This guy reminds me of Health Miller. The offense they are running here is still a bit of a mystery. I can’t say how Ryan Griffin and Garret Graham come into play, but as of now, they are in front of Fiedorowicz. I don’t see him ever being more than a TE2 in most formats.
Rodgers, Richard – Packers
Here is a solid player in a very good situation. Drafted in round 3 so he will get an opportunity here. Buy low. If J. Finley comes back healthy, his value takes a hit.
Others to watch…
Leonard, A.C. – Vikings
I loved this guy on “Saved by the Bell.” Talented, but troubled. Kicked out of Florida for domestic violence arrests. Clean record for past 2 years at Tennessee Tech and productive. Norv Turner and he could be dangerous.
Jordan, Reggie – Jaguars
Weak competition in from of him, Pass catching TE from a small school.
Gillmore, Crockett – Ravens
Lynch, Arthur – Dolphins
Niklas, Troy – Cardinals
All three of these guys are blockers first. Without a doubt they have pass catching skills, but not the kind that will be impactful fantasy wise at this juncture. Keep and eye on them, but I don’t think they worthy at this point.