by ASA, Inc.
With the NFL draft wrapped up from this past weekend, we can finally get a look at which rookies have been blessed with ideal situations to succeed. NFL rookies are always tough to gauge where they should be drafted in fantasy football because of the multitude of question marks. Talent alone doesn’t translate to fantasy production but instead it’s a combination of coaching, opportunity, and scheme. This is why a player like Justin Jefferson was able to dominate the rookie wide receiver ranks even though he was the fourth WR off the board in the 2020 draft.
Which undervalued WR and RB are setup for fantasy gold this season?
Rashod Bateman (Ravens pick 27 WR5) is a player who reminds me a lot of Jefferson from last year. Both are very technical route runners and both can simply WIN against man coverage. Bateman is landing with the Ravens who have needed to get Lamar Jackson help for a couple years now. Hollywood Brown has struggled to stay on the field and is very boom or bust when he does play. Lamar had a down year in 2020 but he did lead the NFL in touchdown passes in his 2019 MVP campaign. Expect Jackson to bounce back and to develop his passing even more this season, allowing Bateman to be the number one WR on a top 10 scoring offense.
Michael Carter (Jets pick 107 RB5) is in a great situation to make an immediate impact in New York. Adam Gase and his insistence on giving Frank Gore 10+ touches a game are no longer going to hold this offense back. New coach Robert Saleh will prefer to lean on his defense and play a run-first zone scheme. Carter will be the beneficiary as long as he can win the job in training camp (he should). The Jets added Corey Davis and also drafted speedster Elijah Moore to help open up the field. First round rookie offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker will help as well as Zach Wilson of course. The Jets may still be a bad team this year, but Carter could produce numbers similar to what James Robinson did last season. A talented runner who can contribute in the passing game, all he needs is to win Saleh’s trust and the production will follow.