Earlier in my life, I spent six years in the Chicagoland area. While there, I heard the refrain “Wait ‘Til Next Year” quite a few times. It’s a similar refrain echoed throughout the NFL in places like Buffalo and Cincinnati too. Of course, that refrain always makes me think of this, but for those of you where there is a tomorrow, let’s talk about the brighter days next year.
Because no type of player comes in with more shine and unlimited upside than rookies. Unfortunately, the great majority of them end up disappointing their first year. And many become busts. Yet many of those players do become Fantasy studs starting in their second year. Peyton Manning had 28 interceptions his rookie year for example, and I’d say he turned out to be worthy of a roster spot.
With most keeper league owners still able to grab players or trade for them, we need to look at those players who may have disappointed this year but should rise next year.
Here are my picks of rookies this year, who should break out next year.
Week 13 Rookie Report
2018 Rookies I Like Next Year
Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins
You didn’t forget about him, did you?
It might be a little difficult to unseat the ageless cyborg that is Adrian Peterson, but AP definitely appreciates young talent when he sees it:
Don’t be surprised if Peterson and Guice have a similar conversation next year.
All right, I admit it, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post that handshake all year as it is definitely my favorite handshake moment this year. But don’t let an injury status keep a guy off your radar. So let’s discuss some players who have at least played some snaps this year.
Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers
This is putting my money where my mouth is. I co-own a team with one of my buddies in a 14-team keeper league. When we drafted I told him that we could always get quality keepers later and we were going to focus on this year. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I saw Ronald Jones bobbing in the free agent pool last week.
There is no question that Jones has had a rough season due to injuries, Tampa Bay’s struggles, and general lack of production. But I’ve touted Jones before. Jones was a workhorse at USC and should be able to stay healthy next year. Tampa Bay has to be better next year too. Jones will likely be a forgotten second-year player in 2019 and his low Fantasy price tag means he could return one of the biggest profits next year,
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
Kirk has been relatively quiet this year. But much of that can be attributed to the struggles of the Arizona offense. Despite the Cards inability to light up the scoreboard, Kirk has managed to score three times already this year. Additionally, Kirk sports a respectable 13.4 yards per reception, which is better than other notables like Antonio Brown and Keenan Allen. With Larry Fitzgerald gone soon, Kirk could easily be a WR1.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens
Don’t yell Hayden Hurst at me. Andrews has not seen a ton of targets but when he is thrown the ball, he suddenly becomes a major force. Like when he bowled over Pro Bowler and 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore:
I have a friend who knows the Ravens very well and he said there’s a likely scenario that Andrews is the more valuable TE than Hurst. It’s too early, but that currently seems to be the case.
Ito Smith, RB, Falcons
Tevin Coleman is a free agent next year. From week 4 through 9, Ito Smith had four touchdowns. I’ll let you connect the dots.
Jordan Thomas, TE, Texans
I’m sorry, but I was never impressed with Ryan Griffen or C.J. Fiedorowicz. The Texans don’t exactly have a rich history of productive tight ends, so proceed with caution. And maybe there’s a reason Jordan Thomas has been under the radar. But his two-touchdown game about a month ago is a great example of the upside that Thomas brings. Head Coach Bill O’Brien has praised Thomas throughout the year and I would not be surprised if he’s the Texans starting tight end next year.
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