Top Five Late Round Rookies to Watch

12 Aug 2018 - 10:09pm | Tim | Updated: 14 Aug 2018 - 12:11pm | Likes: 12 Like 

Rookies looking to make an impact in the NFL and fantasy have been covered over and over again. Early round picks like Saquon Barkley, Baker Mayfield, Ronald Jones II, and Rashaad Penny have already made their impact felt, but there are many other rookies out there that should have a big fantasy impact this season as well. Today we are going to count down five rookies who are being ranked outside the top 100 players by WikiPigskin who will find their way onto rosters this season even if it is not on draft day.

Kerryon Johnson - RB - Detroit Lions -Ranked 105
Kerryon Johnson is going a little under the radar in terms of rookie running backs after being drafted in the top of the second round of the draft after the Lions traded up for him. He is going to take the reins to a franchise that has not had a 1,000 yard rusher since Reggie Bush hit 1,006 yards in 2013. His only real competition for early down work is 31 year old LaGarrette Blount who is in town on a one year deal after being let go from a second consecutive Super Bowl winning team. Blount might be able to hold onto goal line and short yardage work early in the season, but I doubt we see them try and rely on Blount for anything close to three down work. If Johnson can outplay Blount in short yardage he will be in line for extensive work and ceding passing down work to reception specialist Theo Riddick.

Michael Gallup -WR- Dallas Cowboys - Ranked 167
The Dallas Cowboys let former superstar Dez Bryant go in the offseason and lost Jason Witten to retirement and only managed to add Allen Hurns to the depleted receiving core. Enter Michael Gallup out of Colorado State who after being drafted in the third round of the draft. He should easily ascend the depth chart with only the disappointing Terrance Williams to beat out. If Gallup can secure the number two spot in Dallas he should be able to carve out enough work to become fantasy relevant. The biggest concern in regards to Gallup is the play of quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott struggled last season with a touchdown to interception ratio of 22/13 and a completion percentage under 63%. If he can recover from the sophomore slump and have a strong season the whole offense will improve their production and Gallup will become a fantasy asset.

Christian Kirk - WR - Arizona Cardinals - Ranked 156
The Cardinals let John Brown leave for the Baltimore Ravens and Jaron Brown leave for the Seattle Seahawks leaving future first ballot hall of famer, Larry Fitzgerald and little else in the stable. Christian Kirk should easily earn the starting spot on the outside as Larry continues to play the shorter routes. If Bradford and eventually Josh Rosen can play better than the 2017 combination of Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Blaine Gabbert did last season then Kirk should thrive. The second round pick is currently rated at WR70 making him an excellent value and basically free in drafts. If you need help at the position late in the draft Kirk certainly has the upside to grow into a real fantasy star.

Nick Chubb - RB - Cleveland Browns - Ranked 190
Chubb was an interesting pick for the Browns at the top of the second round after they signed Carlos Hyde to a three year deal to replace Isaiah Crowell alongside Duke Johnson Jr. Chubb’s talent was probably too much to pass on, but it has made for a crowded backfield. One thing is for sure; Chubb is going to have to outplay the veteran to earn enough snaps to be a fantasy starter this season. The Browns are built for offensive output, but we have yet to see if they can actually deliver on that promise. Chubb has theskills to be an RB1 in fantasy, but if all the backs stay healthy I have a hard time believing he gets enough touches.

Jordan Wilkins - RB - Indianapolis Colts - Ranked 200
One of the most overlooked rookie runners is in perhaps the best situation to hit 300 touches. Jordan Wilkins out of Mississippi was drafted in the fifth round as the Colts took seven other players before addressing maybe their most dire need including fellow running back Nyheim Hines out of NC State. Hines is more of a return specialist and too small to be an every down back at just 5’9” and 198 pounds. This means that Wilkins only needs to outplay the unimpressive sophomore Marlon Mack to win the starting job in the backfield alongside the returning Andrew Luck. Wilkins is ranked by Wikipigskin at RB59 making him a late round flyer in drafts, but before the season is up Wilkins is going to be given the starting reins in Indy and that time could come as early as Week 1 if he has a strong preseason.

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