Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ranking rookie six-pack for 2013

The race to be the NFL's top rookie in 2012 is an impressive list, but let's look beyond that.

If you landed any of these six rookies in fantasy football, they likely helped your team big time. The list consists of quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Colts), Robert Griffin III (Redskins) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks) and running backs Alfred Morris (Redskins), Trent Richardson (Browns) and Doug Martin (Buccaneers).

Looking ahead to the 2013 season, let's rank this six-pack from a fantasy perspective:

1. Trent Richardson: Of the three rookie RBs from this pool, Richardson has the least amount of rushing yards, but is on pace for 1,025 yards, plus a nice total of receptions (55) and 400 more receiving yards. He's also on pace for 14 touchdowns, which would lead that pack. It wasn't an easy year for Richardson, who missed all of traning camp with an injury. Expect better numbers across the board in 2013.

2. Robert Griffin III: The only thing not to like about RG3 is the potential for injury, but that can be said for every NFL skill position player. What there is to like is projected numbers of 3,317 passing yards, 21 TD passes and 748 rushing yards and six TDs. Like Richardson, expect those numbers to increase in 2013.

3. Doug Martin: Because of the limited number of top-flight fantasy RBs, Martin won't last long during your fantasy draft next season. Martin has had a few big games this season, none bigger than a 251-yard, 4-TD game against the Raiders. Plus, he's involved in Tampa Bay's passing attack. He's projected to have more than 1,800 yards rushing and receiving and 11 TDs.

4. Andrew Luck: The Colts QB sure looks like the second coming of the Packers' Aaron Rodgers. The only drawback this season has been turnovers (21 interceptions, five fumbles lost), but don't forget Peyton Manning threw more than 20 picks his rookie season. The upside: Luck is projected to throw for more than 4,500 yards and account for 28 total touchdowns as a rookie, so it's not far-fetched to expect 5,000 passing yards and 30-plus TDs each season, starting in 2013.

5. Albert Morris: The Redskins late-round gem out of Florida Atlantic is quietly leading all rushers in yards and is projected to total 1,511 and 10 rushing TDs. The only negative to his game is Morris does not factor at all in the passing game.

6. Russell Wilson: The Seahawks QB is putting up quality numbers (projections: 3,000 passing yards, 24 TDs, 400 rushing yards, 3 TDs), but until Coach Pete Carroll's team opens up the offense, Wilson will likely be a borderline starter for most fantasy owners, depending on the size of your league.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo


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