As I’ve mentioned recently, I was asked to help with a couple 2015 Fantasy Football magazines, one of which asked me to write up some pieces on players I think will work as low-risk/high reward players.
I went through all of my rankings, pulling out names I believe would fit into that category, and it dawned on me that I picked more than a few high upside rookies that I think will do well for 2015.
First-year players make for great high-upside picks for several reasons, including the fact that players picked in the lower rounds or undrafted rookies sometimes get big breaks in training camp. And maybe their NFL coaches choose to use them differently than they were used in college. Also, they might be facing better competition, but they’re also possibly leaving systems that different fit them well, or they were stuck behind even better players.
Remember Josh Gordon, Terrance Williams and Kendall Wright all came out of Baylor within one year of each other. Gordon and Wright, we were aware of, but Williams caught most of us by surprise, and he fit in well with Tony Romo’s offense in Dallas.
And last year, Jerick McKinnon was a late-round speedster that the Vikings drafted, but if you were clued in on him early enough, you knew he’d make some Fantasy waves if something happened to Adrian Peterson.
So I decided to discuss a few of those high upside rookies for 2015 here. This will give you something to think about for your late-round sleeper picks, and even for your early waiver wire choices.
2015 High Upside Rookies
These first-year players make for interesting pickups late in your drafts.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville
Sure, Yeldon wasn’t a late-round pick (early Round 2), but he did go to the Jaguars, and that instantly makes him an afterthought when you’re filling out starting lineups. But from a Daily Fantasy Football perspective, Yeldon could prove to be quite useful.
He’ll likely be the Jaguars’ featured back, and as such, he’ll probably start with a relatively low FanDuel salary that undulates from week to week. The Jags are probably going to have to pass a lot, which might limit his touches, but he will be used in the passing game, too. Also, he’ll get plenty of first-half carries, and if the Jaguars ever do get the lead, you can be sure they’ll be trying to grind out the clock with him. Outside of Julius Thomas, Yeldon’s also their best option inside the 5-yard line.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington
With Alfred Morris entrenched as the main running back in Washington, Jones has a chance to make noise as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, since that’s Morris’ biggest weakness. With the Gators last season, Jones led the team in rushing, and tied the team with six rushing touchdowns. He wasn’t used as a receiver much last season, but he can catch and pass protect.
What makes Jones interesting is that he’s a big guy, at 6-foot-2, 231 lbs., with 4.55 speed. That’s not a bad replacement for Morris – and he’s actually someone that Morris’ owners should consider as a handcuff.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis
Before Dorsett gets a shot, the Colts will likely have passed through many options, including new running back Frank Gore, new wide receiver Andre Johnson, incumbent wide receivers T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. Andrew Luck certainly has plenty of weapons to choose from, which dilutes the speedy Hurricanes RB’s Fantasy value.
But, out of all of the players I mentioned in the paragraph above, Dorsett has the best chance of doing the most with every single opportunity. His speed changes the expected Fantasy points per target, and that makes him an exciting player to use as a third wide receiver during bye weeks – and especially in DFS play against certain matchups. He could be this year’s version of Arizona’s John Brown
May these 2015 high upside rookies will come through for you this season – and not your opponents!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.