2017 ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
The rookies are shining at all positions this year. Yes, even at Tight End. This article is written using standard scoring to really put these impressive numbers in perspective. With more than half of the regular season behind us, let’s take a look at the 2017 all-rookie fantasy team.
QB – Deshaun Watson (HOU)
This kid might have been the biggest surprise rookie out of them all. The immediate transition from college to NFL is never a guaranteed success but it looks like Watson is here to stay. Before tragically going down for the year with a too-common ACL tear at practice before week 9, Watson was right up there with big time names like Alex Smith, Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson. Watson finished the season with 19 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and 1,699 passing yards in 7 games. This was good for almost 173 fantasy points. He eclipsed 30 fantasy points three separate times, which is extremely impressive in and of itself. He quickly became an every-week must-start and will most likely be drafted highly among QB’s next year.
RB – Kareem Hunt (KC)
Kareem Hunt almost literally exploded onto the scene in week 1. After the first carry of his career resulted in a fumble, head coach Andy Reid kept his faith in his rookie RB and continuously him the ball. This resulted in an unbelievable stat line of 17 carries for 148 yards (8.7 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown, while also gaining 98 yards through the air. This was good for nearly 42 points in standard leagues. It took Hint until week 8 to drop below 100 all-purpose yards in a game when he faced off with a stellar Denver defense. Through 8 games, Hunt earned 142 fantasy points and remains a top 3 RB in the league. Moving forward, Hunt seems to be a must-start every week.
RB – Leonard Fournette (JAX)
Before the season began, Lenny Fournette was being drafted, usually, at the end of the first round or beginning of the second round. A rookie RB going to a questionable Jacksonville offense didn’t sound too appetizing, but the notion and possibility of Fournette being fed the ball until his legs fell off raised some eyebrows. If you were fortunate enough to grab him early, you’re very happy with his production thus far. With only 6 games under his belt, Fournette has yet to put up <10 points in any given week. His weekly point totals are as follows: 18, 12, 14, 20, 30, 19. These numbers are good enough to place Fournette as the current RB6, and that includes a bye week and two missed games due to injury and conduct. Like Hunt, Fournette is a lock every week.
WR – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
There’s no question that this all-rookie team lacks a bit in the WR slot. However, JuJu has been decent so far. JuJu doesn’t look too far from cracking the top 20 despite Martavis Bryant causing problems ahead of him. JuJu certainly isn’t a true WR1’s for your fantasy team, which is why this theoretical team is certainly not perfect, but the same goes for most fantasy teams anyway. To make us all feel better, He is only a few points behind big names such as Mike Evans and AJ Green. JuJu should remain a solid flex play with WR2 upside depending on how PIT decides to use him and Bryant.
WR – Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles)
Although the Rams traded for Sammy Watkins before the season began, Kupp has made a decent name for himself. Through the first 7 games of 2017, Kupp had 23 catches for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns. As of this moment, Kupp sits ahead of teammates Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, as well as some other solid wideouts such as Demaryius Thomas and Desean Jackson. There is a lot of talent in the rookie WR pool this year, but injuries have held some of the more desirable names on the sidelines. Still, this team is nice even with JuJu and Kupp as their WR 1 and 2.
TE – Evan Engram (NYG)
The New York Giants season has been a dumpster fire of epic proportions. Before the season began, everyone seemed to have high hopes as the Giants had a scary looking team on offense and defense. Well, their defense is one of the worst in the league, and they quickly lost 3 wide receivers (including OBJ) for the remainder of the year due to injury. This leaves Eli Manning with Sterling Shepard and their 2017 first rounder Evan Engram as the only real pass-catching threats. Watson, Hunt, and Fournette have been jaw-dropping to watch this year, but I don’t think anyone really saw Engram doing what he’s doing. He is a freak athlete, posing as a TE in a WR body, but statistically speaking rookie TE’s don’t necessarily earn much praise. Engram is an exception. Having such a physical advantage over most DB’s who cover him and being drafted to a pass-heavy offense created a Fantasy wonderland for Engram as he currently sits with the top-5. Engram has yet to catch less than 4 passes and 44 yards in any given week this year. For a year that has made the TE slot scarce, Engram has developed into an every-week matchup-proof start. His keeper value is most likely through the roof, as he wasn’t being taken until very late in most leagues if at all. He remains Eli Manning’s top target and should continue to do so for the rest of the year.
Flex – Alvin Kamara (NO)
As if this team wasn’t scary enough, we close it out with Kamara in the FLEX spot. After Adrian Peterson was (thankfully) traded to the Cardinals in week 5, Kamara’s place in the NO backfield was solidified. He and Mark Ingram have developed roles very similar to Freeman/Coleman in Atlanta. Ingram gets the majority of carries, while Kamara takes some along with plenty of passes. This makes Kamara’s value much higher in PPR formats, but he’s doing just fine for you in standard as well. ‘AK41’ started off the year slow in week 1, totaling only 38 all-purpose yards, but it was all uphill from there. Since week 1, his standard point totals have been great: 8, 10, 16, 8, 10, and 13. That doesn’t even include this past Sunday where he went off for 25. His involvement in the Saints’ high-powered offense makes him a must start in all formats the rest of the season.
This team of rookies is dangerous and maybe even capable of winning you a championship (if everyone was/remains healthy). The second half of the year is underway and it remains to be seen if they can all sustain their respective pace. Barring injuries or other frustrating setbacks (looking at you, Fournette) it doesn’t look like any of them will be slowing down any time soon.
Here’s a final look at your 2017 first half all-rookie team:
QB – Watson (HOU)
RB – Fournette (JAX)
RB – Hunt (KC)
WR – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
WR – Cooper Kupp (LAR)
TE – Engram (NYG)
Flex – Kamara (NO)