It's always tough to decide which rookies to draft for your fantasy football team, because you have to separate the hype from their college career with the real-world expectations of the next level. Every NFL rookie was pretty much a stud in college, yet so few shine when they make the leap to the next level.
Rookies You Can't Pass On
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Fournette was one of the best players in this year's NFL Draft and had a legendary college career. Now on the Jags, can he continue his dominance carrying the ball? I think yes! Blake Bortles is a struggling QB and the Jaguars will need to rely on their ground game heavily to get any kind of offense going. You can safely draft Fournette as your RB1, he's that good.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
With Spencer Ware looking like he's out with a knee injury, look for Kareem Hunt to step into that role. He was already going to steal the job anyway. This former Toledo standout could be one of the most elusive backs in the league and will fit in to Andy Reid's system perfectly. Don't go too early on him, but when you're ready to draft your RB3, pull the trigger.
Zay Jones, WR, Bills
The Bills lost Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Anquan Boldin this offseason, which on paper looks like a huge blow to their offense. It looks like rookie wideout Zay Jones is going to be forced to play a large role in their air assault alongside Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay. He doesn't have a choice. It's step up or shut up. I'd pick him up late in the draft and use him as an WR4 or Flex option. His ceiling is high enough to take the risk late.
John Ross, WR, Bengals
John Ross is an absolute blazer, but he's fragile and has already run into some injuries. Right now it looks like Ross will only be an occasional target for Andy Dalton, who is going to have plenty of other options in Green, Hill, Mixon and Boyd. I would let him go undrafted and see what happens later in the season.
Mike Williams, WR, Chargers
Reports are saying Mike Williams' back injury may be season-ending, and even if that isn't the case, where there's smoke there's fire. It's unfortunately we don't get to see this electrifying talent in action this season, but it's better for him to fully recover and come back strong. Philip Rivers honestly won't need him this season with weapons like Allen, Williams, Benjamin, Henry and Gates. He could be a 2018 sleeper pick, but this year just isn't going to be the year.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
The Bears award Mike Glennon a massive contract and then trade up in the draft to pick Trubisky. That was a true head scratcher for NFL fans worldwide. Now that they've created a QB controversy, nothing good will come of this. Will Trubisky win the starting spot? Probably. But it's going to be a rough year for the Bears with the uncertainty behind center all year. I'd pass on this guy. Even if you starter is on bye, there are at least 10 better options who will be fantasy free agents.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
Dalvin Cook is a household name, but I still consider him a sleeper because earning that starting role in Minnesota is going to be no walk in the park. Latavius Murray is still a very good back and obviously a better fit in their system. But talent-wise, Cook is unmatched. The potential this kid has is next-level, so don't go too early on him. He could be a nice Flex guy or RB3. He will turn heads this year, but don't get to antsy during your draft.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
The Colts offense right now is in shambles. They have no Andrew Luck and the back-ups they played in the preseason were all underwhelming. Even the recent trade for Jacobi Brissett doesn't help them out immediately. Bottom line, they're going to need to use as many weapons as possible, and Marlon Mack is a flat-out stud. He's behind veteran back Frank Gore right now, but battling for third down and pass formation playing time with Robert Turbin. Don't draft him, but keep him in your sights as the season goes on. He could be a sleeper Flex player.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
Golladay had a sick NFL preseason debut, snagging two touchdowns and proving he has the size, speed and hands to be a solid receiver in the league. With a gunslinger QB in Stafford, Golladay will see plenty of targets this year. He's expected to be a fourth option in their offense, so you could definitely use him on week where you need an WR3 or Flex guy off the waiver wire.
Keep your eyes peeled for these fantasy football rookies. Grab the locks early, avoid the busts all season and pay attention to the sleepers so you can edge out your competition with strategic waiver moves all year!