Fantasy Football Rookie Definition

A rookie is a player in his first season in a professional sport. Rookies are a strange quirk in the game of fantasy football -- it is difficult to prognosticate on a player's potential when they've never faced NFL caliber competition before. No matter how tough a rookie's college schedules were, they say there is nothing quite like lining up in an NFL game. Since there's no way to use a rookie's previous stat years to gauge potential, fantasy football managers have to stick with less traditional methods of rating a rookie in the draft.

Life would be easier for us fantasy football freaks if rookies hardly ever had impact on the game. If you could just take a pass on all but the studliest rookies and wait for their second or third season of play to bandwagon them, you wouldn't need to become the rookie alchemist, attempting to turn first year jitters into fantasy gold. The truth is that rookies often have a big impact on the fantasy game. Adrian Peterson is only a few seasons away from being proving this -- his rookie year (2007) he scored 12 TDs and ran for over 1300 yards, a nice "get" for anyone's RB roster. Another recent example is Joe Flacco, who last year threw for 14 TDs and nearly 3,000 yards. If only rookies wouldn't break out with such seeming regularity . . .

The positive side of the rookie coin is that some rookies are natural sleeper picks. Who would have thought to put Flacco on their roster last fantasy season? If you'd identified him as a potential rookie phenom, you could have earned his average 16 points per game without giving up a higher draft pick. If you can see the rookie about to bust out of the pipe, you will earn the respect (and probably the wins) of your fantasy league.

Some positions are considered "easier to transition to" for rookies than others. Running backs appear to transition more quickly to the NFL than QBS or WRs, so if you're looking for a safe investment in a rookie, go for a RB. Having said that, we saw three rookie QBs who made at least a minor impact for many fantasy managers -- Joe Flacco, Eddie Royal, and Matt Ryan. This just reinforces what I always say -- rules were meant to be broken. If you're able to snag a good looking rookie QB and RB combo that just happen to explode . . . think of the possibilities . .

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