By Dan Parzych @DanParzych on August 4, 2014
With the NFL preseason officially underway, it's time for owners to begin preparing players to target for their 2014 fantasy football drafts--especially rookies.
It's always easy to decide on players from previous years since owners know what they're capable of at the NFL level, but selecting the right rookies for your team can always be tricky. Here's a look at 15 rookies owners should target for their 2014 fantasy football drafts.
Of course, the main factor with Johnny Manziel making an impact with fantasy football is the former Texas Tech star has to earn the starting job first over Brian Hoyer--which isn't a guarantee.
Still, Manziel is one of the most competitive athletes out there today and if he does earn the starting job--you can count on the quarterback racking up numbers both through the air and on the ground.
The New York Jets have big plans for Jace Amaro, but unfortunately the transition to the NFL hasn't been as smooth as one would hope.
It may take some time for him to reach his true potential, but Amaro proved his junior year at Texas Tech he's capable of displaying big numbers. (98 catches for 1,240 yards with seven touchdowns). If anything, Amaro should be heavily targeted once he finally gets comfortable with the Jets' offense.
As of now, Andre Williams appears to be the No. 2 running back for the New York Giants behind Rashad Jennings, but that could easily change over the next couple of weeks.
If there was anything to take away from the Hall of Fame game against the Buffalo Bills, it would be the potential behind Williams as he finished with 48 rushing yards with one touchdown on just seven touches.
Even if he does end up as the No. 2 running back behind Giovani Bernard, early indications are Jeremy Hill are he's going to be one heck of a player with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The fact that Hill rushed for 1,940 yards and 26 touchdowns in just two seasons at LSU shows why the Bengals selected him in the second round of the draft and could turn out to be like Bernard from 2013--a surprise sleeper at running back.
During his junior year at Auburn, Tre Mason rushed for 1,621 yards to go along with 22 rushing touchdowns--which is impressive for any running back.
There may be some concerns over drafting Mason as a running back considering he'll most likely be playing behind Zac Stacy, but if there's anything to take away from the St. Louis Rams rookie running back--it would be he's a workhorse.
Keep an eye on Eric Ebron of the Detroit Lions when considering a fantasy tight end considering how much the rookie praises Jimmy Graham for his skills as a "pass-catching tight end."
Ebron's dropping problem will most likely make fantasy owners want to rip out their hair from time to time, but on the bright side--at least the tight end will be playing in a pass-happy offense led by Matthew Stafford.
As a redshirt sophomore, Kelvin Benjamin played a key role in helping Florida State win the National Championship by hauling in 50 catches for 957 yards with 14 touchdowns--which is why he has fantasy sleeper written all over him.
Even before parting ways with Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers needed help in the passing game and early indications point to Cam Newton quickly having a new favorite target in the passing game this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars hope Marqise Lee will turn out to be a steal after selecting him in the second round, but the wideout's production was down in 2013 (only 50 catches for 673 yards with two touchdowns) thanks to injuries.
For a team lacking stars at wide receiver, Lee has the opportunity to make an impact early on with the Jaguars and even if the team doesn't win many games--his production could still be impressive fantasy wise.
Not only did Carlos Hyde rush for 2,378 yards with 30 rushing touchdowns in 20 games over his last final two years at Ohio State, but the running back is already drawing comparisons to Franke Gore--which is great for the San Francisco 49ers.
Plus, with LaMichael James (elbow) dealing with an injury, Hyde has an opportunity to prove himself during training camp as a solid No. 2 running back.
At 6-foot-5, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope Mike Evans will have an immediate impact playing alongside Vincent Jackson for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers--and he should.
Jackson may be the team's No. 1 wideout, but snagging Evans in the mid-rounds could pay off big for fantasy owners. Not only does Evans have the size and hands to cause all sorts of problems for defenders, but he could see additional passes thrown his way thanks to Jackson.
No quarterback may have been more happy during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft than Drew Brees as the New Orleans Saints were lucky enough to land star wideout Brandin Cooks--who has looked absolutely phenomenal so far in camp.
Cooks caught 120 passes for 1,670 yards with 15 touchdowns during his junior year at Oregon State and should have an immediate impact during his first year with the Saints.
The New York Giants have high expectations for Odell Beckham after using a first round pick on the former LSU wideout in May and with a new (and hopefully improved) offense--Eli Manning hopes to have another reliable weapon to throw to in the passing game.
Unfortunately, Beckham's numbers may not come as easy considering he'll be playing alongside Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, but the fantasy potential is certainly there.
Early indications are Jordan Matthews is going to help Philadelphia Eagles fans forget about DeSean Jackson pretty quickly with how impressive he's looked in training camp so far.
Matthews has the size and speed to fit perfectly into Chip Kelly's offense and keep in mind the numbers (257 catches for 3,616 yards and 22 touchdowns in four years) displayed when he was at Vanderbilt. In other words, Matthews has "potential" written all over him.
If Bishop Sankey's stats from Washington are any indication of what to expect, the running back is going to only get better and better with experience.
Sankey rushed for 3,214 yards with 34 rushing touchdowns over his last two college seasons and with Chris Johnson out of the picture--the second round pick has the chance to put up some big numbers during his rookie season.
There's a reason why the Buffalo Bills were willing to trade up to select Sammy Watkins in the 2014 NFL Draft and there's a good chance he could have the most fantasy points of all rookies during his first year.
In his last game at Clemson, Watkins caught 16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State. With this in mind, you can be sure the Bills will do whatever it takes to feed Watkins the football as much as possible.
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