NFL

2014 NFL Draft: 10 Prospects Who Will Be Fantasy Studs

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Top 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Who Will Own Fantasy

Manziel
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around, it will carry plenty of implications for the 32 teams that add young talent to their rosters. From changes to starting lineups to raising the stock of a franchise’s future, the draft can vastly restructure the landscape of the league.

Not very often, though, do we worry about how draft day impacts what we can expect to happen during our fantasy football seasons.

Each and every year, the NFL’s top rookies come in and make a huge impact not only on the field, but in fantasy leagues around the nation. From quarterbacks to kickers, weekly winners depend on youngsters to rack up big points and carry their fantasy squads to victory. As fantasy football continues to grow in popularity, the value of a sleeper rookie who puts up big points will continue to soar.

Each one of these players brings a particular element to the game that simply can’t be ignored by fantasy owners. Whether it’s a knack for racking up yards in a big hurry or an ability to be a touchdown magnet in goal line situations, they’ll be a hot commodity once they enter the ranks of the NFL. The only question is whether or not you’ll be able to snag these exciting talents on draft day next year.

Here’s a look at 10 prospects from the 2014 NFL Draft who will have a huge fantasy football impact during their rookie seasons – assuming they land in the right situation and stay healthy.

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Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma

Millard
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While he isn’t the prototypical blocking fullback, Millard has made his impact as an H-back type of player who can excel as a runner and a receiver. If he lands in the right situation, Millard could become a reliable check-down option and short-yardage back at the next level.

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Cairo Santos, K, Tulane

Santos
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The last couple of seasons, rookie kickers have made a huge impact – both for their teams and for fantasy owners. It was Blair Walsh in 2012 and it’s been Caleb Sturgis so far in 2013. Santos is turning out to be the best kicker of the 2014 draft class and could continue the trend next season.

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Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

Hyde
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It’s been a bumpy year so far for Hyde, who has battled off-field issues and a three-game suspension to start the season. Still, he’s a big, bruising back who has the ability to pick up huge chunks of yards when given the opportunity. If anything, he could be a short-yardage runner who snipes goal-line touches.

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Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

Seferian-Jenkins
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the top tight ends in the class, Seferian-Jenkins is a physical specimen who hasn’t yet put it together upstairs. If he can keep his head on straight, though, the 6’6’’, 266-pounder could be a dynamic red zone threat and seam stretcher.

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Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Mariota
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
So far this season, Mariota has been a touchdown machine. On top of his 17 touchdown passes – and zero interceptions – he’s also struck paydirt on the ground eight times. Making the jump to the NFL isn’t going to be easy, but Mariota is clearly capable of putting up big numbers.
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Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most underrated receivers heading into the 2013 campaign, Evans has already caught fire as Johnny Football’s go-to guy. Not only does he catch anything within about a 15-foot radius, but also manages to make magic happen after the catch. He’ll be an NFL quarterback’s best friend, especially in the red zone.

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Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Watkins
Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

An electrifying talent, Watkins is the type of player that demands the ball in his hands. As long as he can stay healthy, the Clemson product should see plenty of targets once he makes the jump to the NFL. One way or another, his future team will find numerous ways to get him the football.

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De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

Thomas
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

A human Swiss army knife, Thomas is always a threat to go the distance no matter how or where he gets the ball. While there are some injury concerns considering his size, Thomas should be an exciting fantasy player once he gets going in the NFL.

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Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Lee
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When you talk about productivity in college football, Lee has to be in the conversation. With reliable hands and the elusiveness to pick up big yards after the catch, the USC star should blow up the stat sheet if he can catch on with a quality NFL quarterback.

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Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Manziel
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn’t for his character issues, Manziel would be a consideration for the top pick. He’s an elite athlete who excels with the ball in his hands. On top of his ability to make plays with his feet, he also has a capable arm. While there’s still plenty of polish needed, Manziel has the potential to be a dynamic difference-maker – especially for fantasy owners.