2010 Fantasy Football Rookie Impact
Most rookies take awhile to contribute in the NFL. So, in fantasy football when you draft one, you are usually looking down the road. But if you aren’t in a keeper league, how much can a rookie help you in 2010? The statistics over the past decade tell a story.
The hardest position to play in the NFL is quarterback and it is even harder when you are a rookie. First, you have to get an opportunity to play on a regular basis and then you have to actually perform. Since 2000, 130 quarterbacks have been drafted. Only 18 of them have actually played on a regular basis in their rookie season (224 pass attempts qualifies you in the NFL). Out of those 18, only seven (Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Chris Weinke, Byron Leftwich, Ben Roethlisberger, David Carr and Matt Leinart) threw for over 2,500 yards and only one (Ryan) threw for over 3,000 yards. All of those quarterbacks were first round draft picks with the exception of Weinke, who was a 29-year old rookie. In fact, of the 18 quarterbacks that have played, 13 were first round picks, one third round pick (Trent Edwards), two fourth round picks (Weinke, Kyle Orton), one sixth round pick (Bruce Gradkowski) and one undrafted free agent (Chad Hutchinson).
The most TDs thrown by a rookie QB since 2000 was 17 by Roethlisberger. Only three threw for a completion rate over 60% (Roethlisberger, Ryan, Flacco) and those three plus Patrick Ramsey threw for more TDs than INTs.
As you can see, it is very hard to get contributions from a rookie QB. I would only consider three (Roethlisberger, Ryan, Flacco) successful and they would still only be fantasy backups as rookies.
Looking at the 2010 draft, there are four quarterbacks (Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy), based on draft position and their respective team’s depth charts, who have a chance to contribute this season.
Sam Bradford (STL) – Bradford was the No. 1 pick overall and he should be the starter sooner rather than unless he totally flops in the preseason or he gets hurt. So, the opportunity should be there to play and accumulate fantasy numbers. I would put Bradford around the 2,500 yard mark if he plays every game. This would make him a low-end No. 2 fantasy QB. Of course in keeper leagues, he has much more value and might be worth a low-round draft pick.
Colt McCoy (CLE) – McCoy was a third round pick, but landed in a spot where he can contribute this season. Cleveland is longing for a QB to be successful and even though the Browns brought in two veterans, the likelihood of McCoy playing will depend on how fast he progresses. The starter, Jake Delhomme, has a history of injuries and was not very good in 2009. If he can stay on the field, his leash will be short. His backup Seneca Wallace is unproven in the NFL and the Browns don’t see him as a long-term solution. If he has to play and falters, McCoy could get the call, but only if Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini deem him ready.
Jimmy Clausen (CAR) – Clausen will start second on Carolina’s depth chart behind Matt Moore, but probably will not see time unless Moore fails or gets hurt. The Panthers feel they can win with Moore and the early NFL returns on him have been positive. At this point, Clausen probably won’t play enough to qualify or contribute.
Tim Tebow (DEN) –Tebow will have to wait his turn. He is considered more of a project and is third on the depth chart behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. Most likely, he will not have much fantasy value in 2010 beyond some situational packages, and has little value as a keeper since his future is still cloudy.