North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 28, 2013

Fantasy Football Fix: Choosing rookies can be fraught with peril

Want to get a jump on your fantasy football team? Here’s the first of a series of articles to give you an edge.

Drafting rookies for your fantasy football roster is always iffy, especially when you pluck them early, which puts you in a position of relying on their production. Moreover, first-year studs like the ones born in 2012 are rare.

The unlikely numbers accumulated by the likes of Doug Martin, Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson should not make you overconfident about claiming rookies in 2013. Don’t expect E.J. Manuel or Geno Smith to deliver an Andrew Luck-ish maiden voyage, which saw him finish ninth among quarterbacks in overall points last season. Despite the lack of high-end value residing in this year’s class (mainly at the quarterback position), there is some attractive talent to consider.

Montee Ball

Denver RB

The Broncos didn’t draft Ball in the second round to watch and learn from their veteran rushers. 31-year-old Willis McGahee, Denver’s leading rusher a year ago, has been released. This shows their confidence in the rookie and suggests Ball will be the starter in the backfield from the start.

Expect Knowshon Moreno’s 138 rushes from last year to decrease and Ronnie Hillman will be nothing more than a change-of-pace back. Peyton Manning operates one of the top offenses in the league, which means Ball will have many red-zone opportunities. This backfield will split caries early, but if the former Wisconsin star starts fast then coach John Fox should hand him more and more attention.

Likely place in a 12-team draft: Round 6

Tavon Austin

St. Louis WR

Despite his small stature and inexperience, this cat-quick West Virginian has the potential to be an electric weapon for the Rams in his first season. His fantasy value will depend on how well he and quarterback Sam Bradford mesh.

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