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2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

NFL rookies ranked by their potential to help you win your fantasy football league.

1. Saquon Barkley  RB   New York Giants

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2018 Projections View Saquon Barkley's 2018 projected stats.

The second overall pick in the 2018 draft, Barkley follows in the footsteps of Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette as running backs deemed worthy of top-five selections in recent years. Barkley has the skills to live up to that billing, as his standout career at Penn State was punctuated by frequent highlight-reel performances. Barkley's speed - a 4.4 40 at the combine - and top-shelf elusiveness and agility make it extremely difficult for defenders once he finds open real estate. At 6-0, 233, Barkley is a load to bring down, and his strong lower body allows him to pick up plenty of yards after contact, though he struggled at times running between the tackles. He also worked hard to turn himself into a three-down back who can help as a receiver and a pass protector, something the Giants needed to prioritize given their aging quarterback and shaky offensive line. The team did remake its line in the offseason, signing Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh as free agents and using a second-round pick on guard Will Hernandez, so Barkley should be able to use his moves to avoid hits two yards past the line of scrimmage instead of two yards behind it. Expect him to see a big workload as the new centerpiece of the Giants offense.

2. Rashaad Penny  RB   Seattle Seahawks

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2018 Projections View Rashaad Penny's 2018 projected stats.

Arguably the most shocking selection of the 2018 draft, Penny went to Seattle with the 27th overall pick, the second running back off the board. The team definitely had a need at the position, but taking Penny over bigger-name backs like Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Derrius Guice raised eyebrows. Penny, though, fits the mold Seattle looks for in a lead back at 5-11, 220, and, importantly, doesn't have the injury history of the aforementioned trio. During his final season at San Diego State he displayed both power and patience as a runner, letting his blocks set up before he trampled defenders in the hole. His surprising 4.46 40 time at the combine likely played into his rise up the Hawks' draft board, erasing any doubt regarding his athleticism. While the building blocks are there for him to be a solid NFL starter, Penny needs to work on his receiving and blocking to become a true three-down asset, and his upright running style and average elusiveness can lead to too much contact. Given the draft capital Seattle used to get him and the lack of established talent on the depth chart, Penny has every opportunity to seize the lead role, though he may end up in a training camp battle with Chris Carson.

3. Ronald Jones II  RB   Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2018 Projections View Ronald Jones II's 2018 projected stats.

The Buccaneers finally gave up on the idea that Doug Martin would be a consistent backfield weapon for them last year, and the front office wasted no time in finding his replacement, selecting Jones with the 38th overall pick in this year's draft. At 5-11, 205, Jones displayed breakaway speed throughout his college career at USC and likely would've done much better than his 4.65 40 time from the combine if he hadn't strained his hamstring while running (he improved to 4.48 at his pro day). Jones has a fluid, upright running style and doesn't take long to hit his top speed, displaying elusiveness in the open field and the ability to change directions on a dime. He wasn't used much as a receiver by the Trojans, but he's shown some natural ability in that area as well. Tampa has plenty of veteran options on the depth chart behind him, and concerns about his size could limit his touches out of the gate, but Jones figures to get every chance to prove he can be a difference-maker in the backfield.

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2018 Positional Rankings

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Running Back Rankings

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Tight End Rankings

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Kicker Rankings

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Team Defense Rankings

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IDP Rankings

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Offensive Line Rankings

A team's offensive line can have a tremendous impact on how its quarterback, running backs, and wide receivers perform. Consult our rankings for help.