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Ingram, Thomas headline the top fantasy rookies

The 2011 NFL Draft has offered up a number of brand-new potential fantasy impact makers. Not surprisingly, many of those players are running backs. If we've learned anything from the past, it's that rookie runners have the best chance to make an immediate impact. Of course, there are also a few first-year quarterbacks and receivers to consider in larger leagues, not to mention several names you'll need to consider in all dynasty formats. Here's our breakdown of the top rookies, a few sleepers to target and some players to watch in training camp and the preseason.

Top five

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: The most talented all-around running back in the 2011 class, Ingram should earn a nice role in the Saints' backfield. Unfortunately, he'll be part of a crowded backfield that includes Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory. If Ingram shows flashes of his collegiate brilliance in the preseason, he'll have middle-round appeal.

2. Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins: With Reggie Bush his only competition for carries in Miami, Thomas is one of the best rookies in fantasy land. While Bush is atop the team's depth chart, he's been anything but durable at the NFL level. Thomas will see work, especially in short-yardage and near the goal line, so consider him in the middle rounds as a No. 3 fantasy back.

3. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green was the top-rated wide receiver in 2011, and he'll likely come right in and start for coach Marvin Lewis. While his talent is unmistakable, keep in mind that he will be catching passes from another rookie, Andy Dalton, so his rookie numbers could be limited. Overall, he is worth a late-round look.

4. Greg Little, WR, Browns: A physical athlete with strong run-after-the-catch skills, Little could be the Browns' No. 1 wide receiver sooner than later. Compared to Mike Williams (Bucs) by countless scouts, he should earn more than his share of targets as a rookie. While he won't put up huge numbers, he does have late-round value.

5. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Jones isn't going to be one of the top two (or maybe even three) options in the Falcons offense as a rookie, but he's a major playmaker who will likely start right out of the gate. While his individual fantasy value as a rookie is limited, there's little doubt that Jones will make Matt Ryan and Michael Turner more attractive options for owners.

Sleepers to watch

1. Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: Coach Mike Shanahan has a knack for making stars out of little-known running backs, and Helu is a nice fit for the team's zone-blocking scheme. The addition of Tim Hightower did put a major dent into his value, but Helu remains a player to watch. He has late-round appeal in deeper leagues.

2. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Murray will likely see his share of action following Marion Barber's departure from Dallas, but he isn't going to pass Felix Jones on the depth chart. When you consider Jones' lack of durability at times, though, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Murray playing often as a rookie. He could have late-round draft appeal.

3. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: I'm not in love with any of the quarterbacks in the 2011 class. But based on Newton's skill set, which should equate to a number of rushing yards and a few rushing touchdowns, he could end up being a matchup-based starter in larger leagues -- assuming he's under center for the Panthers.

4. Delone Carter, RB, Colts: Joseph Addai has re-signed with the Colts, and Donald Brown is still behind him on the depth chart. Addai has not been durable, however, and Brown can be considered a disappointment at the NFL level. If things fall into place, Carter could turn into a nice deep sleeper.

5. Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams: Kendricks is a legitimate vertical threat for new OC Josh McDaniels. He also is a capable blocker, which should keep him on the field more often. Though he likely won't be drafted in most standard leagues, Kendricks is someone to keep tabs on early in the season.

On the radar

1. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: With Carson Palmer out of the mix, Dalton could be the first rookie to start for the Bengals in Week 1 since 1969. A good fit for the offense of coordinator Jay Gruden, Dalton will have his share of growing pains (especially against the Steelers and Ravens). But a potential starting job puts him on the fantasy radar.

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2. Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Chiefs: A big, athletic wideout who has drawn comparisons to Vincent Jackson, Baldwin looked like a favorite to start before the team added Steve Breaston. He should still see some opportunities in the pass attack, but it's hard to see Baldwin make much noise in a run-based Chiefs offense.

3. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons: Rodgers, a speedster out of Oregon State, lost a lot of his luster when the Falcons re-signed Jason Snelling. But because of his speed and versatile skill set, he's still a player fantasy owners should watch during camp and the preseason.

4. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots: A playmaker out of California, Vereen joins a crowded situation in New England that includes BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and fellow rookie Stevan Ridley. However, Vereen's explosive skill set still puts him on the fantasy radar in deeper leagues.

5. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: The Ravens have signed Lee Evans, so Smith won't be a starter for the Ravens in 2011. However, the talented wideout out of Maryland is someone to watch in the preseason and could have late-round appeal in deep seasonal leagues.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com or tweet it at Michael_Fabiano!

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