Fantasy instant debate: Immediate impact rookies

Now that the draft is over, which rookie is in the best place to make an immediate fantasy impact?

  • Michael Fabiano NFL.com Senior Fantasy Editor
  • Circumstances give Sankey the nod

I love Johnny Manziel as a potential fantasy sleeper next season, but this whole Josh Gordon mess has me a little concerned. Sammy Watkins is also in a good position to succeed as a rookie, but wideouts don't typically make a huge rookie impact. For me, the best fantasy rookie has to be Bishop Sankey. I like him to start in Week 1 for the Titans, who released Chris Johnson earlier this offseason. Sankey has the tools to become a three-down back at the NFL level, making him a potential sleeper in fantasy leagues. He's on the radar as a fantasy flex starter.

  • Alex Gelhar NFL.com Writer
  • Sankey rising

To me, it's all about opportunity and right now no rookie is going to have more opportunities than Bishop Sankey in Tennessee. Incumbent lead back Shonn Greene is going to miss all of the team's organized team activities with knee surgery, which means Sankey will have that much more time to entrench himself as the back most deserving of the starting role on the roster. And even once Greene returns, Sankey figures to be getting plenty of touches to help the Titans move the chains. As of right now, he has low-end RB2 value, which could increase as the season approaches.

  • Marcas Grant NFL.com Fantasy Editor
  • Bishop gets the blessing

Leading into the draft, I believed Bishop Sankey had the skills to be an impact player as a rookie. That belief only grew when the Titans drafted Sankey late in the second round. Now that reports have Shonn Greene missing all of OTAs after a second knee surgery in less than a year, Sankey could challenge for a starting job in training camp. Where once I viewed him as a great change-of-pace back and a potential Gio Bernard-like handcuff for Greene, Sankey could potentially come off the board in the middle rounds as an RB3 for plenty of fantasy owners. One way or another, Sankey will make a splash in 2014.

  • Adam Rank NFL.com Writer
  • Go West, young man

The Cleveland Browns will have the top rookie performer this season. But it won't be Johnny Manziel. Nope, it's going to be Terrance West. I know this will surprise a lot of you. Mostly because nobody realizes the Browns actually selected other players over the draft weekend. No, I'm serious; you can look it up and everything. The Browns actually did draft other guys. Of course none of those draft picks were a receiver because, Browns. But Cleveland did a great job and West is a big reason why.

West will end up as the Browns starting running back at some point this season. And with an offense that will feature either a quarterback coming off a devastating knee injury or a rookie, the defense will feature plenty of running. Plus offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan wasn't afraid to go with rookie Alfred Morris in Washington two years ago. Don't let West go to the waiver wire in your drafts. He's somebody you should add the very end of your drafts because he's going to be that good.

  • Jason Smith NFL.com Fantasy Analyst
  • Benjamin now, Sankey and Watkins later

Since the question is "immediate" impact I'm going with Kelvin Benjamin. The other WRs selected ahead of him all have a greater skill set, however they're joining teams who have other talent at the position. Benjamin can come in and immediately be the Panthers number one option in the red zone, as well as their number one receiver overall. Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood are all serviceable at best, so there's no one to be afraid of taking catches away from him.

If it was "overall impact" then Bishop Sankey and Sammy Watkins would be at the top. Eventually Sankey will take over the top job from Shonn Greene and Watkins will be a monster but they'll both take a little while to reach that point.

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