The 2010 NFL Draft is in the books, so we now have a number of brand-new potential fantasy impact makers to consider on draft day. 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 a few first-year quarterbacks and wide receivers to consider in larger leagues. So without further ado, here's our look at the top 10 fantasy rookies that you should target this summer.
1. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Mathews will be the unquestioned No. 1 rookie in fantasy football this season. I expect him to see 250-plus carries for coach Norv Turner, whose offenses have produced huge fantasy seasons from Ricky Williams, Frank Gore and LaMont Jordan in the past. He'll go as high as the late second round in larger seasonal leagues and is a surefire No. 2 fantasy back across the board. He'll also be the first pick in all dynasty leagues.
2. Jahvid Best, RB, Lions: Best did have durability issues at the college level, but he has amazing potential in the Lions offense which should be much improved. I consider him the favorite to start ahead of Kevin Smith, who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and won't be as effective upon his return. Best's speed will only make him more lethal on the Ford Field turf, and he'll have middle-round value as a potential flex starter in all formats.
3. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: Spiller was widely considered the most explosive running back in the 2010 draft class, but he's in a tough situation in Buffalo. Fred Jackson could be the starter to open the season, and Marshawn Lynch remains in the mix. The Bills also have a questionable offensive line and lack an effective pass attack to keep defenses honest. Spiller is talented without question, though, and could still turn into a nice middle-round draft value.
4. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Bryant, who might have been the most talented wide receiver in the 2010 draft class, has a bright future both on the field and in fantasy circles. He's an exceptional talent with a chance to develop into an elite wideout, but returns on Bryant might not be immediate. The Cowboys are loaded at his position, so the rookie would need to unseat Roy Williams to warrant more than a low middle-round pick in seasonal formats.
5. Kareem Huggins, RB, Buccaneers: The release of Derrick Ward makes Huggins an interesting option in fantasy football. He's second on the depth chart behind Cadillac Williams, who hasn't exactly been durable during his NFL career. In fact, he's missed major time in multiple seasons due to knee injuries. If the Cadillac ends up blowing a tire once again, Huggins is going to become very fantasy relevant this season..
6. Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers: Williams will be a major part of the Buccaneers rebuilding process on the offensive side of the football. Without a legitimate No. 1 wideout, the Syracuse product will have a legitimate chance to start right out of the gate for coach Raheem Morris. That makes him worth a look in the late rounds of larger fantasy leagues. However, questions about the effectiveness of the team's pass attack will loom over his immediate value.
7. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Thomas will be a welcomed addition to the Broncos which lack a true No. 1 wideout after the trade of Brandon Marshall. The Georgia Tech product has good size and can make plays in the vertical pass attack, and I think he'll have a chance to see more targets than any other rookie wideout in 2010. While he won't make a major fantasy impact, Thomas will be worth a late-round selection in most seasonal leagues.
8. Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings: A hard-nose runner with a nose for the end zone at the collegiate level, Gerhart will open training camp as the favorite to back up fantasy superstar Adrian Peterson in 2010. The Stanford product isn't going to see many opportunities to make a statistical impact behind such an elite back, but he will have late-round value in seasonal leagues as a fantasy reserve. He'll also be insurance for owners who take Peterson.
9. Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs: McCluster is listed as a wide receiver on the Chiefs roster, but he played running back in his final collegiate season and was one of the most versatile athletes in the 2010 rookie class. While he won't put up huge numbers behind Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers, McCluster should be third on the depth chart and will be utilized in several different formations. He's someone to watch and is worth a late-round flier in drafts.
10. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals: The Bengals haven't had a fantasy-relevant tight end in years, but that could change in 2010. Gresham is a pass-catching dynamo who showed flashes of potential in the preseason and could become a nice option in the passing game for Carson Palmer. He's not a fantasy starter, but he could become a valuable reserve this season. Consider Gresham in the late rounds on draft day.