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Rookie NFL wideouts to watch for

Rookie NFL wideouts to watch for

Rookie NFL wideouts to watch for    
With rookies, you truly never know what you could get. Stepping into the NFL is a big change from the NCAA experience and most rookies often hit the dreaded “rookie wall” at the end of the year, often leaving owners shorthanded. Although Detroit’s Calvin Johnson was the highest receiver taken, any of the receivers chosen could jump up and make an impact on their respective team. Realistically, the guys chosen on day one or early day two are often the ones we see produce solid fantasy numbers. For owners getting ready to start studying for their draft, take a look at any of these rookie receivers, they could help your roster in 2007 and beyond – if you play in a keeper league.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit

Johnson will likely be the highest rookie chosen in fantasy football this year. With Roy Williams on the other side of the o-line, defenses won’t have the luxury of double teaming either receiver, thus opening up more passing lanes for quarterback Jon Kitna. While at Georgia Tech, Johnson was known for his acrobatic catches, and although he’s a huge target at 6-4, the former Yellow Jacket has great speed. With Mike Martz calling the shots, you can bet the Lions will find every way possible to get Johnson the ball. Value, but don’t reach for the Lions rookie in your draft.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

Minicamps are usually a place for rookie receivers to make a nice impression on the coaching staff, but, that wasn’t the case for Bowe. In his first practice with the team, Bowe was late and dropped several passes – not exactly the type of impression you want to give your team. Assuming Bowe shows up on time in the season, the Chiefs have a real keeper on their hands. With Tony Gonzalez as the only real weapon in the passing game, don’t be surprised if the young receiver emerges as a go-to threat. Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker are the top two receivers, but neither have the potential to become a true number one like Bowe. The Chiefs uncertain quarterback situation downgrades his value, but he’s worth a pick, especially if you can keep him around for 2008 and 2009.

Dwayne Jarrett, Carolina

The release of Keyshawn Johnson showed the Panthers have tremendous confidence in Jarrett’s abilities. However, Jarrett has to fight off the Mike Williams attitude on USC receivers – especially since they have a similar makeup. Jarrett’s size will allow him to be an immediate option in the redzone, but he does not have great speed. Assuming the Panthers can utilize his strengths and not force him to become a trailblazing speed threat, he will be effective in the NFL. Consider Jarrett a bench or waiver option, but monitor his progress through the preseason and the first few games of the 2007 season.

Robert Meachem, New Orleans

Keeping with the theme of receivers and their minicamp experience, Meachem did not start off his NFL career on a good note. Meachem showed up a little hefty and he attributed his extra weight to making the draft rounds and not working out enough. When Meachem does get going, coach Sean Payton will love this guy. Meachem was underused in his first two years at Tennessee, mostly thanks to inconsistent quarterback play and injuries. After a change at offensive coordinator, Meachem came alive and ascended to the NFL Draft as a first round pick. The Saints rookie has tremendous speed and good size, but there have been concerns about whether he is willing to go over the middle and make the tough catch. Although he may be more inclined to go vertically, he will see plenty of chances to go deep in 2007. Payton makes good use of all his weapons and Meachem is the next toy in the garage.

Anthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis

The Colts selected Gonzalez with the intention of having him fill the role of Brandon Stokley, and he should be able to slide into that role immediately. Although Ted Ginn got most of the attention at Ohio State, Gonzalez was no slouch, especially since he possesses good speed and solid hands. The Colts like to ease rookies into the lineup (see Joseph Addai, 2006), but Gonzalez may have to play right away. The Colts receiving corps is a bit thin after Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Ted Ginn, Miami

Dolphins fans may not like the selection of Ginn, but he will be a fantasy impact player – with a quarterback. The Dolphins are still playing musical quarterbacks and it’s anybody’s guess who will start under center in the season opener. With Chris Chambers as the go-to guy, Ginn doesn’t have to be the number one and that’s the best role for him. His speed will be perfect to stretch defenses and be a factor on reverses and returns. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect a monster statistical year, but don’t be surprised if the Dolphins find a way to get him the ball 8-12 times per game on rushes, returns and receptions.

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