Projecting fantasy production for rookies can be difficult. You only have college stats to work off of, and these do not always translate well into NFL production, particularly since the offense may have been different (for example the run and shoot) and the level of competition was drastically inferior (even more so for the smaller colleges and conferences). So one option is to look at how rookies on average have done based on their position and when they were drafted.
Below are rookie average trends from the past 15 NFL seasons based on the round a player was drafted and the position they played.
- Over the past 15 seasons all rookie QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs and Ks have averaged about 25.88 fantasy pts for the entire season which is an increase from the previous 15 years when the fantasy avg was 25.43 fantasy points for the entire season. These numbers may not be very impressive but many rookies are backups and have less playing time so it should not be too surprising how low the average is when combining all rookies.
- Rookies drafted in the first 4 Rounds of the Draft have averaged more points for the season then the rookie average. Players drafted in the 1st Round have been the best fantasy players, producing a little over 3 and half times as many points as the average rookie. Part of the explanation for this can be attributed to the fact that most players drafted in the first round begin starting right away or very quickly.
- Undrafted players and those drafted after the 4th round produce about half as many fantasy points as the rookie average.
Of course certain positions have greater fantasy production than others and this is a main reason why the averages are so low. Unfortunately, there are not enough data points for it to be reliable to break down each position by draft round, but we can compare all rookie players at certain positions regardless of when they were drafted.
- You can see that rookie quarterbacks and kickers have had the best fantasy production, followed by running backs. All 3 of these positions have produced fantasy points greater than the rookie average. There are not many backup kickers in the league though, so if a rookie kicker is on a roster there is a good chance they are starting, so without many backup kickers it is expected that that position would have one of the highest averages.
- Historically, wide receivers and tight ends have been the lowest producing positions for rookies.
Although these trends and stats will not clearly identify which players will have a good rookie fantasy year, they can help you to select rookie players at certain positions who could have an impact and be a solid fantasy performer.