Fantasy 5: Checking in on the rookie mini-camps around the league

Jeff Ratcliffe looks at the fantasy football stock of the newsworthy rookies around the league.

| 3 weeks ago
D'Onta Foreman

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Fantasy 5: Checking in on the rookie mini-camps around the league

(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)

Rookie mini-camps are in full swing, which means we’re getting our first glimpse of how this year’s class fits in to their respective offenses. We typically can’t read too much into what happens during rookie mini-camp, but there is some information to glean. So, today’s Fantasy 5 is a roundup of the most important news from rookie mini-camps over the weekend.

1. D’Onta Foreman to lighten Lamar Miller’s workload

Texans’ third-round pick D’Onta Foreman is expected to cut into Lamar Miller’s workload this season. Miller is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2016 campaign where he ranked sixth in the league in carries (268) but managed just 4.0 yards per carry. Foreman has the size (6-foot-0, 233) to handle early-down work at the pro level. He’s coming off a prolific year where he topped 2,000 yards rushing at the University of Texas.

Foreman appears to be on track to slot in ahead of Alfred Blue on the Houston depth chart, but isn’t likely to make much of a fantasy impact in his rookie season. However, his presence will have a ripple effect on Miller’s fantasy stock. A reduced workload moves Miller back into the mid-pack RB2 range. He’s currently being drafted as the No. 11 running back with an ADP in the late-second round.

2. ArDarius Stewart impresses at rookie mini-camp

The third-round selection out of Alabama appears to be the most pro-ready of the Jets new crop of receivers. Stewart didn’t put up big numbers in 2016, but that was more due to freshman QB Jalen Hurts being under center for the Crimson Tide. Still, he flashed impressive ability after the catch with a YAC of 10.4 and 18 forced missed tackles.

With Brandon Marshall gone and Eric Decker potentially out as well, the Jets have some openings on their depth chart. Quinton Patton and Quincy Enunwa are currently penciled in as starters along with Decker, so don’t be surprised if Stewart works his way into a first-string role this summer. The Jets also drafted WR Chad Hansen out of Cal. Of the two, Stewart is the preferred option for both re-draft and dynasty formats. Stewart makes for a solid second-round pick in rookie drafts, whereas Hansen is more of a fourth-round pick.

The Jets may also final use their tight end, as new OC John Morton apparently loves the position and plans to make rookie Jorgan Leggett a “go-to guy.” Leggett was very productive at Clemson, but profiles more as a plodder with similarities to Richard Rodgers. That likely means limited upside for fantasy purposes.

3. John Ross sitting out minicamp

The Bengals took Ross with the ninth overall pick in April’s draft, but the speedster out of Washington is recovering from shoulder surgery. A big-play dynamo, Ross is coming off a big 2016 season where he put up 1,150 yards and 17 scores on 81 catches. He figures to immediate slot in as a starter across from A.J. Green.

While this isn’t the worst landing spot, Andy Dalton doesn’t have the arm talent to completely utilize Ross’s skill set. Last season, Dalton attempted a deep-ball pass on just 10.8 percent of his throws, which tied for 18th among quarterbacks. Ross will also be second fiddle to target monster Green. We like Ross’s long-term outlook enough to consider him in the back-end of the first round of rookie drafts, but he profiles more as a boom-or-bust option in re-draft leagues.

4. Jeremy McNichols goes under the knife

Tampa Bay added to their backfield stable with the fifth-round selection of Jeremy McNichols in last month’s draft. The rookie out of Boise State recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and hopes to be ready for camp. Despite Doug Martin’s three-game suspension to open the season, McNichols is a long-shot to see much action in 2017 with Jaquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims expected to carry the load while Martin is suspended. McNichols is worth considering in the third round of rookie drafts.

5. San Francisco cuts bait on K.D. Cannon

Cannon’s time with the 49ers was extremely short-lived, as the former Baylor speedster was waived on Sunday. Cannon’s ability to get downfield in a hurry is appealing, but the fact that he went undrafted and then was quickly cut suggests he may not be long for the NFL. It’s safe to move him off your rookie draft boards.

| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

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