Most fantasy football players will focus on the big-name rookies selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, and Doug Martin are the obvious rookies to consider adding to your roster. fantasy team. However, there are often rookies taken after the first round who have surprisingly productive seasons and outperform the most advertised.

Marques Colston was a little-known seventh-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. All he did for the Saints in his rookie year was catch 70 passes for 1,038 yards (14.8 per minute) and score 8 touchdowns. Aaron Hernandez was taken in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft and contributed 45 receptions for 563 yards (12.5 per person) and 6 touchdowns for New England as a rookie. DeMarco Murray (third round, 2011 NFL Draft) was last year’s most impressive rookie running back before an ankle injury ended his season. Murray rushed for 897 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and scoring 2 touchdowns in just 7 starts for Dallas. Here are six rookies who could be more productive than many fantasy football players expect:

TE Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: The 2011 John Mackey Award winner was the best tight end in the draft. Allen has the size and strength to be a solid blocker. He also has the athleticism and hands to be a receiving threat. The Colts would like to play with 2 tight ends, 2 wide receivers and 1 running back as their base offense. That’s why they drafted Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen back to back. Allen believes he will play a lot in this offense. Indianapolis is wisely tailoring its offense around the talents of its quarterback, Andrew Luck. The former Stanford star is used to an offense that features tight ends. Stanford didn’t have a strong receiving core, but Luck thrived throwing to a deep and talented group of tight ends. A tight end can be a good security blanket for a quarterback. Dwayne Allen could become the target of a good number of passes from Andrew Luck.

WR Juron Criner, Oakland Raiders: The Silver & Black need a good possession receiver to complement some of their speed on the outside. Juron Criner may prove to be a steal for the Raiders and fantasy football players. Criner caught 32 touchdown passes in college and has a hit for catching the ball in traffic. His ability to run routes allows him to play faster than the forty-yard dash. Carson Palmer should develop the confidence to throw the ball to Criner because he has great hands. Palmer should also be better off this year with a full offseason to learn the Raiders’ offense. Juron Criner could push for playing time as a rookie and be a surprising contributor for the Raiders.

WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: The Bears were wasting Jay Cutler’s passing ability with a mediocre group of receivers. That changed this offseason. Brandon Marshall was signed via trade and Alshon Jeffery was drafted in the second round. Jeffery is a great target with big, soft hands. His ability to aim the ball high is very impressive. A lackluster conditioning effort and poor quarterback play led to a less productive 2011 season for Jeffery and cost him a first-round pick. He is now reportedly fit and Jay Cutler can deliver the ball. Jeffery can be a factor in the end zone and a solid receiver of possession for Chicago in 2012.

RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins: There are a lot of changes in Miami with a new coaching staff. The West Coast offense will be used and that means a fair amount of quick, short passing. Naturally, Reggie Bush will be used more as a pass catcher this season. Lamar Miller didn’t catch many passes from the backfield for the Hurricanes, but he did show some good hands. Miller has outstanding acceleration and speed. His outburst was better than any other in the 2012 NFL Draft. The University of Miami product fell out of the draft due to concerns about his surgically repaired shoulder. Miller is recovering well from his December surgery and will be able to handle contact in time for training camp.

He very well could beat Daniel Thomas, who was very disappointing as a rookie last year. Thomas (581 rushing yards, 3.5 yards per carry and zero touchdowns) didn’t rush with power or speed in 2011. Miller could make a big dent in Miami’s offense as a complement to Bush. Also, Reggie Bush has averaged only nine starts per season in his six-year career. It may have been an aberration that Bush started 15 games last year. Miller is also a dangerous kickoff returner and his speed is a big play waiting to happen. A mediocre receiving group could mean the Dolphins must find a way to get the ball into the hands of their two most explosive players (Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller).

WR Rueben Randle, New York Giants: A rookie who plays a lot on a Super Bowl-winning team doesn’t usually happen. However, the Giants lost Mario Manningham in free agency and need a third receiver to emerge. Randle could have posted much higher receiving numbers in college if he had been in a better situation. LSU wins a lot of games with their strong defense and running game. This philosophy, combined with the quarterback’s erratic play, doesn’t highlight receiving talent. Randle ran several routes in college and has a good idea of ​​the wide receiver position. He has an NFL body and physically should be able to handle the media coverage. Randle isn’t a speed merchant, but he has enough to make big plays on the field.

You’ll also notice a big difference between Eli Manning handing him the ball instead of Jarrett Lee or Jordan Jefferson (his LSU quarterbacks). The competition for the third receiver spot isn’t too tough for Randle. Domenik Hixon has struggled with injuries and is actually a better kick returner than a receiver. Ramses Barden has had no impact in three seasons. Jerrel Jernigan has speed and quickness, but he’s small. He may be better as a punt returner and slot catcher. Ideally, the Giants would like Victor Cruz to work in the slot and another receiver to complement Hakeem Nicks on the outside. Rueben Randle will have every opportunity to be the Giants’ No. 3 receiver this season.

WR Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals: Free agency losses to Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell mean the Bengals need some young wide receivers to emerge. AJ Green is clearly the main receiver and a rising star. It remains up in the air who will complement Green. Sanu has a good chance to emerge as a valuable contributor to Cincinnati’s passing attack. Andy Dalton doesn’t have a great arm and the fact that Sanu lacks speed may not matter much.

Sanu uses his good size and toughness to execute the tilts effectively. Dalton can build confidence in the rookie to keep drives alive with well-executed short passes. His competition for playing time is a mediocre group of receivers. Jordan Shipley (recovering from a serious knee injury), Marvin Jones (rookie teammate), Brandon Tate (better kick returner than receiver), Armon Binns and Ryan Whalen are not proven wide receivers in the NFL. Mohamed Sanu has an excellent opportunity to play a good number of snaps as a rookie.

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