Why only nine? Because of budget constraints. I couldn’t convince the publisher to print a Top 10 list so we had to trim it to nine. So, here are my Top Nine fantasy football impact rookies.
From back to front:
#9: DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles: Reggie Brown is nursing a hamstring. Meanwhile, Jackson is showing that he has the skills to play at this level. The Eagles need playmakers at WR and if he continues to play like he has, he will be on the field.
#8: James Hardy, WR, Bills: He’s huge. If he can stop pulling guns on his dad, he has a chance to get a lot of playing time. Lee Evans will open up quite a bit for him.
#7: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Simply put, a perfect addition to pair up with Fast Willie. My biggest concern is that offensive line. The Steelers offense is built from the outside in.
#6: Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: If he can stay healthy (and that’s a big if), he could take over backfield duties in Houston. There are rumors that Ahman Green could get cut outright. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has given Slaton rave reviews.
#5: Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: I could easily put him higher up this list. This kid is damn good. Marion Barber gets the bulk of the load, but a player of this caliber finds his way onto the field.
#4: Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: How could you make him fourth!!!?? A crowded backfield will do that. This is a list for fantasy impact, not who the best player is. McFadden looks like the truth, but I don’t know that he’ll be getting the bulk of the work just yet.
#3: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: You better believe I wanted to rank him higher. I love this kid. Word out of Baltimore is that he looks great. He could run McGahee out of town for 2009.
#2: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: This kid looks really good. I think the Titans have found a player. It concerns me that he’s splitting time with Lendale White, but he could still have a good impact.
#1: Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Because everyone else in their backfield is such garbage He looks like he can be a nice back and he’ll most likely be starting.