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Down Year to Draft Rookies

Knowshon Moreno is a member of a very crowded backfield in Denver.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Unless you are in a keeper league, I think you should probably delay drafting rookies by a couple of extra rounds this year.

That would have been a mistake in 2008 as you would have missed out on Matt Forte, Steve Slaton and Chris Johnson, but this is a brand new year. Rookie production is all about opportunity and this year's crop of first-year players don't look to have the same chances as last year's group.

Lets take a peek at some of the highest drafted rookies to see what to make of their opportunity to get on the field, because after all, you can't score from the bench.

Running Backs - Backs seems to produce the quickest of any offensive skill position player.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver - The highest selected running back, Moreno, will still have to compete with offseason pickup Correll Buckhalter, LaMont Jordan, Ryan Torain and fullback Peyton Hillis for carries. He'll eventually get the majority of the carries, but not at the beginning of the season.

Chris Wells, Arizona - Wells might be in the best situation, with only Tim Hightower to steal touches. Hightower will probably get the goal line attempts, at least early in the season, but Wells, particularly if he shows he can catch the ball could be a viable fantasy option.

Donald Brown, Indianapolis - Brown could be a "best bargain" if starter Joseph Addai continues to struggle, both from a health point of view and yards-per- carry (4.8 in 2006, 4.1 in 2007, 3.5 in 2008). But at least at the beginning of the season Addai will get the better opportunities to shine.

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia - Brian Westbrook will enter this year after offseason ankle surgery. Should he not be ready to go on September 13th, McCoy might get on the field even sooner than anyone expected. If Westbrook is healthy, McCoy will put up numbers similar to what Buckhalter put up as his backup the last five years (95-431-4).

Shonn Greene, New York Jets - Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are ahead of him on the depth chart, at least for now. Washington has been having contract problems with the team which could give Green an opportunity to play. Jones did post 1,312 yards and 13 TDs last season, so it's not like the Jets are desperate at the position.

Wide Receivers - With very few exceptions (Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston), wide receivers don't shine much in their first year.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco - Crabtree might be the best overall talent, but given the questionable situation at quarterback, he won't have the best rookie season.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota - With Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian getting all the attention, Harvin might be able to put together a pretty good season both catching and running with the ball.

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia - Following in the footsteps of DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia's newest wide receiver should get a decent amount of action in Year 1. Still, is 60-700-5 good enough to start in your fantasy league? I'm not sure.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants - With Plaxico Burress gone, there is a gaping hole in the New York Giants offense. I don't believe Nicks can completely replace Burress, but he could have a solid rookie season. Unfortunately, that's probably not enough to make him fantasy worthy.

Brian Robiskie, Cleveland - There seems to be a lot of receptions available given that Kellen Winslow is gone and Braylon Edwards might still leave Cleveland too. Too bad the quarterback situation isn't resolved because that keeps the entire offense unsettled.

Quarterbacks - It's a rare quarterback who is "fantasy worthy" in his first season, Neither of these two first-round quarterbacks fit the bill.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets - Between Sanchez and Matt Stafford, Sanchez certainly has the better team surrounding him. He might even put up numbers similar to what Joe Flacco posted last season, but that's not starting quarterback statistics. Eventually he'll be good, just not in Year 1.

Matt Stafford, Detroit - I don't think as a coach I'd want Stafford to start the season opener...not with that offensive line. He's got a great receiver once he starts playing, but Stafford is a long-term project only.

Taking everything into consideration, I don't see any "Matt Forte" this season, so draft your rookies with care.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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