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Rookies with impact

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The NFL preseason marches into its third week and we're beginning to see how some of the prized rookies will be utilized in 2012-13.

The two biggest names, quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who were the top two draft choices in April, are playing well and should be under center when their respective teams begin play on Sept. 9.

Other highly sought-after rookies have not been as productive and are now questionable fantasy selections. Meanwhile, a select few, who were not as well hyped by the media, are going to be important parts of their team's offense.

Lets evaluate some of the rookies to see who is playing above expectations and who may already be stuck down the depth chart and not ready for prime time or your starting lineup.

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill, Miami - The early conversations were about Tannehill's thin resume, but he's not had many problems in training camp and the preseason. When David Garrard was forced out of the picture due to injury, the starting spot became a two-way battle between Tannehill and incumbent Matt Moore. Tannehill won the job, but his mediocre receiving corps may limit his fantasy value.

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland - Weeden has not looked very good this summer, but the Browns are going with him anyway because their other choices, Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace, have proven they can't get it done. With running back Trent Richardson hobbled due to recent knee surgery, the Browns offense is a mess and you don't want any part of it on your fantasy team.

Russell Wilson, Seattle - The rookie from Wisconsin has gone 22-of-33 for 279 yards with three touchdowns and one interception through two preseason games and a good third game could send Tarvaris Jackson packing. It appears Wilson will win the backup role to Matt Flynn and be a viable option should Flynn disappoint or go down with an injury.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia - Foles has played very well in the Eagles' first two games and could win the all-important handcuff role to oft-injured Michael Vick. He went 18-of-28 for 217 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against New England Monday night after throwing for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Given Vick's injury-prone history and the high quality receiving corps in Philadelphia, Foles could end up being a valuable property at some point this season.

Running Backs

Trent Richardson, Cleveland - Richardson was all the rage in early mock drafts, going anywhere from late in the first round to the middle of the second as teams knew the Browns traded up to make him the feature of their offense. But Richardson just had knee surgery, albeit minor, but serious enough that his workload will be limited early in the season. Beware of selecting him too high and ending up with a Year 1 part-time player.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay - Coach Greg Schiano has said Martin reminds him of Ray Rice, a player he coached at Rutgers. If that's not enough, Martin has the ability to play in the Bucs' passing game, both as a receiver and a blocker. He's likely to share early downs with LeGarrette Blount, but by fantasy playoff time, Martin's situation should be closer to "workhorse" than a "shared backfield."

David Wilson, New York Giants - He's simply too talented to sit on the bench and the Giants will find a way to get him on the field. He's been getting reps with the first team. Although Ahmad Bradshaw will start the season as No. 1, Wilson will carve out opportunities. He probably won't be worthy of starting in fantasy leagues unless Bradshaw gets injured, but Bradshaw has played a 16- game schedule just once in the past five seasons.

Robert Turbin, Seattle - Turbin has been given some time with the first string ahead of veteran Leon Washington and looked solid. With starter Marshawn Lynch facing a possible suspension, Turbin could have some early season fantasy value.

Wide Receiver

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville - The only good news to come out of Jacksonville's 48-17 loss to Baltimore was the rapport developing between second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his rookie wide receiver. Blackmon caught four balls for 72 yards. Despite missing 12 days of camp, it doesn't appear to have hurt Blackmon much. He has looked to be the better target between he and newly acquired veteran Laurent Robinson and should be a solid WR2 this season.

Kendall Wright, Tennessee - Wright has always had plenty of talent, but also had two solid veteran receivers in front of him in Nate Washington and Kenny Britt. With Britt's physical (knee) and off-the-field problems (DUI), Wright may get a chance to start in Week 1 and could be a fantasy-worthy option as a WR3.

Michael Floyd, Arizona - Floyd was expected to grab the spot opposite Larry Fitzgerald, but that hasn't been the case. Andre Roberts has been starting alongside Fitzgerald with Early Doucet lining up in the slot. Floyd has been working with the second-team offense. At this point, we can't recommend Floyd even as a late-round flier.

Brian Quick, St. Louis - On draft day many thought Quick would move right into the Rams' starting lineup, but the re-emergence of Steve Smith from microfracture surgery and Quick's struggles with the offense seem to indicate that it will be Smith and Danny Amendola starting in Week 1. Quick will eventually grab a starting spot, but it may be too late for fantasy owners in non-keeper leagues to enjoy him.

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


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