Decided to do a handful of predictions for the beginning of the week while NFL teams are settling in for the first game of the season. Let me know who you think will land 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in the comments below.
Remember that the post before this one was "Advice Time" for week one, so keep posting any questions there. Thanks a lot and Enjoy.
Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons
While Julio Jones will be lining up as the second wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, his chances are greatly increased if he can put up solid numbers and Atlanta can make it deep into the playoffs.
Jones was an incredible talent at the college level for Alabama. He is a vertical threat and can make plays with his hands and running after the catch. On many other NFL squads he would certainly be a number one receiver.
He will no doubt take pressure off Atlanta's number one, Roddy White and open up the passing game even further for Matt Ryan. If their offense can be as explosive in the 2011 season as they are on paper, then Jones could be a front runner for rookie of the year.
Fantasy owners can expect a modest season at best. 50-60 receptions, 550-600 yards, 5-7 touchdowns. But if he can play a role in getting this team to the NFC championship game or the Super Bowl, he can win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
Ingram is another rookie with a strong chance to make an impact and run for the Rookie of the Year award, but could see rather humble fantasy impact.
Ingram is entering an already crowded New Orleans backfield and will likely be splitting time with Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and possibly Chris Ivory. I don't believe that it is out of the question to see Ingram end the year with the most touches and yards of any Saints receiver, but that doesn't mean he'll blow up the stat line.
Like Julio Jones, Ingram's chances at the Rookie of the Year award will be based highly on how far into the playoffs the Saints can make it. If Ingram lives up to his college prestige, then he could be a frontrunner for the Offensive honor.
Lance Kendricks, Tight End, St. Louis Rams
Yeah, I'm going to list a tight end. A tight end taken in the middle of the second round. But he could absolutely thrive in the new St. Louis Rams offense.
Quarterback Sam Bradford, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award last season, is now commanding a Josh McDaniels pass-happy offense. We all saw Kyle Orton's fantasy run last year, and the Rams could witness the same thing.
Kendricks had little name recognition before the preseason, but received a lot of action, making quite a fantasy football stir. He had touchdowns in three of his four preseason games, 11 catches and 155 yards. With stats like that, a 60 reception, 600 yard, 8 touchdown rookie campaign is not out of the question. And if the Rams can fight off the rest of the NFC West and win a playoff spot, Kendricks could make waves as the first tight end to ever win the award of Rookie of the Year.
Andy Dalton, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
If there is any offensive surge on the Bengals, Dalton will likely take more of the credit than fellow rookie A.J. Green. If there is a significant connection between the two, expect Dalton to prevail over Green in the vote-getting.
Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Newton has officially won the starting position for the Panthers, and if Clausen's performance in 2010 taught us anything, Newton could likely be the starter for the entire year. He has the weapons around him at all positions. With his legs and the help of his supporting cast, the number one overall pick could make a surge for Rookie of the Year.
Tyron Smith, Offensive Tackle, Dallas Cowboys
This is even more of a stretch than my tight end pick, but here me out. The Dallas Cowboys are always the center of media attention, and if they manage to beat their minimal expectations and Romo can stay off the ground, a lot of the credit will go to the highly publicized first offensive lineman of the draft, Tyron Smith. If the rest of the NFL rookies put up bleak numbers, an O-Lineman might look the best.