Will the Rookies be Ready?
The NFL decision to cancel all preseason games was music to my ears in one respect, no prime time players will get injured in meaningless games. The flip side is that borderline roster players and all rookies will have no live NFL speed games to get them ready for day one. Two preseason games moving forward seems like a reasonable middle ground and I hope next season the NFL considers continuing a limited preseason game approach.
This season however we are faced with making decisions on which rookies will be ready week one, mid-season or if you’re lucky enough during the playoff push. The quarterback position will be heavily impacted by lack of live game action and if you were considering any of the rookies for your roster then I’d think again (keeper leagues excluded of course).
The wide receiver position will take a blow. It’s rare that a rookie wideout has any meaningful impact in year one. Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown were the only roster ready wide receivers last year. The talent pool was deep in last year’s draft but it’s unlikely that more than one or two emerge to fantasy starter status. Drafting any rookie wide receiver before double digit rounds is foolish.
The running back position is a different animal all together. Give me the ball and go right or go left. More and more over the last few years even rookie running backs have been protected in preseason games. Yes, blocking is always a problem and if challenges linger past three or four games then your rookie running back won’t be on the field on passing downs anyway. Draft positions for the running back position should not be impacted solely due to no preseason games.