Roundtable: Which rookie will break out in the season's second half?
In Week 8 of the 2013 NFL season, Rams' rookie RB Zac Stacy broke out for 134 rushing yards, and followed that up with a 127-yard, two touchdown performance the following week. Fantasy owners who either took a leap of faith during drafts or pounced on him on the waiver wire after his Week 8 showing were rewarded handsomely.
Which rookie could become an impact player down the road this season for fantasy football owners? Who will be this year's Zac Stacy? SI.com's fantasy experts discuss.
Michael Beller: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers -- I'm not sure there's a transformative rookie who has flown beneath the radar who can do what Stacy did last year, but if there is one my money is on Davante Adams. We've already seen some solid production from the rookie out of Fresno State this season, catching 17 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. After starting the season fourth on the depth chart, he has taken over the No. 3 receiver role in recent weeks. Adams has played at least 71 percent of the snaps in each of Green Bay's last four games, and both of his scores have come in that window. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb hog all the targets, but if a third receiver were able to emerge in this offense, he would be a valuable fantasy commodity. Adams could very well be that guy.
Kevin Casey: Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams -- Last year Stacy was the surprise rookie, so why not turn to the guy who looks set to replace his production? Mason tasted his first slice of NFL prominence last week with an impressive 18-85-1 line against the Seahawks. The rookie even brought his Auburn magic to St. Louis, as the Rams miraculously "recovered" his potentially catastrophic fumble. The coaching staff hasn’t really committed to a single running back yet, and I have a feeling they will still toggle between Stacy and Mason as the primary guy over the next few weeks. But I think they'll realize Mason is the most talented runner on this roster.
Ben Eagle: Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns -- I'm swinging for the fences here. Brian Hoyer has earned a long leash with his solid start to the season, but if he continues to struggle (he completed less than 40 percent of his passes last week), we could see Manziel thrust into the starting role. Johnny Football is far from refined as a passer, but his potential as a rusher would make him a must-add in two-QB and 12- to 14-team leagues.
David Gonos: Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans -- Before the season started, I was hyped up about Sankey and Carlos Hyde -- and both have been major disappointments so far. However, I still think Sankey will break out before the season's over; he should get a ton of opportunities going forward. I'll also throw in the name Charles Sims, since he’ll be back from an ankle injury around Week 9, and he should get some looks when he’s up to speed.
Bette Marston: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- The Bucs drafted Evans with the seventh overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft with plans to line him up across the field from Vincent Jackson. The former Manziel target had somewhat of a slow start to the season (and suffered a groin injury in Week 4 that kept him out the following week), but he’s progressively seen his receiving yards increase this season. The common denominator? Mike Glennon. Assuming the Bucs turn to Glennon over the injured Josh McCown (thumb) for the remainder of the season, fantasy owners should expect for Evans to continue to get looks.
Eric Single: Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks -- Thanks to the Percy Harvin trade, Richardson was on the field for over half of Seattle's offensive snaps in Week 7, and the second-round draft pick out of Colorado responded by catching all four of the passes thrown his way for 33 yards. He has just five catches all season, and the Seahawks' balanced offense can be a frustrating one to invest in at times, but Richardson's game-breaking speed makes him worth stashing on your bench until he settles into a more consistent role in the offense.