Being a rookie in the NFL is hard. Every year there are rookie players who take most of the season to catch up to the speed of the NFL and make an impact. Last season, RBs Jonathan Taylor and Cam Akers are great examples of this. Both earned a feature role late in the season and helped fantasy owners win their championships.
This season hasn’t quite seen the rookie fantasy impact of 2020 (outside of Ja’Marr Chase and Najee Harris). This does make it ripe for late year breakouts that will help carry your team in the fantasy playoff. Here are 3 players to target in trades and stash away for that late season run.
1. Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
Javonte was in the same tier as Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, but going in Round 2 to a Broncos team already with Melvin Gordon soured people a bit. They are splitting snaps about 50/50 right now, but there are signs that Javonte may be the guy late in the season. He is handling most of the pass-catching work at this point and looks the part of a stud RB.
Similar to Taylor and Akers, Williams is gaining the trust of the coaching staff and on a path to being a key part of the offense. If you can trade for him on the cheaper end as an RB2, he should put up RB1 numbers for the fantasy playoffs.
2. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
After having groin surgery, Bateman is back for the Ravens and starting to showcase his versatility as a weapon. Playing clear snaps as the #2 WR for the team, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are throwing more and more as the season goes along.
Bateman is talented and was my first round pick for my 2021 Dream Draft. He is building a rapport with Jackson to get more volume and deeper passes. If this trajectory continues, Bateman should be a solid WR2 for your fantasy team by the time the fantasy playoffs roll around and the Ravens are competing for the #1 seed in the AFC.
3. Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets
Not many want a Jets player on their fantasy team, but Carter had a break out performance after Zach Wilson went down with an injury. QB Mike White peppers Carter with targets leading to 9 for the game with 8 catches.
Carter’s snap count has also been on the rise and hit a season high 72% against the Patriots. It seems as if the coaching staff finally understands he is the best back on the roster and one of their best weapons. Though Ty Johnson is still sniping goal line carries, Carter could start to get those as well late in the season. Look for sneaky RB2 numbers in the fantasy playoffs.