Rookies: Ryan Mathews, then the others

Updated: September 3, 2010, 2:44 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
Rookies were not put on this fantasy football earth just to disappoint you. I'd say conservatively that four out of five first-year players that get selected in 10- or 12-team drafts don't come close to living up to expectations. But that "fifth guy" can really boost your team, and over the past few seasons, quite a few rookies have done well, such as Matt Ryan, Matt Forte and DeSean Jackson. It's just that the list of failures often outshine them.

The honest truth: You won't find many of the rookies below on my fantasy teams, or many unproven young players in general. I'm conservative. If I see Hines Ward and Michael Crabtree each sitting there in Round 5, I'd go with Ward, the safe, established veteran. However, I realize that a few rookies on the list below -- and maybe a few not on the list -- will emerge this season and help fantasy teams in relation to their draft value. Note that last part: Of course I would draft Jahvid Best … just not in Round 4.