For my Week 8 fantasy flex rankings, I've decided it is time to talk about rookies. Yes, those bright shiny objects we all get excited about during the preseason only to two months later end up trading for 25 cents on the dollar.
Maybe it's because I've aged 30 years in the last 15, but I generally get less excited about rookies than most fantasy players. It's not that I don't like rookies, and I think there are plenty of exceptions. And I prefer keeper and dynasty leagues to standard redraft leagues because it elevates rookies and younger players. But can we at least let these players play a professional game before we invest in them heavily? Which is another thing — head coaches don't seem to like rookies as much as we fantasy players do. But around midseason, things begin to change.
And even if I don't spend major draft capital on rookies, I begin to like rookies more than the other experts do. We can see it in my flex rankings for Week 8. I've got Jonathan Taylor in the No. 6 spot overall. Or consider that I have Brandon Aiyuk 22 spots higher than the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings). I've touted him so many times this year, I am reluctant to say anything here. But Aiyuk has shown a decent floor the last three weeks for what is often a fantasy's team fourth or fifth WR choice. And I know he's not a rookie, but I've got tight end Jonnu Smith more than 30 spots ahead of the ECR. And I'll admit it, I was wrong on him this season, but he's been a revelation in his fourth year and I'm loving him this week.
I also was wrong about the Baltimore backfield. I thought the Ravens were going give Mark Ingram at least 20 touches a game, but it's been a three-headed monster so far this year. However, with Ingram likely out this week, I think we see a big game from their second-round draft pick, J.K. Dobbins. He showed his potential upside the first week of the season when he scored not just once but twice. The Ravens have a tough matchup against the Steelers this week, but coming off a bye the rested Ravens should control the game and Dobbins will be part of the reason.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Houston, Jacksonville, Washington
NFL Flex Rankings: Week 8
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens Photos, courtesy of baltimoreravens.com)