Fantasy owners should watch these 10 rookies

Donald Brown. Michael Crabtree. Knowshon Moreno. Chris Wells.

We all know the big rookie names from the 2009 NFL Draft.

But as we’ve learned from the likes of Anquan Boldin, Michael Clayton and Terrell Davis in the past, it’s not always the big names that can make an impact on our fantasy teams.

Here’s a look at 10 lesser-known rookies to keep in the back of your mind this summer.

Glen Coffee against the Utah Utes during the 2009 Sugar Bowl. (Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

Glen Coffee against the Utah Utes during the 2009 Sugar Bowl. (Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

Ramses Barden, WR, N.Y. Giants: At 6-foot-6, Barden is a huge, physical target with good hands. Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith are the favorites to start next season, but the rest of the depth chart is all up for grabs. Barden is raw, but he could turn into a decent red-zone option for Eli Manning.

Andre Brown, RB, N.Y. Giants: Brown had injury issues during his time at the collegiate level, but he has the tools to make an impact at the NFL level. He’ll have a chance to compete with Ahmad Bradshaw and Danny Ware for the right to back up Brandon Jacobs next season.

Glen Coffee, RB, San Francisco: The 49ers don’t have a clear-cut backup for Frank Gore, so Coffee could turn into a viable fantasy handcuff. A hard-nosed runner out of Alabama, he will have late-round value in drafts if he can earn the second spot on the depth chart in training camp.

Chase Coffman, TE, Cincinnati: Coffman is a sure-handed tight end who should be allowed a chance to push Ben Utecht on the depth chart. He won’t be someone who warrants consideration in seasonal formats, but he’s could become a player to watch in the preseason.

James Davis, RB, Cleveland: Davis, a sixth-round pick out of Clemson, won’t push Jamal Lewis for a starting role in his rookie season. However, he could have some fantasy handcuff or long-term value (based on Lewis’ extended age) if he impresses the Browns coaching staff.

Jeremiah Johnson, RB, Houston: Johnson signed with the Texans as a free agent and could push Ryan Moats and Chris Brown for the second spot on the depth chart behind Steve Slaton. If he earns that role, he’ll be worth a late-round flier in larger leagues as a fantasy handcuff.

Shawn Nelson, TE, Buffalo: One of the highest-rated tight ends in the draft, Nelson fell into the fourth round but landed in nice situation with the Bills. He only needs to beat out veterans Derek Schouman and Derek Fine to earn a starting role. He could be a player to watch.

Brian Robiskie, WR, Cleveland: Robiskie was considered the most NFL-ready wide receiver in the 2009 rookie class, and he’s already the favorite to start opposite Braylon Edwards. The Browns won’t throw the football a ton, but Robiskie is still worth a late-round filer.

Bernard Scott, RB, Cincinnati: Scott’s collegiate numbers were ridiculous, but then again, so was his list of off-field incidents. Cedric Benson will remain the starter next season, but Scott could move up the depth chart if he can outshine Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey.

Frank Summers, RB, Pittsburgh: If Summers is able to make the 53-man roster, and there’s not a lot of room with Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore in the mix, he could turn into a short-yardage, touchdown vulture for the Steelers.

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