Rankings: Top 35 rookies for 2012

Whether it's for keeper leagues or single-season leagues, rookie rankings/thoughts tend to be in high demand, and not just the high-profile options. So here are my rookie rankings for fantasy, with no cornerbacks or linemen here. I'm also omitting the kickers. If I ranked the rookies simply by projected standard scoring, we'd probably find that new Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, for example, might outscore every first-year wide receiver and all but two running backs. You know where to draft the kickers anyway, right? Right?!?

Here are my top rookies for 2012. This is in a vacuum, of course, because I can't possibly know your individual needs by team. Note that most of the players below are not immediately relevant in standard formats. In fact, even the ones who are worth looking at are likely overrated right now. Only one rookie running back (Knowshon Moreno) the past three seasons has finished that season in the top 20 at his position. The quarterbacks will make many mistakes; the wide receivers are unreliable. Here are my top rookies, noting I did not include those who missed their first year due to injury, such as Ryan Williams or Mikel Leshoure.

1. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns: Injury is my primary concern, not the offense around him. He should be a reasonable RB2, at least most of the time.

2. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: You'll soon see how much better he is than LeGarrette Blount. But they'll still share touches in September.

3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: Stop comparing him to Cam Newton. Still, he should run enough to be valuable. Long-term, I actually prefer the next fellow.

4. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: I could see 4,000 passing yards and 22 scores (plus 18 picks) this year. After all, the Colts will be trailing a lot. My personal gap between Luck and Griffin is not large.

5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Immensely talented, but the Jaguars don't have a strong offense, especially without a certain holdout.

6. Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans: You don't think Kenny Britt plays 16 games, do you?

7. David Wilson, RB, New York Giants: He's "Ahmad Bradshaw injury" insurance.

8. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: Upside pick, but hardly a safe one. Still, it does appear I'm buying in. And really, we're talking a borderline top-20 fantasy quarterback here.

9. Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis Rams: And he's Steven Jackson insurance. I don't expect Jackson to have a poor season or miss multiple games, though.

10. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns: Well, unlike the others, he's not young. Doesn't have many weapons, either.

11. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: He is young, and also has few weapons.

12. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears: It's not far-fetched that he plays a key role alongside Brandon Marshall.

13. Coby Fleener, TE, Colts: One legit concern is that the team has another rookie tight end in Dwayne Allen it intends to use plenty as well. Fleener played with Luck in college, and should catch touchdown passes.

14. Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks: I happen to like Marshawn Lynch more than most, but Turbin is next in line there if you want to handcuff.

15. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants: It's not like Mario Manningham, last year's No. 3 WR for the Giants, was all that productive.

16. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: With this quarterback situation? Yikes!

17. Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets: How about this QB situation? Double yikes!

18. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: If anyone else was his coach, would we even bother?

19. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: If Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas can't hack it, which is certainly possible, Miller is ready to step in.

20. Brian Quick, WR, Rams: Possesses size and speed, but I'm still iffy on Sam Bradford.

21. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Looks to be getting a chance; underrated prospect.

22. LaMichael James, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Talented, but he's not next in line behind Frank Gore.

23. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos: Willis McGahee insurance, in theory, but will Peyton Manning just throw all the time?

24. Chris Rainey, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Going out on a minor limb here, but there could be opportunity.

25. Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: We know Michael Vick isn't playing all 16 games. If he plays only eight, Foles is next.

26 Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders: Who? Hey, this Temple product is a sleeper with injuries to starters.

27. Chris Givens, WR, Rams: Big-time deep threat probably a year away from relevance. Could look like Torrey Smith soon.

28. LaVon Brazill, WR, Colts: Might be in right spot with injuries affecting others.

29. Keshawn Martin, WR, Houston Texans: Even if Andre Johnson goes down again, it's unlikely Martin shines.

30. Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Next in line after Ray Rice, and who knows, it could matter. Is anyone really safe?

31. Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles: Along those lines, if LeSean McCoy goes down, Brown could be better fit than smaller Dion Lewis.

32. Michael Egnew, TE, Dolphins: A potential name to know.

33. Cyrus Gray, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Speedster not likely to matter unless Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis get hurt, and even then ...

34. Michael Smith, RB, Buccaneers: Let's see if he makes the team.

35. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: More Luck depth.