Bowl players with fantasy potential

Johnny Manziel's running ability could make him a fantasy stud. Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to starting rookies, fantasy football owners are a lot like NFL head coaches in that they by and large tend to avoid putting those players in their lineups.

Those owners will make exceptions when the rookie in question has the kind of upside potential that could make them the next Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, A.J. Green or Eddie Lacy, four players who had huge fantasy football impacts in their respective rookie seasons.

Candidates of that caliber are few and far between, but this year's draft has more than its share of contenders, with the majority stepping into the national spotlight over the next few weeks during the bowl season.

Here's a look at five players participating in upcoming bowl games who could be future fantasy stars.

Note that each player's fantasy value will depend on a number of factors, including their pro team's offensive system and position depth chart. For this exercise, we utilized Todd McShay's recent NFL Mock Draft for a better sense of where they could land and how they project.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Aggies

Bowl appearance: The Aggies play Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Manziel often gets compared with Russell Wilson and that is an evaluation that definitely can draw fantasy owners' attention, given that Wilson ranks tied for seventh in fantasy quarterback points after 15 weeks of the 2013 season (237), and ended the 2012 season ranked 11th in points (259), just five points away from placing in the top 10.