Fantasy Football rankings 2018: Rookie sleepers, breakouts, busts by top-rated expert who called Deshaun Watson's hot start

Knowing which rookies will will explode onto the NFL each year is key to winning any fantasy football league. Anybody who landed a rookie like Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt last year was well on their way to the playoffs. And before you project the next class of rookie sleepers, breakouts, and busts, you need to see the 2018 fantasy football rankings and projections from Dave Richard. When it comes to identifying the top rookies to target, there's no better expert to listen to.

The award-winning CBS Sports Senior Fantasy Writer was the first fantasy writer for NFL.com before moving to CBS Sports in 2006. Since then, he has crunched the numbers, studied the film, developed tiers and trade charts, previewed every NFL game, talked to the decision makers and earned multiple honors for doing so.

If you're already a CBS Sports Fantasy reader, you might know Richard as the guy who told you about Joe Mixon. If you listened to his advice, you were happy you did.

Mixon finished the season with 913 total yards and four touchdowns -- just 22 yards and two scores off Richard's preseason projection. 

Richard also projected early the huge rookie season Christian McCaffrey would have. He also said Deshaun Watson would be the No. 1 rookie QB in the league, and to stay clear of Patrick Mahomes, who wouldn't get a chance in Year 1 in Kansas City. He was right on both counts.

Now Richard has released his introduction to the Class of 2018, offering projected statistics and when to draft the top players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. He's sharing it early over at SportsLine.

We can tell you Richard is eyeing Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones, a rookie out of USC who will likely lead Tampa Bay's backfield.

"Easily the best running back on the Buccaneers' roster, Jones should hog carries and targets in an offense with an improved O-line," Richard told SportsLine. "Dirk Koetter's offense ranked in the top 10 in rush attempts in two of the last three seasons and should become more stable and efficient with Jones."

Richard is projecting over 1,000 yards on the ground for the rookie, almost 250 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns. He's also expecting him to still be available in the fourth round in many standard fantasy football leagues, so he's a rookie you should be all over.

Richard also says Derrius Guice will have huge season with the Redskins.

"With one draft pick, Jay Gruden wiped out all the rushing woes from the past three seasons and cemented an aggressive runner with very good speed and cutting skills as his primary running back," Richard says. "Guice figures to give way to Chris Thompson in passing situations ... but that doesn't change the outlook of a rookie more than qualified to notch Washington's first 1,000-yard rushing season since Alfred Morris in 2014."

He's also identified a rookie quarterback that should be starting by midseason and will explode as soon as he's under center. A late pick on this QB could give your team the push it needs to a playoff berth or championship. 

So which of the Class of 2018 is worth your draft pick, and when? And which rookie QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs are better to avoid? Visit SportsLine now to see Dave Richard's coveted introduction to the Class of 2018, all from the acclaimed Fantasy Football expert who was all over Deshaun Watson's hot start!

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