With this seasons addition of seemingly a million NFL rookies, there are now 49 (!!!) Buckeyes suiting up in the pros. Of those, 17 play fantasy football draftable positions; nine wide receivers, four running backs, three tight ends and a place kicker (Nuuuugee).
Using ESPN projections, here's a look at the former Buckeyes who could be valuable to any fantasy football owner.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys: Currently ranked 4th among all running backs in the league, the rookie is set to take on a majority of the work load for the Cowboys this fall. As a three-down back, he is looking at a 1,200-plus yard season, which will make him one of the top choices come fantasy draft day.
- 2016 Projection: 279.5 ATT, 1241.3 YDS, 8.6 TDS and 432.5 YDS receiving.
Will Elliott be the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2016?
Carlos Hyde, 49ers: Currently ranked 13th among all running backs, the third year player is hoping for a full, healthy season in 2016.
- 2016 Projection: 262 ATT, 1043.2 YDS, 6.8 TDS and 261.9 YDS receiving.
Will Hyde’s production increase in a Chip Kelly offense?
- Boom Herron is back with the Buffalo Bills after spending the better part of two years swapping roster spots with the Bills and Colts. With LeSean McCoy aging (and coming off a season-filled with injuries) the team might give Herron a roster spot, but he isn’t worth drafting until his usage has been established.
- Rod Smith is still a running back for the Dallas Cowboys — who now have Ezekiel Elliott — who probably wont split carries, often.
Michael Thomas, Saints: Currently No. 43 among all receivers in the league, a lot is already expected from the rookie in New Orleans. The offense has struggled the past couple of seasons, but the team has already commented on the chemistry of Thomas and Brees being reminiscent
- 2016 Projection: 101.9 TAR, 62.6 REC, 807.5 YDS and 5.9 TDS
Can Thomas becoming Drew Brees’ No. 1 target by the end of the season?
Ted Ginn Jr., Panthers: Currently ranked 74th among all receivers, Ginn found a nice rhythm with quarterback Cam Newton on their Super Bowl run and is expected to have a bigger work load in 2016.
- 2016 Projection: 61.4 TAR, 30.3 REC, 446.4 YDS and 3.1 TDS
Will Ginn finally be known as more than just a special teams guru?
Devin Smith, Jets: The second year player is still a bit of a mystery. Sidelined most of his rookie season, his value as a deep threat hasn’t been established with the Jets, and he hasn’t shown the kind of understanding to excel on special teams yet, either. With both Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall out-ranking him, he’s currently ranked 75th among receivers in the league.
- 2016 Projection: 42.4 TAR, 21.6 REC, 323.3 YDS and 2.4 TDS
Can Smith finally show the league his deep threat potential?
Braxton Miller, Texans: Ranked No. 81 among receivers, he might not have as much experience at the wideout position as others, but his instincts from his years as a quarterback give the rookie a bit of an advantage both at predicting defenses and with route-running. While not an immediate starter, Miller is expected to see playing time, and if he’s as electric as he was in college, could see his production increase throughout the season.
- 2016 Projection: 48.4 TAR, 31.9 REC, 335.9 YDS and 1.7 TDS
Will Miller the NFL receiver find as much success as Miller the college quarterback?
Corey Brown, Panthers: Ranked No. 97 preseason, Brown had a tendancy to lose track of the ball last season, but fortunately it didn’t hurt the teams trek to the Super Bowl. Near the end of the season and in the playoffs, Brown showed his worth with consistent catches and yards after the catch to make him a valuable target for Cam Newton this fall.
- 2016 Projection: 40.9 TAR, 23.9 REC, 339.7 YDS and 2.3 TDS
Is this the year Corey Brown shows everybody he can catch the ball consistently?
- Evan Spencer is another second year receiver looking for his breakout moment. Currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Spencer hasn’t seen playing time, but could work his way onto the 53-man roster with a good training camp performance.
- Terrelle Pryor is projected to contribute for the Browns about as much as he did in 2015 -- not much. He has a better shot of seeing playing with Hue Jackson at the helm, but unless his on-field production drastically changes, he isn’t someone who will give fantasy owners consistently good numbers.
- DeVier Posey has bounced from team-to-team over the past few seasons, landing in Denver during the offseason. Whether he makes the roster for the defending Super Bowl champions is yet to be decided, but with a new quarterback and new receivers, this could be Posey’s last chance to show his value.
- Jalin Marshall is expected to see some playing time on special teams, but with the uncertainty about his usage on offense, taking the Buckeye early on in fantasy football season wouldn’t be the best move.
Jeff Heuerman, Broncos: The second year player may have been sidelined his entire rookie season, but he is the only player to have earned both a National Championship and Super Bowl ring. He may not have Peyton Manning at quarterback anymore, but that could lend well to more targets being split between him and Owen Daniels.
- 2016 Projection: 63.9 TAR, 39.6 REC, 423.9 YDS and 2.9 TDS
Will Heuerman live up to the expectations of the Broncos front office?
Nick Vannett, Seahawks: The rookie is expected to see some playing time during the 2016 season, with coaches lauding the Buckeye’s catching ability -- which wasn’t often displayed at Ohio State — but they are still waiting to see what he can do blocking-wise once they get into pads before committing to his work load. Vannett could end up a solid mid-season pick up depending on how his relationship with Russell Wilson grows, especially with the Seahawks’ running a multiple-tight end system.
- 2016 Projection: 8.9 TAR, 6.2 REC, 68.8 YDS and 0.7 TDS
Can Vannett make it into the starting lineup by season’s end?
- Jake Stoneburner spent 2015 going from the practice squad to the active roster for the Miami Dolphins, but with elgibility for the practice squad about over, he’ll need to earn a roster spot during offseason training.