Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Hopefully you were luckier than I was last week and weren't saddled with both Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas's soul crushing fantasy let downs. Hopefully you survived another week. The rookies played a huge role last week, especially guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans. Martavis Bryant wasn't too shabby either, recording the longest play from scrimmage of the season. So which rookies are worth trusting with everything on the line again this week? Let's dive in and find out...
Rookies to Start:
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 15: vs. Cin.): Crowell had a passable fantasy day in week 14, finding the end zone for the 8th time in his rookie campaign, but again he split the workload fairly evenly with Terrance West. There's some risk to starting Crowell as long as West is around, but he's still the better option of the duo, and the threat of Johnny Manziel running should open up all kinds of running lanes for the Crow. I'd feel comfortable firing him up as an RB2 against a Bengals' defense that allows the 4th most points to opposing RBs.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 15: vs. Was.): This one isn't rocket science. He's got 90+ yards in 6 straight games and 3 TDs in his last 3 games. The Redskins' defense has been burned repeatedly this year, and Beckham will likely burn them multiple times this week. He's got WR1 upside.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 15: @Car.): Evans continued to show off his considerable talents in week 14, catching 2 TDs against the stingy Lions' secondary. Carolina's defense is not nearly as stingy, and Evans has 8 TDs over the last 6 games. I expect he finds the end zone again this week, and there is no reason he should be on your bench.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 15: vs. TB): Although KB has been thoroughly inconsistent, he remains a solid WR2. There's a lot of boom or bust potential, but Benjamin scores touchdowns so often you'd have to have elite options to play instead in order to sit Kelvin this week. He burned Tampa for a 6-92-1 line the first time these teams faced off.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 15: @Atl.): Bryant is a boom or bust play as usual, but the arrow is pointing way up this week. The Falcons just got shredded by the Packers' pass attack on Monday night, and they are one of the five worst defenses in the league against fantasy wideouts. Bryant only needs one big play to be worth a lineup spot, and there's a good chance he gets that this week.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 15: vs. Dal.): Matthews didn't do much last week against the Seahawks, but that's because Mark Sanchez threw for less than 100 yards against an incredible defense. Things should be better this week. He caught 4 balls for 51 yards and a TD when the Eagles went to Dallas on Thanksgiving, and I wouldn't be surprised if he exceeds that stat line this week. The Dallas defense will look like a college team in comparison to the defense the Eagles just faced.
QB Johnny Manziel, CLE (WK. 15: @Cin.): Johnny Football has finally gotten the nod to start at QB for the Browns. The Manziel era has arrived! Should we be excited for his first start? The jury's still out on that. He will face a tough passing defense, but his running ability will give him the chance to put together an okay fantasy day. It's almost impossible to predict how Manziel is going to do, but if you feel like rolling the dice as a low end QB2, there's certainly upside.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 15 vs. Ari.): Mason runs into a brutal matchup with the Cardinals, at least on paper, but the Cards' D has softened against the run over the past 2 weeks. Jamaal Charles and washed up Steven Jackson both had strong days against them. Mason should be a strong bet for 60+ yards and should be on the RB2 radar.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 15: vs. Cle.): This week is a must win game for the Bengals, and if they're smart, they'll force feed the ball to Hill. The Browns' biggest weakness is their run defense, and Joe Haden has consistently gotten the better of A.J. Green. Hill saw a near even split of the carries with Gio Bernard just a week after questioning OC Hue Jackson's play calling. He still averaged over 5 yards per carry on his touches while Bernard had just 17 yards on 6 carries. Hill is at least a reasonable flex-play, but if the Bengals run the ball as much as they should, Hill could end up a high end RB2.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 15: @Cin.): He doesn't have nearly the upside that Crowell does this week, but as long as West is seeing close to half the carries, he still has flex appeal. The threat of Manziel's running will open up lanes for West the same as it will for Crowell.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 15: vs. Was.): Williams is coming off his best game as a pro, but that was against the awful Titans. The Redskins are awful as well, but they are stout against the run. If Jennings is expected to be out or extremely limited again, Williams will have some low-end flex appeal, but I wouldn't expect nearly the output he managed in week 14. I'd expect 60-70 yards and a TD to be his ceiling this week if he gets the start, but it's sounding like Jennings might be close to full strength for this one. Pay attention to the updates throughout the week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 15: vs. GB): Watkins finally got back on track last week, even if a lot of the damage came in garbage time as the Bills scrambled to make it close. The Bills' offense had little to no downfield passing game for the few weeks before the Broncos game, but they should again have ample garbage time against the Packers' juggernaut offense. Watkins has shown himself to be a risky play of late, but he has a ton of upside as a WR3 this week.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 15: @NE): It's a tough matchup this week with the Pats' formidable corners, but he's had 5+ catches and 40+ yards in each of his past 6 games. I'd expect that to be the floor again this week, which makes him a high floor, low upside WR3 in PPR this week.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (Wk. 15: vs. Hou.): Moncrief has a chance to blow up over the next few games. Reggie Wayne may have a torn tricep, and he might be shut down for the rest of the season before long. Moncrief is already ahead of Hakeem Nicks on the depth chart, playing 50 snaps to Nicks's 18. Even if Wayne plays this week, Moncrief has killer upside against the worst defense in the league against WRs. If Reggie sits, Donte has WR2 upside the rest of the way this season.
WR Marqise Lee, JAX (Wk. 15: @Bal.): Lee has settled in as a PPR WR3 in each of the past 2 weeks, and now gets to face a battered Ravens' secondary that has allowed 26.5 points per game to opposing WRs, tied with the Texans for most in the NFL. Lee should again be a solid WR3 option in PPR leagues, and should be in standard leagues with 12+ teams as well.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 15: @Det.): Bridgewater has finally showed the ability to produce in plus matchups, putting up 2 TDs in 4 straight games and just eclipsed 300 yards passing against the Jets in week 14. Unfortunately for Teddy, he gets to face the Lions this week. The first time around, he threw for just 188 yards, no TDs and 3 picks, and that was at home. This one's in Detroit. I wouldn't expect a much improved performance.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 15: @KC): Carr put up his second game of the season with 3+ TDs last week, and it was something no one saw coming. I don't expect a repeat this week. The Chiefs will be itching to get their hands on Carr in Arrowhead after what happened when the teams met in Oakland. Carr will struggle to get going in this one. There's no reason to trust Carr at Arrowhead.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 15: vs. NYJ): To put it simply, you can do better. Sankey's role has actually been shrinking of late, and I don't expect the trend to reverse this week against the stout Jets' defense. Sankey hasn't made himself much of a part of the passing game, and he'd be hard pressed to approach 50 yards on the ground.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 15: @Ind.): Blue vultured a TD from Arian Foster last week, but there's no reason to get excited. He gained just 15 yards on 9 carries against a bad defense. At this point he's nothing more than a Foster handcuff.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 15: @Car.): There just aren't enough touches coming his way to trust him with your season on the line this week. He got a season-low 6 touches against the Lions, and I'm not sure he'll see much more than that this week. He's topped 50 yards just once, and there is no reason to expect that to change this week.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 15: @Det.): McKinnon hasn't played in a couple weeks, but I'd expect him to suit up this week [Editor's Note: McKinnon has since been placed on IR]. It doesn't mean there's a place for him in your lineup. The Lions are the 3rd best defense in the league at limiting RB fantasy production, and there's no reason to think McKinnon will suddenly go off in his return from injury. He still hasn't scored a TD all year.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 15: @SD): Don't chase last week's stats with Thompson. Sure he had more rushing yards than C.J. Anderson, but he touched the ball just 5 times all game, and Anderson scored all 3 touchdowns. Expect Thompson's numbers to fall off a cliff this week.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 15: @Sea.): I was wrong when I thought Hyde would have a surprisingly good game when the 49ers hosted the Seahawks at Levis Stadium. I won't make the same mistake as the 49ers head to Seattle. The 'Hawks are a different animal at home, and have been dominant of late on the defensive side of the ball. I wouldn't risk playing Hyde in any format.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 15: @Buf.): Adams predictably came back to earth after a huge game in prime time against New England. As long as Jordy and Cobb are able to get open, Davante is left fighting for scraps. The Bills are a slight upgrade at corner from what Atlanta offered. but they aren't in the same league as the Pats. Expect another quiet day for Adams unless he finds paydirt.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 15: @StL.): Brown was held catchless on 4 targets last week, and I'm not optimistic about his outlook this week either. He does his best work on the deep ball, but Stanton will need time to throw deep, and I doubt he gets it against the Rams' ferocious pass rush. St. Louis has the 7th most sacks in the NFL (35), and all but one of them have come since week 7. The odds of Brown getting loose for a deep one are really not good.
TEs Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk.15: @Ten.), Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 15: @Car.), and Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 15: vs. Min.): Not one rookie TE is worth playing this week. Amaro still hasn't been cleared from his concussion and ASJ is uncertain with injury this week as well. I wouldn't have any faith that they'll even play, and even less that they produce if the do. Ebron, meanwhile, has been putting up between 20 and 30 scoreless yards each week. This week he faces off with the Vikings, who allow less than 5 TE fantasy points per week. There's no reason to expect a breakout.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 15: @Bal.): Bortles has quietly cut down on his interceptions, throwing just 4 picks in his last 5 games after averaging 2 per game over the first 6 contests, and he's also continued to give his numbers a boost with his legs, averaging 28 yards per game on the ground. This week he gets a really brutal Ravens' secondary, and is a solid bet to throw multiple TDs for just the 3rd time all year. He's certainly risky, but if you're desperate this week for a QB2, you could certainly do worse.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. vs. Jax.): ZoBot finally got back into the mix in the Ravens' running game last week, and there's a decent chance they play from ahead in this one. It would have to be a really deep league to give Taliaferro a try this week, but there is upside for 50+ yards and a TD if things break right.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 14: @Bal.): Hurns makes it a trio of sleepers in the Jags-Ravens game. I mentioned that the Ravens' secondary is really bad, and Hurns has shown the ability to get deep for scores (at least in a couple games). There is a ton of risk in playing Hurns, but he's got great upside if you're really desperate. He could be a really fun option in daily leagues or if your out of the playoffs and your league still does a high score pool each week.
That's all I've got for this week. Hopefully it helps secure you a spot in the championship. Be extra dilligent in staying on top of injury updates this week and double check the lineup before the games get started. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It's just a game.
Welcome to the article geared to winning the Fanduel Sunday Million. This week I've made heavy picks around two games that I expect to be fantasy gold mines (Steelers/Falcons and Bears/Saints). Good luck gamblers!
QB – Matt Ryan, ATL ($7,900): Going on the cheaper side for my quarterback selection this week. Ryan goes up against a Steelers defense giving up the 4th most passing touchdowns to opposing QBs so expect him to toss a few in the air to White and Douglas.
RB – Justin Forsett, BAL ($7,700): Forsett has a great match up against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense giving up the 3rd most rushing touchdowns in the league and 130.3 yards per game. Expect some involvement from Forsett in the passing game this week too.
RB – Jonathan Stewart, CAR ($6,700): It looks like DeAngelo Williams will be sitting out another week which leaves Stewart to get the bulk of the carries against a Tampa Bay defense near the bottom of the league against opposing running backs. Great volume play for the price here.
WR – Antonio Brown, PIT ($9,100): This is a dream matchup here, the top fantasy wide receiver going up against a Falcons defense giving up the most yards per game to opposing wide receivers. Should be a huge day for Brown which should compliment my QB pick of Ryan if this turns into a high scoring affair.
WR – Roddy White, ATL ($7,000): Julio Jones should be sitting out on Sunday which gives White a huge boost in value. Besides that I love this play complimented with the aforementioned Ryan and Brown.
WR – Marquess Wilson, CHI ($4,500): With Brandon Marshall out for the season Wilson will step in as the number two receiving option on a pass happy Chicago Bears team. He will face a terrible Saints defense ranking near the bottom of the league against the pass so this play has a ton of upside for the price.
TE – Jimmy Graham, NO ($6,900): Graham has posted back to back terrible weeks but this should be where he gets back on track playing a Bears defense ranked 28th against the pass.
K – Steven Hauschka, SF ($5,200): The matchup of Seattle/San Fran should be dominated by defense which means great field goal opportunities from both clubs. I like taking the home team kicker on this one.
DEF – Kansas City Chiefs ($4,900): The Chiefs get a plus match up playing at home against an Oakland Raiders team that turns the ball over the 3rd most in the league.
After a pretty dismal week 2 (silver lining – I’m sure everyone had an off week) we come roaring back only missing two games in week 3! You’re welcome!
That’s what makes the NFL so exciting! It’s going to be a 17-week roller coaster leading up to what always ends up being an exciting four weeks of playoffs. Drama! Let’s keep it rolling though. Unlike your typical roller coaster, the ups on this ride are a lot more fun than the downs!
Week 4 – HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN ALL CAPS)
15 – ARIZONA over St Louis – The Cardinals are a legit threat in the NFC this year. Get used to seeing them this early in my posts.
14 – ATLANTA over Houston – Keep an eye on the Arian Foster situation here. If he doesn’t play than the Falcons will roll. If he plays, Atlanta will still win but I would drop them down considerably.
13 – INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville – OK Colts – I’ve been singing your praises all year! The last time I had you this high you broke my heart and lost at home to the Jets. But come on, this is the Jaguars we’re talking about!
12 – SAN DIEGO over Cleveland – Reports are that there is an internal struggle with many Browns upset that Johnny Manziel isn’t the starter. This distraction is something Cleveland doesn’t need to deal with right now. Oh, and a very large lack of talent…that won’t help either.
11 – BUFFALO over New York Giants – So remember how I spent the first week or two talking about how the Dolphins were going to be a sleeper AFC East contender this year? Well, switch all that over to the Bills!
10 – SEATTLE over Detroit – The word going around is that all three teams the Lions have played have known their plays. If the Seahawk defense has that added to its arsenal, they’ll easily be able to round out consecutive dominant wins against the cellar of the NFC North.
9 – CINCINNATI over Kansas City – The Ben Roethlisberger injury is a golden opportunity for the Bengals to lock in their hold on the top of the AFC North. Hard to see them passing up that chance.
8 – Green Bay over SAN FRANCISCO – The big story coming out of their Monday night win was how perfect Aaron Rodgers is at home. Well, he’s not all that bad on the road either.
7 – DENVER over Minnesota – Peyton is starting to get back into his Peyton groove. That can be scary for the AFC.
6 – Oakland over CHICAGO – The fire sale is underway in Chicago. Keep an eye on it – as more big names leave the Bears keep bumping this game up your list. Especially since…the Raiders…MIGHT be legit???
5 – PITTSBURGH over Baltimore – The Ravens are coming to Pittsburgh at the right time with the Ben Roethlisberger injury. Won’t be enough though – they start the year 0-4.
4 – Carolina over TAMPA BAY – Cam Newton has turned things around quickly and have the Panthers undefeated. Not much should change when going up against Jameis Winston.
3 – NEW ORLEANS over Dallas – This would have been an exciting game a few weeks ago. Take away Drew Brees, Dez Bryant and Tony Romo and NBC is left wishing that they can starting flexing games out early…Bengals/Chiefs would look pretty good under the prime-time lights.
2 – Miami over New York Jets (game played in London) – I look at this game at want to say that my bold prediction would be that the loser stays in London…buuuuuut pretty sure that won’t happen. So I’ll just say after being the pre-season darlings, even with the win this week, my BOLD PREDICTION for this week is that THE DOLPHINS WILL FINISH LAST IN THE AFC EAST.
1 – WASHINGTON over Philadelphia – The Redskins have firmly set their place in the group of “if you think they will win, put them on the one line” teams. Congrats Jacksonville, you have a friend!
We’re a quarter of the way through the season. Now is the time that off-season questions are answered and we have an idea of what we can expect from this season. Which teams will be at the top of the league, which teams will be at the top of the draft board next year and what teams will be comfortably in the middle?
Don’t worry though – this is the NFL! Nothing is really predictable! (As proven by some of last week’s outcomes).
Week 5 – HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN ALL CAPS)
14 – GREEN BAY over St. Louis – Yes, the Rams did spoil our top line game last week, but this is in Lambeau. Different story. Aaron Rodgers won’t let what happened to the Cardinals last week happen in his house.
13 – ATLANTA over Washington – The Falcons seem to be turning things around. After a couple years of mediocrity at best, the Falcons look prime to make run to return to the playoffs. This week’s BOLD PREDICTION is that THE FALCONS WILL WIN THE NFC SOUTH.
12 – NEW YORK GIANTS over San Francisco – The Giants are taking advantage of the depleted Cowboys. Look for them to make a statement against the struggling Niners.
11 – KANSAS CITY over Chicago – The Bears showed some signs of life last week. That should be short-lived with a trip to Arrowhead.
10 – BALTIMORE over Cleveland – Baltimore lucked into their first win of the season in Pittsburgh last week. Lucky for them they get a visit from the lowly Browns. The Ravens should be able to enjoy their first legit win this week.
9 – PHILADELPHIA over New Orleans – Well this would have been a great game in the off-season! Now, the Eagles are at home so that gives them the edge.
8 – Buffalo over TENNESSEE – After years of waiting, this week 5 win 15 years later will finally accept the Music City Miracle! Right?
7 – SAN DIEGO over Pittsburgh – The week ends with an intriguing Monday night game. If Roethlisberger was playing, then the Steelers win this game. Unfortunately, Michael Vick showed that he is not the quarterback that the Pittsburgh offense needs.
6 – CINCINNATI over Seattle – Game of the week by far! This has an outside chance of being this year’s Super Bowl matchup! Lucky for the Bengals this one will be played at home.
5 – New England over DALLAS – This was billed as the Eastern Illinois Bowl in the pre-season with a potential Tony Romo vs Jimmy Garoppolo battle. Instead we get the opposite Tom Brady vs Brandon Weeden. Sorry Cowboys, you’re struggles without Dez and Romo continue this week.
4 – Denver over OAKLAND – Pump the brakes on the Raiders. They showed last week that they still aren’t there yet. Though the last time I said that they won at home against Baltimore. Hope is the only reason that this game isn’t higher on our list.
3 – Arizona over DETROIT – The Cardinals losing at home to the Rams may be the most surprising outcome of the year. I can see them looking to take some aggression out on the seemingly confused Lions.
2 – TAMPA BAY over Jacksonville –The state of Florida has three NFL teams…and not an ounce of entertaining football.
1 – HOUSTON over Indianapolis – It took overtime for the Colts to beat the Jaguars…at home. If Luck still isn’t 100%, it’s hard to see the Colts win this game.