Welcome back to the Rookie Report. We’re all feeling the sting of bye weeks right now, but there were plenty of fill-in options that came up big last week. Martavis Bryant was at it again with another 2 TDs, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham had breakout games, and Jeremy Hill made people who had stashed him during the first half of the season feel really smart with a monster game in his first start. There should be plenty more rookies helping you survive the week 10 byes. Let’s take a look at what to expect this week…
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 10: vs. Cle.): As I just mentioned, the Bengals’ rook was excellent in his first start last week, piling up over 150 yards and 2 TDs. Gio will likely be out again. The Browns give up 140 rushing yards per game, 2nd most in the NFL behind only the Packers. Hill is a must-start with RB1 potential. If by some miracle Bernard plays, Hill would still see extended work and be at least a strong flex play.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 10: @Cin.): Cincinnati has allowed the 3rd most rushing yards in the league and the 6th most fantasy RB points. It looks like West is going to get the starter’s share of the work this week and for the immediate future, which makes him an RB2 this week. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be more successful than Tate’s been behind a line that has struggled since Alex Mack went down for the year. In this matchup, he’ll still be useful.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): Evans is coming off his best game as a pro, and gets the piss poor Falcons defense next. It’s the perfect scenario for a big follow-up game, except that Lovie Smith has made the decision to switch quarterbacks and return to Josh McCown. The change casts some questions for Evans’s outlook this week, but with so many byes this week he’s at least a WR3.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 10: @Phi.): Philly has one of the worst defenses in the league against WRs, allowing 25.6 points per game. The Panthers will have had 10 days to get ready for the Eagles, which is plenty of time to find ways to get Kelvin involved. The Eagles’ best CB plays in the slot, so there is a big chance for one of KB’s best game of the season. Get him in this week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 10: vs. KC): Kansas City is a pretty tough matchup, so don’t expect a repeat of what he did against the Jets, but he will continue to be the focal point of the Bills’ passing game and is a safe WR2 this week. Temper expectations, but fire him up again.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 10: @NYJ): It’s hard not to ride the hot streak while it lasts. Bryant has played just 3 games so far, and already has 5 TDs to show for it. He does have just 10 receptions in those games, so he’s a better option for standard leagues than PPR. The Jets’ secondary is atrocious and Big Ben is throwing smoke right now. Bryant is a solid WR3 this week and is a good bet for another TD.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 10: vs. Den.): Carr has slowly been rounding into form since Tony Sparano took charge, and he threw 2 TD in Seattle last week. This week’s game has a ton of blowout potential, so Carr should be throwing plenty. The Broncos allow the 5th most QB fantasy points and 2 TDs per game. Carr has some appeal as a low-end QB2.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 10: @Ari.): Mason has some flex appeal despite having a really tough matchup this week. There are still questions about his role in the offense since Jeff Fisher insisted that they will still employ a committee approach, but Mason has shown himself to clearly be the most talented back on the team. Over the last 3 weeks, Mason has had 46 touches, compared to 19 for Benny Cunningham and 8 for Zac Stacy. Fisher did mention before last week’s game that it should provide a little clarity into the running back situation, and Mason saw the lion’s share of the work. He should see the same going forward. His upside is limited this week, but could be a solid flex with so many byes.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 10: vs. Ten.): Zo’s fumble in week 9 certainly doesn’t help his outlook, but he should remain the clear number 2 behind Forsett. Against the Titans’ porous run D, that position has value. He should see 10+ touches this week and is always a threat for a red zone TD.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): The only reason Beckham isn’t a must-start is because he faces the Legion of Boom in Seattle. The Giants line Beckham up all over the field and I don’t expect Richard Sherman to shadow him. Odell is already becoming the go-to guy for the G-Men due to Rueben Randle’s inconsistency that was on full display on Monday night. Randle and Eli just seem to never be on the same page. Beckham is still a really decent flex option this week, but there’s always a risk when you take on the Seahawks.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 10: vs. SF): Cooks has settled in as a weekly boom-or-bust WR3 option, but he’s alternated good and bad weeks. He’s due for a good week, and SF has struggled against slot WRs over the last couple seasons. I think he’s a decent bet for 6+ catches this week and a solid option for PPR leagues.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): In his worst game since week 1, Robinson was still targeted 8 times. His role isn’t diminishing. He remains a decent WR3 option each week. I’d expect a minor bounce back this week.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 10: vs. Chi.): Adams has hit 75 or more yards in 2 of his past 3 games and scored a TD in the other one, and he’s playing on almost every snap. He’s still a boom-or-bust WR3 option each week, but he’s been gaining consistency. He’s actually a pretty safe option this week with so many teams on byes.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 10: vs. Car.): The Panthers’ pass defense isn’t very good, but the Eagles’ pass catchers fight for scraps after Jeremy Maclin eats. Things might change a little bit with Mark Sanchez under center, but the scheme funnels targets to Maclin. Matthews has a high enough floor in PPR leagues to be a fill-in WR3 with the byes this week, but probably needs a TD to make you happy.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): The Cowboys have limited opposing passers all year by playing keep away with DeMarco Murray. The Cardinals put a stop to that last week by holding Murray in check, but the Jags likely won’t do the same, especially if Romo plays. Bortles just hasn’t been efficient enough to be a good play with limited opportunities.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Do you have any confidence in Bishop Sankey when he has a good matchup? I don’t, so why would I have any when he’s taking on the number 1 defense in the league against fantasy RBs? He’ll get work, but the Titans just don’t seem to have any idea how to get him going. I’m playing Sankey in one league because I simply have no other options, but I really don’t feel good about it. Sit him if you can.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): I’m not sure of Rashad Jennings’s status for this week, but even if he doesn’t play, I wouldn’t want to trot Williams out there. He hasn’t piled up yards, topping out at just 66 yards in any game this season. The Seahawks have allowed just 3 rushing scores on the year. I don’t think Williams gets one this week. If you play him, you’ll likely be disappointed.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 10: @Cin.): Crowell has become a forgotten man in the Cleveland backfield, even though coach Mike Pettine insists he isn’t in the doghouse. His decreased role seems a harsh punishment for one game where he struggled with ball security. Terrance West is unlikely to be much more effective than Ben Tate, so Crowell’s time may still be coming this year. He’s easily the most talented back on the roster and should be stashed if you have the space to do it.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 10: @NO): Hyde hasn’t had enough work to really merit a spot in your lineup, but his long term stock did get a bit of a bump this week with the announcement that Marcus Lattimore is retiring. The 49ers signed Kendall Hunter to a one-year extension to be the 3rd back, so Hyde is quickly looking like the obvious heir apparent to Frank Gore, who has to be approaching the end of his great career.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 10: vs. StL): I wasn’t big on Brown last week, thinking it was due to be a Michael Floyd week. It didn’t quite work out that way for Floyd, but Brown did have a miserable fantasy week. I feel the same way this week that Palmer will want to get Floyd going. The Rams do give up a lot of fantasy points to WRs, but I wouldn’t feel good about taking a chance on Brown this week.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): Don’t chase last week’s points. Hurns’s monster game in week 9 was an outlier, and it’s unlikely he repeats those numbers again this season. I’d expect a return to his normal production this week and would keep him benched.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 10: @Det.): Facing off with Detroit’s stingy D this week, this isn’t the time to get Landry in the lineup. He’s a low-end WR4 this week and is unlikely to make a big splash against the league’s best D vs. WRs.
WR Paul Richardson, SEA (Wk. 10: vs. NYG): Richardson has the tools to fill the Percy Harvin role, but it’s a boom-or-bust role that will bust more often than it booms. There are better options available.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 10: vs. Pit.): Considering that Amaro had ZERO targets in Michael Vick’s first start, it’s tough to have a lot of faith in a bounce back this week. Eventually they will build a rapport, but I don’t see it happening this week.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): After Mike Evans’s breakout game last week, the rookie wideout should garner more defensive attention this week, which could free up ASJ a bit more. With that said, Seferian-Jenkins caught just 1 of 3 targets last week for 3 yards, and the Falcons allow less than 5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. I wouldn’t roll the dice here.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Mett acquitted himself well in garbage time in his first start, and he might have some more garbage time again this week. The Ravens are the number 1 defense against RBs in fantasy, but they are in the bottom-10 against QBs. They have given up 263 pass yards per game on the year, and just lost their top corner Jimmy Smith for the year 2 weeks ago. Mett has some very sneaky upside this week in 2QB leagues.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): It’s hard to trust a guy that we haven’t seen play a regular season down, but the Bucs have talked up Sims a ton and the Falcons are the worst defense in the league against running backs. Sims will at the very least play on passing downs. It will take a leap of faith to play Sims, but he could be a week-winning flex play in this matchup.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 10: @Oak.): Ronnie Hillman didn’t have his best game last week against the Patriots, and Montee Ball might not be active for this game in his return from a groin injury. If Ball is out again, there is a ton of blowout potential in this game. Thompson could see extended run in garbage time against a defense that gives up 22 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. He’s already vulturing Hillman TDs, and he could steal a little more early game work after Hillman’s rough week 9.
WR Corey Washington, NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): Washington isn’t a consideration for this week, but considering the injury to Victor Cruz, and how clear it is that Rueben Randle and Eli are not on the same page, Corey’s role may grow before long. He’s certainly more talented than Preston Parker, and is a name to know if Randle continues to run the wrong routes and kill drives.
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL (Wk. 10: vs. Ten.): Gillmore is a better shot in the dark option than the other rookie tight ends this week if your starting TE is on bye. Look first for a Jared Cook or Joseph Fauria type, but the Ravens have a tight end friendly O and a plus matchup. Gillmore has to be getting more comfortable with his extended PT, and he did find the end zone last week.
Rookies on Byes: QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN, RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN, RB Branden Oliver, SD, RB Alfred Blue, HOU, WR Donte Moncrief, IND
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hope it helps. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! The season marches on another week, and the rookie WR crop spent that week showing off once again. Martavis Bryant, Jordan Matthews, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham and John Brown each found the end zone at least once, and the party isn’t likely to end for that group. With that said, let’s dive into what to expect from the rookie crop in week 11…
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 11: @NO): It’s being reported that Gio Bernard will be out yet again this week. Don’t be scared off by Hill’s lackluster performance last week. The Bengals abandoned the run far too early, and Hill was actually pretty effective when they were giving him the ball. I’d expect Cincy to get back to running the ball this week, and with Saints top corner Keenan Lewis likely out, the Bengals whole offense should run more smoothly. I expect Hill to get back into double-digit fantasy points against New Orleans.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Hou.): The Browns’ backfield situation is only slightly clearer than the ones in Denver and Buffalo right now, but the Texans are a bottom-10 defense against fantasy running backs and West is a very good bet to lead Cleveland in carries this week. He should be a mid-level RB2 this week with the Browns’ run-heavy scheme.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 11: vs. SF): Beckham has been a revelation since returning from his early season hamstring issues. He’s already established himself as Eli’s go-to-guy, and he’s put up 15+ points in each of the last 3 games. The matchup isn’t an easy one, but Beckham did just carve up the Seahawks’ vaunted secondary last week, even schooling Richard Sherman downfield with a double move for a big gainer. Beckham is an every week WR2 right now.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): Evans is quickly becoming the top option in the Tampa Bay offense, and it seems pretty clear that the switch to Josh McCown hasn’t hurt his output. After catching 4 balls each week for 5 games in a row, Evans has exploded for 7 catches each of the past 2 weeks with 125 and 124 yards respectively, and scored 3 TDs. It’s even more impressive when you factor in that he had a different starting QB each game. I’d expect the breakout to continue and see Evans as a safe WR2 this week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 11: @Mia.): Watkins is coming off a poor week 10 showing as he battled through a groin injury that was apparently worse than it seemed. Despite that, he’s practiced in full this week and he looks ready to roll against the ‘Phins. The matchup is tough. Brent Grimes has played like a true shutdown corner at times, but Sammy did torch Miami for an 8-117-1 line in their first matchup. I expect a bounce back from last week and see Sammy as right on the WR2/3 borderline this week.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 11: vs. Atl.): Obviously, Kelvin’s stat line last Monday was garbage time aided, but the stats still count the same. He’s still seeing a mountain of targets each week and gets to face off with a Falcons’ secondary that has allowed 23.6 points per game to opposing WRs. Even if KB winds up facing off with Atlanta’s top CB Desmond Trufant all day, I still like his chances for a TD and for double-digit fantasy points. Continue to trust him in your lineup.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 11: @GB): Believe in the connection between Matthews and the Sanchize. They’ve had a great chemistry since training camp, and Sanchez has already connected with J-Matt for 3 TDs in less than 2 full games at the helm. Maclin is still the clear number one WR on the Eagles, but Sanchez doesn’t take nearly as many deep shots as Foles used to, so Maclin’s numbers won’t be quite as steady as they’ve been and Matthews’s should continue to rise. Jordan should be a steady WR3 the rest of the way.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 11: @Ten.): The hot streak continued for Bryant last week despite the Steelers’ embarrassing loss. This week he gets the oft-burned Blidi Wreh-Wilson who should get burned some more. I wouldn’t bet against another Martavis TD this week. Keep putting him in the lineup and reaping the rewards.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 11: @Chi.): Teddy has had a reputation all year of coming up small in the best matchups. The Bears are a juicy one. They allow a league worst 20.8 points per game to opposing QBs. Despite his struggles in good matchups, I think this is the game where Teddy breaks through. The Bears’ defense is painfully predictable, and with Kyle Rudolph back, I think this will be Bridgewater’s first game with multiple passing TDs. I see him producing like a high-end QB2 Sunday.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 11: @Chi.): I hope McKinnon owners are ready to be frustrated again by Matt Asiata vulturing TDs from Jerick. The Bears’ defense has been terrible, so McKinnon should again have a strong yardage day (he’s averaged 83 yards from scrimmage in his past 3 games), but I don’t have a ton of confidence that he scores his first TD of the season. Chicago’s cover-3 defense limits the home run plays, so I would be surprised if McKinnon is able to break a long TD run.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 11: vs. Pit.): There is some good news for Bishop Sankey: he’s finally emerged from the Tennessee timeshare to be the clear featured back. The bad news: he’s still not scoring TDs. He hasn’t hit paydirt since week 2, and while the Steelers can be run on, I’m not sure I see the Titans keeping this game tight and being able to run it throughout. Are you going to be happy with 80 scoreless yards from a starting RB this week? If you are, fire up Bishop.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 11: vs. Den.): Mason faces another tough matchup this week, but he did manage 81 yards from scrimmage vs. the Cardinals last week. I wouldn’t bank on much more than what he did last week, but his role certainly puts him on the RB2/flex radar.
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 11: vs. Oak.): Ryan Mathews looks ready to go for week 11, but in a matchup with the Raiders, Oliver should still have some value. He should assume the old Danny Woodhead role as a change of pace and receiving back, and he did rattle off 124 total yards and a TD the last time he faced Oakland. He’s a reasonable roll of the dice flex option.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 11: vs. Cin.): Cooks has been very good in the Superdome, where he plays this week. He’s put up 90+ yards and a TD in each of his last 2 home tilts, but there is a little reason for hesitation since Cincy doesn’t give up a ton of points to opposing WRs. He should still be a safe WR3 in PPR leagues, and a little less safe in standard leagues.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): Landry remains a reasonable WR3 options in PPR leagues. He had a season-high 7 catches last week, and will continue to see a solid amount of targets each week. Ryan Tannehill still struggles to connect on the deep ball, and Landry makes his living on the short-to-intermediate stuff. He should continue to tally 5 or 6 catches just about every week.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 11: vs. Phi.): I have a hunch that Adams has a strong game this week. He was the only Packer who didn’t have a big night against the Bears, and I think Rodgers will look for Adams a bit more this week. Randall Cobb gets to tangle with Brandon Boykin, the Eagles’ toughest cover corner, which should help a few extra targets to go Davante’s way. I think he’s worth the risk as a WR3 this week, but there certainly is risk.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): There was a lot of hubbub about the switch from Mike Glennon to Josh McCown, but it seems to have worked in ASJ’s favor. McCown looked in the direction of Brandon Meyers quite a bit at the start of the year, and that tight end love has carried over to the rookie. ASJ caught 5 of 9 targets for 30 yards and a score last week. He makes a decent streaming play this week against a ‘Skins defense that has allowed 9 points per game to opposing TEs.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 11: @SD): Carr has been improving as the season has gone on, especially now that he’s found a safety valve in TE Mychal Rivera, but he’ll need some garbage time this week to have any QB2 appeal. The Chargers’ D hasn’t been as good as you might think, but since Andre Holmes disappeared (34 yards per game over the past 4), any chance of blowup games for Carr is pretty much off the table.
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 11: vs. Pit.): Like Carr, Mett doesn’t have that tough of a matchup, but I doubt he takes advantage. Pittsburgh has a history of making rookies uncomfortable with their blitzing schemes, and Mett won’t be immune to that. I wouldn’t be excited to start Mettenberger in a 2QB league.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Hou.): It’s impossible to trust that the workload will be there for Crowell this week. He did score a TD last week, but he also fumbled (it wasn’t actually a fumble and was overturned on replay review) and didn’t play another snap afterward. The last time he had ball control issues, he didn’t play for the next two weeks. I don’t know if he’ll be treated similarly this time around.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): I like Sims’s overall outlook, but I’m not a big fan of him for this week. He’s not getting the goal line work, and the ‘Skins are tough to run on in general. He should catch a few passes, but it likely won’t be enough to merit a spot in your lineup. His role will continue to grow, but he’s not a trustworthy start at this point.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk.11: vs. SF): This is an easy call. Rashad Jennings is expected to start this week and Williams was barely a passable fantasy performer while Jennings was out. No need to consider Andre.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 11: @StL.): I was right about the Broncos giving someone other than Ronnie Hillman some early game work, but I picked the wrong Denver back. It was C.J. Anderson and not Juwan Thompson who saw the extra work, and he was fantastic with the opportunities he had. Hillman is out this week, but Montee Ball is back, and both Ball and Anderson should continue to run ahead of Thompson. He won’t see enough work to be a worthwhile option.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 11: @Ari.): Ebron should finally be back this week and the Cards do give up fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but the other 2 Lions’ tight ends should also be back. Ebron didn’t produce in weeks that the others were out, so I wouldn’t bank on him doing so with all 3 guys playing. Ebron isn’t a strong option this week.
Deep League Sleepers:
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 11: @NYG): The 49ers re-discovered their power running game last week in a tough win over the Saints, and they would be well served to roll with that ground attack again this week. The G-Men allow the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing RBs, and I think Hyde is a decent bet to find the end zone this week. He should get a good handful of carries to spell Frank Gore.
RB Damien Williams, MIA (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): Lamar Miller is listed as probable, but he tried playing through the injury last week and was noticeably limited by it, putting up just 6 yards on 5 carries. Williams was the only Miami back who had a decent week, and he could do so again if Miller is again limited by the injury. If you are desperate and scouring the waiver wire for a playable running back in a deep league, Williams is worth a dart throw.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 11: vs. Det.): The Lions are the best defense in the league against opposing WRs, but the arrow is pointing up for John Brown for the rest of the season. He had a real connection with Drew Stanton when Drew started games earlier in the season, and Stanton takes more downfield shots than Carson Palmer. If you’re desperate for a WR, Brown just needs one deep ball to be worth a roll of the dice play.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you to fantasy victory. As always: good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the rookie report! While week 11 saw many of the phenomenal crop of rookie WRs continue their dominance (most notably Mike Evans), it was the rookie runners who surprised this past week. Alfred Blue and Jeremy Hill both topped 150 yards, Tre Mason topped 100, and Isaiah Crowell saw his most extended work of the season and put up 90 total yards. The only way it could have been better would be if some of them found the end zone.
Before we dive into this week’s games, I just want to make a point to remind everyone to check the status of their lineup throughout the week, or at least one final check before the games get started on Sunday. Last week I didn’t even mention Alfred Blue in this column and recommended Terrance West as a starter. By Sunday, Arian Foster was out for the Texans and Crowell was announced as starter for the Browns. Pay attention so you don’t miss the boat when these sorts of things happen. There are a lot of borderline rookies this week, so make sure to pay attention to the details. With that, let’s dive into this week’s rookie matchups…
Rookies to Start:
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 12: @SD): The Rams have found the formula that works for them over the past few weeks, and it includes a lot of Tre Mason. The Rams have won 2 of 3 in a brutal stretch (@SF, @Ari, Den.), and Mason averaged 84 yards from scrimmage in those 3 contests. The Chargers are just a middle of the road run defense right now, so Mason is poised for what should be a solid RB2 day.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 12: vs. Cin.): This call hinges entirely on the health of Arian Foster. There’s been talk that Foster is expected to play in week 12, but if he doesn’t, Blue is in line for another big day. Mallett’s willingness to take shots downfield opens up some room to run, and the Bengals already allow the 6th most RB points in the league. If Foster does suit up, you’d probably want to keep Blue on the pine. The Texans haven’t really eased Foster’s workload if he plays, even when nicked up.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 12: @Chi.): Tell me one thing that you’ve seen from the Chicago defense that makes you think they can stop Mike Evans. Go ahead. I’ll wait. The truth is, they haven’t done anything to show that, and Evans has at least 7-100-1 in each of his past 3 games, and while he’s not a lock to hit those marks again this week, the upside is just too immense to sit him.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 12: vs. Dal.): The Cowboys’ defense has been really good against opposing WRs, but it’s been more of a product of their run-first offense and high time of possession. They don’t have anyone who can cover OBJ, and as long as the G-Men can keep the ‘Boys from from holding the ball for 40 minutes, OBJ should be a safe WR2 yet again.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 12: vs. Ten.): The matchup isn’t quite as good as you’d think, but J-Matt will continue to be a safe WR3 as long as Sanchez is under center. He’s topped 100 yards in each of Sanchize’s 2 starts and has 3 TDs to go with those yards. Expect the good times to keep rolling.
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 12: @Phi.): Mett’s going to continue to suffer through some rookie growing pains, but his big arm and porous Philly D should make him an upside QB2 option this week. The Eagles have allowed 287 yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game. If Mett approaches those stats, He’d be a borderline QB1.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 12: @Ind.): Bortles has had an extra week to get ready for the Colts, and their defense isn’t imposing (10th most QB points per game allowed), but he’s still no better than a QB2 option without Allen Robinson. He’s been too turnover prone to trust as a number 1, even with decent matchups.
RBs Isaiah Crowell & Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 12: @Atl.): The Browns’ backfield situation got a little less crowded this week when Ben Tate was waived by the team, but there still isn’t a ton of clarity as to who the starter will be. The plan seems to be to watch and see who practices best and let them start each week. Crowell is the more talented back, but until Sunday we probably won’t know for sure which guy will get the nod. Whichever back starts will be worth a start on your fantasy squad. The Falcons allow the 2nd most fantasy points in the league to opposing RBs, and Josh Gordon’s return should keep them from stacking the box. I’d expect Crowell to start, but check on Sunday. The back that doesn’t start will be a dicey flex play at best.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 12: @Hou.): Gio should be back this week, but Hill has undoubtedly earned a bigger role in the offense going forward. His carries will take a hit this week, which makes him more of a flex option than a safe starter, but if he gets a hot hand the Bengals know they can ride him. Bengals' beat writers expect Hill to continue to see the most carries on the team for the immediate future, but there’s a lot of volatility with Gio back in the mix.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 12: vs. GB): I’d expect Ben Tate to need at least a week to get up to speed on the playbook and be a part of the offense, so McKinnon remains the best bet to see lead back carries for the Vikes. Without a bunch of byes this week, he’s just a borderline option. The game flow is likely to keep him from piling up carries, and he still hasn’t scored his first TD, but his workload keeps him in the flex mix.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 12: @Phi.): Sankey’s role has stabilized over the past few weeks, even as his yards per carry have dipped a bit. He finally scored his 2nd TD of the season last week, but he’ll likely need another TD this week to be considered a successful flex play. I would expect over 60 total yards against a suspect Philly run defense.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 12: vs. NYJ): The Buffalo snow storm couldn’t have come at a worse time for Watkins. He’s coming off back-to-back down games, and this week gets to do battle with the Jets’ awful secondary, which he torched for 3-157-1 the last time he faced them. If weather isn’t a factor, Watkins would be a safe WR2. If things aren’t totally cleaned up by Sunday, it could be a run-heavy football game that will make it really tough for Watkins to blow up the way he could against New York. Pay attention to the field conditions on Sunday.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 12: @Sea.): Larry Fitzgerald is fighting through an MCL sprain, and although he plans to play through it, he will undoubtedly be limited. The Seahawks defense is outstanding against WRs, but the small, quick guys like Brown are the ones that give them trouble. Stanton clearly likes him. Until this past week, every Stanton TD pass was to Brown and he hit him 5 times in the game against the Lions. Expect 4-5 catches and an ok shot at a TD for Brown this week.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 12: @Den.): Landry is still just fodder for PPR leagues, but as usual he’s in the conversation for WR3 for those leagues. Denver should be playing angry after losing to the Rams, and they won’t take their foot off the gas pedal if they get ahead. That should keep the Dolphins throwing, and should help Landry to pull in at least 5 receptions. He’s more of a WR4 in standard leagues.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 12: @Ind.): Allen Robinson is done for the year, and it was announced this week that Hurns will start with Marqise Lee playing in 3-WR sets. Hurns has put up some blowup games with other Jaguar receivers sidelined, and there’s a chance he does it again this week. He’s very much a boom-or-bust option with Cecil Shorts likely to see a lot more volume, but Hurns’s deep threat skills give him some appeal as a WR3. Lee isn’t worth a play.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 12: @Min.): Adams appeared to be gaining consistency headed into the Packers’ bye week, but he has just 3 catches for 23 yards and a TD in the 2 games since. Aaron Rodgers said he expected Adams to have some chances going into the Philly game, but it didn’t really play out that way. You’d have to be pretty ballsy to play him, but Adams still has some boom-or-bust WR3 appeal. You just get the feeling that Rodgers has to start looking his way sooner or later.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 12: @Chi.): Seferian-Jenkins is an excellent streaming option this week if you’re missing Dwayne Allen, Julius Thomas, Heath Miller or Greg Olsen. The Bears give up a league-worst 12 points per game to opposing tight ends, and ASJ plays on just about every snap for the Bucs. He disappointed last week against the ‘Skins, but the Bucs should be throwing a bunch to keep pace with the Bears’ offense. He’s a low end TE1 option this week.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 12: vs. GB): Teddy’s likely to be throwing a bunch, but he still has a bit of a low ceiling. He still hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns in one game, and although they should be playing from behind, you can’t have any confidence that he’ll do so this week. He’s a dart throw low-end QB2 at best.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 12: vs. KC): The Chiefs’ defense has been stingy during their current 5-game win streak, and there’s no reason to expect that to stop against the winless Raiders. KC has allowed the fewest pass yards per game in the league. Carr isn’t a great option in good matchups. This is a really bad one. The KC defense is an ideal streaming play if they’re available.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 12: @NO): The 49ers and Bengals showed over the past two weeks that the way to win in the Superdome is to run the ball down the Saints’ throats, but there’s no way to know if it’ll be ‘Zo or Pierce who will see primary backup work behind Justin Forsett. Taliaferro is only worth considering for a flex spot if you know he’ll get the number 2 RB work for Baltimore.
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 12: vs. StL.): With Ryan Mathews back, Oliver still saw the same 13 carries he handled in the previous 2 contests, but he just hasn’t been doing much with those carries lately. The Rams’ D is stingy vs. running backs, so I’d keep Oliver benched this week. There isn’t enough upside for the risk.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 12: vs. Was.): The ‘Skins do defend the run effectively, and the 49ers have still been using a lot more Gore than Hyde. You can do better than Carlos this week. At best, he’s a roll of the dice for a TD.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 12: vs. Dal.): This is an easy call, but I just wanted to point out that with Jennings back from injury, Williams saw just 3 touches for 6 total yards. Don’t even consider him.
WR Paul Richardson, SEA (Wk. 12: vs. Ari.): There are no changes for Richardson’s outlook this week. He just won’t see enough volume to make an impact, and he should see a lot of Antonio Cromartie this week. It’s just not a good situation for him.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 12: @Buf.): Amaro had a decent number of targets come his way in his last game, but he has just 2 catches for 6 yards and a TD in Vick’s 2 starts. Even with TE being incredibly shallow this year, I wouldn’t bank on much from Amaro this week.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 12: @NE): The matchup is decent with the Pats allowing 9 points per game to opposing TEs, but the Lions have 3 capable tight ends. Even if the Pats are able to slow down Megatron, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think Ebron will pick up much of that slack. Don’t roll the dice here.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 12: @Chi.): He hasn’t overwhelmed since returning from injured reserve, but he seems to have taken the lead back role from Bobby Rainey. The Bucs want to see what they have in Sims, and the Bears’ D is certainly beatable. Sims should be a dart throw flex option in deeper leagues.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 12: vs. Mia.): Ball and Hillman are both out for the next couple of weeks. C.J. Anderson undoubtedly has the lead back role going in, but Thompson is still capable of vulturing a TD or 2. He will at the very least see change of pace work.
WR Cody Latimer, DEN (Wk. 12: vs. Mia.): RB isn’t the only position where the Broncos are banged up. Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both are questionable for next week, and if one or both don’t play, I think this is the week Denver finally unleashes Latimer. If he gets his chance, he could really benefit from Brent Grimes playing on Demaryius Thomas. It’ll be hard to pull the trigger without more official news from the Broncos about his role, but his talent is real and his time may be coming.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (Wk. 12: vs. Jax.): With Bradshaw out and Allen banged up, Colts may look for a spark from Moncrief. We saw in the first meeting with Jacksonville that the Colts won’t let up when they get a lead, and I could see Moncrief getting some extra snaps. He did catch 4 balls for 55 yards in garbage time in the first meeting, and a similar stat line this time wouldn’t shock me at all.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you win this week. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Bye weeks are over, so the decisions get tougher this week. It doesn’t make it any easier when you take into account that this is the final regular season week in most leagues, and the choices could be critical if your playoff spot is in jeopardy. Even if you’re not in the playoff hunt, play it out and try and take some pleasure in spoiling someone else’s hopes or seeding. By now we’ve got a pretty good idea of who most of the rookies are, but you know NFL football is never predictable. Let’s take a look at the rookie matchups for week 13:
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 13: @TB): The return of Giovani Bernard brought an even split of the backfield touches for the Cincinnati Bengals, but Hill was clearly the superior back and should continue to be. The even split is still more work than Hill was seeing before Gio was hurt, and the rookie should be a high-end RB2 in a great matchup against the Bucs. He’s a great bet for a TD.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 13: vs. Oak.): Mason finally gets a plus matchup after averaging 85 total yards per game over a brutal 4-game stretch of the schedule (@SF, @Ari, vs. Den, @SD). With the cake matchup, Mason is a really solid bet for triple digit yards, and is a safe RB2 this week.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 13: @Jax.): I almost feel bad for the Jaguars corners who have to cover Odell Beckham. They don’t have much of a chance, and it won’t be pretty. OBJ is a borderline WR1 this week.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 13: @Min.): KB has struggled with consistency and drops throughout his rookie season, and yet he still has been held under 9 points in standard leagues just 3 times in 11 games. He has 8 TDs on the year, and the Vikings defense isn’t anything to write home about. Benjamin should be a safe WR2 this week.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Evans will face the toughest defense against WRs that he’s seen in some time, but he’s been pretty much matchup-proof. He’s got at least 1 TD in 6 of his last 7 games (8 total in that stretch), and should be a borderline WR2/3 with a bunch of upside.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 13: @Dal.): Matthews continued to be solid with Sanchez at QB, tallying a 6-77 line last week. It was the first time all year that J-Matt played more snaps than Riley Cooper. It’s a very positive sign for a rookie who has been coming on very strong. He should be a solid WR2 in what figures to be a shootout on Turkey Day.
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 13: @Hou.): Mettenberger is a fun 2QB league streamer right now. His completion percentage and W-L record haven’t been great, but he’s been willing to let loose and wing it downfield. Mett has thrown for 260+ and 2 TDs in 3 of his 4 starts, and put up 299 yards, 2 scores and one INT in the first meeting with Houston. He’s an upside QB2 this week.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 13: @Buf.): The matchup is a tough one for Crow, but he has the talent to succeed in it. It appears he’s the lead back in the Browns’ committee even though West saw more carries in week 12. Crowell has shown a nose for the end zone, and is low-end RB2 option with substantial upside if he gets the start.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 13: vs. Car.): He’s got to be due for a TD, right? I want to say yes, but who knows. He’s got zero on the season so far. He should still be good for the usual 15-20 touches, and Carolina allows almost 20 RB fantasy points per game. The upside is there, but so is the risk. He’s a boom or bust RB2/flex option.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 13: vs. Ten.): The Titans’ run D has been awful, allowing the most RB fantasy points in the league to date, but Arian Foster might be back for this one. After last week’s struggles against the Bengals, Blue’s 150-yard day in week 11 seems like an aberration. Without Foster, there’s plenty of flex appeal in the plus matchup, but I wouldn’t want to play him if Foster is a go.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 13: @Hou.): Sankey’s production remains lackluster, but the workload should be pretty solid once again. I wouldn’t play him over McKinnon, Crowell, or Blue (w/o Arian), but he’s got some low-end flex appeal for 12-team leagues. He’s had a reasonable floor, but not much of a ceiling.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 13: @Atl.): I’m tempted to list Brown as a ‘Rookie to Start’ this week with a great matchup and no Larry Fitzgerald. There’s still a decent amount of risk with Drew Stanton under center, but the two have had a decent connection thus far. Brown has a ton of upside this week and could pay off big as a WR3.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 13: @NYJ): Landry should be safely started as a WR3 in PPR leagues this week. The Jets are a total mess right now. Their biggest weakness is the secondary, and Tannehill is doing whatever he wants in the short passing game where Landry thrives. The rookie’s yardage numbers leave something to be desired in standard leagues, where he’s more WR4 with upside than WR3, but he’s averaging 6-49-1 over his past 4 games.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 13: vs. Cle.): The Bills’ offense was in rhythm on Monday night against the Jets’ dumpster fire of a secondary, but Sammy has very little to do with t. He’s been really struggling since coming back from a groin injury and he should be shadowed by Joe Haden this week. He’s just a WR3 with upside this week.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 13: vs. NO): We’ve finally seen the floor on Martavis, who bottomed out at 2 catches for 11 yards against the Titans in week 11 on 5 targets. The upside is real, and he could very possibly come up with 2 TDs this week, but he still is a limited snap player who carries some week-to-week risk. Fire him up if you need the upside and can live with the risk.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): The G-Men defense is trending in the wrong direction since the Prince Amukamara injury, giving up 4 TD tosses to Tony Romo last week, but Bortles has been awful since the Allen Robinson injury. He’s completed under 60% of his passes in each of the last 2 ball games against pretty average defenses in Dallas and Indy, and he had a 0:2 TD-INT ratio in each game. He should be better than that this week, but probably not a lot better. Not worth a 2-QB league start.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 13: @StL.): Despite finally breaking into the win column last week, Carr remains a poor option for 2-QB leagues. He’s topped 200 passing yards in just 3 of his 11 starts and has averaged just 1 TD per game since his blowup 4TD game against the Chargers in week 6. Keep him benched against the suddenly dangerous Rams’ defense.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 13: vs. Car.): The matchup is good for Teddy, and he did just have his first 2TD game of the season, but overall Teddy has struggled mightily. He’s thrown for just 368 yards, 3 TDs and 2 picks in his past 2 games. You can do better even if you can start 2 quarterbacks.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 13: @Buf.): West will get some work (he actually had more carries than Crowell last week), but unlike Crowell, he’s not a very good bet in tough matchups like the one the Bills present. If he somehow were to get the nod as the starter, it would improve his outlook a bit, but signs point to it being Crowell.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Doug Martin’s return muddled the Bucs’ backfield situation much more than expected. It was believed the Bucs had turned the page on Martin, but he got the start last week and led the Bucs’ running backs in touches. Add in the fact that the Bengals’ D has stiffened quite a bit over the past couple weeks, and it’s hard to come up with a reason to play Sims this week.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 13: @KC): It’ll be all C.J. Anderson this week in the Denver backfield. Thompson saw just 5 touches last week, and he would need a lot more than that against the Chiefs to be useful.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 13: vs. SD): The matchup isn’t great, and Pierce has been running as the clear number 2 back in Baltimore lately. ‘Zo has a better chance of giving you a goose egg than he does of clearing 5 points.
WR Marqise Lee, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): Lee finally showed some of that potential he consistently flashed in his USC days in week 12, but he still played just 65% of the offensive snaps. With a limited role in an ineffective offense, Lee will have to show me more before I trust him in any of my fantasy lineups.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): Needless to say, week 12 wasn’t a banner week for the Jaguars’ passing game. Lee had an ok game, but no other receiver did. Hurns has had 2 blowup games this season and has a starting spot for the moment, but he has had just 1 catch in each of the last 2 contests. There’s no reason to trust him this week.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Despite a decent matchup, Seferian-Jenkins looks like a longshot to suit up this week. Even if he plays, he’s been fairly unproductive despite ample opportunity for most of the season, and wouldn’t be an especially enticing option this week.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 13: vs. Mia.): The Miami D is elite vs. TEs, and the Jets’ offense is a dumpster fire. Add in that Amaro still hasn’t been cleared after a week 12 concussion, and you can’t feel good relying on Amaro in any format.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Tom Savage, HOU (Wk. 13: vs. Ten.): Savage gets mentioned only because of Ryan Mallett’s season-ending injury. Signs point to Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the nod, but if Fitzmagic gets hurt or the Texans fall out of playoff contention, Savage would likely see some action. He could be worth a stash in the deepest of leagues.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 13: @Jax.): After barely playing in week 11, Williams was back to getting some change-of-pace and goal line work in week 12, putting up 35 yards and a TD on 10 carries. He’s a good bet for another TD this week, and could see some extended carries if the Giants get up by a few scores. He’s a roll of the dice flex option in deep leagues.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 13: vs. Sea.): This is no more than a hunch, but the Seattle run defense isn’t the same on the road, and the 49ers would be wise to try to win this game on the ground and out-physical the ‘Hawks. That could mean extended run for Hyde, and would make him a better play than usual.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 13: vs. NE): There’s not a ton of reason for confidence with DA’s recent performances, but the Pats do a great job of taking away a team’s best weapons, and for Green Bay that’s Jordy and Cobb. Adams should see some extra looks, so he’s a slightly better option than his usual WR4 dart throw outlook.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (Wk. 13: vs. Was.): After scoring just 20 & 23 points in their past 2 games, this sets up as an opportunity for the Colts’ offense to get back on track. Dwayne Allen is still nicked up, and Moncrief finally played more snaps than Nicks last week. There’s a ton of upside here down the stretch if he can fully supplant the washed up Hakeem. He’s a guy to grab in dynasty leagues if for some reason he’s available. Nicks and Wayne both figure to be gone next year. For this week, 60 yards and a TD aren’t out of the question if his snaps continue to rise a little.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 13: vs. Chi.): Ebron had pretty much his worst day as a pro last Sunday, missing one opportunity after another to make plays. He’ll be eager to bounce back this week in front of the home Thanksgiving Day crowd, and the Bears allow more TE points than anyone in the league. I expect a much better showing from the inconsistent rookie.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Remember to check on your players before Sunday, and make sure you know which of your guys are involved in Thursday games this week. You don’t want to wait to set your lineup only to find out you still had Theo Riddick in the lineup when you would have pulled him if you checked. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
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