Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Week two was a fun one for some of the rookie crop, most notably Jeremy Hill, Sammy Watkins and Terrance West. It wasn’t nearly as much fun for the NFL, which is still scrambling to stop the PR maelstrom they’re up against in the wake of the Ray Rice video, several other domestic violence cases and the new accusations against Adrian Peterson. It’s getting to be a mess, but that’s not the sort of thing we dive into here at the Rookie Report. Let’s let others deal with those issues, and talk about what to do with the rookies for week 3.
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 3: vs. Ten.): Week 2 more closely resembled how the Bengals intend to use Hill than week one did. The bruiser ran for 70+ yards and a score and caught for 22 more yards. The Titans, meanwhile, were busy getting steamrolled by DeMarco Murray and the Dallas running game. With A.J. Green still dinged up, expect the Bengals to hammer Tennessee on the ground, and I think Hill is a very good bet to score another TD. He’s a great flex play this weekend.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 3: vs. SD): It’s hard to envision Watkins duplicating his stat line from last week, but he’s clearly the focal point of the Bills’ passing game right now. I would expect that to continue in week 3 and San Diego’s secondary hasn’t been great thus far. Michael Floyd and the Cardinals torched them in week 1. I’d roll with Watkins as my WR3.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 3: vs. Bal.): West got it done in a surprising week 2 victory over the Saints. The Ravens boast a tougher run defense than New Orleans. West is still going to see a high volume of carries and could be a decent flex option, but I doubt he puts up the kind of points he did a week ago.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 3: vs. Min.): Cooks was disappointing last week vs. Cleveland, but he still makes a reasonable WR3 in PPR leagues going forward. The Mark Ingram injury could actually get him more work as a runner and in the short passing game. Expect a minor bounce back this week.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 3: @Atl.): Evans is sort of a roll of the dice this week. He has been a big part of the Tampa passing game, but his fantasy numbers haven’t been fantastic. Atlanta is likely to be playing from ahead, and their secondary isn’t very good. It’s a decent week to take a shot on Evans, but know there’s some bust risk.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 3: vs. Pit.): Kelvin didn’t do much damage in week 2, but he’s too big a part of the Panthers’ offense to not be considered in fantasy. It isn’t exactly a tasty matchup, but I’d expect Benjamin’s numbers to fall somewhere in between his lines from week 1 and week 2.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): Banged up for much of the preseason, Robinson finally looked healthy in week two, coming up with 4 catches for 75 yards. He has the size to physically dominate DBs, and I think he will be the best Jaguars receiver going forward. I think another 70 yards is likely in a game that will be played from behind again.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 3: @NE): This is going to be a weekly tradition before long. The Patriots just forced 4 interceptions from Matt Cassel, and I think their defense has a chance to be scary. Carr seems just cocky enough to test Darelle Revis. I doubt he wins that matchup. It could be another long day for Carr and the Raiders.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 3: @Cin.): Even if Sankey didn’t have some climbing to do up the depth chart, Cincy is a brutal matchup. Don’t expect much even if he sees extended work and keep him benched.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 3: vs. Bal.): This is one call I think might backfire on me. Crowell is touchdown dependent right now as long as West sees the majority of the carries. He has some value, but against a better defense this week, I don’t think he matches his rushing yards from a week ago. I do think he could overtake West for the starting gig eventually.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 3: vs. Hou.): Williams still isn’t seeing enough action to warrant a fantasy start. It’s still mostly Rashad Jennings. Until his role increases, you have to leave Williams benched, especially with the offense looking anemic so far.
WR Marquise Lee, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): The Jaguars quarterback play has been pretty bad so far, and Lee has been inconsistent. He hasn’t done much damage outside of garbage time in week 1. He’s going to have some solid PPR weeks, but I wouldn’t count on this being one of them. His value should rise once Blake Bortles takes over.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 3: vs. KC): Landry gets mention this week because it looks like he’s worked his way into the WR3 role in Miami, a role that has made Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson playable at times. It’s worth noting he had the lowest drop rate in college last year of any rookie wide receiver. He will become a trusted target before long.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 3: @NO): I only mention Teddy because Matt Cassel threw 4 picks last week. Adrian Peterson is out for the foreseeable future, so this offense will need a QB that isn’t just a game manager. That isn’t Cassel. He’s still yet to complete a pass more than 15 yards downfield through 2 weeks. Another bad performance could be enough to get Teddy on the field. He should be squarely on the 2QB league radar.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): Speaking of starting QBs on the hot seat, Chad Henne’s should be scalding before long. The Jags haven’t had any semblance of an offense so far, and I’m sure the fans in Jacksonville are already clamoring for Bortles to take over. The Jaguars want to hold Bortles off as long as possible, but if things continue the way they’re going, they won’t be able to wait much longer. Blake could have mid-level QB2 upside if he gets the starting job.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 3: @NO): Like I mentioned above under Bridgewater, Peterson isn’t coming back any time soon. Matt Asiata isn’t exactly a stud. McKinnon is worth a stash in deeper leagues. He’s a raw prospect, but one with great athleticism (more than Asiata at least).
RB Damien Williams, MIA (Wk. 3: vs. KC): The Dolphins took some big hits last week losing Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller during the course of the game. They went out and signed Daniel Thomas back to the roster this week, but Williams was impressive in the preseason and beat out Thomas for a roster spot. Miller is likely to play this week, but Williams is likely to see the change of pace work. If Miller doesn’t play, treat Williams as a deep league flex option this week.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 3: @NYG): In the preseason, it looked like Jonathan Grimes was the number 2 back behind Arian Foster, even when the depth chart came out with Alfred Blue listed as number 2. By now, it’s become clear that it’s Blue’s job. He isn’t fantasy relevant yet, but it’s hard to imagine Foster stays healthy all year with his current workload. Blue could be a great speculative add in deep leagues.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 3: @Det.): It’s become pretty clear that Adams is pushing Jarrett Boykin for the WR3 spot in Green Bay, and might completely surpass him. This is a pass heavy offense with no tight end to speak of. The GB number 3 is a fantasy relevant role, and Adams is worth a roster spot in 12-team leagues.
WR Ryan Grant, WAS (Wk. 3: @Phi.): After DeSean Jackson went down in week 2, Grant shined in the blowout win over Jacksonville. He clearly has a great rapport with Kirk Cousins, but he will need DeSean out again to be fantasy relevant this week. He’s an interesting WR3 option in 12-team leagues if D-Jax doesn’t play. As of now though, Jackson is expected to suit up.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully it helps you come away victorious. I’ll end this the same way I end every week: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Week 3 was a big one for the current rookie class. First round quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater got their first taste of NFL action, and it won’t be short lived. Matt Cassel is on injured reserve and Gus Bradley as anointed Bortles the Jaguars’ starter for the remainder of the season. It was another solid week for the rookie receivers too, with big performances from Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews and John Brown. With the first bye week of the season upon us, it’ll be even more critical to pay attention to the rooks since you might need some of them to fill in for your studs who are taking the week off. With that in mind, let’s dive right in to the week 4 outlook…
Rookies to Start:
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 4: @Bal.): Kelvin is quickly earning automatic start status as long as your league requires 3 WRs. Regardless of matchup, KB is going to see plenty of targets and is a tough cover for just about anyone due to his size. The Ravens allow the 7th most points to opposing WRs thus far. Don’t overthink this. For the record, I was wrong about Benjamin in the preseason. His drop issues still remain, but he sees so much volume as the clear number one WR in Carolina, he’ll keep producing.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 4: @Dal.): While the Cowboys’ defense hasn’t exactly lived up to the “historically bad” hype, but Cooks’s speed will give the ‘Boys fits. You should feel comfortable firing him up as a WR3 in PPR leagues.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 4: vs. Atl.): The Atlanta Falcons have a really good offense. They also have a really bad defense. That should equate to Teddy throwing it a bit more than the Vikes would like and he should have success when he does. Matt Cassel was averaging under 6 yards per attempt this season, and Bridgewater was at 7.5 in his first game action. Granted it’s a small sample size, but Teddy could be in line for a really strong first start. He should be a high-end QB2 this week.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 4: @SD): Bortles should be a low-end QB2 option this week. There’s a little fear that the Chargers will be able to control the clock and keep the ball out of Bortles’s hands. If the Jags’ defense can get off the field, there are some factors working in Blake’s favor. SD has allowed a QB rating of over 100 through the first 3 games, is missing one of their best defensive players in Melvin Ingram, and haven’t picked off a pass yet this season. Add in that the Jaguars will be playing from behind, and there’s potential for a nice fantasy day.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 4: vs. Car.): The only thing keeping me from saying to start Zo-Bot for sure are the reports that the Ravens plan to reinsert Bernard Pierce as the starter. Taliaferro was outstanding against the Browns, and has earned himself a share of the workload, and the Panthers’ defense isn’t nearly as stingy as you might think. They’ve allowed a whopping 6 yards per carry through 3 games and were gashed by the Steelers on Sunday night. I like Taliaferro as a flex this week.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 4: @Ind.): Sankey’s role is growing quickly, and the Colts have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing RBs at 21.7 points per game. Greene is still the starter, but I think Sankey sees a good amount of work this week and is a decent bet for double-digit fantasy points. I’d say better than a 50/50 shot in PPR leagues.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 4: @Hou.): I like Watkins the most of any WR listed as borderline this week since the Texans have given up plenty of yards to opposing WRs, but with E.J. at QB, there’s always some risk of a bust game. If I had to guess, I’d expect him to put up 70-80 yards but he could certainly fall short.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 4: @Pit.): Evans certainly seemed to benefit from having Mike Glennon under center in week 3, but Glennon fed targets to Vincent Jackson last season. Granted, he didn’t have another weapon like Evans, but I’d want to play the waiting game with this situation before I roll with Evans. He could have a really strong game this week, but it would probably come from my bench.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 4: @SF): Matthews makes an intriguing bye week fill-in option. The 49ers have allowed the 2nd most points to opposing WRs through the first 3 weeks, and Matthews has clearly been better than Riley Cooper thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matthews find double-digit points again, and I’m pretty confident he’ll have at least 6. He’s a better PPR play than standard.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 4: @SD): Robinson is quickly becoming the go-to guy in Jacksonville. The Jaguars will play from behind a lot, so there’s a ton of long term upside. Bortles leaned on Robinson after getting in against Indy and will likely continue to do so. 60-70 yards seems like the floor for what he could do this week.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 4: vs. Mia.): I’m still not ready to trust Carr. He’s lost his top receiver Rod Streater for the year and has a non-existent run game. This week the Raiders get to travel 8 or 9 time zones east to play in London. Hard to imagine Carr has a banner day. Leave him out of your lineup if you’ve got him.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 4: vs. Buf.): It looks like Arian Foster is going to play in week 4. If he doesn’t, Blue would get a slight bump to borderline, but the Bills run D has been stingy. The Texans will certainly run, but Blue would be no lock to match his week 3 output.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 4: vs. Atl.): I love McKinnon’s raw talent and he does have a tasty matchup, but for some reason the Vikings seem committed to plodder Matt Asiata. With AP out, the Vikings are in dire need of playmakers and McKinnon and Cordarrelle Patterson are the best options. Norv Turner just doesn’t know how to use them right now. If the Vikes change course on Asiata, Jerick could be in for a big day. I just don’t see it happening.
RB Devonta Freeman, ATL (Wk. 4: @Min.): Not much analysis needed here. There are just too many mouths to feed in the Falcons’ backfield in a pass-happy offense to make Freeman a viable fantasy play right now.
WRs Allen Hurns & Marqise Lee, JAX (Wk. 4: @SD): Hurns totaled just one catch in week 3, albeit a 60+ yard touchdown catch. He just won’t see enough volume with Cecil Shorts back in the mix. Lee, meanwhile, likely won’t even play this week due to injury. Even if he does suit up, he still has work to do to establish a role and rapport with Bortles.
TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 4: @Pit.): ASJ is a tempting option with the Steelers allowing 12.3 points per game to opposing tight ends so far, but I just don’t trust this offense to get him the ball enough for a productive day.
Rookies on Byes this week: RBs Isaiah Crowell & Terrance West, CLE, RB Jeremy Hill, CIN, RB Marion Grice, ARI, WR John Brown, ARI, and WR Cody Latimer, DEN
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 4: @Ind.): This one will require a little monitoring of the situation. Jake Locker is questionable with a wrist injury, but it’s not certain whether it’ll be Mett or Charlie Whitehurst who would start in his place. It’s a great matchup with the Colts giving up a ton of points to opposing QBs, and Mettenberger has the ability to take advantage.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 4: vs. Phi.): Hyde would be a ballsy play, even in deep leagues, but there has been a bunch of speculation that the 49ers will go back to playing bully ball and pounding it on the ground this week to try to get back on track. If they do that, Hyde will certainly see a decent share of carries.
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 4: vs. Jax.): The Jaguars have been giving up 28.7 points per game to opposing RBs so far this year, easily the worst in the league. Do your really think Donald Brown will do that much damage? The Chargers did add Shaun Draughn this week, but they won’t have time to work him into the gameplan. It’ll be Oliver getting the number 2 carries. I think the Chargers will realize that giving Donald Brown 31 carries a week when the RB group is thin to begin with is a recipe for disaster. I like Oliver to top 50 yards and possibly find paydirt.
RB Marion Grice, ARI (Wk. 4: Bye): I know it’s silly to list a player on a bye, but people should be aware of him as a possible stash. The Cardinals swiped him from San Diego’s practice squad, and he could find a role in this offense. Andre Ellington is playing through an injured foot, Jonathan Dwyer likely won’t be on the field this year, and Stepfan Taylor just isn’t very good. Grice is a versatile player who should be getting 5-10 touches per game before long.
WR Philly Brown, CAR (Wk. 4: @Bal.): Brown caught a surprising 7 passes in week 3 with Jerricho Cotchery out. If Cotchery misses another week, Brown is an interesting PPR option against a team that has struggled to contain possession receivers and was gouged by Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins a week ago. As I mentioned earlier, the Ravens have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (Wk. 4: vs. Ten.): Moncrief got involved in the 2nd half last week despite a big Colts lead and he was impressive. He could surprise again this week if T.Y. Hilton can’t play despite the likely scenario that Indy wins big. It’s only a matter of time before the Colts realize Moncrief is a better WR than Hakeem Nicks.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 4: vs. Det.): Amaro has started to make his presence felt, and the only players the Lions’ defense has been at all generous too are the tight ends, allowing 9.3 points per game to them so far. I like Amaro to catch for over 50 yards this week with a chance for more.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you survive the season’s first bye week unscathed. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Week 4 was a quiet one for several of the top rookies (byes were a factor in that), but there were some new rookie faces making waves this past weekend. Teddy Bridgewater, Bishop Sankey, Andre Williams, Mike Evans and Eric Ebron each made their first dalliance into an NFL end zone. Jerick McKinnon also burst onto the scene with over 150 yards. These are just the first of many standout performances to come from most of these guys. Let’s take a look at which rookies might standout in week 5…
Rookies to Start:
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 5: vs. Cle.): Sankey continued to perform with garbage time snaps last week, and coach Whisenhunt said this week he’ll see more carries, and he’ll see them earlier in the game. The Browns allow the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Sankey should be a decent RB2 this week. Double-digit points are likely.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 5: vs. Chi.): The Panthers’ pass attack runs through Kelvin. The Bears allow over 24 points per game to opposing WRs, and I’d think Kelvin is a good bet for half that number. The only other relevant Panther WR is Cotchery. Feel safe firing up Benjamin as a WR2/3.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 5: vs. TB): Cooks is always going to be a better PPR play than standard league, but even in a down game last week he pulled in 5 receptions and was on the field for 82% of the Saints’ snaps. He’s crushing Marques Colston in targets, and the Bucs allow the most fantasy points to opposing WRs at 30.8. Cooks should be a solid WR3 even in standard leagues this week, and potential WR2 in PPR.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 5: vs. Pit.): The potential is there for a really nice game out of Bortles. Pittsburgh has had an explosive offense so far, and a leaky defense. They’ve allowed a 7:1 TD-INT ratio so far and just got done letting Mike Glennon have a strong game against them in his first start of the year. Bortles should continue to get better each week as he gains more experience. I’d view Bortles as a mid-to-high QB2 this week. I’d trust him more than Tom Brady vs. Cincy.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 5: @NE): Hill is always a threat to score a TD, but the matchup this week may favor his teammate Gio Bernard. New England has allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing RBs, but they’ve allowed them just 2 rushing TDs as opposed to 4 receiving scores. Gio is a bigger part of the passing game than Hill. I’d still expect 8-10 carries for Hill, more if the Pats play like they did last Monday, but Hill is a hope-for-a-TD flex play this week.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 5: @Ten.): With Ben Tate coming back from injury, it makes Crowell a dicey flex option. The Titans do allow 20 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, but it’ll likely take a TD for Crowell to be productive. I like his chances of getting that TD, though.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 5: @Ind.): Zo-Bot found the end zone again in week 4, but he lost out on starter’s carries to Justin Forsett. Forsett is undersized and just a change-of-pace back, but until we start to see Taliaferro doing work early and often, it’ll be hard to trust him. The Colts give up a good amount of running back points (19.3/game), but a lot of it has been in the passing game. View Taliaferro as a low floor flex option.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 5: @GB): With Teddy likely to sit tonight, the Vikings will have to rely heavily on the ground game. That’s good news for McKinnon, but it’s better news for Matt Asiata. Asiata is still running as the lead back, and Green Bay will likely play from ahead. Asiata is the better back in the passing game despite his obviously inferior talent. McKinnon will see some work, and he could be a fun roll of the dice since the Packers do allow the 4th most RB fantasy points. He’s a high-risk, high-reward flex option.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. @Det.): Watkins definitely has the role to be a star, and Kyle Orton taking over at QB should actually help Watkins. He’s been the focal point of the offense and Orton is a more accurate passer than Manuel. With that said, the Lions’ defense has been fantastic. I’d expect 4-5 catches and 50-60 yards from Watkins, with the possibility for a little more.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 5: vs. Pit.): The Steelers defense allows plenty of points to opposing WRs, and Robinson has the most talent amongst the Jacksonville WRs. His production has been a little inconsistent like most rookie WRs, but he’s a promising WR3 option this week. I’d look for 60+ yards.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 5: vs. Pit.): Hurns’s outlook is a little less promising than Robinson’s. He’s reliant on the deep ball, and he might not get one in this game. His upside is greater than Robinson’s, but so is his risk. He’s just as likely (maybe more) to put up 2 or fewer points as he is to hit double-digits.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 5: vs. Min.): Adams seems to have moved ahead of Jarrett Boykin, but he’s yet to produce. He did have a long TD called back on a penalty against Chicago, and the Packers play more 3-WR sets than any team in the league. His breakout game is coming eventually. He’s a boom-or-bust WR3 this week.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 5: @GB): This one isn’t rocket science. Teddy’s unlikely to play this week, so he shouldn’t be in your lineup. Even if he plays, he’s a low-end QB2 at best. The Packers are just 13.3 points per game to opposing QBs, and that has come against Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler and Geno Smith. Take out Geno and that’s quite a gauntlet.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 5: @Ten.): Tate should be back, and it appears he’s been passed on the depth chart by Crowell. Despite the good matchup, West won’t see enough work to be a productive option this week.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 5: @Dal.): Foster should be a little healthier this week after limited touches a week ago, and the Cowboys’ defense has been much better than advertised. Blue will see limited touches, and I just don’t see enough upside for Blue to be a strong play. His only TD this season came on a blocked punt.
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 5: vs. NYJ): Despite Donald Brown’s struggles, Oliver isn’t a good bet to do damage this week. The Jets allow the fewest RB fantasy points in the league by a significant margin. It looks like Donald Brown will still start this week, and there won’t be enough stats for even one productive RB in this matchup.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 5: vs. KC): Hyde has yet to put up a reasonable yardage day, so he needs a TD to be productive. The Chiefs’ defense has been stout, allowing just 12.3 points per game to opposing RBs. I don’t expect a strong showing from Hyde this week. With just 2 byes this week, there are plenty of higher upside options you can play instead.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 5: @NO): Just making sure you’re aware that Evans is out for the next few weeks. Make other plans.
WR Marqise Lee, JAX (Wk. 5: vs. Pit.): Lee has already struggled to get involved in the Jags’ offense since week 1. Ace Sanders returns from suspension this week and could steal some slot looks from Lee, who already has a minor role in the offense. There just isn’t enough upside to even consider Lee.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 5: vs. StL.): I don’t love Matthews this week. The Rams have been getting gashed in the run game, and as a result, teams don’t have to throw. They’ve allowed under 190 yards per game through the air. Matthews has to compete with Maclin, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy for targets. There just isn’t enough to go around this week to rely on Matthews.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 5: @SD): Jace’s time is coming, but it’s not quite here yet. His role is rapidly expanding, but the Chargers are allowing just 6 points per game to opposing TEs. I don’t see Amaro eclipsing that number. He’s safe to expect a few catches for about 30 yards from, but anything more would be a bonus.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 5: vs. Buf.): Fauria is still out, which keeps Ebron on the radar, but with Calvin back closer to full strength, his targets should drop this week. The Bills have been decent against tight ends, and Ebron will just be too touchdown dependent for my taste this week.
Rookies on Byes this week: QB Derek Carr, OAK, RB Damien Williams, MIA, WR Jarvis Landry, MIA
Deep League Sleepers:
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. vs. Atl.): Williams tallied over 60 yards and a score in garbage time in last Thursday’s win over the Redskins, and Atlanta allows the most RB points in the league. Their run defense is putrid. If the Falcons keep this game close, it’ll be more Jennings than Williams, but I love the upside Williams has this week. Atlanta couldn’t even contain Matt Asiata last week.
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR (Wk. 5: vs. Chi.): With injuries to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Panthers’ coach Ron Rivera announced this week that Darrin Reaves is the starting RB right now. The Panthers haven’t consistently committed to the run game this year, and they’ve been predictable when they do with Cam staying in the pocket, but the Bears’ run defense isn’t very good. Reaves is an ok flex option in 12-team leagues.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 5: vs. Atl.): It’s hard to suggest playing Beckham in his debut game, but you should certainly keep an eye on his usage. He has incredible athleticism, and could find a big role in this offense as a dynamic playmaker. Make sure to pay attention.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 5: @Den.): Brown is still unlikely to be starting in many fantasy leagues, but he should be a sneaky flex/WR3 yet again this week. The Broncos allow the 2nd most passing yards in the league and the Cardinals have made Brown a part of the gameplan. When asked after the week 3 win over San Francisco if he was included in the gameplan because they didn’t know who he was, he responded “No one knows me.” I love that response, and I like Brown’s chances at a TD this week.
TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 5: @NO): This isn’t a great matchup, with New Orleans allowing less than 5 points per game to opposing TEs, but with Mike Evans out, ASJ should have a much more prominent role in the passing game. He has already passed Brandon Myers on the depth chart and played on every offensive snap last week. Glennon helped Tim Wright to some big games last year, and he could do the same this week. ASJ could be a sneaky good option this week.
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. Another exciting week of NFL action is in the books, and it was comeback city. The Bills, Browns, Giants and Panthers all put up comeback victories and the Rams and Bucs nearly did the same. Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. were all big parts of their teams’ wins, and several other rookies made big contributions in week 5 as well. Will week 6 be more of the same?
Let’s talk about what to expect this weekend…
Rookies to Start:
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 6: @Oak.): Oliver exploded on to the scene last week with over 160 total yards and a TD against the number one run defense in the league. The Raiders are not close to number one. In fact, they allow the 5th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Oliver is a top-15 RB play this week and a must-start.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 6: @Phi.): The Giants have been committed to the run game since they started turning their season around, and with Rashad Jennings likely out this week, Williams will assume the lead back role in a matchup against a less than daunting Eagles’ defense. The BC product should be a low level RB2 this week. I’d prefer Oliver to Williams this week, but both have solid upside.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 6: @Cin.): Kelvin is going to be heavily involved as usual, and is pretty much a must-start every week because of his role in the offense. With that said, the Bengals’ defense is tough and should be eager to wash away the memory of last week’s game against New England. Kelvin is still a high ceiling option, but he’s got a lower floor this week than usual.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 6: @Ten.): The Titans aren’t as good a matchup as you’d think for Bortles, but it’s a better matchup than Pittsburgh, especially if the Jags’ run game is more effective this week. I see Bortles as a mid-range QB2 in 12 team leagues.
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 6: vs. Car.): The Bengals’ entire team should rebound this week, and they should lean even more heavily on the run game than usual this week with A.J. Green dealing with a toe injury. The Panthers allow the 6th most points to opposing RBs at just over 20 per game, so there’s a chance for both Gio and Hill to be good this week. Hill still likely needs a TD to provide good value, but he’s a pretty decent flex option this week.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 6: vs. Jax.): I’m getting the impression that Ken Whisenhunt must hate Bishop Sankey. After vowing to use Bishop more this week, he still finished with just 8 carries in a game the Titans led until the final minutes. With the miserable Jags up next, Sankey has a great shot to finally break out, or he could see less than 10 touches again. Play him at your own risk.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 6: @TB): Lorenzo has a plus matchup this week with Tampa, but the Ravens have been sticking to the committee approach, and Forsett remains the top option due to his prowess in the passing game. There is still a decent role for Taliaferro, and head coach John Harbaugh said this week he wants to give Taliaferro more carries, but until he takes more of a lead role he’s just a flex option.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 6: vs. Bal.): If Evans plays, the matchup isn’t as tough as you might think. The Ravens have allowed over 1,000 receiving yards to opposing WRs through 5 games. Vincent Jackson is limited in practice this week with an injury of his own. Evans is capable of 80+ yards if he suits up. Glennon has given this passing offense new life.
WRs Allen Robinson & Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 6: @Ten.): Cecil Shorts and Marqise Lee might both be out this week. Robinson remains a higher floor option than Hurns and is likely to haul in at least 5 catches, but Hurns has more upside. Both players have a shot at a decent week, and are WR3/flex options.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 6: @Phi.): The Eagles allow the most WR points in the league, and Beckham should play more snaps this week after his strong outing a week ago. Despite that, Rueben Randle is seeing 10 targets a game and Larry Donnell should be more involved this week after getting shut down against Atlanta. There’s still a ton of upside, but there’s certainly risk. I think he could steal some of Victor Cruz’s work if Cruz keeps dropping passes.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 6: @Min.): Megatron will either be limited again or out altogether this week, and the Lions will need Ebron to step up in passing game. He’s still a matchup nightmare, and the tight ends gave the Vikes fits last season. I think Ebron is a good bet for a TD and could be worth a streaming play.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 6: vs. Det.): The Lions allow the fewest points to opposing QBs in the league. Teddy’s been good so far, but with Megatron, Joique and Reggie Bush all battling injuries, this likely won’t be a blowout and won’t have much garbage time passing for Minny. I expect a bump in the road this week for Teddy. He’s a really low end QB2 at best.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 6: vs. SD): Don’t even think about playing Carr. The Raiders’ offense has been a total dumpster fire so far, and with Tony Sparano now in charge they are likely to run the ball more often, further limiting Carr’s upside.
RBs Isaiah Crowell & Terrence West, CLE (Wk. 6: vs. Pit.): With Ben Tate back from injury, West and Crowell are limited to change of pace work, and there isn’t enough to go around to make either of them a trustworthy flex play. I think Crowell is a guy to hold on to in case of another Tate injury, but for now you have to keep him benched.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 6: vs. Ind.): Arian Foster is back in business for now, putting up his best game of the season in week 5 against Dallas. Until he gets hurt again, Blue won’t see enough work to be a viable flex option.
RB Darrin Reaves, CAR (Wk. 6: @Cin.): Reaves seems like the best bet to play this week out of he, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but this matchup is imposing. I wouldn’t have faith in a big game out of Reaves. The Panthers just haven’t committed to the run so far.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 6: vs. Det.): The Lions run D has been stout all year, allowing less than 3 yards a carry, and McKinnon is still playing second fiddle to Matt Asiata. He’s too much of a risk to trust this week.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 6: @StL.): Frank Gore’s resurgence over the past couple weeks is really hampering Hyde’s upside. His role should increase later in the season when the team tries to keep Gore fresh headed into the postseason. For now, his change of pace role makes him too much of a risk to trust. Believe it or not, the Rams are in the top 10 in the league at limiting opposing RB points.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 6: vs. NE): Okay, benching Watkins after his 2nd best yardage game of the season probably sounds crazy. I don’t think it is. While it’s true that Orton at QB helps Sammy’s numbers, he draws Darrelle Revis this week, and the Pats defense allows the 3rd fewest WR points in the NFL. There’s very serious bust potential for Watkins this week.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 6: vs. NYG): It might bite you in the ass to sit Matthews this week if he finds the end zone, but the Eagles continue to target Riley Cooper more than they should. Add in the solid defense the G-Men have been playing against the pass, and I just don’t want to rely on Matthews in anything but the deepest PPR leagues.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 6: vs. Was.): The Redskins’ defense isn’t particularly good, but since Palmer went down, Brown hasn’t been much of a factor. He shouldn’t be a consideration unless Palmer is back under center, and even then only as a roll of the dice flex option.
TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 6: vs. Bal.): With Mike Evans possibly back this week, ASJ loses a lot of the appeal he had last week. He only caught one pass for 11 yards last week. The Ravens allow less than 5 points a game to tight ends. I doubt ASJ gets to 5 this week.
Rookies on Bye: WR Brandin Cooks, NO
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 6: vs. Jax.): Jake Locker’s injury situation bears watching this week. There has been talk in the media this week that the Titans may turn to Mettenberger soon, and it could even be this week if Locker isn’t able to play. Mett led the NFL in passing yards in the preseason, and would face a soft Jaguars’ defense in his first start. He’d be at least a low end QB2 if he gets the nod.
RB Storm Johnson, JAX (Wk. 6: @Ten.): Johnson was impressive in his first NFL action, rattling off a Jags’ season best 20-yard run against Pittsburgh. Head coach Gus Bradley said this week that the running back position will be an open competition going forward, and they’d ideally like a 2-man rotation. Bradley openly praised Johnson this week, and he could have first crack at being part of the backfield tandem. He’s a roll of the dice flex play in deeper leagues that could pay off big this week. He should be comfortable playing with his college QB Blake Bortles.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 6: @NYJ): Thompson shouldn’t be anywhere near your lineup this week against the Jets’ stout run D, but with Montee Ball out for multiple weeks the backfield workload bears watching. CJ Anderson was inactive last week and Ronnie Hillman is still just a change of pace guy. Anderson is expected to get the bulk of the carries, but keep an eye on the situation.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 6: @Mia.): I have a gut feeling that this is the week Davante finds the end zone. He’s playing a ton of snaps as the WR3 in Green Bay, and it’s only a matter of time before he finds a big game. I like his chances this week with Brent Grimes covering either Jordy or Randall Cobb.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 6: vs. Den.): The Jets are desperately in need of playmakers right now, and Amaro has the talent to be just that. It’s only a matter of time before they fully unleash him. The Jets should be playing from behind all day this week, so they should be throwing a bunch. I like Amaro in 2-TE leagues.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully you find something useful in there for your fantasy teams and are able to pick up a W in week 6. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
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