Welcome back to the Rookie Report! A new season is almost upon us. You may have already drafted a fantasy team, but if you haven't, the rookies are always the hardest to predict. There's no track record to go off of, so it all becomes a guessing game based on role and perceived talent. With that in mind...I'm here to help. Each week throughout the season I'll breakdown which rookies you should start, which are borderline options, and which rookies you should sit. I'll also throw in a few deep league/cheap DFS sleepers each week as well. Since it's not quite week 1, today is about breaking down which rookies you want to own this season and why. I'll give you my quick top 10 redraft rookies, followed by a position-by-position preview. So, without further ado...
Top 10 Re-draft Rookies
1. WR Nelson Agholor, PHI: Melvin Gordon will lose touches to Danny Woodhead, Yeldon and Amari are on bad offenses. Nelson is ticketed for a big role in a high-volume attack. He's the safest rookie option.
2. RB TJ Yeldon, JAX: More on the reasoning later, but let's leave it at this - Yeldon should be a 3-down back while Gordon projects to be a 2-down back this year.
3. RB Melvin Gordon, SD: See above for reasoning
4. WR Amari Cooper, OAK: Clear-cut WR1 in an offense that will play from behind a bit.
5. RB Todd Gurley, STL: Would be number one on the list if we knew he would be ready to go at full strength week 1.
6. WR Devin Funchess, CAR: Injury to Kelvin Benjamin makes him the Panthers' WR1. His ceiling likely resembles what KB did last season.
7. RB Ameer Abdullah, DET: The longer it takes Joique to get onto the field, the larger the portion of his workload Abdullah will steal.
8. RB Tevin Coleman, ATL: Still unclear who will be the lead back in Atlanta, but Coleman was hand-picked by Kyle Shanahan in the draft. Expect a 50-50 split with Freeman at a minimum.
9. WR DeVante Parker, MIA: Parker's role is unclear with a crowded group of receivers, but the Dolphins' offense might break out in a big way, and Parker might be the most talented guy in the group. I wouldn't bet against him carving out a nice role this year.
10. WR Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN: Monster talent with a clear path the the #1 WR job in Tennessee's offense. It might not be a great offense, but if DGB's off-field troubles are behind him he could be a star soon.
Alright, there's the top 10, now onto the positional breakdowns...
Let's be honest, in re-draft there are only two QBs that are even worth considering. The rest of the crop may have some upside down the road...Sean Mannion is basically Mike Glennon part deux, Garrett Grayson could develop into a Joe Flacco-type at best (albeit with a weaker arm), Bryce Petty is the closest to a starting gig with only old man Fitz and inept Geno in front of him, but the rookie QB not in the top 2 with the most upside is Brett Hundley. He's just stuck behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
I know, I didn't rank any in the top 10 rookies, and there's a good reason for that. It isn't that I don't like the top 2, I just don't see either guy being more than a low-end QB2, which means you really aren't playing either guy unless you're in a 2 quarterback league or as a bye filler. While both are borderline top-20 options at QB this year (I have Jameis at 19 and Mariota at 22), I'd give the edge to Winston because of the TD potential he has with the red zone giants he has to throw to. Both guys have illicited positive reviews in camp, but I just expect the Bucs to have a better offense than the Titans. I think the TD count for Jameis will be enough to offset the damage Mariota does on the ground, and I'm more likely to take a shot on Winston than Mariota in a 2QB league.
In dynasty leagues, I really like both guys, but I still give the edge to Jameis. Again, it mostly boils down to weapons. Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins give Winston two excellent targets who will be around a long time. Mariota gets Kendall Wright, who is a great possession WR, but the only physical freak target he has, Dorial Green-Beckham, is a huge question mark long-term due to off the field and maturity issues. Some would argue that Winston has some of those issues himself, and he probably does, but crab legs and public vulgarity and the sexual assault case are only part of the story with Winston. He's also a player who's been breaking down coverages since he was a kid watching NFL games on TV. Reading defenses and anticipating what they're doing is 2nd nature to Winston, and that is the single most important attribute to be a good NFL QB. While Mariota is a great leader with a high footbal IQ and electric running ability, I don't see that as enough to overcome his below-average situation and make him a better dynasty option than Jameis. The Titans have been one of the worst run franchises in the NFL.
The rookie running back crop should have one clear-cut number 1 fantasy asset (and in dynasty leagues it does), and that guy is Todd Gurley. Unfortunately, due to a torn ACL last year at Georgia, his early season status is up in the air, opening the door for TJ Yeldon and Melvin Gordon to move ahead of him in re-draft formats. All three fall in the range from mid-RB2 to high RB3. There's still a very real chance that Gurley becomes a league-winner if he's back sooner than expected, but all signs point to him being eased back in to begin with. For me, Yeldon is #1 amongst the running backs in re-draft leagues. What separates him from Melvin Gordon is his 3-down role. Gordon is not good in the receiving game or in pass protection, two areas where Danny Woodhead excels, so he will likely lose touches in 3rd down situations while Yeldon will not. Yes, Gordon is in a better offense, but I still like Yeldon better. In dynasty leagues, I like Gurley at number one, but I still like Yeldon better than Gordon as I feel the Jaguars' offense will be ascending over the next couple seasons.
Beyond that trio, the next two rookie backs worth consideration in re-draft leagues are Ameer Abdullah and Tevin Coleman. For me, I much prefer Abdullah. His athleticism is off the charts, and the offensive coordinator in Detroit is the same guy who oversaw the Saints' offense that made dangerous multi-purpose weapons out of Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles. The Falcons' defense still isn't very good, so game flow might lead to less carries for Coleman. In dynasty leagues, if your league counts points for receptions, I'd even consider Abdullah ahead of Melvin Gordon despite Gordon's clear year one advantage.
As for the rest of th group, I would rank them in this order in re-draft: Matt Jones, David Cobb, Duke Johnson, David Johnson, and Jay Ajayi. Anyone who has watched the Redskins in the preseason has seen that they won't be very good. Alfred Morris gives them nothing in the passing game. Jones has been exceptional this preseason, and is likely to eventually replace Morris in the long-term. He'll have a nice role this year that should only increase going forward. Cobb is still looking at splitting work with Bishop Sankey in Tennessee, and while Sankey has looked improved thus far in the preseason, I still expect Cobb to be a factor. Duke and David Johnson both look tabbed for change-of-pace and some passing down work. I like Duke's situation better because his team looks more likely to play from behind. With Ajayi, although the Dolphins have refused to give Lamar Miller a full workload over the past couple years, Ajayi may have to work his way past Damien WIlliams to even get backup work.
Top dynasty RB options after the top 5 in order: Matt Jones, Duke Johnson, David Johnson, Josh Robinson, Zach Zenner
While the dynasty rankings at WR are bit up in the air, the re-draft ranks have a very clear top two guys: Amari Cooper and Nelson Agholor, and I prefer Agholor. The Eagles' offense is a juggernaut, and Agholor is ticketed for the role vacated by Jeremy Maclin's departure. The Raiders, meanwhile, are still trying to fight their way back to respectability. Both guys are legitimate borderline 2/3 WRs for this year, but I just like Agholor better because of the situation. Cooper could catch 90 balls this year, but Agholor won't be far behind and has much better TD potential. In dynasty leagues, it's a coin flip for me. I'd still prefer Agholor, but I think Cooper is slightly more talented.
The 2nd tier of rookie WRs in re-draft leagues consists of Devin Funchess, DeVante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Breshad Perriman, and I would draft them in that order. Funchess should be a legitimate WR3 with the upside for more in Kelvin Benjamin's role. Parker could be a WR3 if he's able to get himself healthy and carve out a role. It might take a few weeks for him to start making an impact as he battles back from a foot injury however. Green-Beckham might have the highest ceiling of any receiver in this class, but he has several red flags that make him a long-term risk. There's a clear path to DGB earning a big role in the Titans' passing game, but it's far from a certainty. As a result, Green-Beckham is a WR4 for this season, although he's being typically drafted lower than that. Breshad Perriman is also a WR4 this year, but due to his injury issues this preseason, he's a boom or bust option for this year. If healthy, he should be the number 2 WR on the Ravens after Steve Smith.
As for the rest of the WR class, the only other guys I'd strongly think about rostering in re-draft leagues are Tyler Lockett in Seattle and Ty Montgomery in Green Bay. There isn't much on the Seattle depth chart to overcome, and Lockett has been fantastic this preseason. He's a good WR5/6 option in PPR leagues who could really surprise. Montgomery is worthy of WR 4/5 status just on the potential that he wins the WR3 job in an Aaron Rodgers offense. His dynasy outlook is hurt by the impending return of Jordy Nelson next season. Phillip Dorsett could make an impact in Indy, but he has to beat out Donte Moncrief for the third WR role to do so. Kevin White may miss the whole season in Chicago, and Devin Smith will open the season dinged up for the Jets. Neither is worth a draft pick in re-draft leagues. Jaelen Strong has a shot to earn a role with the Texans, but he's yet to make much of an impact in the preseason.
Top 12 Dynasty WRs in order: Nelson Agholor, Amari Cooper, Dorial Green-Beckham, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Kevin White, Devin Funchess, Tyler Lockett, Phillip Dorsett, Jaelen Strong,Ty Montgomery, Darren Waller
Other names to know: DeAndre Smelter, Chris Conley, Sammie Coates, Tre McBride, Kenny Bell
The tight end position is typically useless in terms of rookie fantasy production, and this year looks to be about the same. The one rookie TE to be aware of is Maxx Williams in Baltimore. WIth Dennis Pitta still out and Owen Daniels gone to Denver, Williams will be expected to step in and play right away. I'd peg him as a low end TE2. I can't endorse banking on him to play a big role on your fantasy team. Outside of him, there isn't much. MyCole Pruitt might have a couple nice games in an H-Back role in Minnesota, but he isn't worth a draft pick, and Clive Walford could earn some meaningful playing time in Oakland, but that makes him maybe top-25 at the position.
Top 5 Dynasty TEs in order: Maxx Williams, MyCole Pruitt, Clive Walford, Tyler Kroft, Jesse James
That's it for the rookie preview. Hopefully it gives you a better grasp on who some of the guys are out there that you might not know much about if you don't watch much college football. Good luck with your fantasy drafts, and make sure to check back in each week for the Rookie Report to know what to do with your rookies on a weekly basis. And remember, have fun. Fantasy football is just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! I hope you managed to cash in on the big days of Todd Gurley, TJ Yeldon, Duke Johnson & Karlos Williams in an eventful week 4. Gurley’s breakout came a week earlier than I expected, and Andrew Luck’s absence kept the Jaguars running deep into the game allowing Yeldon to break the century mark. The other two guys I was already high on in last week’s Rookie Report. Unfortunately, Melvin Gordon didn’t carry over the good vibes from that quartet. At WR, Amari found paydirt again, and some less heralded rookies like Willie Snead and Jamison Crowder made a splash as well. Let’s take a look at what we can expect in week 5…
Rookies to Start:
RB Todd Gurley, STL (Wk. 5: @GB): Wasn’t this guy impressive last week? Facing a really tough run defense, he gashed the Cardinals in a big way in the 2nd half and led the Rams to a huge upset win. Pounding the rock with Gurley will be the formula going forward for the Rams, and the Packers’ run defense isn’t one I’m afraid of. The Packers will likely load up to stop him, and very well could run away with the game, making the run game useless, but I think Gurley is good enough to overcome that. I think the Rams feed him early and often, and they stay in this game en route to an RB1 day for Gurley. He’s ready to be unleashed.
Yeldon has 70 carries and 14 targets this season.
RB TJ Yeldon, JAX (Wk. 5: @TB): Yeldon didn’t quite have the coming out party that Gurley did last week, but he did have his best day as a pro and topped the century mark in rush yards for the first time in his career. He has a good chance to make it two in a row, and a solid shot to find the end zone as well. Yeldon is surprisingly 3rd in the NFL in total carries, and also has at least two receptions each game. The Bucs have allowed over 100 rushing yards and at least 1 rushing TD in 3 of their 4 games this year, and with no one around to threaten Yeldon’s workload, he could produce like a borderline RB1 this week.
RB Karlos Williams, BUF (Wk. 5: @Ten.): Obviously this hinges on whether or not Karlos can play. He’s still in the concussion protocol, but if he’s able to play, he should probably be in the lineup. His talent is real, Shady McCoy should be out again, and the Titans have allowed 104 RB rush yards per game and 3 rushing scores in the past 2 games. Williams should be a very solid RB2 if he starts.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK (Wk. 5: vs. Den.): I’m not nearly as high on Cooper this week as I have been the past couple…the Broncos’ pass defense has been pretty impressive. Let’s face it though, if you have Amari, you’re going to play him. If you want a bright spot, the Broncos did look less than impressive in week 4 against the Vikings WRs. They allowed WRs to put up totals of 25 catches, 246 yards and zero touchdowns in the first 3 weeks combined. The Vikings WRs tallied a 21-249-1 line in week 4. Go ahead and get Amari in there, but know there is some risk.
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN (Wk. 5: vs. Buf.): The Bills sound like a daunting matchup on paper with their great d-line and Rex Ryan’s aggressive schemes, but they have been shredded through the air so far. The Bills are allowing the 3rd most QB fantasy points per game so far, and have allowed at least 15 points and multiple TDs to each QB they’ve faced. The guys they’ve faced are pretty good (Brady, Luck, Eli & Tannehill), but this defense shouldn’t be feared as much as you’d think. Mariota has low QB1 upside and is a solid option in 2QB leagues.
QB Jameis Winston, TB (Wk. 5: vs. Jax.): This recommendation is for 2 QB leagues, but Jameis could be a decent low end QB2 option this week. The Jaguars have allowed 293.5 yards passing and 1.5 TDs per game, and it’s only a matter of time before Winston starts clicking with Mike Evans. What should make this really interesting is that the turnover-prone QB faces a defense that has just one interception on the year. There is decent upside, and a 250 yard, 2 TD day is within reach.
RB Matt Jones, WAS (Wk. 5: @Atl.): It’s hard to get a read on how Jones and Alf are going to split carries, but there is some upside against Atlanta. The Falcons allow a league-worst 26.3 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, but there is some reason to believe that the biggest beneficiary of the matchup will be Chris Thompson. Thompson is clearly the receiving back in this offense, and Atlanta has allowed 365 receiving yards to RBs and just 318 rushing yards. The good news for Jones…the Falcons have allowed 7 rushing TDs, and Jones has received 9 red zone carries in the last 3 weeks to 6 for Alfred Morris. I love Matt’s chances of finding the end zone this week, but his yardage may be limited. View him as a boom-or-bust flex option.
RB Melvin Gordon, SD (Wk. 5 vs. Pit.): Gordon failed to break out in a great matchup last week. It’s hard to see him doing so in a much tougher matchup this week. I’d lean toward sitting him this week, but you might not have any better options. Pittsburgh did struggle to slow down Justin Forsett last Thursday on the short week, but they allowed just 167 total RB rush yards in the first 3 games. The Steelers have 11 days to get ready for Gordon and the Chargers. The sledding could be tough.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE (Wk. 5: @Bal.): The matchup gets much tougher for Duke this week. The Ravens did allow 100-yard rusher for the first time since 2013 last week, but the guy who broke the century mark was LeVeon Bell. I’m not ready to put Duke at that level yet. With the way he’s played the last couple weeks, Johnson has earned a bigger role and is worthy of flex consideration. His best area of point production is as a pass catcher though, and Baltimore has allowed just 19 RB receptions through 4 games. Tread carefully with Duke.
In case you aren't getting it, this is Willie Snead.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET (Wk. 5: vs. Ari.): The Cards have been tough on every RB they’ve faced other than Gurley, and the Lions’ run game has been abysmal. When you add in that he’s ceeding passing game work to Theo Riddick, it’s hard to see a big day for Ameer. He’ll get a decent amount of volume in this one in a game I think the Lions will actually be competitive in, but like Gordon, if you have better options you should probably use them instead.
WR Willie Snead, NO (Wk. 5: @Phi.): You may be asking yourself ‘Who is Willie Snead?’ You should already know the answer. While the Saints’ offense has struggled to get going, Snead has quietly made his way up the depth chart, clearly passing Brandon Coleman and now possibly climbing over Marques Colston as well. He’s developing a great rapport with Drew Brees, and this week he faces off with an Eagles’ defense that has allowed at least 25 WR fantasy points to every team they’ve faced except the Dez-less Cowboys. Willie has caught at least 4 passes each of the last 3 games, and put up a season best 6-89 line against Dallas last week. He has a real chance to at least duplicate that against Philly. He’s a reasonable WR3 option this week, especially in PPR.
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI (Wk. 5: vs. NO): Agholor made the most impressive play of his young career last Sunday, making a ridiculous one handed catch on a deep ball from Sam Bradford. On the very next play, he fumbled a pitch on a reverse. That’s the kind of season it’s been for Agholor…a frustrating one, but there are reasons for optimism. His playing time hasn’t dipped, and the Eagles finally looked like they were getting the deep passing game figured out in week 4. I’m still scared to start him, but there’s upside for a decent day against a mediocre defense. The more this offense gets rolling, the better things will get for Agholor.
Rookies to Sit:
RB Thomas Rawls, SEA (Wk. 5: @Cin.): The Seahawks are hopeful that Marshawn Lynch will be back this week, and if he is, you want no part of Rawls. The Bengals’ run defense is no joke with Geno Atkins terrorizing the middle of the line again, and the Seahawks’ run game hasn’t been the same without Max Unger at center and with non-blocker Jimmy Graham at TE. The Bengals are vulnerable to backs catching passes out of the backfield, but it was telling that FB Brandon Coleman was lining up at running back in some passing situations after Fred Jackson went down. I’m not sure Rawls has the skills to take advantage. If he gets the start, I’d expect similar output to what he produced on Monday night.
RB David Johnson, ARI (Wk. 5: @Det.): Johnson did factor in again last week with Andre Ellington out another week, but AE is all but certain to return for week 5. DJ should slip to 3rd in the pecking order for touches this week against a defense that has allowed just 9 RB fantasy points in each of their last 2 games. Arians referred to him as the odd man out.
WR Ty Montgomery, GB (Wk. 5: vs. StL): Montgomery was very quiet against a very suspect 49ers secondary. The Rams are much better than SF on the back end. Despite getting a bunch of snaps, Montgomery isn’t producing enough to be a viable starting option this week.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA (Wk. 5: @Cin.): It was a good sign that Lockett finally got involved in the passing game a bit more this week, but the Seahawks just haven’t had enough passing game volume to make any of their WRs a weekly start. Lockett remains a standout WR3 if your league awards points for return yards, but for now he’s more of a WR4 or 5 in regular PPR leagues.
WR Chris Conley, KC (Wk. 5: vs. Chi.): I considered putting Conley in the ‘sleeper’ section this week, but I’m just not sure there will be enough extra to go around after Charles, Kelce and Maclin get their touches for Conley to have a big day. I’d expect his increased playing time to continue if Albert Wilson is out again, but I doubt it turns into a big fantasy day even in this plus matchup.
TE Maxx Williams, BAL (Wk. 5: vs. Cle.): Even if Gillmore is out again, Maxx is still struggling to make an impact. Granted, the Ravens are even more short-handed for pass catchers with Steve Smith out, but I still think Maxx will be hard-pressed to top 50 yards this week. I personally think Gillmore will be able to play, which would hamper Williams’s value even more.
Deep League Sleepers and Cheap DFS Options:
WR Keith Mumphery, HOU (Wk. 5: vs. Ind.): Mumph appears likely to get the start this week with both Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts already ruled out for Thursday night’s tilt with the Colts. Jaelen Strong was drafted higher than Mumphery, but he was beaten out by the MSU product in training camp. Vontae Davis is questionable for this week, and if he plays, I’d expect a few extra targets to go Mumphery’s way while Davis covers DeAndre Hopkins. Even if Davis is a go, Mumphery still managed to see 7 targets while Hopkins saw 22 last week. Expect a healthy workload for the rookie, and even with Ryan Mallett at QB should have a pretty solid game.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN (Wk. 5: vs. Buf.): Here’s a quick fun note on Dorial…he ruined the NFL’s shot at an arrest-free month on September 30th. The offense? Unpaid parking tickets. He was released after paying the $92 ticket. Arrests aside, DGB is a red zone monster, and the Bills have allowed 7 passing TDs to WRs in just 4 weeks. Green-Beckham is the best bet to get one this week, and coach Ken Whisenhunt has talked about getting him more involved. He’s a great punt option in DFS tournaments this week.
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS (Wk. 5: @Atl.): It looks like there is a good chance that DeSean Jackson is out again, and Crowder has really come on in the last two weeks, tallying 13 catches and 110 yards in those contests. The Redskins figure to be throwing plenty once again to keep pace with the high-powered Falcons’ offense, and the likely absence of Jordan Reed should increase Crowder’s targets. He has great upside as a PPR WR3 this week in a plus matchup, and he’ll be dirt cheap in daily leagues.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps decide some of those tough rookie lineup decisions this week. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! This season seems to get stranger by the week. What’s wrong with the Seahawks? What exactly constitutes a catch? Can the Saints get back in the NFC playoff picture? Is someone going to go undefeated?...I’m not going to talk about any of these things. Instead, I’ll dive into the breakout week of Stefon Diggs, the continued disappearing act of Melvin Gordon, and the health status of Matt Jones, TJ Yeldon, and Marcus Mariota, and also what you should do with your rookies for week 7. Let’s dig in….
Rookies to Start:
RB Todd Gurley, STL (Wk. 7: vs. Cle.): Gurley is the only rookie I can confidently recommend starting this week. He was a terror on opposing defenses for the last 2 games before the bye, and now he gets to face a Browns team that has allowed an NFL-high 789 rush yards to opposing RBs and the 4th most fantasy points per game to the position. Gurley will get the rock a ton, and has easy RB1 upside in a plus-plus matchup. Get him in there this week.
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN (Wk. 7: vs. Atl.): Mariota is confident that he will play this week, but I’m not. If he does suit up, I think he’s due for a bit of a turnaround game. The Falcons have allowed just a 7:6 TD:INT ratio for the season, but they’ve also allowed over a 65% completion percentage and over 295 passing yards per game on the season. I think he’ll find some success throwing against a Falcons’ team that hasn’t been quite as good as their 5-1 record would make you think. He should be a decent QB2 option if he plays, and a sleeper QB1 in really deep leagues. Several starting QBs have tough matchups or byes this week (Rodgers, Bradford, Dalton, Bortles, McCown, Kaep). I know they aren’t all big names, but all have been productive at points this year.
RB Melvin Gordon, OAK (Wk. 7: vs. Oak.): I'd lean toward sitting Gordon this week after he was benched for fumbling last week. He failed to break out against two bad run defenses in Cleveland and Green Bay this year, and this week he gets a decent one. The Raiders have allowed just 3 RB TDs all year, and 14.2 fantasy points per game. I'd expect the Chargers to go back to Gordon this week despite the benching, but there might not be much upside.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE (Wk. 7: @StL.): Duke remains an intriguing PPR option. The Rams have a strong defensive front vs. the run, but they've averaged giving up 6 catches and 55 receiving yards per game to opposing RBs. Johnson will remain very involved in the game plan and could be a really solid PPR flex play once again.
RB Matt Jones, WAS (Wk. 7: vs. TB): Keep an eye on Jones's health this week. This could be the most positive game script Jones has seen in weeks. Washington is a 3-point favorite, and Tampa is allowing 105 RB rush yards per game and have give up 4 rushing TDs. I think Washington will actually be able to establish the ground game this week, and I like Jones better than Alfred Morris as long as he's able to play.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK (Wk. 7: @SD): You are likely playing Cooper if you have him, but this is not a week to run him out there in DFS. He saw just 4 targets in a tough matchup with the Broncos before the bye, and this week he gets to tangle with Jason Verrett, who has yet to allow more than 2 completions in any game on passes thrown into his coverage. Number one receivers Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Randall Cobb, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown have all failed to record 50 rec. yards and none had more than 3 catches against San Diego. That isn’t a fluke. I wouldn’t be optimistic for Amari in week 7.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN (Wk. 7: @Det.): Diggs has done enough to warrant more work over the past 2 games. He may have surpassed Charles Johnson on the depth chart while CJ's been out with a rib injury. The Vikings' offense centers around AP running it, so the volume won't be consistent for Diggs, but the matchup this week is juicy. The Lions allow 15 catches and over 200 yards per week to WRs, and Diggs has been the most effective Viking WR this season. He's a better play if Johnson is out again, but still in the WR3 discussion even if Johnson plays.
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS (Wk. 7: vs. TB): DeSean Jackson is unlikely to play again this week, and Crowder has seen at least 6 targets in 4 straight games, and at least 8 in 3 straight. Jordan Reed seems likely to play this week, which could cut into Crowder's targets, but I'd still expect him to be good for at least 5 catches and is a decent PPR WR3 option. The Bucs allow the 5th most WR fantasy points per gm.
Rookies to Sit:
RB TJ Yeldon, JAX (Wk. 7: vs. Buf.): You might not have any better options with how thin the RB position has been this year, but this week doesn't set up well for TJ. He might not even play due to injury, and if he does play, he might be competing for touches with the now healthy Denard Robinson. Yeldon hasn't been very efficient with a lot of volume, and this week's matchup is tougher than it looks on paper. The Bills are middle of the road vs. opposing RBs, but they've held the opposition under 50 RB rush yards 3 times in 6 games. The Jaguars might make it 4 of 7. I'd steer clear of Yeldon if you can.
RB David Johnson, ARI (Wk. 7: vs. Bal.): Johnson finally showed what should happen when you only get 4 touches in a game. He had been scoring touchdowns weekly with very few touches, and this week it finally caught up with him as he turned his 4 touches into 17 scoreless yards. The Ravens have been stingy to opposing RBs, allowing just 14 ppg to them each week, and DJ still is fighting with CJ2K and Ellington for touches.
RB Tevin Coleman, ATL (Wk. 7: @Ten.): The matchup is better for Coleman than it looks on paper, but unless something happens to Devonta Freeman, the workload won’t be large enough for Coleman to be worth playing him. He did manage 40 yards on 4 carries last week, and he’s got home run potential, but to bank on him producing with single-digit touches would be a desperation play. Leave him benched.
RB Thomas Rawls, SEA (Wk. 7: @SF): Rawls got just one carry last week with Marshawn back at full strength. He’d be a threat to get more work if the Seahawks blow this game open, but the 49ers have been playing well in primetime games (win over MIN and last minute loss to NYG) and the Seahawks haven’t looked like themselves, blowing 4th quarter leads in all 4 of their losses this year. Don’t look for much work for Rawls in this one.
RB Karlos Williams, BUF (Wk. 7: @Jax.): It's unlikely that Williams plays yet again as he battles back from a concussion, and Shady McCoy re-established himself in week 6 with a big game. If Karlos is able to go, he'll likely see just a few change of pace carries unless it's a blowout, making him a TD dice roll. It's not a gamble I'd want to take.Editor's Note: Karlos Williams was removed from this list, since he didn't make the trip to London with his team.
RB Javorius Allen, BAL (Wk. 7: @Ari.): This is a tough matchup, and Forsett has emerged as the workhorse in the Ravens’ backfield again since Taliaferro went on the IR. Forsett has had 24 or more touches in each of the last 3 games while Allen has totaled 18 touches. Allen needs a Forsett injury to be relevant in most leagues.
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI (Wk. 7: @Car.): Agholor should be back from injury this week, but he gets a brutal matchup in the return. If he plays, he will likely see a bunch of Carolina’s top CB Josh Norman, who has been one of the league’s top cover guys thus far in 2015. Agholor hasn’t been lighting up the stat sheet in plus matchups. Why play him in a really bad one?
WR Devin Smith, NYJ (Wk. 7: @NE): After his inefficient performances in his first two games, Smith ran behind fellow rookie Quincy Enunwa in week 6 and saw zero targets. He’ll have to work his way back up to be an option in any leagues. Enunwa is also not worth starting this week.
WR Devin Funchess, CAR (Wk. 7: vs. Phi.): His volume increased in week 6, seeing a season-high 6 targets last week, but he did drop a couple of them and tallied just 2 catches. Until he develops some consistency, his targets won't increase much. Keep him sidelined again this week.
WR DeVante Parker, MIA (Wk. 7: vs. Hou.): Parker had zero targets in the Dolphins’ first game under interim coach Dan Campbell. I wouldn’t expect much to change for him this week in a tougher matchup.
WRs Keith Mumphery and Jaelen Strong, HOU (Wk. 7: @Mia.): With Cecil Shorts back last week, Mumph and Strong combined for just 5 targets against the Jaguars. They had twice that many with Shorts and Nate Washington both out the week before. Shorts will be out again this week, but Washington is expected back. With DeAndre Hopkins soaking up all the targets he can handle, there isn’t enough to go around to the 3rd and 4th WRs in the pecking order, even in a plus matchup.
TE Maxx Williams, BAL (Wk. 7: @Ari.): With Crockett Gillmore back from injury, Williams is an afterthought in the pass game. He has just 5 catches for 24 yards in the past 2 weeks. Leave him sitting.
Deep League Sleepers and Cheap DFS Options:
QB Jameis Winston, TB (Wk. 7: @Was.): Jameis's transition to the NFL hasn't exactly been smooth, but he may have some sneaky upside this week against a Washington defense that has allowed a 9:3 TD:INT ratio in 6 games. They've allowed less than 240 pass yards per game, but they haven't played with a ton of leads and teams aren't throwing on them late very often. There won't be many DBs in this matchup that can cover V-Jax or Mike Evans, and ASJ may return as well. This could be a good week to take a chance on Winston in a 2 QB league or as a DFS punt option.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET (Wk. 7: vs. Min.): I think this is the week that the Lions get the run game going. It might be Joique Bell, it might be Abdullah. Ameer has had issues with fumbles this season, but the Lions did put him back in the game late vs. the Bears. For the season, the Vikings have allowed the 7th fewest points to opposing RBs, but that doesn't tell the whole story. At home, Minnesota has given up just 153 rush yards and zero TDs to RBS, but on the road they've allowed 335 yards and 3 TDs in 2 games, as well as 4.5 yards per rush on the season. I have a hunch that either Abdullah or Bell has a nice game, I'm just not sure which one.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA (Wk. 7: @SF): San Francisco gives up heaps of fantasy points to opposing WRs, and the Seahawks don't have a WR who stands out as the obvious guy who will score them. That makes Lockett an interesting really cheap DFS option. He's always a threat to score a return TD, and someone on this team will score some points. Why not Lockett? Don't read much into the 2 targets he had last week. No Seahawk WR had more than 4 in that game, and Lockett had 5 in each of the two games before that. Is that a lot of volume? No, but if he gets 5 targets and takes a kick or punt to the house? DFS Gold.
That's all I've got for this week. Hopefully it helps you make some tough lineup decisions with some big bye weeks upon us. Feel free to hit me up on twitter if you want to say nice things or call me an idiot (@shawn_foss). As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It's just a game.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! As the fantasy regular season winds down, hopefully you've got yourself well positioned for a playoff spot. It was a big week for some rookies, with Devin Funchess tallying his first TD and Dorial Green-Beckham finally getting a starter's share of the snaps (even if it took an injury to Kendall Wright to get them). Amari Cooper and Todd Gurley continued their usual excellence, and Karlos Williams returned to action in a big way. Let's talk about what week 10 should have in store...
Rookies to Start:
RB Todd Gurley, STL (Wk. 10: vs. Chi.): If you own him, you know you're starting him, but he should be worth his price tag in daily fantasy games as well. The Bears allow 121 rushing yards a game and 4.6 yards per carry. They do a good job limiting TDs (just 2 rushing scores allowed all year), but Gurley is a good bet to top the century mark this week and I think he finds the end zone as well despite how few the Bears have allowed.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN (Wk. 10: @Oak.): Diggs didn't do a lot last week against the Rams, but he should be much better this week. The matchup is much softer. The Raiders don't allow a ton of WR touchdowns (just 4 on the year), but they do allow 16.7 catches and 221 yards per game to them. Diggs gets easily the most volume of the Vikings WRs, and he likely will get around 10 targets and should be safe to fire up as a WR2 this week.
QB Jameis Winston, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): The Cowboys have been pretty solid against quarterbacks all year, allowing just 9 passing scores in 8 games and about 240 yards per game, but Jameis has shown a really safe floor. With at least 12 points scored each week, he should be a safe QB2 this week in 2 quarterback leagues, albeit one with limited upside.
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI (Wk. 10: @StL.): If Matt Forte is out again, volume should keep Langford on the RB2 radar despite a tough matchup. If you have strong options to play over Langford, go for it. The Rams have allowed just 2 offensive TDs in 4 home games this year. While Langford should get a bunch of work, he'll be a long shot to find the end zone. If Forte is a go, Langford shouldn't be near your lineup.
RB TJ Yeldon, JAX (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Yeldon was having a rough game in week 9, but broke a long 4th quarter run that bailed his day out. With that said, his volume remains consistent. The Ravens have been tough on opposing rushers, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry and just 4 RB touchdowns on the season, but that volume keeps Yeldon in the RB2 discussion. I'd expect him to tally somewhere around 8 points in standard leagues this week.
RB Matt Jones, WAS (Wk. 10: vs. NO): Jones hasn't produced much lately, but he's definitely running ahead of Alfred Morris right now. Jones had 11 carries in week 9, Alf has 10 total in the last 2 games, and he's turned them into just 15 yards. This is a plus matchup for RBs. The Saints allow 105 rush yards per game to opposing backs, and even with Chris Thompson back this week, Jones should get 12-15 carries. That makes him a realistic flex option this week with byes and all of the RB injuries around the league right now.
RB Duke Johnson, CLE (Wk. 10: @Pit.): Duke has a similar outlook this week to what he has every other week. He remains firmly on the PPR flex radar. He's a better option if Josh McCown starts at QB. The Steelers allow the 3rd fewest RB fantasy points, but they also allow almost 5 catches and 42 receiving yards per game to RBs.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK (Wk. 10: vs. Min.): Cooper is pretty close to a must-start at this point based on volume and upside, but there are some red flags this week. He's a little dinged up with a quad injury. He's alternated games with a TD and without, and he's due for no TD this week. The matchup isn't ideal, as the Vikings are in the top 10 teams in the league at limiting WR fantasy points. Also, Cooper and Crabtree almost never go off in the same week, and Cooper is the one who usually gets the defense's focus. Week 9 was the second time all year that both receivers finished in the top-24 at the position in fantasy points. It all adds up to Cooper being a little dicier this week than most, and certainly not someone to target in DFS.
WR Jamison Crowder, WAS (Wk. 10: vs. NO): I was worried Crowder's role would be reduced with the return of DeSean Jackson, but he caught 6 passes for 50 yards in week 9. Hopefully it's a sign that things won't change with D-Jax back. He's got 8+ targets in 4 of his last 5 games, and at least 4 catches in each of the last 6 (6 rec./gm on average). He's got a plus matchup this week and should be a WR3 option in PPR leagues. His floor this week should be 5 catches and 50 yards.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Marcus Mariota, TEN (Wk. 10: vs. Car.): Mariota is coming off one of his best days as a pro in week 9 against the Saints, but the Saints are the worst QB defense in the league and he gets a much stiffer test this week. Don't read much into Aaron Rodgers fantasy bonanza in week 9 against these Panthers. That was an outlier game. If you throw out week 9, Carolina is allowing just 12.3 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, which would be good for 3rd lowest in the league behind Denver and St. Louis. Don't chase last week's points here. He's nothing more than a desperation 2QB league play.
RB Karlos Williams, BUF (Wk. 10: @NYJ): Earlier in the week I was planning on listing Karlos as a guy to start, but as the week has gone on it's become clear that Shady McCoy will play Thursday night. Karlos was tremendous in his return to action last week (9 carries for 110 yards and 2 TDs), and he now has a TD in every game he's played in and is the overall RB21 for the season despite missing 3 games, but I think the TD streak ends this week. The Jets allow just 10.6 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, and most of the work should go to McCoy. Keep Karlos under wraps this week.
RB Ameer Abdullah, DET (Wk. 10: @GB): The Packers have been good against RBs, and Abdullah's role shrunk in the first game with Jim Bob Cooter in as offensive coordinator. Joique Bell is getting the early down work and Theo Riddick the passing down work. The game script doesn't set up well in this game either. The Packers are an 11-point favorite and haven't lost to the Lions at home in the last 20 meetings. Keep Abdullah benched.
RB David Johnson, ARI (Wk. 10: @Sea.): Nothing new to report on Johnson. He remains the 3rd banana in this run game behind CJ2K and Ellington. Even though he's seeing some red zone work, the Seahawks allow the fewest RB fantasy points in the league. This isn't the spot to pick to use a guy with very limited volume.
RB David Cobb, TEN (Wk. 10: vs. Car.): Cobb will be activated from the short-term IR this week and should see at least a couple carries, but the bulk of th work this week should go to Antonio Andrews. Andrews has been good in the past 2 games and earned more work. Cobb will eventually factor in, and could be worth a stash in deeper leagues, but you aren't considering him this week.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN (Wk. 10: vs. Car.): Big surprise here...another Titan rookie I'm telling you to sit. This is the worst possible week for DGB to draw Josh Norman. The Panthers should deploy their top cover man on Green-Beckham. Dorial had a breakthrough in week 9 with Kendall Wright sidelined, seeing double-digit targets and pulling in 5 of them for 77 yards (both career highs). Wright is likely to be out again, but I don't like the chances of DGB continuing his breakout this week. He has the talent to start producing in tough matchups, but for now I'm giving Norman the benefit of the doubt.
WR Nelson Agholor, PHI (Wk. 10: vs. Mia.): Agholor should finally return from a high ankle sprain, and the matchup is a good one, but Nelson hasn't done anything yet this year. It would be a pretty big leap of faith to think that this is the week he starts producing, even though the Eagles' offense is playing much better than it was when he got hurt. There is a chance that things click for Agholor at some point in the second half and the fantasy points start coming, but it hasn't happened yet. At most he's a deep league flyer right now.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA (Wk. 10: vs. Ari.): Lockett is still in play for leagues that count return yardage. His passing game involvement was increasing before the bye last week (8 catches for 115 yards and a TD in the last 2 games), but the Cardinals are a tough matchup. I hope his role continues to grow, but this isn's a good spot to fire him up.
Deep League Sleepers and Cheap DFS Options:
RB Jay Ajayi, MIA (Wk. 10: @Phi.): I wouldn't get Ajayi into the lineup this week, but I wanted to mention him as a deep league flyer to scoop off the waiver wire. He debuted last week and was impressive, gaining 41 yards on just 5 carries. Lamar Miller isn't going away, but the coaching staff admitted that Ajayi earned more work with his performance. If anything were to happen to Miller, Ajayi would get a huge boost in value. He's definitely surpassed Damien Williams and Jonas Gray on the depth chart, and will see change of pace work for now.
WR Devin Funchess, CAR (Wk. 10: @Ten.): Funchess finally broke through last week with a 3-71-1 line, and he gets a favorable matchup again this week. Don't go too crazy here. He's still running behind Ginn, Cotchery and Corey Brown in terms of snap count, so the floor is really low, but he could be a decent punt play in DFS tournaments.
WR Adam Humphries, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): Humpries is taking advantage of the absence of Vincent Jackson. He posted a 5-55 line in week 9, and it seems likely that Jackson is out again in week 10. The matchup isn't great, but Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (if he returns) would draw a lot of the defensive attention. There is some upside for a nice PPR day out of Humphries.
TE Clive Walford, OAK (Wk. 10: vs. Min.): Walford is a TD dart throw in this game, with the upside for a little bit more. His quarterback likes him, he has 2 scores in the past 3 games, and the Vikings have given up at least 30 TE receiving yards in all but one game this year. If you're desperate for a TE streamer, you could do worse than Walford this week.
That's all I've got for this week. Hopefully it helps with some of your lineup decisions. If you have any questions or complaints, you can reach out and let me know on twitter (@shawn_foss). As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It's just a game.
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Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!