Rookies Watch Week Four Fantasy Edition

Welcome in to the week four edition of Rookies Watch. Can you believe we are already a quarter of the way through the fantasy season? What an entertaining week we saw and how can we forgot the Bus Vs Rams 55-40 slugfest Sunday night.

At this point, we have now seen the majority of the 2019 rookies on the field in one capacity or the other. Some have flashed and performed as expected. Some have left a lot to be desired. For this week, I bring you another five of those rookies and the breakdown from Week Four.

Rookies Who Popped
Gardner Minshew – QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Minshew Mania is sweeping not only the US, but the UK also. I can image it’s going to hit fever pitch when the Jags roll into town in a few weeks time. Minshew is playing like a Quarterback who has been in the NFL for years. He is a competent QB that doesn’t really turn the ball over, makes great decisions, can move with his legs, and is accurate.

However, he also has something not all Quarterbacks have. And that is fearlessness. He always looks calm. The Bronco’s looked nailed on to record their first win of the season. However, Minshew, alongside Fournette, had other ideas. His late drive that setup the game-winning field goal meant the Jags moved to 2-2. And Minshew, who has a 19/33 213 Yard and 2 TD day, became not only the hero, but the AFC Rookie of the Week. 

I have a feeling Minshew Mania might be here to stay, even when Foles returns. Of all the Rookies in this Quarterback class, I bet nobody thought that Minshew would arguably be the most interesting.

A.J. Brown – WR, Tennessee Titans

A.J. Brown continues to defy expectations. He is also casting even more doubt into the future of former First Round draft pick Corey Davis in the process. Brown is showing that you can do a lot with a little, and is keeping pace with fellow namesake, 1st Round pick Marquise Brown. 

Brown went 3-94-2 and caught all his targets. When he gets the ball thrown his way he makes the most of the opportunity.  He’s caught 10 of his 17 targets on the season. And after two pretty poor weeks, he has stepped up again to have another top 24 Wide Receiver week. He might be a bit boom or bust, depending on the defense he faces, but he has some decent matchups ahead, after they play Buffalo next week. However he is still a Red Zone threat, so keep an eye out and own him, before someone else does.

Too Soon
Dwayne Haskins – QB, Washington Redskins

As an Ohio State fan it was nice to see Haskins on an NFL field, for all of 5 seconds. Everyone but the Redskins knew Haskins would not be ready yet. Even though he was a first round pick, he still looks raw. Haskins’ talent is evident from his one season as a start for the Buckeyes. But he needs more time. Much like Trubisky’s did in 2017. Haskins started only 14 games in college all coming in 2018. Granted, it was 14 very good starts.

Replacing Keenum against the Giants, his performance was certainly a disaster. His stat-line reads 9/17 for 107 yards and the most concerning stat was three Interceptions. He was hassled all day behind a terrible Offensive Line and was given no time to throw or even think about throwing. Haskins just looked lost from the get go. His lack of running ability meant he was a lamb to the slaughter all day.

Reports of a split between McCoy and Haskins in Week Five have surfaced and I would not be surprised to see McCoy take over from Haskins. Haskins is clearly not ready to be starting and the Redskins are making a mistake rushing him.

We have seen it many times in the past, a coaching staff fighting for their jobs and forcing a rookie QB into an unwinnable situation and not fully prepared. I fully believe Haskins has the talent to become a top QB in the NFL if he is given the time to learn. Washington should drop Haskins in favour of McCoy. It may dent his confidence in the short term but is certainly the correct decision for this long term value.

Even with the potential of being a starter Haskins is no more than a QB3 at most in fantasy and only owned in superflex leagues.

Kickers are People Too
Joey Slye – K, Carolina Panthers

Kickers are people too, Rush Nation. At least for some fantasy leagues anyway. It is not often you see a rookie Kicker make such a start as Joey Slye has. With Gano placed on IR in August, the Panthers had to turn to Undrafted Rookie Slye out of Virginia Tech. Gano left big shoes to fill as one of the top kickers in the NFL but Slye has certainly lived up to that billing so far.

Since missing his opening kick Slye has been perfect in kicking duties, making 19 of 19 field goals. Along with this he is also perfect on extra points, converting nine of nine. Whilst you cannot guarantee consistency at Kicker, Slye is one of the safest options around through 4 weeks and looks set to continue this.

Slye is still under 50% owned and should be picked up anywhere he is available. Up next the Jaguars who are defence will cause Panthers problems and we should see plenty of FG opportunities.

Justice Hill – RB, Baltimore Ravens

I, for one, am surprised the lack of involvement see so far for Hill in the Ravens offence. One of the big rookie sleepers entering the off season, many people invested in Hill to breakout. This has yet to come to fruition. Infact Hill has only totalled 11 carries in four weeks. Seven came against the Dolphins Week One. Even his involvement in the pass game, which was projected as his main opportunity for fantasy relevance, has created a measly seven targets.

Hill is the clear number three back behind Ingram and Edwards. This looks like it will only be broken if one misses time through injury. However with Jackson, Ingram and Edwards all running efficiently, there is just no room for Hill. Considering the fourth round investment and the fact Edwards is a UDFA, the splits are very surprising. Perhaps Hill is struggling with the playbook.

The most frustrating aspect of Hill’s lack of involvement is when he has the ball he looks electric, even in his limited showing. Hill’s lack of size will likely restrict him to a committee role for most of his NFL career. However, he has shown in college he is a top pass catching RB. He plays with speed and vision to make space out of the backfield.

At this stage of the season, Hill is a resentful drop for me in redraft leagues. However one injury could change this. But in shallower leagues, this is roster spot that you can’t hold deadweight. It is worthwhile keep hold if you have a deep bench and hope for Hill’s talent to push him ahead of Edwards.

The Long and Short

The most surprising takeaway for me at the quarter mark of the season is just how many rookies are performing. For example McLaurin, Brown, Minshew, Jones, Pollard, Mattison, Hockenson to name a few who have been fantasy relevant at stages.

And onto Week Five we go. Who will be the next to pop off or will we see the usual cast of rookies continue to impress? I hope you join me for next week’s instalment.

Until next time Rush Nation, Keep Rushing

-Ash Goddard (@Addicted2_FF)



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