Rookies Watch Week Three Fantasy Edition
We are back again for another week of rookies Rush Nation.
Only three weeks into the season and we have already seen many breakouts from the 2019 rookies along with some unexpected results and some expected (Sorry Dolphin fans).
This was the week of the backup rookies, some good and some not so. I think you will all know who we have to start…
Rookies who Popped
Daniel Jones took to the field for his first NFL start in week three and looked to silence the preseason critics. Drafted with the 6th overall pick by the Giants with little fanfare and much scepticism he did not have to wait long to get on the field.
Ninety minutes later Daniel Jones put away the Buccaneers with an impressive display not only through the air but also on the ground. 336 yards, two touchdowns through the air and zero interceptions along with two rushing touchdowns. Jones showed pose and a solid arm to completing 65% of his passes.
Jones not only guided the Giants to the first win of the season but also became the first rookie to throw for over 300 yards, throw two touchdowns and two rushing TD’s in a single game. He also tied the record for second largest comeback by a rookie (18 points).
This Giants team will continue to struggle throughout the season and Jones will face constant pressure, however in his first showing he proved up to the challenge. He faced pressure on over 45% of dropbacks yet completed and impressive 80% of passes.
Of course as a rookie it was not all sunshine, Jones at times held onto the ball for too long and lacked the pocket vision. This resulted in taking unnecessary sacks and two fumbles, losing both. This offensive line will not hold up for long and Jones needs to be aware of his surroundings.
With Barkley expected to be out for the foreseeable future the Giants will expect Jones to carry the weight on his shoulders. With Sterling, Engram and a soon to return Tate as his weapons, he should prove a reliable streamer in fantasy, dependant on matchup.
What a chance JJAW had against Detroit, no Jeffrey, no Jackson, it was all set for a breakout. Yet it wasn’t to be. Despite playing 72% of snaps he only accounted for 10 yards on one catch. Through three weeks he only has two catches for 14 yards, a squandered chance to say the least.
JJ looks set to return back to his backup role with Jeffrey expected to return and Agholor and Hollins proving effective. Targeted four times for only one catch, his disappointing day was capitulated by a fourth down drop with 49 seconds to go.
It is a shame to see this happen as JJAW has shown in his college he has the skills to make an impression in the NFL. Given the questionable health of Agholor and Jackson he should see another chance, hopefully he makes it count.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside possesses zero fantasy value in redrafts currently and is safe to cut. Of course as a high draft rookie he should on your roster in dynasty. Jeffrey and Jackson are getting long in the tooth and a long-term partnership with Wentz could be on the horizon.
Ready for More
The Steelers continue to find wide receivers, although it’s only after one game it looks as though Johnson is next inline. We are only three weeks into the season and Johnson has already secured a starters spot (with a little help from Moncrief). Johnson hauled in 52 yards on 3 receptions whilst catching his first NFL touchdown.
The situation is not ideal with Big Ben sidelined for the year and Rudolph under centre, yet Johnson appears to have the talent to carve out a role. Rudolph is a competent quarterback and should improve with the more gametime he gets. This should only allow Johnson to flourish in his newly acquired starting role.
Johnson and Rudolph are no strangers to one another given the preseason and practising together with the 2nd strings. Many thought Washington would be the likely benefactor but this doesn’t appear to be the case even with 92% of the snaps. Moncrief is set for the sidelines going forward allowing both Washington and Johnson a starting role alongside Juju.
Time will tell on his fantasy impact and Rudolph’s improvement will be a big factor in this. He is likely still available in the majority of leagues even after the TD display. Johnson is a worthy stash in deep redraft leagues. He is a must pickup in dynasty given the Steelers offensive prowess despite the current struggles.
They may not be starters but are must own handcuffs in fantasy with their own upside.
A double header for this section, Mattison and Pollard may be backups but had their own values week three. Mattison ended the day 12 for 58 and one TD whilst in relief of Dalvin Cook. Pollard was took full advantage of Miami with 103 yards and a touchdown off 13 attempts.
Pollard’s display may not have come as such a surprise against the Dolphins but it was impressive none the less. Considering Elliot appears to be full go the coaching staff appear to be confident Pollard can also hold his own. Dallas appear content on resting Elliot at times to keep their star as healthy as possible.
Pollard’s value in fantasy is hard to judge week to week and will be dependant on Elliot’s workload and match-up. It may not quite be the expectation that owners had in preseason but Pollard appears to have some significance going forward. Ensure you check all waiver wires and get him if he is available.
Alexander Mattison is another rookie behind an elite RB in Dalvin Cook. Cook himself has been incredibly impressive, leading the NFL in rushing yards through three weeks. What makes Mattison such an intriguing back up is the injury history of Cook. He missed all of 2017 and 5 games in 2018. Cook has not yet shown any signs of slowing down but this needs to be remembered.
Mattison is more than capable of carrying the workload if cook were to miss anytime. That being said he appears to be involved in the offence despite the presence of Cook. Mattison is currently owned in 17% of leagues, expect this to increase come waiver wire pickup.
Although both appear no more than high upside handcuffs the potential for an RB1 is incredibly intriguing if either Zeke or Cook miss time.
Right Talent in the Wrong Situation
Even a team in tanking season will have one bright spark, Preston Williams may be that man. Williams landed in Miami as an undrafted free agent with it all to prove. His talent is apparent but off field troubles left him on the outside looking in come draft day.
The UDFA isn’t in the best circumstances at present but Williams already started to show in preseason the potential he possesses. Week three Williams finished with an impressive 12 targets, catching four for 68 yards. He appears to be the main WR target not only on the outside but also due to his size (6’4″) in the endzone, with three targets week three. This is likely due to the history Williams and Rosen share from their time together in high school.
Williams has gradually earned his spot in the lineup and was on the field for an impressive 96% of snaps in the loss to the Cowboys. He should have finished with a touchdown but for a drop in the endzone, albeit with some assistance from Chidobe Owuzie.
Williams is a risky start at this time in fantasy in Miami and should be seen as a low floor flex option. However his long term value is significant based on what he has shown so far and is a must buy/pickup in Dynasty.
Rookies to Fade
Whilst TJ Hockenson exploded week one for Detroit and has since gone back into fantasy obscurity, Noah Fant has yet to emerge at the all through three weeks. Whilst it is rare for a TE to be fantasy relevant in their rookie year the expectation was high. Coming out of Iowa, Fant is a 96th Percentile and better athlete across the board after all.
Joe Flacco is renowned for targeting the TE in Baltimore and this was the hope for Fant. Despite leading the way in terms of snaps the past three weeks Fant has proved relatively inefficient and is yet to break the five reception mark. One positive you can take is he appears to have safe hands catch 100% of his targets in week two and three.
The likelihood of rookie TE’s popping off year one is low and shouldn’t be a factor for lineups until he starts to show fantasy production on a frequent basis. A solid buy in dynasty leagues and has the talent to become a upper tier TE going long term. Try and take advantage of dynasty owners with less experience and look to pick up Fant on the cheap.
The Long and Short
And that is it for another week of the rookies watch, I don’t know about all of you but the 100th season of the NFL has certainly lived up to the expectations as we enter week four and the quarter mark for the majority of fantasy leagues. I will see you all next week for another instalment of Rookies Watch.
Until we meet again Rush Nation, Keep on Rushing.
-Ash Goddard (Addicted2_FF)