Rookies Watch Week Two Fantasy Edition

Welcome in Rush Nation to the second instalment of the Rookies Watch.

How quickly things can change in the NFL. Week one the rookies were popping off left and right. Brown and McLaurin were the highlights of week one and showed out again week two. This week was just as entertaining but the rookies were harder to identify meaning some creativity from yours truly.

Below are the latest batch of rookies along with some extras that fall into their own categories this week.

Rookies who popped

Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders RB

In the first two weeks of the season Jacobs has shown why the Raiders drafted him as the first RB. Jacobs has started with 212 yards from scrimmage and two rushing TD’s, his ground game the highlight so far. He looks far and away the best RB in Oakland and should continue to impress if the Oline holds up.

The only worry I currently have for Jacobs is his usage in the passing game. Coming out of Bama, Jacobs was an every down back and looked strong in the pass game, through two weeks of the NFL season he has only 1 target & reception for 28 yards even with the negative game script they faced this week against KC. Derek Carr appears to be ignoring the RB’s almost entirely at this stage attempting only six targets in two games. Jacobs has the ability to push out both Richard and Washington if given the chance and if Carr provides the targets.

Josh Jacobs is a high end RB2, borderline RB1 going forward and looks pretty matchup proof in terms of rushing. He will of course have some difficult matchups along the way but appears to have the talent to overcome this.

Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs WR

Mecole Hardman fans rejoiced hearing the Hill injury news in week one despite only one target against Jacksonville. Hardman looked impressive against Oakland ending the day four reception for 61 yards and a score. Fans and Hardman will feel very hard done by however, a 74 yard TD was called back for holding on LeSean McCoy.

Hardman looks explosive and has the speed to beat any DB that he comes up against and should exploit defences often. We have seen time and time again Mahomes confidence in the deep ball and this shows no sign of letting up.

The argument against Hardman is the competition he faces even with Hill out. Watkins and Robinson have had enormous games and guessing which WR will be a difficult task for fantasy owners. Outside WR you also have Travis Kelce who will of course get his & the running game will be involved.

I would take the chance on Hardman going forward as a WR3 or flex, especially in favourable match ups. Mahomes will continue to chuck the ball around giving all the weapons a chance for a big game, Hardman is surely next in line to get his.

Ready for more

Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers WR

We had to wait two weeks before we saw the Deebo Samuel breakout many expected. Week one was nothing to ride home about however he did catch all three targets for 17 yards whilst converting a two pointer. Week two Samuel racked up 87 yards from 5 receptions and a touchdown.

Deebo was touted as the best receiver from the outset in San Fran and so far this appears to be true. He has leads the receiving group with 89 offensive snaps and is also top in fantasy scoring. The connection with Jimmy G already appears strong and he is the clear first option.

Deebo is the 49er’s leading WR in targets, receptions, receiving yards, fantasy points and is joint leader in touchdowns. Not bad going for a rookie with two games under his belt.

Days will not always be bright in San Fran, they are a middling team at this stage and will underwhelm on occasion. I would be confident in putting him in your line-ups going forward as a flex option. If he continues to be Jimmy G’s number one he should become a solid WR2/3 most weeks.

Rookies Below Expectations

TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions TE

What a difference a week can make, Hockenson certainly came back down to earth week two against the Chargers. He saw three targets for one reception going for seven yards and looked lost at times.

Many FF owners made the decision to start Hockenson after likely having him on the bench in week one. This proved to be a mistake and an obvious one but many (including myself) chose to ignore this. LA Chargers in 2018 were the number one defence against TE’s allowing on average only 43.5 per game.

Week three is not much better for Hockenson against the Eagles who are equally impressive against the tight end. I still envisage him ending the season as a TE1 but at this stage he will be a week to week starter dependant on match up.

The talent and potential Hockenson possesses is evident and the future is bright across all formats. Watch the Detroit Lions schedule going forward carefully and exploit the positive match ups. Stafford has many options now in the passing game which will allow Hockenson to take advantage of lesser coverage.

Somewhere Inbetween

Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals QB

I’m sure I will not be the only one confused on Kyler Murray and his fantasy outlook going forward. He has looked good at times and week two was statistically a good outing with a 62.5% completion rate (25/349/0). The lack of touchdowns kept him from a solid fantasy outing against the Ravens.

I have two concerns when it comes to Murray, the Cardinal’s Oline and his lack of rushing. Arizona’s offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL closely ahead of Miami and Houston and it has shown. Murray is consistently under pressure and having to leave the pocket, it is here his accuracy and decision making suffers at times as is expected from a rookie.

He has not yet rushed as much as I would have expected and when he does he leaves himself open to the hit, hopefully the coaching can sort this going forward. He has only rushed three times a game for four and 13 yards respectively.

Kyler’s arm looks good and he is not afraid to sling the ball, he leads the NFL in attempts per game at 47. The weapons surrounding Murray have also impressed, Fitzgerald continues to show why he is a future hall of famer and Kirk came back from a poor week one to post a 100+ game. David Johnson is a top tier safety value in both the rushing and passing game (if he can stay fit).

In terms of fantasy Kyler has the potential to be a top 10-15 QB particularly if he can start to utilise his rushing ability and Kingsbury continues the high offensive play calling.

Potential Tragedy Strikes

Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills RB

In what looked to be a breakout game for Singletary the week two injury bug struck. He was looking solid with 57 yards from six carries and a score on the ground along with some involvement in the passing game. Over the first two weeks of the season his statline reads 10 carries for 127 yards and one touchdown, not bad for the number two back on the depth chart.

Singletary left the Giants game with an apparent hamstring injury; the news is limited so far but the signs point to a stint on the sidelines. The fact the injury was non-contact is the most concerning as these rarely turn out well. (Update Singletary is currently day-day).

Playing behind the ageless Gore appears to be doing wonders for Singletary. Most of us saw the reports coming out early of Singletary shadowing him everywhere, Gore is the ultimate professional on and off the field. Singletary is still early in his development and hopefully the injury will not be too detrimental to this.

Unless news come out that Singletary will be out long term I would not be concerned for the rest of the season. Gore will do a job in the interim and has a good opportunity in particular week three against the Bengals. Don’t drop Singletary unless you are in dire straits for roster spots, once returned he is likely to be a RB2 the rest of the way.

Rookies to Fade

Damien Harris – New England Patriots RB

Through two weeks Damien Harris has totalled 0 snaps for the Patriots. In fact he has been inactive as a healthy scratch both weeks in favour of Burkhead, White and Michel with Brandon Bolden being active for the special teams.

Tom Brady now has a multitude of options in terms of passing so even if Harris is able to get some play time it will be limited to running down work. Albeit on a high scoring offence who will likely lead in most games which will play into the running backs.

I would not be so quick to drop Harris at this stage of the season in deeper redraft rosters. We have all seen Belichick’s usage of RB’s in the past and Michel’s durability is still being a concern. It would not be a surprise to see Harris marked as active soon, especially if one of the three above him don’t perform. An injury to Michel will skyrocket Harris’s value and make him an intriguing option albeit as a committee with Burkhead and White.

If there is someone on the Waivers who will make an immediate impact you are safe to drop Harris but be sure to keep a close eye on New England as we know how quickly things can change.

Andy Isabella – Arizona Cardinals WR

Andy Isabella is another prime example of don’t believe the pre-season hype! Isabella has no fantasy relevance at this time. 7% snap count week one with no targets and a healthy scratch week two. Buried on the Arizona depth chart things are looking glum for Isabella in 2019.

Fellow rookie Keesean Johnson and journeyman Damiere Byrd appear to be the three and four behind Fitzgerald and Kirk. Isabella even lost punt return duties after failing to impress week one. There may be a reason for this sudden turn on Isabella, he may still be suffering from his knee injury.

You are safe to drop Isabella in redraft, i would continue to stash in dynasty for 2020 and beyond.

The Long and Short

And that’s it for now Rush Nation, make sure to tune in again next week for the latest addition of the rookies watch. Here’s another good week of NFL and fantasy football and pray to the football gods for no more quarterback injuries! My heart may not take it.

Until we meet again, keep on rushing.

-Ash Goddard Addicted2_FF