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.