Welcome back to the Rookie Report. We’re all feeling the sting of bye weeks right now, but there were plenty of fill-in options that came up big last week. Martavis Bryant was at it again with another 2 TDs, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham had breakout games, and Jeremy Hill made people who had stashed him during the first half of the season feel really smart with a monster game in his first start. There should be plenty more rookies helping you survive the week 10 byes. Let’s take a look at what to expect this week…
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 10: vs. Cle.): As I just mentioned, the Bengals’ rook was excellent in his first start last week, piling up over 150 yards and 2 TDs. Gio will likely be out again. The Browns give up 140 rushing yards per game, 2nd most in the NFL behind only the Packers. Hill is a must-start with RB1 potential. If by some miracle Bernard plays, Hill would still see extended work and be at least a strong flex play.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 10: @Cin.): Cincinnati has allowed the 3rd most rushing yards in the league and the 6th most fantasy RB points. It looks like West is going to get the starter’s share of the work this week and for the immediate future, which makes him an RB2 this week. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be more successful than Tate’s been behind a line that has struggled since Alex Mack went down for the year. In this matchup, he’ll still be useful.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): Evans is coming off his best game as a pro, and gets the piss poor Falcons defense next. It’s the perfect scenario for a big follow-up game, except that Lovie Smith has made the decision to switch quarterbacks and return to Josh McCown. The change casts some questions for Evans’s outlook this week, but with so many byes this week he’s at least a WR3.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 10: @Phi.): Philly has one of the worst defenses in the league against WRs, allowing 25.6 points per game. The Panthers will have had 10 days to get ready for the Eagles, which is plenty of time to find ways to get Kelvin involved. The Eagles’ best CB plays in the slot, so there is a big chance for one of KB’s best game of the season. Get him in this week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 10: vs. KC): Kansas City is a pretty tough matchup, so don’t expect a repeat of what he did against the Jets, but he will continue to be the focal point of the Bills’ passing game and is a safe WR2 this week. Temper expectations, but fire him up again.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 10: @NYJ): It’s hard not to ride the hot streak while it lasts. Bryant has played just 3 games so far, and already has 5 TDs to show for it. He does have just 10 receptions in those games, so he’s a better option for standard leagues than PPR. The Jets’ secondary is atrocious and Big Ben is throwing smoke right now. Bryant is a solid WR3 this week and is a good bet for another TD.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 10: vs. Den.): Carr has slowly been rounding into form since Tony Sparano took charge, and he threw 2 TD in Seattle last week. This week’s game has a ton of blowout potential, so Carr should be throwing plenty. The Broncos allow the 5th most QB fantasy points and 2 TDs per game. Carr has some appeal as a low-end QB2.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 10: @Ari.): Mason has some flex appeal despite having a really tough matchup this week. There are still questions about his role in the offense since Jeff Fisher insisted that they will still employ a committee approach, but Mason has shown himself to clearly be the most talented back on the team. Over the last 3 weeks, Mason has had 46 touches, compared to 19 for Benny Cunningham and 8 for Zac Stacy. Fisher did mention before last week’s game that it should provide a little clarity into the running back situation, and Mason saw the lion’s share of the work. He should see the same going forward. His upside is limited this week, but could be a solid flex with so many byes.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 10: vs. Ten.): Zo’s fumble in week 9 certainly doesn’t help his outlook, but he should remain the clear number 2 behind Forsett. Against the Titans’ porous run D, that position has value. He should see 10+ touches this week and is always a threat for a red zone TD.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): The only reason Beckham isn’t a must-start is because he faces the Legion of Boom in Seattle. The Giants line Beckham up all over the field and I don’t expect Richard Sherman to shadow him. Odell is already becoming the go-to guy for the G-Men due to Rueben Randle’s inconsistency that was on full display on Monday night. Randle and Eli just seem to never be on the same page. Beckham is still a really decent flex option this week, but there’s always a risk when you take on the Seahawks.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 10: vs. SF): Cooks has settled in as a weekly boom-or-bust WR3 option, but he’s alternated good and bad weeks. He’s due for a good week, and SF has struggled against slot WRs over the last couple seasons. I think he’s a decent bet for 6+ catches this week and a solid option for PPR leagues.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): In his worst game since week 1, Robinson was still targeted 8 times. His role isn’t diminishing. He remains a decent WR3 option each week. I’d expect a minor bounce back this week.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 10: vs. Chi.): Adams has hit 75 or more yards in 2 of his past 3 games and scored a TD in the other one, and he’s playing on almost every snap. He’s still a boom-or-bust WR3 option each week, but he’s been gaining consistency. He’s actually a pretty safe option this week with so many teams on byes.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 10: vs. Car.): The Panthers’ pass defense isn’t very good, but the Eagles’ pass catchers fight for scraps after Jeremy Maclin eats. Things might change a little bit with Mark Sanchez under center, but the scheme funnels targets to Maclin. Matthews has a high enough floor in PPR leagues to be a fill-in WR3 with the byes this week, but probably needs a TD to make you happy.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): The Cowboys have limited opposing passers all year by playing keep away with DeMarco Murray. The Cardinals put a stop to that last week by holding Murray in check, but the Jags likely won’t do the same, especially if Romo plays. Bortles just hasn’t been efficient enough to be a good play with limited opportunities.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Do you have any confidence in Bishop Sankey when he has a good matchup? I don’t, so why would I have any when he’s taking on the number 1 defense in the league against fantasy RBs? He’ll get work, but the Titans just don’t seem to have any idea how to get him going. I’m playing Sankey in one league because I simply have no other options, but I really don’t feel good about it. Sit him if you can.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): I’m not sure of Rashad Jennings’s status for this week, but even if he doesn’t play, I wouldn’t want to trot Williams out there. He hasn’t piled up yards, topping out at just 66 yards in any game this season. The Seahawks have allowed just 3 rushing scores on the year. I don’t think Williams gets one this week. If you play him, you’ll likely be disappointed.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 10: @Cin.): Crowell has become a forgotten man in the Cleveland backfield, even though coach Mike Pettine insists he isn’t in the doghouse. His decreased role seems a harsh punishment for one game where he struggled with ball security. Terrance West is unlikely to be much more effective than Ben Tate, so Crowell’s time may still be coming this year. He’s easily the most talented back on the roster and should be stashed if you have the space to do it.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 10: @NO): Hyde hasn’t had enough work to really merit a spot in your lineup, but his long term stock did get a bit of a bump this week with the announcement that Marcus Lattimore is retiring. The 49ers signed Kendall Hunter to a one-year extension to be the 3rd back, so Hyde is quickly looking like the obvious heir apparent to Frank Gore, who has to be approaching the end of his great career.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 10: vs. StL): I wasn’t big on Brown last week, thinking it was due to be a Michael Floyd week. It didn’t quite work out that way for Floyd, but Brown did have a miserable fantasy week. I feel the same way this week that Palmer will want to get Floyd going. The Rams do give up a lot of fantasy points to WRs, but I wouldn’t feel good about taking a chance on Brown this week.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 10: vs. Dal.): Don’t chase last week’s points. Hurns’s monster game in week 9 was an outlier, and it’s unlikely he repeats those numbers again this season. I’d expect a return to his normal production this week and would keep him benched.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 10: @Det.): Facing off with Detroit’s stingy D this week, this isn’t the time to get Landry in the lineup. He’s a low-end WR4 this week and is unlikely to make a big splash against the league’s best D vs. WRs.
WR Paul Richardson, SEA (Wk. 10: vs. NYG): Richardson has the tools to fill the Percy Harvin role, but it’s a boom-or-bust role that will bust more often than it booms. There are better options available.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 10: vs. Pit.): Considering that Amaro had ZERO targets in Michael Vick’s first start, it’s tough to have a lot of faith in a bounce back this week. Eventually they will build a rapport, but I don’t see it happening this week.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): After Mike Evans’s breakout game last week, the rookie wideout should garner more defensive attention this week, which could free up ASJ a bit more. With that said, Seferian-Jenkins caught just 1 of 3 targets last week for 3 yards, and the Falcons allow less than 5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. I wouldn’t roll the dice here.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Mett acquitted himself well in garbage time in his first start, and he might have some more garbage time again this week. The Ravens are the number 1 defense against RBs in fantasy, but they are in the bottom-10 against QBs. They have given up 263 pass yards per game on the year, and just lost their top corner Jimmy Smith for the year 2 weeks ago. Mett has some very sneaky upside this week in 2QB leagues.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): It’s hard to trust a guy that we haven’t seen play a regular season down, but the Bucs have talked up Sims a ton and the Falcons are the worst defense in the league against running backs. Sims will at the very least play on passing downs. It will take a leap of faith to play Sims, but he could be a week-winning flex play in this matchup.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 10: @Oak.): Ronnie Hillman didn’t have his best game last week against the Patriots, and Montee Ball might not be active for this game in his return from a groin injury. If Ball is out again, there is a ton of blowout potential in this game. Thompson could see extended run in garbage time against a defense that gives up 22 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. He’s already vulturing Hillman TDs, and he could steal a little more early game work after Hillman’s rough week 9.
WR Corey Washington, NYG (Wk. 10: @Sea.): Washington isn’t a consideration for this week, but considering the injury to Victor Cruz, and how clear it is that Rueben Randle and Eli are not on the same page, Corey’s role may grow before long. He’s certainly more talented than Preston Parker, and is a name to know if Randle continues to run the wrong routes and kill drives.
TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL (Wk. 10: vs. Ten.): Gillmore is a better shot in the dark option than the other rookie tight ends this week if your starting TE is on bye. Look first for a Jared Cook or Joseph Fauria type, but the Ravens have a tight end friendly O and a plus matchup. Gillmore has to be getting more comfortable with his extended PT, and he did find the end zone last week.
Rookies on Byes: QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN, RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN, RB Branden Oliver, SD, RB Alfred Blue, HOU, WR Donte Moncrief, IND
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hope it helps. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.