Welcome back to the Rookie Report! The season marches on another week, and the rookie WR crop spent that week showing off once again. Martavis Bryant, Jordan Matthews, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham and John Brown each found the end zone at least once, and the party isn’t likely to end for that group. With that said, let’s dive into what to expect from the rookie crop in week 11…
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 11: @NO): It’s being reported that Gio Bernard will be out yet again this week. Don’t be scared off by Hill’s lackluster performance last week. The Bengals abandoned the run far too early, and Hill was actually pretty effective when they were giving him the ball. I’d expect Cincy to get back to running the ball this week, and with Saints top corner Keenan Lewis likely out, the Bengals whole offense should run more smoothly. I expect Hill to get back into double-digit fantasy points against New Orleans.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Hou.): The Browns’ backfield situation is only slightly clearer than the ones in Denver and Buffalo right now, but the Texans are a bottom-10 defense against fantasy running backs and West is a very good bet to lead Cleveland in carries this week. He should be a mid-level RB2 this week with the Browns’ run-heavy scheme.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 11: vs. SF): Beckham has been a revelation since returning from his early season hamstring issues. He’s already established himself as Eli’s go-to-guy, and he’s put up 15+ points in each of the last 3 games. The matchup isn’t an easy one, but Beckham did just carve up the Seahawks’ vaunted secondary last week, even schooling Richard Sherman downfield with a double move for a big gainer. Beckham is an every week WR2 right now.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): Evans is quickly becoming the top option in the Tampa Bay offense, and it seems pretty clear that the switch to Josh McCown hasn’t hurt his output. After catching 4 balls each week for 5 games in a row, Evans has exploded for 7 catches each of the past 2 weeks with 125 and 124 yards respectively, and scored 3 TDs. It’s even more impressive when you factor in that he had a different starting QB each game. I’d expect the breakout to continue and see Evans as a safe WR2 this week.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 11: @Mia.): Watkins is coming off a poor week 10 showing as he battled through a groin injury that was apparently worse than it seemed. Despite that, he’s practiced in full this week and he looks ready to roll against the ‘Phins. The matchup is tough. Brent Grimes has played like a true shutdown corner at times, but Sammy did torch Miami for an 8-117-1 line in their first matchup. I expect a bounce back from last week and see Sammy as right on the WR2/3 borderline this week.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 11: vs. Atl.): Obviously, Kelvin’s stat line last Monday was garbage time aided, but the stats still count the same. He’s still seeing a mountain of targets each week and gets to face off with a Falcons’ secondary that has allowed 23.6 points per game to opposing WRs. Even if KB winds up facing off with Atlanta’s top CB Desmond Trufant all day, I still like his chances for a TD and for double-digit fantasy points. Continue to trust him in your lineup.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 11: @GB): Believe in the connection between Matthews and the Sanchize. They’ve had a great chemistry since training camp, and Sanchez has already connected with J-Matt for 3 TDs in less than 2 full games at the helm. Maclin is still the clear number one WR on the Eagles, but Sanchez doesn’t take nearly as many deep shots as Foles used to, so Maclin’s numbers won’t be quite as steady as they’ve been and Matthews’s should continue to rise. Jordan should be a steady WR3 the rest of the way.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 11: @Ten.): The hot streak continued for Bryant last week despite the Steelers’ embarrassing loss. This week he gets the oft-burned Blidi Wreh-Wilson who should get burned some more. I wouldn’t bet against another Martavis TD this week. Keep putting him in the lineup and reaping the rewards.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 11: @Chi.): Teddy has had a reputation all year of coming up small in the best matchups. The Bears are a juicy one. They allow a league worst 20.8 points per game to opposing QBs. Despite his struggles in good matchups, I think this is the game where Teddy breaks through. The Bears’ defense is painfully predictable, and with Kyle Rudolph back, I think this will be Bridgewater’s first game with multiple passing TDs. I see him producing like a high-end QB2 Sunday.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 11: @Chi.): I hope McKinnon owners are ready to be frustrated again by Matt Asiata vulturing TDs from Jerick. The Bears’ defense has been terrible, so McKinnon should again have a strong yardage day (he’s averaged 83 yards from scrimmage in his past 3 games), but I don’t have a ton of confidence that he scores his first TD of the season. Chicago’s cover-3 defense limits the home run plays, so I would be surprised if McKinnon is able to break a long TD run.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 11: vs. Pit.): There is some good news for Bishop Sankey: he’s finally emerged from the Tennessee timeshare to be the clear featured back. The bad news: he’s still not scoring TDs. He hasn’t hit paydirt since week 2, and while the Steelers can be run on, I’m not sure I see the Titans keeping this game tight and being able to run it throughout. Are you going to be happy with 80 scoreless yards from a starting RB this week? If you are, fire up Bishop.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 11: vs. Den.): Mason faces another tough matchup this week, but he did manage 81 yards from scrimmage vs. the Cardinals last week. I wouldn’t bank on much more than what he did last week, but his role certainly puts him on the RB2/flex radar.
RB Branden Oliver, SD (Wk. 11: vs. Oak.): Ryan Mathews looks ready to go for week 11, but in a matchup with the Raiders, Oliver should still have some value. He should assume the old Danny Woodhead role as a change of pace and receiving back, and he did rattle off 124 total yards and a TD the last time he faced Oakland. He’s a reasonable roll of the dice flex option.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 11: vs. Cin.): Cooks has been very good in the Superdome, where he plays this week. He’s put up 90+ yards and a TD in each of his last 2 home tilts, but there is a little reason for hesitation since Cincy doesn’t give up a ton of points to opposing WRs. He should still be a safe WR3 in PPR leagues, and a little less safe in standard leagues.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): Landry remains a reasonable WR3 options in PPR leagues. He had a season-high 7 catches last week, and will continue to see a solid amount of targets each week. Ryan Tannehill still struggles to connect on the deep ball, and Landry makes his living on the short-to-intermediate stuff. He should continue to tally 5 or 6 catches just about every week.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 11: vs. Phi.): I have a hunch that Adams has a strong game this week. He was the only Packer who didn’t have a big night against the Bears, and I think Rodgers will look for Adams a bit more this week. Randall Cobb gets to tangle with Brandon Boykin, the Eagles’ toughest cover corner, which should help a few extra targets to go Davante’s way. I think he’s worth the risk as a WR3 this week, but there certainly is risk.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): There was a lot of hubbub about the switch from Mike Glennon to Josh McCown, but it seems to have worked in ASJ’s favor. McCown looked in the direction of Brandon Meyers quite a bit at the start of the year, and that tight end love has carried over to the rookie. ASJ caught 5 of 9 targets for 30 yards and a score last week. He makes a decent streaming play this week against a ‘Skins defense that has allowed 9 points per game to opposing TEs.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 11: @SD): Carr has been improving as the season has gone on, especially now that he’s found a safety valve in TE Mychal Rivera, but he’ll need some garbage time this week to have any QB2 appeal. The Chargers’ D hasn’t been as good as you might think, but since Andre Holmes disappeared (34 yards per game over the past 4), any chance of blowup games for Carr is pretty much off the table.
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 11: vs. Pit.): Like Carr, Mett doesn’t have that tough of a matchup, but I doubt he takes advantage. Pittsburgh has a history of making rookies uncomfortable with their blitzing schemes, and Mett won’t be immune to that. I wouldn’t be excited to start Mettenberger in a 2QB league.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 11: vs. Hou.): It’s impossible to trust that the workload will be there for Crowell this week. He did score a TD last week, but he also fumbled (it wasn’t actually a fumble and was overturned on replay review) and didn’t play another snap afterward. The last time he had ball control issues, he didn’t play for the next two weeks. I don’t know if he’ll be treated similarly this time around.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 11: @Was.): I like Sims’s overall outlook, but I’m not a big fan of him for this week. He’s not getting the goal line work, and the ‘Skins are tough to run on in general. He should catch a few passes, but it likely won’t be enough to merit a spot in your lineup. His role will continue to grow, but he’s not a trustworthy start at this point.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk.11: vs. SF): This is an easy call. Rashad Jennings is expected to start this week and Williams was barely a passable fantasy performer while Jennings was out. No need to consider Andre.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 11: @StL.): I was right about the Broncos giving someone other than Ronnie Hillman some early game work, but I picked the wrong Denver back. It was C.J. Anderson and not Juwan Thompson who saw the extra work, and he was fantastic with the opportunities he had. Hillman is out this week, but Montee Ball is back, and both Ball and Anderson should continue to run ahead of Thompson. He won’t see enough work to be a worthwhile option.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 11: @Ari.): Ebron should finally be back this week and the Cards do give up fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but the other 2 Lions’ tight ends should also be back. Ebron didn’t produce in weeks that the others were out, so I wouldn’t bank on him doing so with all 3 guys playing. Ebron isn’t a strong option this week.
Deep League Sleepers:
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 11: @NYG): The 49ers re-discovered their power running game last week in a tough win over the Saints, and they would be well served to roll with that ground attack again this week. The G-Men allow the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing RBs, and I think Hyde is a decent bet to find the end zone this week. He should get a good handful of carries to spell Frank Gore.
RB Damien Williams, MIA (Wk. 11: vs. Buf.): Lamar Miller is listed as probable, but he tried playing through the injury last week and was noticeably limited by it, putting up just 6 yards on 5 carries. Williams was the only Miami back who had a decent week, and he could do so again if Miller is again limited by the injury. If you are desperate and scouring the waiver wire for a playable running back in a deep league, Williams is worth a dart throw.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 11: vs. Det.): The Lions are the best defense in the league against opposing WRs, but the arrow is pointing up for John Brown for the rest of the season. He had a real connection with Drew Stanton when Drew started games earlier in the season, and Stanton takes more downfield shots than Carson Palmer. If you’re desperate for a WR, Brown just needs one deep ball to be worth a roll of the dice play.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Hopefully it helps you to fantasy victory. As always: good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.