Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Bye weeks are over, so the decisions get tougher this week. It doesn’t make it any easier when you take into account that this is the final regular season week in most leagues, and the choices could be critical if your playoff spot is in jeopardy. Even if you’re not in the playoff hunt, play it out and try and take some pleasure in spoiling someone else’s hopes or seeding. By now we’ve got a pretty good idea of who most of the rookies are, but you know NFL football is never predictable. Let’s take a look at the rookie matchups for week 13:
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 13: @TB): The return of Giovani Bernard brought an even split of the backfield touches for the Cincinnati Bengals, but Hill was clearly the superior back and should continue to be. The even split is still more work than Hill was seeing before Gio was hurt, and the rookie should be a high-end RB2 in a great matchup against the Bucs. He’s a great bet for a TD.
RB Tre Mason, STL (Wk. 13: vs. Oak.): Mason finally gets a plus matchup after averaging 85 total yards per game over a brutal 4-game stretch of the schedule (@SF, @Ari, vs. Den, @SD). With the cake matchup, Mason is a really solid bet for triple digit yards, and is a safe RB2 this week.
WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (Wk. 13: @Jax.): I almost feel bad for the Jaguars corners who have to cover Odell Beckham. They don’t have much of a chance, and it won’t be pretty. OBJ is a borderline WR1 this week.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 13: @Min.): KB has struggled with consistency and drops throughout his rookie season, and yet he still has been held under 9 points in standard leagues just 3 times in 11 games. He has 8 TDs on the year, and the Vikings defense isn’t anything to write home about. Benjamin should be a safe WR2 this week.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Evans will face the toughest defense against WRs that he’s seen in some time, but he’s been pretty much matchup-proof. He’s got at least 1 TD in 6 of his last 7 games (8 total in that stretch), and should be a borderline WR2/3 with a bunch of upside.
WR Jordan Matthews, PHI (Wk. 13: @Dal.): Matthews continued to be solid with Sanchez at QB, tallying a 6-77 line last week. It was the first time all year that J-Matt played more snaps than Riley Cooper. It’s a very positive sign for a rookie who has been coming on very strong. He should be a solid WR2 in what figures to be a shootout on Turkey Day.
QB Zach Mettenberger, TEN (Wk. 13: @Hou.): Mettenberger is a fun 2QB league streamer right now. His completion percentage and W-L record haven’t been great, but he’s been willing to let loose and wing it downfield. Mett has thrown for 260+ and 2 TDs in 3 of his 4 starts, and put up 299 yards, 2 scores and one INT in the first meeting with Houston. He’s an upside QB2 this week.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 13: @Buf.): The matchup is a tough one for Crow, but he has the talent to succeed in it. It appears he’s the lead back in the Browns’ committee even though West saw more carries in week 12. Crowell has shown a nose for the end zone, and is low-end RB2 option with substantial upside if he gets the start.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 13: vs. Car.): He’s got to be due for a TD, right? I want to say yes, but who knows. He’s got zero on the season so far. He should still be good for the usual 15-20 touches, and Carolina allows almost 20 RB fantasy points per game. The upside is there, but so is the risk. He’s a boom or bust RB2/flex option.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 13: vs. Ten.): The Titans’ run D has been awful, allowing the most RB fantasy points in the league to date, but Arian Foster might be back for this one. After last week’s struggles against the Bengals, Blue’s 150-yard day in week 11 seems like an aberration. Without Foster, there’s plenty of flex appeal in the plus matchup, but I wouldn’t want to play him if Foster is a go.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 13: @Hou.): Sankey’s production remains lackluster, but the workload should be pretty solid once again. I wouldn’t play him over McKinnon, Crowell, or Blue (w/o Arian), but he’s got some low-end flex appeal for 12-team leagues. He’s had a reasonable floor, but not much of a ceiling.
WR John Brown, ARI (Wk. 13: @Atl.): I’m tempted to list Brown as a ‘Rookie to Start’ this week with a great matchup and no Larry Fitzgerald. There’s still a decent amount of risk with Drew Stanton under center, but the two have had a decent connection thus far. Brown has a ton of upside this week and could pay off big as a WR3.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 13: @NYJ): Landry should be safely started as a WR3 in PPR leagues this week. The Jets are a total mess right now. Their biggest weakness is the secondary, and Tannehill is doing whatever he wants in the short passing game where Landry thrives. The rookie’s yardage numbers leave something to be desired in standard leagues, where he’s more WR4 with upside than WR3, but he’s averaging 6-49-1 over his past 4 games.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 13: vs. Cle.): The Bills’ offense was in rhythm on Monday night against the Jets’ dumpster fire of a secondary, but Sammy has very little to do with t. He’s been really struggling since coming back from a groin injury and he should be shadowed by Joe Haden this week. He’s just a WR3 with upside this week.
WR Martavis Bryant, PIT (Wk. 13: vs. NO): We’ve finally seen the floor on Martavis, who bottomed out at 2 catches for 11 yards against the Titans in week 11 on 5 targets. The upside is real, and he could very possibly come up with 2 TDs this week, but he still is a limited snap player who carries some week-to-week risk. Fire him up if you need the upside and can live with the risk.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): The G-Men defense is trending in the wrong direction since the Prince Amukamara injury, giving up 4 TD tosses to Tony Romo last week, but Bortles has been awful since the Allen Robinson injury. He’s completed under 60% of his passes in each of the last 2 ball games against pretty average defenses in Dallas and Indy, and he had a 0:2 TD-INT ratio in each game. He should be better than that this week, but probably not a lot better. Not worth a 2-QB league start.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 13: @StL.): Despite finally breaking into the win column last week, Carr remains a poor option for 2-QB leagues. He’s topped 200 passing yards in just 3 of his 11 starts and has averaged just 1 TD per game since his blowup 4TD game against the Chargers in week 6. Keep him benched against the suddenly dangerous Rams’ defense.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 13: vs. Car.): The matchup is good for Teddy, and he did just have his first 2TD game of the season, but overall Teddy has struggled mightily. He’s thrown for just 368 yards, 3 TDs and 2 picks in his past 2 games. You can do better even if you can start 2 quarterbacks.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 13: @Buf.): West will get some work (he actually had more carries than Crowell last week), but unlike Crowell, he’s not a very good bet in tough matchups like the one the Bills present. If he somehow were to get the nod as the starter, it would improve his outlook a bit, but signs point to it being Crowell.
RB Charles Sims, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Doug Martin’s return muddled the Bucs’ backfield situation much more than expected. It was believed the Bucs had turned the page on Martin, but he got the start last week and led the Bucs’ running backs in touches. Add in the fact that the Bengals’ D has stiffened quite a bit over the past couple weeks, and it’s hard to come up with a reason to play Sims this week.
RB Juwan Thompson, DEN (Wk. 13: @KC): It’ll be all C.J. Anderson this week in the Denver backfield. Thompson saw just 5 touches last week, and he would need a lot more than that against the Chiefs to be useful.
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (Wk. 13: vs. SD): The matchup isn’t great, and Pierce has been running as the clear number 2 back in Baltimore lately. ‘Zo has a better chance of giving you a goose egg than he does of clearing 5 points.
WR Marqise Lee, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): Lee finally showed some of that potential he consistently flashed in his USC days in week 12, but he still played just 65% of the offensive snaps. With a limited role in an ineffective offense, Lee will have to show me more before I trust him in any of my fantasy lineups.
WR Allen Hurns, JAX (Wk. 13: vs. NYG): Needless to say, week 12 wasn’t a banner week for the Jaguars’ passing game. Lee had an ok game, but no other receiver did. Hurns has had 2 blowup games this season and has a starting spot for the moment, but he has had just 1 catch in each of the last 2 contests. There’s no reason to trust him this week.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB (Wk. 13: vs. Cin.): Despite a decent matchup, Seferian-Jenkins looks like a longshot to suit up this week. Even if he plays, he’s been fairly unproductive despite ample opportunity for most of the season, and wouldn’t be an especially enticing option this week.
TE Jace Amaro, NYJ (Wk. 13: vs. Mia.): The Miami D is elite vs. TEs, and the Jets’ offense is a dumpster fire. Add in that Amaro still hasn’t been cleared after a week 12 concussion, and you can’t feel good relying on Amaro in any format.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Tom Savage, HOU (Wk. 13: vs. Ten.): Savage gets mentioned only because of Ryan Mallett’s season-ending injury. Signs point to Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the nod, but if Fitzmagic gets hurt or the Texans fall out of playoff contention, Savage would likely see some action. He could be worth a stash in the deepest of leagues.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 13: @Jax.): After barely playing in week 11, Williams was back to getting some change-of-pace and goal line work in week 12, putting up 35 yards and a TD on 10 carries. He’s a good bet for another TD this week, and could see some extended carries if the Giants get up by a few scores. He’s a roll of the dice flex option in deep leagues.
RB Carlos Hyde, SF (Wk. 13: vs. Sea.): This is no more than a hunch, but the Seattle run defense isn’t the same on the road, and the 49ers would be wise to try to win this game on the ground and out-physical the ‘Hawks. That could mean extended run for Hyde, and would make him a better play than usual.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 13: vs. NE): There’s not a ton of reason for confidence with DA’s recent performances, but the Pats do a great job of taking away a team’s best weapons, and for Green Bay that’s Jordy and Cobb. Adams should see some extra looks, so he’s a slightly better option than his usual WR4 dart throw outlook.
WR Donte Moncrief, IND (Wk. 13: vs. Was.): After scoring just 20 & 23 points in their past 2 games, this sets up as an opportunity for the Colts’ offense to get back on track. Dwayne Allen is still nicked up, and Moncrief finally played more snaps than Nicks last week. There’s a ton of upside here down the stretch if he can fully supplant the washed up Hakeem. He’s a guy to grab in dynasty leagues if for some reason he’s available. Nicks and Wayne both figure to be gone next year. For this week, 60 yards and a TD aren’t out of the question if his snaps continue to rise a little.
TE Eric Ebron, DET (Wk. 13: vs. Chi.): Ebron had pretty much his worst day as a pro last Sunday, missing one opportunity after another to make plays. He’ll be eager to bounce back this week in front of the home Thanksgiving Day crowd, and the Bears allow more TE points than anyone in the league. I expect a much better showing from the inconsistent rookie.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Remember to check on your players before Sunday, and make sure you know which of your guys are involved in Thursday games this week. You don’t want to wait to set your lineup only to find out you still had Theo Riddick in the lineup when you would have pulled him if you checked. As always, good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.
Have a great Thanksgiving!