Welcome back to the Rookie Report! Week two was a fun one for some of the rookie crop, most notably Jeremy Hill, Sammy Watkins and Terrance West. It wasn’t nearly as much fun for the NFL, which is still scrambling to stop the PR maelstrom they’re up against in the wake of the Ray Rice video, several other domestic violence cases and the new accusations against Adrian Peterson. It’s getting to be a mess, but that’s not the sort of thing we dive into here at the Rookie Report. Let’s let others deal with those issues, and talk about what to do with the rookies for week 3.
Rookies to Start:
RB Jeremy Hill, CIN (Wk. 3: vs. Ten.): Week 2 more closely resembled how the Bengals intend to use Hill than week one did. The bruiser ran for 70+ yards and a score and caught for 22 more yards. The Titans, meanwhile, were busy getting steamrolled by DeMarco Murray and the Dallas running game. With A.J. Green still dinged up, expect the Bengals to hammer Tennessee on the ground, and I think Hill is a very good bet to score another TD. He’s a great flex play this weekend.
WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (Wk. 3: vs. SD): It’s hard to envision Watkins duplicating his stat line from last week, but he’s clearly the focal point of the Bills’ passing game right now. I would expect that to continue in week 3 and San Diego’s secondary hasn’t been great thus far. Michael Floyd and the Cardinals torched them in week 1. I’d roll with Watkins as my WR3.
RB Terrance West, CLE (Wk. 3: vs. Bal.): West got it done in a surprising week 2 victory over the Saints. The Ravens boast a tougher run defense than New Orleans. West is still going to see a high volume of carries and could be a decent flex option, but I doubt he puts up the kind of points he did a week ago.
WR Brandin Cooks, NO (Wk. 3: vs. Min.): Cooks was disappointing last week vs. Cleveland, but he still makes a reasonable WR3 in PPR leagues going forward. The Mark Ingram injury could actually get him more work as a runner and in the short passing game. Expect a minor bounce back this week.
WR Mike Evans, TB (Wk. 3: @Atl.): Evans is sort of a roll of the dice this week. He has been a big part of the Tampa passing game, but his fantasy numbers haven’t been fantastic. Atlanta is likely to be playing from ahead, and their secondary isn’t very good. It’s a decent week to take a shot on Evans, but know there’s some bust risk.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (Wk. 3: vs. Pit.): Kelvin didn’t do much damage in week 2, but he’s too big a part of the Panthers’ offense to not be considered in fantasy. It isn’t exactly a tasty matchup, but I’d expect Benjamin’s numbers to fall somewhere in between his lines from week 1 and week 2.
WR Allen Robinson, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): Banged up for much of the preseason, Robinson finally looked healthy in week two, coming up with 4 catches for 75 yards. He has the size to physically dominate DBs, and I think he will be the best Jaguars receiver going forward. I think another 70 yards is likely in a game that will be played from behind again.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Derek Carr, OAK (Wk. 3: @NE): This is going to be a weekly tradition before long. The Patriots just forced 4 interceptions from Matt Cassel, and I think their defense has a chance to be scary. Carr seems just cocky enough to test Darelle Revis. I doubt he wins that matchup. It could be another long day for Carr and the Raiders.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN (Wk. 3: @Cin.): Even if Sankey didn’t have some climbing to do up the depth chart, Cincy is a brutal matchup. Don’t expect much even if he sees extended work and keep him benched.
RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Wk. 3: vs. Bal.): This is one call I think might backfire on me. Crowell is touchdown dependent right now as long as West sees the majority of the carries. He has some value, but against a better defense this week, I don’t think he matches his rushing yards from a week ago. I do think he could overtake West for the starting gig eventually.
RB Andre Williams, NYG (Wk. 3: vs. Hou.): Williams still isn’t seeing enough action to warrant a fantasy start. It’s still mostly Rashad Jennings. Until his role increases, you have to leave Williams benched, especially with the offense looking anemic so far.
WR Marquise Lee, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): The Jaguars quarterback play has been pretty bad so far, and Lee has been inconsistent. He hasn’t done much damage outside of garbage time in week 1. He’s going to have some solid PPR weeks, but I wouldn’t count on this being one of them. His value should rise once Blake Bortles takes over.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (Wk. 3: vs. KC): Landry gets mention this week because it looks like he’s worked his way into the WR3 role in Miami, a role that has made Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson playable at times. It’s worth noting he had the lowest drop rate in college last year of any rookie wide receiver. He will become a trusted target before long.
Deep League Sleepers:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (Wk. 3: @NO): I only mention Teddy because Matt Cassel threw 4 picks last week. Adrian Peterson is out for the foreseeable future, so this offense will need a QB that isn’t just a game manager. That isn’t Cassel. He’s still yet to complete a pass more than 15 yards downfield through 2 weeks. Another bad performance could be enough to get Teddy on the field. He should be squarely on the 2QB league radar.
QB Blake Bortles, JAX (Wk. 3: vs. Ind.): Speaking of starting QBs on the hot seat, Chad Henne’s should be scalding before long. The Jags haven’t had any semblance of an offense so far, and I’m sure the fans in Jacksonville are already clamoring for Bortles to take over. The Jaguars want to hold Bortles off as long as possible, but if things continue the way they’re going, they won’t be able to wait much longer. Blake could have mid-level QB2 upside if he gets the starting job.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (Wk. 3: @NO): Like I mentioned above under Bridgewater, Peterson isn’t coming back any time soon. Matt Asiata isn’t exactly a stud. McKinnon is worth a stash in deeper leagues. He’s a raw prospect, but one with great athleticism (more than Asiata at least).
RB Damien Williams, MIA (Wk. 3: vs. KC): The Dolphins took some big hits last week losing Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller during the course of the game. They went out and signed Daniel Thomas back to the roster this week, but Williams was impressive in the preseason and beat out Thomas for a roster spot. Miller is likely to play this week, but Williams is likely to see the change of pace work. If Miller doesn’t play, treat Williams as a deep league flex option this week.
RB Alfred Blue, HOU (Wk. 3: @NYG): In the preseason, it looked like Jonathan Grimes was the number 2 back behind Arian Foster, even when the depth chart came out with Alfred Blue listed as number 2. By now, it’s become clear that it’s Blue’s job. He isn’t fantasy relevant yet, but it’s hard to imagine Foster stays healthy all year with his current workload. Blue could be a great speculative add in deep leagues.
WR Davante Adams, GB (Wk. 3: @Det.): It’s become pretty clear that Adams is pushing Jarrett Boykin for the WR3 spot in Green Bay, and might completely surpass him. This is a pass heavy offense with no tight end to speak of. The GB number 3 is a fantasy relevant role, and Adams is worth a roster spot in 12-team leagues.
WR Ryan Grant, WAS (Wk. 3: @Phi.): After DeSean Jackson went down in week 2, Grant shined in the blowout win over Jacksonville. He clearly has a great rapport with Kirk Cousins, but he will need DeSean out again to be fantasy relevant this week. He’s an interesting WR3 option in 12-team leagues if D-Jax doesn’t play. As of now though, Jackson is expected to suit up.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully it helps you come away victorious. I’ll end this the same way I end every week: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game.