ROOKIE WATCH – WEEK 2
By Steve Uetz
The mania of the week 1 results quickly came to halt when week 2 happened. Week 2 started strong on Thursday night but then come Sunday morning it turned into the one of most brutal injury-laden Sundays in recent memory. Injuries are indeed part of the game, we do not like them but we must pivot when they occur. Rookies have an opportunity for a larger runway of development when veterans miss time. Unfortunately, many veterans got bit by the injury bug in week 2. Let’s dive into how the rookies shaped up…
QB Joe Burrow:
In week 2 Burrow played in his first primetime game against a division rival on the road. A slow start, he showed tremendous poise and turned in a respectable performance. Inefficient throwing but ended with over 300 yards and 3 TD! The rushing wasn’t on display quite like in week 1, but this game was an encouraging showing of progress. The Bengals should feel confident in their selection of Burrow being at the center of their plans for years to come.
QB Justin Herbert:
Tyrod Taylor's surprise OUT ruling sent shock waves through the football world. Justin Herbert; the 6th overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft, would been gifted with his first career start against the Super Bowl defending champs. His performance also sent shock waves through the football world. His stat line was: 311 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 18 rushing yards with 1 TD. He gave the Chargers the lead early on and held the lead throughout the majority of the game until he threw an INT deep into KC territory which gave KC the comeback opportunity. The Chargers ended up losing in OT in the Chiefs, not bad at all for the rookie debut! Future looks bright!
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire:
CEH returned to earth from his glorious week 1 performance. KC got behind early on and played from behind surprisingly for the majority of the game. CEH got game-scripted out of the workload he received in week 1 but still had 10 rushes for 38 yards, including a 17 yard run, and had 6 catches on 8 targets (3rd most on the team) for 32 yards. Very encouraging usage, his role will remain strong regardless of game-flow. Improved efficiency should be coming.
RB Jonathon Taylor:
As veteran Marlon Mack got injured in week 1, Taylor got his big week 2 opportunity with a stout 26 carries and 2 catches on 2 targets. 28 touches totaled him 110 yard and 1 TD! This is wonderful to see. The Vikings had a forgettable performance, but it was to Taylor’s benefit as he seized his moment! One of the biggest in season risers in the game, he is now cemented as a weekly RB1! Bright future!
RB JK Dobbins:
Dobbins only touched the 3 three in this contest that wasn’t very pretty for the opponent, the Houston Texans. Dobbins had 2 carries for 48 yards, including a 44 yarder, and caught his only target for 13 yards. The usage seems like it is going to be different each week, but one thing that is for sure is that he is able to execute when given opportunities!
RB Cam Akers:
Unfortunately, the bug injury bug came for Akers quickly in this contest. He was gifted with the first 3 carries for the LA Rams and was efficient gaining 13 yards but on the opening drive deep in Philadelphia territory he exited the game with a rib injury and did not return. His usage suggests that the Rams have big plans for him but I worry that his rib injury could linger and affect his playing time and effectiveness as a runner.
RB James Robinson:
Robinson continued to impress in Week 2! 16 carries 102 yards 1 TD with 3 catches on 4 targets for 18 yards. I had questions regarding the quality of the high number of touches he would likely receive after his impressive week 1 performance. It seems as if Jacksonville is going to be more competitive than we initially thought! Extremely encouraging; Robinson should be considered a FLEX play in all leagues.
RB D’Andre Swift:
Swift had his rookie moment in week 1 dropping a game winning pass, but he continued to be involved in the Lions game-plan. Not efficient as a runner, he gained 12 yards on 5 carries but caught all 5 of his targets for 60 yards, most of which came when Detroit was already down big. Encouraging usage, great talent, love the pass catching upside. Swift should be considered a deep league FLEX option.
RB Zack Moss:
Moss continued with encouraging usage in week 3 with 8 carries for 37 yards, no targets which was a little disappointing. What is good is that Josh Allen is playing like an MVP candidate and the Bills offense is looking dominant, Moss’ touches are high quality and has been efficient. A down day in the fantasy scoreboard but very encouraging!
RB Antonio Gibson:
Gibson totaled 14 touches, 1 catch for -3 yards on 2 targets and rushed 13 times for 55 yards and 1 TD! He led the team in carries in Washington’s losing effort but fantasy GMs are relived to see one of the biggest ADP risers’ value become a reality! Big and bright days ahead for Gibson!
RB Joshua Kelley:
Kelley is certainly making the most of his opportunity in this Chargers backfield. In a game where LA was leading for the majority of the game, he received 23 carries for 64 yards and caught 2 of his 3 targets for 49 yards, including one for 35 yards which was the longest completion for the team! His is progressing extremely well despite the inefficient rushing in week 2. He should be considered a FLEX option in deep league and as I said last week he could very well be a league winning player!
RB La’Michal Perine:
Perine was healthy enough to play in week 2 and with Le’Veon Bell’s health absence it paved the way for Perine to get a ton of rushing attem…oh no, he didn’t, that’s right because of *checks notes* Frank Gore…the eternal Frank Gore…anyway, Perine’s debut was brief but efficient. 3 carries for 17 yards. The Jets are a bit of a dumpster fire and with a crowded backfield Perine be floating in RB purgatory for a while. Furthermore, I truly question the quality of the touches he will receive since it appears they may not be in too many competitive contests this season. Deep league bench stash but more of a high priority FA for now.
WR Jerry Jeudy:
Jeudy continues to look like the real deal as he caught 4 out of 7 targets for 62 yards. He will become a massive opportunity and fantasy value riser with the unfortunate season ending injury to rising star Courtland Sutton. To throw some cold water on his upside, starting QB Drew Lock also got injured which will sidleine him for an unknown amount of time. Jeudy will receive targets from either Jeff Driskel or Blake Bortles which seems like a downgrade to Lock, despite Driskel being productive in Lock’s absence.
WR KJ Hamler:
Hamler’s NFL debut came in week 2 where he will continue to benefit for more playing time with the devastating injury to Courtland Sutton. Hamler; Denver’s 2nd round pick after Jeudy, is a unique player with blazing speed! The Broncos should get creative in finding ways of getting the ball in his hands. This was somewhat on display already as Hamler was utilized as a rusher for 1 carry for 9 yards and caught 3 of his 7 targets for 48 yards. 7 targets was tied for the lead with Jeudy. Deep league free agency target! Talent and opportunity is a recipe for fantasy football success.
WR Henry Ruggs:
Ruggs had a rough fantasy outcome on MNF. He caught 1 out of 3 targets for 4 yards. He drew two long Defensive pass interference calls which says that the Raiders are trying to get looks to him deep and defenses are intimidated by his speed and offensive presence. The Raiders have also done an amazing job at disturbing passing targets as 11 different players received a target, good for real life football, but not so much for fantasy (unless your name is Darren Waller). A blowup week could be coming at anytime!
WR CeeDee Lamb:
Week 2 gave us maybe one of the most delicious fantasy feasts of the year with the Falcons/Cowboys contest. Lamb added onto his impressive week 1 usage by catching 6 of 9 targets for 106 yards which was good enough to lead the team in receiving yards. Really impressive, he jumps up to a weekly FLEX consideration!
WR Jalen Reagor:
The Eagles’ offensive struggles continued in week 2. Reagor showed good progress from week 1, he caught all 4 of his targets for 41, including one for 16 yards. Before the news broke of his injury which will sideline him likely until week 10 I was considering him as a bench stash but for redraft leagues he can be dropped or perhaps worth an IR stash depending on how your league is handling IR this season. It is appearing as if this may be a lost season for Reagor and the Eagles in general.
WR Michael Pittman Jr:
Pittman will be a primary beneficiary of the unfortunate injury to Parris Campbell, who absence could hurt the offense as a whole. Campbell got hurt early in the game and with that opportunity knocking Pittman caught 4 of 6 targets for 37, his 6 targets were tied with the team lead. Good progress, and with a great opportunity he will become a hot commodity sooner than expected!
WR Tee Higgins:
Paralleled Joe Burrow excitement from how the Thursday night game played out; Tee Higgins was on the field A TON! He totaled 3 catches on 6 targets for 35 yards. I’m not sure if we can expect the Bengals to have 61 pass attempts every game but it is clear that this season will be a defensive struggle for Cincinnati which can setup big comeback efforts like this one; benefitting Higgins!
WR Devin Duvernay:
Duvernay continues to be in the mix of the crowded pass catching group in Baltimore that may be a bit underutilized. Underutilized simply because the Ravens running game is so strong and their defense in elite. Duvernay did catch his only target for 19 yards, a similar result as Week 1. My position on Duvernay remains; I will state again: We want players in elite offenses on our rosters and radars. For now, looking for the future with Duvernay is the best option.
WR Bryan Edwards:
concerns with Henry Ruggs about the Raiders targets being so wide spread but Edwards looked GREAT! He caught both targets for 42 yards, one of which was a gorgeous contested catch! He certainly passes the eye test but need to exercise patient for fantasy relevance.
WR Justin Jefferson:
Week 2 was an outright trainwreck for the Vikings! Jefferson was somewhat of a bright spot catching all 3 of his targets for 44 yards, which was good enough to lead the team. Thielen is still getting the majority of the targets by a wide margin but if the Vikings defensive struggles continue it could set up for Jefferson to get more looks, we just need Kirk Cousins to be less of a disaster…
WR Brandon Aiyuk:
Aiyuk made his debut in week 2! The first round selection was healthy enough to suit up and produce. He caught 2 out of his 3 targets for 21 yards. The 49ers didn’t need to throw the ball much as they were in control of the game from the start. They ran ball more than they threw it in this contest but that trend could switch as their defensive unit suffered to brutal season ending injuries to Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas. They still have a good defense but if the defense isn’t as solid as it was last year it may result in more aggressive play calling and passing situation which of course would benefit Aiyuk. I’m hoping that Aiyuk is able to make good progress and be well established in the offense in time for when Deebo Samuel returns! That duo could be a big problem!
WR Lavishka Shenault:
Shenault continued to be used in creative ways in the Jacksonville offense. He actually had more rushing attempts than targets; 3 cathces on 4 targets for 35 yards and 5 carries for 37 yards. It is really refreshing to see an NFL use a spectacular athlete like Shenault in a wide variety of ways! What is even better is that Shenault is producing with the opportunities! He should be rostered in all leagues!
WR Chase Claypool:
Claypool’s week 2 performance was great! 3 catches on 3 targets for 88 yards and 1 TD, including a MASSIVE 84 yard TD! He only has 5 targets in 2 weeks, but I he has done a lot with a little! Very excited to see how he continues to progress as a part of this fantasy friendly Pittsburgh offense.
The no-brainer top rated defensive lineman in the 202 draft has already flashed greatness in his first two games. He already has 8 tackles with 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble! It is encouraging to see that Washington Football Teams’ investment in the defensive line is paying dividends.
Patrick Queen landed in a perfect situation in Baltimore, he is an excellent piece to advance an already devastating defensive group. In his first two games he has produced well with 17 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble! LB on the rise, roster him now while you can (if you can)!
Murray was an excellent addition to the Chargers defensive group which already houses a solid defensive line and an intimidating secondary! Murray has produced as expected; 18 tackles in 2 games played! LB on the rise!
Having a slowish start to the season so far, Chaisson has 4 tackles but did get 1 sack in week 2! This defense is clearly in rebuild mode but I imagine it wont be long until he becomes the play-wrecker he was drafted to be!
This wildly versatile and athletic player so far is looking like a better real life player than fantasy asset. Totaling 4 tackles in the first 2 weeks, rostering Simmons is looking as if patience will be required.
Barnes started the season off strong with 7 tackles and 2 stuffs in week 1 but didn't show up as much in the box score in week 2 with 3 tackles! Good addition to a stout defensive group!
Winfield has had an excellent start to the season! 17 tackles, 1 sack, forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup! He needs to be rostered in all IDP leagues!
Chinn has 15 tackles so far on the season, totaling 8 in week 1 and 7 in week 2! He doesn’t come off of the field; with the mix of his production and availability, he should be considered a safe floor play!
Steve Uetz has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football. He enjoys writing fantasy football content and articles. He is very passionate about Auction Leagues. Other than his own fantasy football teams, Steve is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles & Penn State! Steve (@FantasyLadder on Twitter) is very accessible and involved in the Fantasy Football Twitter community! Reach out to him anytime for questions or advice! His primary goal is to help you win your leagues.