Rookie Report 2021 – Week 13
By Steve Uetz
For the purposes of this season-long article series, I will take you through how all the fantasy-relevant rookies from the 2021 class are performing on a week-to-week basis. I will break down their weekly statistics and offensive role regarding their real-life development and fantasy football outlook.
Let’s look at how the most notable players from the 2021 rookie class fared in the 13th week of NFL action!
Breakout Performances of Week 13
RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
Williams was gifted an amazing opportunity to shine as veteran RB teammate Melvin Gordon was ruled inactive. Williams handled an astounding 29 touches; he gained 102 yards on 23 carries and caught 6 of 9 (!) targets for 76 yards and a TD! He finally got the massive workload we were all hoping for, and he looked fantastic! What is especially encouraging was his role in the passing game. However, this uptick was primarily a function of the negative game script that benefited the passing game. Gordon is on track to return in week 14, most likely in a limited role. There is immense optimism for Williams for the rest of the season and beyond since he delivered in a gigantic way.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
St. Brown had a glorious breakout game as he not only led the Lions in catches, targets, and receiving yards but also caught the Game-Winning TD for Detroit’s’ first win of the season! St. Brown caught 10 (!) of 12 (!!) targets for 86 yards and the game-winning TD! I’m genuinely happy for the Lions and their fan base for being able to secure their first win of the Dan Campbell era. I hope the Lions offense can build off this performance to hopefully make St. Brown more than a deep league flex option.
QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lawrence and the Jaguars had a brutal outing against the defensively stout Los Angeles Rams. Lawrence completed 16 of 28 pass attempts or 145 yards without a TD or a turnover, he took 2 sacks and gained 10 yards rushing. We are still looking forward to next season and how the Jaguars build around Lawrence. Lawrence’s disappointing rookie season makes him nearly unstartable in Super Flex leagues.
QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Wilson started strong against the Philadelphia Eagles as he led the Jets to 3 TD scoring drives on their first 3 possessions. Unfortunately, the Jets did not score a single point in the 2nd half and eventually lost the contest as Minshew Mania took over. Wilson completed 23 of 38 pass attempts for 226 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, took 2 sacks, but did score a rushing TD! This was a mostly encouraging performance and you love to see him get fellow rookie Elijah Moore heavily involved in the passing attack!
RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Harris handled another monster workload in the winning effort against the Ravens. He handled 26 touches and gained 107 total yards. He handled 21 carries for 71 yards and caught all 5 of his targets for 36 yards. Harris remains a must-start as he is one of the rare heavy-volume RB1 options.
RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
Mitchell was inefficient but handled another massive workload in the losing effort against the Seahawks. He gained 66 yards on 22 carries with a TD and caught all 3 of his targets for 18 yards. Mitchell’s impressive rookie campaign may come to a brief half as he is questionable for week 14. If healthy, Mitchell is lock for starting lineup for the rest of the season as the 49ers hold one of the most favorable set of matchups for the fantasy football playoffs.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (and QB Mac Jones)
Stevenson led the Patriots in rushing attempts in the bizarre Monday Night Football contest against the Bills. Strong and frigid temperatures paved the way for the Patriots to create a game plan that only included a total of 3 pass attempts. Quarterback Mac Jones completed 2 of the 3 pass attempts for 19 yards. Stevenson ended up with a massive 24 carry game since RB teammate Damien Harris exited the game early with a hamstring injury. Stevenson gained 78 yards on his 24 carries. Stevenson, Jones, and the Patriots finally enter the bye week in week 14.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Gainwell had an awesome game but it seemingly came out of nowhere. It was a strong matchup against the Jets, sure, but he totaled an unexpected 17 touches! Gainwell handled 12 carries for 54 yards and 1 TD, and caught all 5 of his targets for 33 yards! Gainwell and the Eagles will finally enter the Bye week in week 14.
WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Waddle’s dominant rookie season continued with another solid effort as he led the team with catches and receiving yards. He caught 9 of 11 (!) targets for 90 yards in easy win against the injury riddled New York Giants. Waddle and the Dolphins will finally enter the bye week in week 14 but will return to action against the Jets in week 15.
WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Chase had another disappointing outing as the Bengals struggled in a loss to the Chargers. Chase is a stud but his stat line didn’t reflect that in this contest. He caught 5 of 8 targets for 52 yards. This isn’t bad at all, however what it is is just an unfortunate step back from the potential that he demonstrated during the early half of the season. He remains a must-start option for the remainder of the season.
WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Unfortunately, Smith essentially repeated last weeks’ underwhelmed performance with another 2 catch 4 target outing for only 15 receiving yards. Game script got away from needing to rely on the passing game as the Eagles turned to their successful rushing attack against the lowly Jets. The Eagles will finally head into the bye week in week 14.
WR Elijah Moore, New York Jets
The Elijah Moore breakout continued with another big game against the Eagles. Moore led the Jets in catches, targets, and receiving yards! He caught 6 of 12 (!!) targets for 77 yards and a TD, and gained 9 yards on his lone rushing attempt. He is consistently getting limited work in the running game, which is a fantastic sign that the Jets recognize his play-making potential. Moore is questionable for week 14, but his future holds immense optimism!
TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Pitts’ involvement remained steady, but his TD drought (first and only TD came in week 5) further continued in the loss against the Buccaneers. Pitts caught 4 of 7 targets for 48 yards. The TE position has become a dumpster fire, but Pitts remains TE1 option for the rest of the season. If he is on your roster, I believe it would be difficult to shy away from starting him.
TE Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
Freiermuth didn’t score a touchdown in this contest as he continued the league-wide tradition of being a mediocre performing TE in the 2021 season. He caught 3 of 4 targets for 26 yards. Due to the current state that is the TE position, Freiermuth can still be trusted an utilized as a TE1 option for this season and holds legitimate future TE1 upside.
Looking Ahead to Week 14
Week 14 and beyond will give us another opportunity to see Carolina Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard in an extended role with Christian McCaffery being out for the season. Hubbard will serve as the lead RB in a prime matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
Bring on Week 14!
Follow me on Twitter @FantasyLadder for any further fantasy football discussion, questions, or advice!
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.