Rookie Report 2021 – Week 7
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 7th week of NFL action!
Breakout Performance of the Week
WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Chase really outdid himself in week 7. When I wrote this series last season, I often thought to myself when writing about Justin Jefferson that “it couldn’t possibly get any better than this”. Enter Ja’Marr Chase. Chase went nuclear against the Baltimore Ravens as he led the Bengals in catches and receiving yards! He caught 7 of his 8 targets for 201 yards and 1 TD, which was a wild 82-yard catch and run! I’m just going to be gushing over Chase all season long, don’t mind me.
QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Mac Jones delivered a very solid performance in the dominant win over the lowly Jets. Jones completed 24 of 36 pass attempts for 307 yards, 2 TDs, and gained 19 yards on 3 rushing attempts while taking 1 sack. Jones is a starting option for deep Super-Flex leagues and is a viable QB streaming option as a replacement if you have any bye week or injuries to overcome. He continues to demonstrate the traits of a franchise QB!
QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Wilson unfortunately left this game early with a knee injury which will likely sideline him for 2-4 weeks. Prior to leaving the game in the 2nd quarter, Wilson had completed of 6 of 10 pass attempts for 51 yards and took 1 sack. Now some guy named Mike White (who?!) will start for the New York Jets. The Jets also traded for veteran QB Joe Flacco in the aftermath of Zach Wilson’s knee injury.
QB Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Justin Fields had an absolutely brutal outing against the defensively stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fields completed 22 of 33 pass attempts for 184 yards with 3 INTs while taking 4 sacks. Fields gained 38 yards on 8 rushing attempts but lost 2 fumbles. With a string of poor performances like what we have seen, Fields simply can’t be trusted as a Super Flex league starter until we see consistent improvement.
QB Davis Mills, Houston Texans
For the second week in a row the Texans failed to score a TD. Mills completed 23 of 32 pass attempts for only 135 yards, he took 2 sacks and lost a fumble. Veteran QB Tyrod Taylor is returning from IR and is likely to be named the starter moving forward as long as he is healthy. Mills and the Texans have a long way to go.
RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon split touches once again as they both totaled 10 touches. Williams gained 20 yards on 4 carries, but his receiving work saved his day for fantasy. He caught 6 of 7 targets for 32 yards and a TD! Williams remains a Flex play option but holds a limited ceiling as he continues to split touches with Gordon.
RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
In the rainy primetime contest, Mitchell returned from the Bye week and played the role of the workhorse RB! He gained 107 yards on 18 carries! It should be safe to assume that Mitchell will remain as the lead RB in this offense as long as he can stay healthy. Fellow rookie RB Trey Sermon is seemingly an after-thought. Roll with Mitchell as an RB2/Flex option until further notice!
RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
I expressed some worry with Herbert's potential workload and quality of touches heading into the week 7 matchup against the mighty Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Herbert actually fared very well despite the obvious struggles of the Chicago offense. Herbert gained 100 yards in 18 carries and caught all 5 of his targets for 33 yards! He did all this even with Damien Williams returning to the lineup. Herbert remains an RB2/Flex option until David Montgomery returns from IR.
RB Michael Carter, New York Jets
The Jets returned from the bye week and had another rough outing, this time against the New England Patriots. Michael Carter had an eye-opening performance as he led the Jets in rushing attempts (as expected), targets, catches, AND receiving yards! His struggled with rushing efficiency continued as he gained 37 yards on 11 carries, but really popped with 8 catches on 9 targets for 67 yards! He remains a deep league Flex option moving forward.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
Gainwell had an extra bump is usage in the losing effort against the Raiders as Miles Sanders exited early with an ankle injury. Sanders is considered week-to-week with that injury, so the extra Gainwell usage should continue. Gainwell lost a fumble but piled up 20 rushing yards on 5 rushing attempts and caught 4 of his 8 targets for 41 yards with a TD! His passing game usage puts him into Flex play territory with Sanders missing time.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers offense struggled mightily against the New York Giants. In Christian McCaffrey’s extended absence, Hubbard once again handled the bulk of the workload. In the inefficient effort, Hubbard gained 28 yards on 12 carries, but did catch 4 of 5 targets for 28 yards! Hubbard remains an RB2/Flex option as McCaffrey remains on IR, hopefully the Panthers offense is able to bounce back against the Atlanta Falcons in week 8.
WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Waddle continues to shine in Miami as he was tied for the team lead in catches and targets! He caught 7 of 8 targets for 83 yards! Waddle continues to make the most of his opportunities with the veteran WRs in that offense missing time. Waddle remains a FLEX play in all league formats!
WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles offensive soul-searching continues but DeVonta Smith once again led the team in targets. Smith caught 5 of 9 targets for 61 yards! The Eagles are becoming garbage time fantasy kings, which is typically good for WRs like Smith but the offense as whole needs a lot of work. Smith remains a lock for your starting lineup!
WR Rashod Bateman
Bateman progressed well from his debut in week 6 with an 80-yard performance in week 7. In the losing effort against the Bengals he totaled 3 catches on 6 targets (For the second week in a row Bateman earned 6 targets). We will have to wait a week to catch up with Bateman again as the Ravens are on Bye in week 8.
WR Nico Collins, Houston Texans
In week 7, Collins led the Texans in receiving yards. Don’t get too excited, it was only 28 yards! He caught 2 of 5 targets as the Texans offense looked abysmal against the Cardinals. As discouraging as the Texans offense is, what is encouraging with Collins is his involvement in the offense. Plus, keep an eye out for Brandin Cooks as he could very well be on the move to a contending team at the trade deadline; if this occurs then I would imagine that Collins would shoot to the top of the WR depth chart!
TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Pitts could have very well been the Breakout performance of the Week, but that Ja’Marr Chase was just too good! Pitts continued right where he left off after the Bye week in week 6 to lead the Atlanta offense in catches and receiving yards. He caught 7 of 10 targets for 163 yards! Pitts remains a must-start TE option rest of season.
Bring on Week 8!
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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.