Rookie Report 2021 – Week 8
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 8th week of NFL action!
Breakout Performance of the Week
RB Michael Carter, New York Jets
Carter had a breakout game in the surprising win against the Bengals. Carter had his most efficient rushing performance to date with 5.1 yards per carry average as handled 15 carries as he gained 77 yards with a TD! The rushing performance was encouraging, but what was even better was his role in the passing game. He caught 9 of 14 (!!) targets for 95 yards! Over the last two weeks, Carter now has 17 receptions on 23 targets for 162 yards! Zach Wilson’s replacement QB Mike White has been very good for Michael Carter.
Welcome to The Series
Jaret Patterson RB, Washington Football Team
We welcome Jaret Patterson to the series after he led the Washington Football team in rushing during the week 8 contest against the Broncos. The highly productive University of Buffalo prospect had previously seen only minuscule usage in the offense, but in week 8 he handled a solid 11 carries and gained 46 yards! WFT enters the bye week in week 9; it is hard to say how involved Patterson will be in the offense but his role continues to be questionable unless Antonio Gibson continues to deal with lingering minor injuries.
Elijah Moore WR, New York Jets
Elijah Moore gets his welcome to the series after the best performance of his early career. Moore caught all 6 of his targets for 67 yards and gained 4 yards on a rushing attempt. He scored a rushing TD in week 7 as well, you can’t count on the rushing game touches for his fantasy upside but it is encouraging the Jets are using his in unique ways! Moore has a chance to shine in the week 9 contest where veteran WR Corey Davis is doubtful to play.
Brevin Jordan TE, Houston Texans
Brevin Jordan gets his welcome to the series as he tallied his first career TD in his first taste of NFL action! Jordan 3 of 4 targets for 41 yards and 1 TD! I’m not ready to call him up from my taxi squad unless he is able to show consistent usage in the Texans passing game.
Jermar Jefferson RB, Detroit Lions
We welcome Jermar Jefferson to the series in the wake of the devastating Detroit loss the Philadelphia Eagles. Jefferson scored the Lions lone touchdown and totaled six touches. He gained 6 yards with a TD on two rushing attempts and caught all four of his targets for 23 yards. He likely had some extra offensive looks in this content since veteran teammate RB Jamaal Williams was inactive. The Lions will be on bye in week 9.
QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
After their week 7 bye, Lawrence and the Jaguars struggled to move the ball against the Seahawks in the tough loss. They scored their only touchdown late in the 4th quarter. Lawrence completed 32 of 54 pass attempts for 238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT while taking 1 sack. He also gained 11 yards on 3 rushing attempts. It is getting harder and harder to trust Lawrence as a starter in Super Flex leagues, but I firmly believe that better days are ahead.
QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots
In the winning effort against the Chargers, Jones was mostly conservative as a passer but more importantly, was turnover-less. Jones completed 18 of 35 pass attempts for 218 yards, 0 TDs or INTs, he took 1 sack and gained 10 yards on 4 rushing attempts. For fantasy purposes, at this moment Jones is nothing more than a QB2 quality floor play for Super Flex leagues.
QB Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Fields bounced back from his abysmal week 7 performance but still came up with a loss against the 49ers. Fields’ rushing ability was on full display as he gained 103 yards and 1 TD on 10 rushing attempts. He wasn’t as prolific as a passer as he completed 19 of 27 passing attempts for 175 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and took 4 sacks. The rushing stats made his fantasy day but he is still a shaky starting option unless in a deep Super flex league.
QB Davis Mills, Houston Texans
Mills churned out a nice fantasy performance as he completed 29 of 38 pass attempts for 310 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, but unfortunately took 5 sacks against the scary LA Rams defense. The Texans face a tricky decision with veteran QB Tyrod Taylor soon returning from IR. The Texans are in a prime spot to land a franchise QB in the 2022 draft, but they may continue to showcase Mills to see if he has what it takes to elevate the team from what appears to be a multi-year rebuild.
RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
Mitchell once again handled a strong workload in the win against the Chicago Bears. He handled 18 carries and gained 137 yards with a TD! Mitchell remains an RB2 option until further notice.
RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
In the loss against the 49ers, Herbert was given an elite rushing workload. Herbert handled 23 carries and gained 72 yards and caught both of his targets for -4 yards. Herbert remains an RB2 option, but his role in the offense may become muddied when David Montgomery returns from IR. For now, it is best to just ride the Herbert wave!
RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
Hubbard handled another major workload in Christian McCaffrey’s absence. Hubbard totaled 25 touches, 24 rushing attempts as he gained 84 yards with a TD and caught 1 of 2 targets for 9 yards. He, unfortunately, lost a fumble in this contest, but the Panthers did not hesitate to keep him involved. He is an RB2 option until CMC returns which could be any week now.
RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
Williams had a bit of a disappointing outing in week 8 as the workload split with Melvin Gordon continues. Williams had 11 total touches to Gordon’s 13. Williams gained 35 yards in 9 rushing attempts and caught 2 of his 4 targets 13 yards. This was certainly a floor performance for Williams, but he remains a Flex option as he is consistently seeing 10+ touches per game.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
This was a disappointing outing for Kenneth Gainwell. He handled 12 carries but only gained 27 yards, while veteran RBs Boston Scott and Jordan Howard looked fantastic and scored 2 TDs each. What was most concerning was that Gainwell didn’t receive a single target in the passing game. This is likely to be in part because of how the game flowed. Gainwell looked to be in Flex play territory and still technically is since he saw 13 touches, but this performance will leave fantasy GMs with a bit of caution.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
Stevenson handled 9 total touches as he continues to rotate in the mix as the backup RB with veteran Brandon Bolden. Stevenson gained 25 yards on 8 rushing attempts and caught 1 of his 2 passes for 5 yards. Stevenson is a deep league bench stash or a taxi squad hold for now.
WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Chase scored ANOTHER TD in the losing effort against the Jets, but disappointed in catches and receiving yards. He led the Bengals in targets with 9 but only caught 3 for 32 yards, he also gained 9 yards on a rushing attempt. He remains a strong starting option!
WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
In the difficult matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Waddle’s involvement was strong but the result was disappointing. He saw 12 (!) targets but only caught 4 of them for 29 yards. Waddle saw an astounding 30% target share in this contest! He remains a WR3/Flex option moving forward.
WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles absolutely dominated the Lions and the game script got away from the passing attack. Jalen Hurts only had 14 pass attempts compared to the team total of 46 rushing attempts. With the limited passing game, DeVonta Smith unfortunately only had 1 catch on 3 targets for 15 yards. Despite the bizarre game, Smith is still a player to trust as a fantasy starter.
WR Kadarius Toney, New York Giants
After having the dreaded week-long Questionable tag leading into Monday Night Football, Toney caught 4 of his 5 targets for 26 yards. He also completed a pass for 19 yards. Getting unique reps in the offense is a god sign of versatility and athleticism which was never the issue with Toney. The issue was if he could harness his athleticism into a consistent role in an NFL offense. He has certainly flashed already and now that veteran WR teammate Sterling Shepard is set to miss some time with a quadriceps injury, Toney should be in line for a strong dose of targets. Toney is a unique talent but may be limited by Daniel Jones’ up and down QB play, but should be considered a Flex option as long as he is healthy.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
St. Brown continues to get looks in the Detroit passing attack as he led the WRs in targets but hasn’t been producing enough to be a viable fantasy starter. He caught 3 of 5 targets for 46 yards, including one catch for 34 yards! The Lions enter the bye in week 9 but it wouldn’t shock me to see St. Brown continue to lead the Lions’ WRs in targets week to week.
WR Nico Collins, Houston Texans
Collins had another solid outing as he caught all 4 of his targets for 55 yards. Veteran WR Brandin Cooks was not traded at the NFL trade deadline, so Nico Collins for now will remain (at best) the #2 option in the passing game. He is averaging 5 targets per game over the last 3 weeks.
TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
After a monster week 7 performance, Pitts disappointed in week 8 as he caught 2 of 6 targets for 13 yards. With the state of the TE landscape in fantasy, Pitts remains a must-start option especially with WR teammate Calvin Ridley taking some time away from the game. Pitts should continue to be in line for a healthy target share week in and week out.
TE Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
Freiermuth had another strong game as he was 2nd on the team in targets and scored the lone receiving TD for the Steelers. He totaled 4 catches on 7 targets for 44 yards and a TD! Freiermuth has now become a weekly TE starting option!
Bring on Week 9!
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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.