ROOKIE WATCH – WEEK 11
By Steve Uetz
Week 11 was a mixed bag for our beloved rookies… we had a few bounce-back performances, set back performances, and some sad injury developments. Zack Moss and Brandon Aiyuk were on BYE; Aiyuk was also placed on the COVID list which is something to monitor for week 12. D’Andre Swift had a rare mid-week injury (concussion) that caused him to miss the contest which made fantasy GMs cry. Swift made us cry but Burrow made us weep; the young stud Joe Burrow suffered a brutal injury to left knee which will sideline him for the remainder of the year. This news was devastating for many reasons but ultimately, I wish him well and hope he makes a full recovery! Looking forward to seeing him next year!
Week 11 low points were RB Joshua Kelley and QB Jake Luton…
RB: Joshua Kelley: Kelley is Free Fallin’ and not in the good Tom Petty way. Kelley is officially droppable in redraft leagues (if he wasn’t already) …he handled 4 carries for negative 2 yards and caught his 2 targets for 4 yards; woof! Austin Ekeler is returning to the practice field after a prolonged stay on IR and Kalen Ballage is still handling a sizable workload as Justin Jackson remains Out. Kelley is looking to be a ‘Traveling Wilbury’ being at the “End of the Line” with his rookie year fantasy value…
QB Jake Luton: Luton and lowly Jaguars played against the elite Steelers defense and boy it got really ugly for Jake. Luton completed 16 of 37 passes for 151 yards with 4 INTs (yikes!)…I’m currently unsure of what the Jags QB plans are for the remainder of the season but one thing that is for sure is that they will (well, they should) draft a QB with their early selection in 2021…
Minor Rookie Notes…
RB DeeJay Dallas: Carlos Hyde returned to action in the Thursday night contest and my fears were realized as Dallas wasn’t a part of the game plan with either Hyde or Carson returning. Dallas handled one carry which was a 13 yard gain and caught both of his targets for 19 yards…Dallas is unusable with Hyde/Carson in the lineup but he is a dynasty hold since he has produced when given the opportunity.
RB La’Michal Perine: The good news is that Perine handled 8 carries for 33 yards and scored a TD! The bad news is that he got hurt in this contest and is now on IR…the eternal Frank Gore remains a lead RB in the NFL…
WR Van Jefferson: Jefferson finds himself buried in a stacked LA Rams offensive depth chart but he found the endzone for the first time in his professional career in the Monday Night football contest against Tampa Bay. He caught his only target for 7 yards a TD which now brings his rookie year totals to 11 catches for 143 yards and 1 TD! He is a dynasty hold but is difficult to roster right now in redraft leagues. Keep an eye out!
WR Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards: Ruggs caught his only target for 1 yard and gained 12 yards on a rushing attempt and Edwards caught 1 of 2 targets for 1 yard; Edwards did receive a target in the end-zone on a goal to go fade but wasn’t able to haul it in. Both remain dynasty holds but are unusable at the moment.
Major Rookies Notes…
QB Justin Herbert: Herbert was an absolute stud in this contest against the Jets! He completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and 3 TDs! Herbert played well, didn’t commit any turnovers, and registered a win! A win was expected against the lowly Jets but he still executed as expected which is more than enough of what we are looking for in fantasy and what real life football teams need from their hopeful franchise QB! I think he will be in the low QB1 mix going into next season!
QB Tua Tagovailoa: Tua time must have gone through some daylight savings this week because Tua had a little set back in his professional progress in Week 11. The outing started strong with Tua throwing a TD pass on the teams’ opening drive but he ultimately ended up getting benched early in the 4th quarter. Tua ended his day throwing for 11 of 20 passes for 83 yards and 1 TD while getting sacked 6 times; yikes! Tua is now 3-1 as a starter but overall encouraged by his play!
QB Joe Burrow: ugh, injuries are seriously the worst! Burrow was progressing well and taking his rookies lumps in stride. He showed a lot of promise in his rookie season but it ultimately came to end in the early 3rd quarter when he injured his left knee. Up to that point in the game Burrow threw for 203 yards and a TD completing 22 of 34 passes! He also gained 12 yards on 2 rushes but lost a fumble. We will have to wait until 2021 to see more Burrow goodness. Godspeed.
RB Jonathon Taylor: ah yes, that’s the JT we all know and love… Taylor bounced back and has earned our good graces back with an elite workload and solid production to boot. He totaled 26 touches; 22 carries for 90 yards and caught all 4 of his targets for 24 yards! You were rewarded If you kept the faith and started him after his poor week 10 outing! Let’s keep it up now JT; he is back to being a high end RB2 in all leagues!
RB J.K. Dobbins: Dobbins had a solid bounce back game! Dobbins led the team in carries with 15 as he gained 70 yards and scored 1 TD! He also caught both of his targets for 15 yards. He was finally given enough of a workload to show how his mere flashes of greatness turn into a very efficient production! The biggest problem in Baltimore was the RB workload split but now they face an even bigger problem as Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins tested positive for Covid; Ingram/Dobbins will be unable to play in week 12. We wish them a speedy recovery!
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire: In the exciting Sunday Night Football contest against Las Vegas, CEH performed extremely well! He handled 14 carries as he gained 69 yards and scored 2 TDs! He also caught 1 of 2 targets for 8 yards. He out-carried Le’Veon Bell 14-7 and was more efficient than Bell. Bell also scored a TD in this one but that would make me shy away from CEH moving forward!
RB Salvon Ahmed: Ahmed got the workload (once again) in week 11! Gaskin remained Out, Breida returned to action but only handled 2 carries…Ahmed led the way with 12 carries gaining 42 yards as he caught 5 of 6 targets for 31 yards! The Dolphins overall disappointed a little, but you have to give the Denver defense respect for stepping up! As long as Gaskin is Out, Ahmed remains a deep league FLEX option and solid trade bait as trade deadlines are approaching!
RB Cam Akers: The Rams rushing attack was abysmal against the stout Tampa Bay defense; Akers handled 5 carries gaining only 15 yards including one rush for 11 yards. He was mostly bottled up but he did catch his only target for a 4 yard TD! 6 total touches isn’t ideal but he is getting into the mix more in the offense; patience will be the key with Akers!
RB Antonio Gibson: Gibson had another impressive outing where he was able to score another TD which gives him 8 on the season! Gibson handled 16 carries for 94 yards and 1 TD and he caught 1 of 2 targets for 10 yards! The RB2 now becomes a high-end RB2/low-end RB1!! He will be one of the biggest risers going into the 2021 season! Fantasy value is sky high!
RB James Robinson: Robinson churned out ANOTHER game where he received 100% of the team rushing attempts! He totaled 19 touches on the day; he caught his two targets for 21 yards and handled 17 carries for 73 yards. No touchdown this week but he is still seeing elite usage. He remains an RB1 and will be one of the biggest positional risers going into next season!
WR CeeDee Lamb: Lamb made one of the best catches of the season against the Vikings! He was completely stretched out with his whole body moving; the best part of the acrobatic catch was that it resulted in a TD! He caught 4 of his 6 targets for 34 yards (and a TD)! He remains a FLEX option in all leagues!
WR Michael Pittman Jr.: Here is how I ended last week’s blurb for Pittman…”I don’t want to get too hot and bothered here after one amazing outing but moving forward he could be a key to unlock more fantasy goodness out of the Indy offense!”…Well in Week 11 Indy put up 34 points against a very good Packers defense…Pittman caught all 3 of his targets for 66 yards and 1 TD! His TD was a stellar and mostly YAC 45 yarder! I consider Pittman a free agency must add (if he wasn’t already) and a deep league FLEX option! Consider me still hot and bothered…
WR Jalen Reagor: Reagor continues to be one of the lone bright spots of the struggling Philadelphia offense. He caught 4 of his 5 targets for 52 yards; not bad! The Philly offense is leaving much to be desired these days…maybe this week they bounce back as they face the fantasy friendly Seattle defense…Reagor remains a bench stash and deep league FLEX option.
WR Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy continues to get plenty of looks in the Denver offense as he tied for the team lead in targets with 8! He only caught 3 of his 8 targets for 37 yards, which is disappointing from our FLEX caliber rookie. Inefficient but strong peripherals has been a theme in some of Jeudy’s outings this year. He remains a FLEX option as he presents a safe floor but with big boom potential!
WR KJ Hamler: Hamler continues to build off his recent success in the up and down Denver offense. He caught 4 of his 6 targets for 35 yards. He is a deep league bench stash and a nice dynasty hold; this offense has nowhere to go but up!
WR Denzel Mims: Mims returned from the BYE in a very encouraging way! He led the Jets in receiving yards and targets; he caught 3 of his 7 targets for 71 yards! The Jets are still a bit of a dumpster fire but as of late they are putting up more points which is what we want to see as fantasy GMs!
WR Tee Higgins: My guy Tee Higgins had a down game where he only caught 3 of his 10 targets gaining 26 yards…the Burrow injury will affect the fantasy outlook of the entire Bengals team but will especially affect Higgins who clearly had made a strong connection with Burrow. Expectations need to be lowered but he remains a FLEX option.
WR Justin Jefferson: Jefferson caught 3 of his 5 targets but made the most his targets in this fantasy friendly contest against the Cowboys! Jefferson gained 86 yards and scored a 39 yard TD! Week in week out he displays explosive ability. It is nice to see Thielen and Jefferson share the spotlight in the same game! They are a lethal 1-2 punch! Jefferson remains a FLEX option in all leagues!
WR Chase Claypool: Claypool found the endzone again in the dominant win over Jacksonville! It was a beautiful touch pass pitch and catch for a 31 yard TD! Claypool caught 4 of his 8 targets for 59 yards (and a TD)! He now has 8 TDs on the season! A common theme among these rookies is their firm weekly FLEX(+) option status and potential positional rise going into next season; Claypool included! You really love to see it!
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.