ROOKIE WATCH – WEEK 5
The Week 5 headlines continued to surround the NFL challenges dealing with COVID in regard to player safety and schedule reformatting. One game was postponed, and a BYE week was given to those teams (Patriots and Broncos) and one game was pushed to Tuesday night which wasn’t even officially on until Tuesday morning. The tensions of start/sit decisions were even higher as the previous week where risk management became a necessity for fantasy GMs. Pre-season the risk for rookies seemed high due to lack of off-season reps, now rookies are being relied on heavily due to injuries across the league, emergency BYE weeks, and COVID navigation. Week 5 was one of the most wildly memorable non-playoff fantasy weeks because of that unique stress that it brought us. Let’s review how our suddenly reliant rookies performed…
Big names that did not play this weekend…Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler were given the emergency BYE, D’Andre Swift was on regularly scheduled BYE, however Michael Pittman, Bryan Edwards, Jalen Reagor, and Zack Moss continued to be out due to injuries.
QB Joe Burrow: Woof. Week 5 was a week to forget for Joe Burrow. He faced a tough Baltimore team and was outclassed in this contest. Learning pains loom from this disaster of a game. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 183 yards and 1 INT, gained 10 yards on 3 carries but ended with a lost fumble as he was sacked 7 times. Brutal game. Better days ahead!
QB Justin Herbert: Justin Herbert, wow! In his Monday Night Football debut, Herbert shocked the world with his seemingly effortless highly productive game. He completed 20/34 passes for 264 yards and 4 TDs! He looked fantastic overall, but it is a shame the Chargers weren’t able to get the win…again.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire: In the upset loss to the Raiders, CEH handled a surprisingly low workload relative to the previous 4 weeks. He still was productive as expected with his 13 touches. He gained 40 yards on 10 carries and caught 3 of his 8 (!) targets for 40 yards. His 8 passing targets was good enough to be 2nd on the team. In an interesting bit of NFL news, Le’Veon Bell was released by the Jets and has signed with the Chiefs on a 1 year deal. This news truly rocked the NFL world! Bell landing in KC is very intriguing but for now I still consider CEH as an RB1 but might have a bit of capped upside down moving forward…we shall see.
RB Jonathon Taylor: Taylor is just that dude! A lesser workload in this loss to Cleveland but he remains to be a productive player. He gained 57 yards on 12 carries with 1 TD while catching 2 of his 3 targets for 17 yards. He remains an RB1!
RB JK Dobbins: In the blowout win against the Bengals, JK Dobbins only touched the ball 4 times. He was extremely productive with those 4 touches; 1 carry for 34 yards and caught all 3 of his targets for 21 yards. This backfield remains a headache for fantasy GMs but it is only a matter of time before Dobbins takes over.
RB James Robinson: Robinson wasn’t super productive in this losing effort but his usage remains very strong. He was given 13 carries gaining 48 yards and caught 5 of 7 targets for 22 yards. He returns to earth on a production standpoint but he should still be considered an RB2 considering his usage!
RB Cam Akers: Akers returned to action in this lob-sided victory over Washington. He gained 61 yards on 9 carries, including one for 46 yards! Very encouraging return to action, however he is stuck in a messy timeshare. Time will tell how that RB group will shape up.
RB Antonio Gibson: In Washington’s losing effort Gibson remains the primary RB in this backfield. He gained 27 yards on 11 carries and caught all 5 of his targets for 24 yards. I wish the efficiency was better but 16 touches in a negatively lob-sided contest is still encouraging. He remains a FLEX option in all leagues.
RB Joshua Kelley: Kelley is now trending down for the third week in a row. It’s a shame he hasn’t been able to make the most of his opportunities in Austin Ekeler’s absence. Kelley gained 29 yards on 11 carries and caught his only target for 9 yards. He enters week 6 on a BYE week, as of now he is a bench stash but shouldn’t be considered for lineups unless it is a deep league.
RB La’Michal Perine: Perine didn’t get on the field in this contest as Le’Veon Bell made his return to the field from being on IR…2 days later…Le’Veon Bell get released from the Jets…Perine is now back to his previous opportunity alongside of Frank Gore. With Bell out of the picture for good, Perine is worth keeping an eye on!
WR Tee Higgins: Higgins led the Bengals in receiving in the brutal losing effort against Baltimore. Higgins caught 4 of his 8 targets for 62 yards! Still made a decent day out of bad game for Cincinnati. Higgins continues to look like the future star to pair with Burrow. Better days ahead for both!
WR Justin Jefferson: Jefferson cooled down in this wild but ultimately losing effort. He caught 3 of his 5 targets for 23 yards. This was obviously a step back for what he has been able to do over the last 2-3 weeks, especially considering the juicy matchup against Seattle. Unfortunately for Jefferson’s sake, Adam Thielen was the beneficiary in this contest. Better days ahead!
WR Brandon Aiyuk: In the bizarre losing effort, Aiyuk was tied for the team lead with 44 yards receiving yards while catching 3 of his 6 targets. A step back for Aiyuk this week as the 49ers seem to be dealing with QB issues. Let’s hope Jimmy G gets healthy quickly!
WR CeeDee Lamb: The unfortunate lasting memory of this game was the devastating season ending injury to Dak Prescott! Despite the brutal loss for the Cowboys and football in general, CeeDee Lamb absolutely balled out! He led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards! Lamb caught 8 of 11 targets for 124 yards! He is cemented as a starter in all leagues! An incredible start to the season, he seems to be the favorite for a (non-QB) offensive rookie of the year!
WR Lavishka Shenault: In the losing effort Shenault led the Jags in targets, receptions, and receiving yards! He caught 7 of 8 targets for 79 yards! He is becoming more and more involved in this offense and he has earned it with his productivity. He should be considered a FLEX option in all leagues!
WR Devin Duvernay: Duvernay once again was able to show off his athletic ability but with limited opportunity. He gained 42 yards on his only carry and caught both of his targets for 17 yards. The Ravens offense seemed to go through the running game, Mark Andrews, and Hollywood Brown. Duvernay is showing impressive ability, but we can’t put him in our lineups until the opportunity increases!
WR Henry Ruggs: Henry Ruggs returned to action and it was glorious! In the Raiders upset victory against the Chiefs, Ruggs led Las Vegas with 2 catches on 3 targets for 118 yards and 1 TD! The TD catch was a 72 yarder, WOW! More of this please! Raiders have BYE week in week 6, so we will have to wait for more goodness!
WR Chase Claypool: Claypool absolutely erupted with 4 TDs! In the Steelers winning effort, Claypool caught 7 of 11 targets for 110 yards and 3 TDs and rushed 3 times for 6 yards and 1 TD! He benefited a bit from Diontae Johnson leaving this contest early but he may be emerging as a focal point of the Steelers offense! It may be difficult to not put him in our lineups moving forward!
WR Tyler Johnson: Johnson was very productive in Chris Godwin’s absence as he led Tampa Bay in receiving yards with 61 yards catching 4 of 6 targets! He made the lost of his opportunity in the Thursday night game!
Patrick Queen: PATRICK QUEEN!!! Queen was named the Week 5 AFC Defensive Player of The Week! WOW! Queen dominated in this blowout victory with 9 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumbles recovered – one of which was returned for a TD! Defensive rookie of the year?! I would say he is in the lead right now!
Kenneth Murray: 5 tackles (2 solo) for Murray is this wild game against the Saints. Murray looks like the real deal, despite trailing Patrick Queen by 4 tackles on the year.
Antoine Winfield: Winfield improved from last weeks’ performance totaling 5 tackles (4 solo) and 1 pass deflected. I still consider him a weekly starter especially in deeper DB formats!
Jeremy Chinn: He just continues to impress and fill out the stat sheet! 9 tackles (5 solo) and 1 pass deflection! He is looking to be a lock weekly DB starter!!
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.