NFL Rookie Tracker Week 3

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NFL Rookie Tracker Week 3

Here we go with the third instalment of the NFL Rookie Tracker, and just like last week, it was not a pretty week for the first year players. I believe this rookie class can be a great source of Fantasy points this season, the wide receivers have not really got going yet, and the tight ends are typically taking time to adjust to the pro game. Where the class is really flourishing though is at the running back position! I know it’s early, but this looks like it could be a historic group of runners for fantasy purposes, in the same vein as the Beckham/Evans wide receiver class from 2015. So without further ado, let’s get into the film and the box scores and see how they went in week three.

Rookie Of The Week – Kareem Hunt – RB – Chiefs

Kareem has got this award on lock! The Chiefs new bell cow back looked absolutely sensational again in their week 3 victory over divisional rival, the LA Chargers. This week he was back to his week one levels of pure fantasy stud-ness! Hunt had 172 rushing yards on only 17 carries to become the first rookie since Matt Forte to go for over 100 yards from scrimmage in his first three NFL starts. He is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record, which is a testament to how he has started his NFL career! Hunt is so much fun to watch and own, and from a dynasty perspective he has vaulted himself to the top of start up drafts after being a mid to late first round pick in rookie drafts this summer. If I were going to study Hunt and try and measure him up against the other “elite” dynasty backs in the league, this game against LA would probably not be the one to look at. Hunt ripped off big gain after big gain against a Chargers front seven that offered very little resistance. Hunt surely cannot keep up his absurd 8 yards per carry pace, and if he does, then we will be watching something very, very special. We know Hunt is good and we know he has the workload to make good on his talent, but where do we rank him for Dynasty purposes? Personally, as shiny and new as Hunt is, I would rather own Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley or Leonard Fournette long term. My advice if you agree with me, would be to try and capitalise on Hunt’s hot start, and try and get one of those players and some extras in a trade. If you believe Hunt can keep up this pace for this season and beyond, then you’re likely riding him to a title or two. Whatever your thoughts on Hunt as a long term asset there is little doubt that he’s the hottest thing going in Dynasty league’s right now.

Notable Performers

Dalvin Cook – RB – Vikings

This running back class just continues to deliver, and is probably at least 4 or 5 deep with players that you already see as core dynasty assets, or major trade leverage to acquire someone that you do believe is a core asset. Chief among those players is Dalvin Cook! There is some snobbery in the Dynasty community around combine numbers and athletic profiles, and after looking like the fastest guy on the field at FSU, Cook failed to dazzle at the NFL’s annual track meet. Well, I’ve got news for you, Cook looks like the fastest guy on the field whenever you turn Vikings film on too! As a long term dynasty player, I have always banked on the guys that have blown up the combine as a rule, but man I wish I’d invested in more shares of Cook this summer. I loved watching him in college, and sometimes you just have to ignore everything and just trust the eye test, Dalvin Cook is a really good running back! In week three against the Bucs he had exactly the type of usage you want to see out of a primary ball carrier, rendering Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon afterthoughts in this offense. Cook totalled 169 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the Vikings surprise beat down of the Buccaneers. He struggled early, but as the Bucs wore down he came into his own and had himself a day for his owners. His 10 receptions on the young season make him a high floor RB1 going forward, and as with Hunt, a very attractive piece in trade negotiations.

Leonard Fournette – RB – Jaguars

Seems like I’m writing about the same three guys every week, but this week Fournette makes his way back into the notable performers. The Jaguars absolutely Donkey punched the Ravens in my home nations capital, and big Leonard gave his Fantasy owners another touchdown, and 80 yards from scrimmage. When you look at the final score of this game, and the fact that the Jags put up 44 points, chances are that you probably expected a bigger day for the rookie out of LSU, but in truth, they didn’t need to run him into the ground, as the Ravens were never at the races at Wembley. Fournette looked more decisive, and finished runs better in this weeks showing than he did in week two against the Titans, he made his 20 touches count. If Blake Bortles can just find some middle ground between the disaster he was against the Titans, and his good showing against the Ravens, the Jags offense could open up for Fournette, who is already giving you solid Fantasy numbers despite the total lack of a passing game. If Bortles reverts to type, then there will be some tough sledding for Fournette, but you are firing him up as an every week RB1 going forward, and feeling pretty good about it too.

QUICK NOTES

Joe Mixon – RB – Bengals

I had Mixon as a dud in week one of this column, and that was probably a little harsh, but it was mostly based on the fact that people were drafting him ahead of Leonard Fournette as the summer wore on, and people presumably got bored of seeing the same guy at the 1.01 spot. This week though, Mixon showed out! New OC Bill Lazor gave the Oklahoma product 21 touches in his first game calling the plays, and with those touches he showed the quickness, patience and agility that had so many people enamoured with him in the first place. Put him in your line ups going forward.

Alvin Kamara – RB – Saints

Not a box score number that leaps out at you, but Kamara’s 25 yard touchdown run to ice the game for his team against the Panthers was a taste of what this guy is capable of. Kamara showed tremendous vision and patience to get to the sideline and then used his burst to get to the end zone. At this point he should be the clear number two back in NOLA ahead of Adrian Peterson, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s a huge part of this offense.

Tarik Cohen – RB – Bears

The Bears continue to feed Cohen in every which way they can. He turned 16 touches into 102 yards against the Steelers, in what was a shock win for his team. Cohen’s usage is hard to predict when you factor in that Jordan Howard was slowed by a shoulder injury in this game, but he has the potential, and the talent to become a Theo Riddick/Chris Thompson like PPR specialist.

David Njoku – TE – Browns

Someone other than a running back gets a mention! Back to back weeks with a touchdown for the Browns tight end, and in a tight end landscape that is as ugly as I can remember, that is not to be sniffed at. He only caught two balls on four targets, but with no true top target emerging for DeShone Kizer, I can see the volume going up as the season wears on.

DeShone Kizer – QB – Browns

In reality, Kizer’s performance against the Colts was all over the place. He had 3 turnovers, two of which were deep in Colts territory, yet he threw two touchdown passes and he also rushed for a score. Kizer has that Fantasy friendly skill set that you like to see in a QB, and has posted two top ten scoring weeks in his first three starts. I think the Browns will give him a long leash, and if you have him behind a struggling veteran starter (cough, Cam Newton, cough), he is certainly worth inserting into your line up for the time being.

DeShaun Watson – QB – Texans

As mentioned last week in this very column, DeShaun Watson is a good Fantasy QB, much like with Kizer he has that rushing upside that keeps his floor high. This week in a surprisingly close game with the Patriots, Watson showed a little something with his arm too, leading impressive drives and taking the game to the defending Super Bowl champs. Watson seems to thrive when the lights are on brightest, just as he did at Clemson. He lead the Texans to a prime time win against the Bengals, and then very nearly became the first rookie QB to beat the Pats in the Belichick era. That ice in his veins will serve him well going forward.

WEEK THREE DUDS

2017 First Round Wide Receivers

First let me preface this by saying that I’m a big fan of all three of these players, and that I think that in the long run they will all be absolutely fine. That being said, boy has it been a rough start for the wide outs that were drafted in round one of the 2017 draft.

Corey Davis had the targets in his first couple of starts to make an impression, and he looked pretty good when he got the ball in his hands, but he is slowed by a reoccurrence of his pre season hamstring injury. The Titans put him back in the game against the Jaguars, even though it was well in hand, and he had left earlier after feeling the injury. Davis went on to miss the week three tilt against the Seahawks.Highly frustrating for his owners.

John Ross fumbled in his pro debut and was benched by Marvin Lewis, he then missed a week of practice and was held out of week three with the same knee injury that caused him to miss week one. I’m excited to see what Ross can do under new OC Bill Lazor, but the fact that the troublesome knee is flaring up this early in his pro career is a slight worry.

Mike Williams is yet to see the field for the Chargers, and you hear things like “not cleared for contact” and “not running routes at full speed” , and take notice. Again, long term I’m not worried about Williams. The Chargers look like they are missing exactly what he offers, a big body that can win contested catches, it’s just incredibly frustrating that we are being denied a look at another great talent because of injury.

As I said earlier, if I own these guys in dynasty, I’m not worried long term about any of them, it’s just hard to see them sat there on your bench, or in your IR, when running back after running back from this class goes off! This was certainly the rookie class to load up on backs, but if you invested in the wide outs, you have to hang in there and be patient. These guys will come good.

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