NFL Rookie Tracker Week Four

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NFL ROOKIE TRACKER WEEK FOUR

Welcome to week four of the NFL rookie tracker on Fake Pigskin. What an up and down week this was for the 2017 NFL rookie class. We had a star born at the quarterback position, a running back further cementing his position as a bona fide fantasy stud, and another runner that was following a similar path suffered a devastating, season ending injury. So, as usual let’s check out the film and the box scores, and see how week four played out.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK – DeShaun Watson – QB – Texans

Where do I start with this one? Firstly, we finally have a new winner of the weekly award. Kareem Hunt probably did enough to win it again this week, but Texans QB DeShaun Watson went “ham” (as he once famously stated on Twitter) in a 57-14 divisional beat down of the Tennessee Titans. In Watson’s third career start, and his first at home, he threw for 283 yards and 4 touchdowns, and rushed for a further touchdown. Watson took advantage of every opportunity that the Titans Swiss cheese secondary gave him, showing another improvement in his passing and recognition skills and shredding Dick LeBeau’s unit again and again. In consecutive weeks he has put up monster numbers against coaches that are known for eating rookie QB’s alive, Bill Belichick, and the aforementioned LeBeau. You have to say that it is mighty impressive, and a star is in the process of being born. So what does all this mean from a dynasty perspective? Firstly, we love the skill set that Watson has for Fantasy purposes. His rushing gives him that high floor that you love to see from a QB. Secondly, he has a pretty nice set of weapons at his disposal, and a lights out defense that will get him on the field, and in good field position. The question is though, what about long term? It’s a tough one to answer, because personally I do not spend high capital on the position, nor do I hold on to QB’s if I pick them up cheap and they break out. Personally where I have shares of Watson, I will be looking to pick up an asset to improve my team elsewhere. That being said, I can see the attraction of owning him, he is fun to watch, and has such an exciting skill set. If you’re incumbent starter is a Phillip Rivers or an Eli Manning, having Watson break in to your starting line up must be refreshing to say the least.

NOTABLE PERFORMERS

Kareem Hunt – RB – Chiefs

Hunt was his usual, studly self again on MNF against the Redskins. He piled up 120 yards from scrimmage, but failed to find the end zone for the first time in his young career. Hunt is a sensational talent, and a real find by the Chiefs (understatement). He runs with poise and patience and finishes with lean and power. He’s a tremendous pass catcher, who doesn’t even break stride when he catches the ball. He’s just really good! You should start him!

Aaron Jones – RB – Packers

I’ve been a fan of Jones for a while, and was happy when a team that was seemingly running back needy drafted him. Early in his Green Bay career, carries have been hard to come by. Ty Montgomery has been the every down back that the Packers said he would be (and no one really believed), and Jamaal Williams has been the direct back up. Both the aforementioned left this week four tilt against the Bears with injuries and Jones got his chance to lead the backfield. He wasn’t particularly great in this game, carrying the ball 13 times for 49 yards and a short goal line score, I just think Jones was worth mentioning here because he has good upside. He’s a great athlete with a ton of wiggle and decent speed, and if he gets an opportunity at more carries, he could make himself a big part of the Packers rushing attack going forward. He has the talent to make good on an opportunity.

Alvin Kamara – RB – Saints

Another very encouraging performance from the Tennessee product as the Saints easily beat the hapless Dolphins in London. If Alvin Kamara continues to get 15 touches per week going forward, then you can insert him as you’re RB2 with confidence, because he is electric. He is fast, elusive, a great receiver and a perfect fit for the role in Sean Payton’s offense that made fantasy stars out of Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles in the past. His final stat line was five rushes for 25 yards, and 10 catches for 71 yards, and a touchdown. If we’re going to temper our excitement about Kamara a little bit, it has to be noted that Willie Snead was inactive for this game, and he is almost certain to hoover up some targets from the slot. That being said, Kamara at this point is having so much of an impact on this offense that he demands to be a big part of it going forward.

JuJu Smith Schuster – WR – Steelers

JuJu got in the end zone again for his second TD of the season, and it was nice to see someone from this wide receiver class make a small impact on Sunday, and in a middling day all around for the Steelers offense it was Smith Schuster that made the biggest dent in the passing game, with three catches for 47 yards and the score. Schuster is a nice fit for the Steelers offense, a big body that can make tough catches and a nice alternative to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. I expect him to stay involved going forward, and I also loved the Street Fighter celebration! An encouraging week for JuJu’s dynasty owners.

Cooper Kupp – WR – Rams

A big second half for Kupp in the Rams shock win over the Cowboys. Kupp was shredding linebackers out of the slot to the tune of five catches for 60 yards and a score. Kupp isn’t an automatic start in Fantasy just yet, but he has had an encouraging start to his pro career in a surprisingly explosive offensive unit. If rookie drafts were being held today, it’s likely that Kupp would be drafted much higher than his early to mid second round ADP, and that has to make his owners very happy.

Leonard Fournette – RB – Jaguars

In a disappointing day all around for the Jaguars, where they lost to the Jets, Fournette was again sensational. He makes this column every week, regardless of whether he looks spectacular doing it, and that weekly consistency is everything you look for in a stud runner for your dynasty team. Fournette ground out 84 yards on 24 rushing attempts, but perhaps the most pleasing thing was his four catches for 59 yards and a score. No one expects Fournette to be prolific in the passing game, but he caught the ball well in this game and looked every bit the complete back. Should the receiving production continue, Fournette will cement himself alongside elite dynasty backs like Todd Gurley and Zeke Elliott going into 2018.

Evan Engram – TE – Giants

The second most targeted player in the NFL through week three, Engram is such an appealing player to own in Dynasty, and considering the mess at the position this season, you are more than likely starting him every week. In week 4 against the Bucs, Engram had six grabs for 62 yards on a whopping 11 targets. Part of the appeal is that he isn’t an orthodox tight end, and appears to be just out there running routes all day. I honestly believe that Engram can be that true game changing tight end that flips the match ups in your favour every week, a la Gronk. He’s productive at this early stage, when tight ends are traditionally still finding there feet in the league. When he figures it out fully, the sky is the limit.

OJ Howard – TE – Bucs

Howard got in the end zone for a 69 yard score in this game against the Giants. He was all kinds of open, but he showed his long speed, and it was nice to see him flash, considering you probably had to pay an early first to get him in your summer rookie drafts. Be patient, it will be worth it.
WEEK 4 DUDS

I find this part of the article the hardest to write every week, and here are my reasons…

No rookies can be considered duds three, four, five games into their pro career. This column is aimed at dynasty players who are playing the long game anyway.
I understand that some of these players get a little redraft hype and could be considered a dud if they don’t live up to it in a given week, but i still find it hard to say bench, trade, cut this guy four weeks into their pro career.
Finally, it just feels harsh, and i always find it difficult to apply proper context to my assessments.

So with all that in mind, here lies the duds segment, we had a good four week run, but it will be replaced by a little segment called……

CAUSE FOR CONCERN

This weeks cause for concern again focuses on the 2017 class of rookie wide receivers. It’s been rough for these guys on many levels but mainly because of injury. Mike Williams is still yet to see the field because of injury. At time of writing, Corey Davis is again ruled out for week five and John Ross is struggling with another knee injury. All three of the 2017 first round receivers are out of action, and as a dynasty owner, that sucks. You pretty much went out on a limb for these guys, in the face of most analysts calling this an all time great running back group, but you just have to exercise patience. Davis, Williams and Ross are still the explosive and exciting talents that you drafted in the summer, nothing has changed that, and they will show it on the field soon enough. It’s so early in their NFL and dynasty lives, do not get an itchy trigger finger and give any of them away in trades or take pennies on the dollar. I guarantee the owners that are targeting them are among the smartest guys in your league. Be smarter, and hang on to them.

INJURY ALERT

Dalvin Cook – RB – Vikings – Done for the season with a torn ACL

This one sucks! Only last week in this very column was I bemoaning the fact that I didn’t grab more shares of Cook, because he just looked sensational in the first three weeks of the season. He looked explosive and tough and every bit the bell cow back that you wanted him to be when you drafted him this off season. The injury itself was just rotten luck, a non contact injury that you knew was a bad one as soon as you saw him go down. Running backs coming back from ACL injuries is a regular occurrence in the NFL these days, and is certainly not the death knell for someone’s career that it used to be. The best running back in the league through four games, Todd Gurley is a good example of that, and perhaps the best example is Viking legend Adrian Peterson, who came back from an ACL to win the league MVP award and go over 2000 yards rushing. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic, so just sit tight, put Cook in your IR, and hope for a full recovery. Get well soon Dalvin.

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