Welcome to the first NFL rookie tracker, where I analyze the performance of the 2017 rookie class in the NFL. The intention is to watch the film and pick out the risers and fallers and track who’s stock is up and down in your Dynasty leagues.
We should have a lot of fun this year with an influx of tasty looking offensive rookies coming into the league, so wether you own Leonard Fournette from the top of your rookie drafts or the likes of Kenny Golladay in the later rounds, Fake Pigskin will have you covered.
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ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Kareem Hunt – Running Back – Kansas City Chiefs
When the Chiefs new offensive weapon Kareem Hunt fumbled the ball on his first carry as a pro, it was the first time he’d fumbled in his entire career. What was to follow was the best statistical debut in the history of the league from an offensive rookie! In a sensational performance, Hunt tore through the Patriots front seven,getting chunk gain after chunk gain on his way to 246 all purpose yards and three touchdowns. Hunt showed impressive patience and toughness in the run game and secured all five of his passing game targets in a true do it all performance. If this is to become the norm for Hunt (and I don’t see why it shouldn’t on this evidence) then he can vault his way to comfortable first round status in Dynasty start ups, however, just temper expectations a little bit. The Patriots defense was so out of sorts it was jarring when you watched the tape. You have to give huge credit to Andy Reid for drawing up a sensational game plan, but there were plays where I found myself thinking, someone just tackle the guy!! The Patriots missed assignments and fell off tackles. Hunt is not a traditional burner, but he’s fast enough and has wonderful feet and patience, you can’t help but lock him in as an RB 1 for the season, but there will be bumps in the road. His trade value may never be higher.
Leonard Fournette – Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
29 touches! Exactly what you wanted to see from the first overall pick in many rookie drafts. Fournette did it tough against the Texans, banging between the tackles and picking up hard yards to help his team salt away the clock after a devastating defensive display had his team up big. The Jaguars don’t want Blake Bortles to do any more than manage the game,and as expected, Fournette IS the whole offense. I’d be feeling pretty happy with my investment if I have him sat on my roster right now, he’s a stud.
Kenny Golladay – Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions
When rookie draft season started there was very little buzz about the Lions third round pick from Northern Illinois, Kenny Golladay. Training camp and pre season wore on and the buzz got louder and louder to the point where late drafters were seeing him at the back end of the first round, or the early second. The rise reminded me of Tajae Sharpe last season in the sense that he was an afterthought for drafters who ended up in a starting job with a competent QB and suddenly was a hot name in the dynasty community. I don’t think Golladay is going the way of Tajae Sharpe if this performance is anything to go by! He took over the fourth quarter catching a ten yard slant for a score then laying out for a stupendous 48 yard catch to seal the game. A very encouraging performance indeed, but had I picked him up for the bargain prices that he came for in April and May I would be exploring the idea of trading him to an eager league mate for a 2018 first rounder.
Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
Another absolute stud from what looks like a generational running back class even at this early stage. I’ve long thought that Cook passed the eye test as an explosive and decisive runner at FSU, but a lacklustre combine showing had a negative affect on his draft stock and on this first showing that looks to have been a serious misjudgement. Cook looked a hell of a lot faster in pads than he did in shorts and the FSU product turned 22 carries into 127 yards and added 3 catches to boot. This was an extremely encouraging showing and his owners have to be happy with not only his usage, but how he looked knifing through the Saints defense at will. Trips to the end zone will surely come and I have a feeling he will dramatically outplay his rookie draft position which was in the 1.05/1.06 area.
DeShone Kizer – Quarterback – Cleveland Browns
Encouraging first showing for the second round pick out of Notre Dame. Kizer posted 18 fantasy points on a day where his expensively assembled offensive line did not protect him well. Kizer will be a fantasy factor this season and a solid hold in dynasty considering his almost free draft price.
Corey Davis – Wide Receiver – Tennessee Titans
I didn’t expect Corey Davis to be much of a factor in his NFL debut after missing the entire pre season, but he garnered ten targets from Marcus Mariota and made a spectacular highlight reel grab down the sidelines. There will be better days for this offense and Davis is approaching flex status already.
Evan Engram – Tight End – New York Giants
Engram didn’t have a stat line that leaped off the page, but there were reasons to be encouraged. Engram essentially played as a wide out, and barely had any blocking responsibilities. He got open on many occasions but Eli didn’t look his way. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Engram though, was the fact that Brandon Marshall looked old! I expect much better days ahead.
Tarik Cohen – Running Back – Chicago Bears
“The human joystick” looked absolutely sensational in his NFL debut. Criminally undervalued in rookie drafts this off season, considering he was a third round pick of the Bears, which is high draft capital for a rebuilding team. Cohen looked explosive and fast, but more encouraging was the fact that he looked tough as nails and made some hard yards too. If he keeps up this pace, he’s definitely a flip candidate for a team in tank mode, and will be a nice boost for contending teams too.
Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Carolina Panthers
This running back class is ridiculous! McCaffrey is almost an afterthought in week one, but he was heavily involved and looked sensational. It was a little disappointing that Jonathan Stewart got the touchdown, but I would be very encouraged if I was a McCaffrey owner right now.
Joe Mixon – Running Back – Cincinatti Bengals
This season is going to be frustrating for Mixon owners. Jeremy Hill is still getting snaps and carries, and Gio Bernard looked good when he had the ball in his hands. This looks like an even committee and Mixon will have to play lights out to distance himself from his competition. I saw Mixon go as high as the 1.01 in rookie drafts this off season, a move which always looked a little too cute for me, especially when you see how Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook looked in week one. I think Mixon is an explosive talent who will break out, but I feel better about owning some of the other runners from this stacked class at this moment in time.
That’s all for week one of the NFL Rookie Tracker,check back next week for the week two rookie studs and duds here on Fake Pigskin.
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