Finally seeing our beloved rookies finally play is part of what makes week one of the NFL season so exhilarating. The class this year had some serious hyper going, even for rookies, so week one was overall mostly disappointing. The stud rookies did not do much outside of Saquon, but there were some surprises. Let’s take a look at the top ten rookie performances, the good and the bad, in my “Rookie Review” for Week One.
Fantasy Football Rookie Review: Week One
Ronald Jones shouldn’t even count for this article, because he didn’t even play. The second round rookie was on the healthy inactive list this week, an absolute shocker. This obviously does not define his career, but with all of the question marks he had coming in, size, lack of receiving production, and unknown athletic testing(except a pro day 40-yard dash) he looks like a surefire bust.
Royce Freeman’s performance painted a more optimistic picture than the zoomed out truth actually is. A 15 carry, 71-yard performance is an admirable debut, but his snap share was concerning. He only played on 39% of his team’s snaps, with Phillip Lindsay stealing all receiving work and having an equal number of rush attempts.
For Royce owners, hopefully, this is not indicative of how the season will play out, and he will receive a closer to 60% snap share. Freeman’s outlook should not change too much from week one, but he now just a borderline RB 2/3.
Phillip Lindsay, an undersized UDFA, had a dazzling rookie debut. He had 15 carries for 71 yards and 2 catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. This amount of work was pretty surprising to see week one. Although he looked great in the preseason and from his college days, he made perpetual disappointment Devontae Booker irrelevant from the get-go.
With a soft matchup against the lost Raiders next, those feeling extra bold could do worse than putting Lindsay into your flex spot in PPR leagues. Lindsay will likely be the number one waiver pickup this week, so hopefully, you are the smartest guy in the league and already rostered him.
The top two stat lines for offensive rookies in Week 1 (combining receptions & rushes):
Saquon Barkley: 20 touches for 128 combined yards & 1 TD
Phillip Lindsay: 17 touches for 102 combined yards & 1 TD
The 2nd overall pick & the undrafted free agent.
— Taylor Kothe (@taylorkothe_nfl) September 10, 2018
Saquon Barkley did the unthinkable. He somehow built on his monstrous hype, with 20.8 PPR points, but more importantly, a jaw-dropping, tackle breaking, 68-yard touchdown run. Yep, Saquon looked untouchable, but maybe this run skewed his performance. I hate to be the guy to say, “take away that run and he did nothing,” but if you do take away that run, he did nothing…Before that rush, he had only 38 rushing yards on 16 attempts. The Jags stout defense did stand in his way, but still not great.
Nonetheless, this was the most Saquon game he could’ve had. His ability to break these ridiculous plays is what makes him special. The volume was there, as he had close to 100% of Giants’ RB touches, so this was exactly what we wanted to see from the talented rookie. It’s Saquon SZN!
After being ridiculed by FFstatistics own stat wizard, Peter Howard, when he said that Dante Pettis is a terrible wide receiver prospect and I never should have taken him in any rookie drafts, I mostly wrote him off. Then, in week one, Pettis proved Peter and all haters alike wrong, catching two passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was 22 yards, and what stood out, obviously, was how well he delivered splash plays.
Dante Pettis THO 👀 pic.twitter.com/ErD93ZTB4K
— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) September 9, 2018
The volume was pretty low, but starting receiver Marquise Goodwin went down to injury, so Pettis has the chance to slot in as a starter. If you’re a Pettis owner, this debut could not have gone better. Even with 14.1 PPR points, Dante Pettis is still a very speculative add, one I would not advise in standard redraft leagues.
Nyheim Hines’s debut was a mixed bag. The opportunity was very encouraging, 5 carries and 9 targets, but there are several causes for concern. For one, he did this with Marlon Mack hurt, so only boring rookie Jordan Wilkins to compete with. Also, Hines was just not very good with his chances, not even averaging 5 yards per reception.
With Mack returning it is possible Hines only sees a few targets on a weekly basis and is irrelevant. Regardless, the 12.2 PPR points is a very encouraging sign, making him a worthy add in deeper PPR leagues.
These next four receivers don’t even deserve their own paragraphs. Starting with Michael Gallup, who barely entered the box score. He recorded one catch for 9 yards, a whopping 1.9 PPR points. The biggest factor in this is likely the simple truth that the Cowboys are as advertised on offense, a one-dimensional rushing team who cannot support any fantasy relevance.
This was a bad miss to Michael Gallup. A better throw and this is a huge gain. pic.twitter.com/AnFnhPe01A
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 11, 2018
Stay away from Gallup in season long until Dallas figures football out.
Christian Kirk figured out a way to score even less than Michael Gallup. He had only one reception for 4 yards, which came out to 1.4 PPR points. He also only garnered two targets. The only place for optimism is that the Cardinals just had such a bad offensive week overall and that’s why Kirk flopped.
More likely though, the Cardinals will have trouble moving the ball all year, Kirk is not yet ready to produce in the NFL, and he is also not worth rostering in season-long leagues.
DJ Moore seemed poised to nab a starting job in three wide receiver sets and develop into a somewhat relevant fantasy commodity at some point this year. Most even predicted that he would finish as the rookie wide receiver one.
Moore did nothing in his debut, literally recording zero receiving stats. He had a 3-yard rush to get on the fantasy scoreboard but otherwise was even less productive than Kirk and Gallup. He was behind even Jarius Wright. The lesson remains, do not drat rookie wide receivers in season-long leagues.
Anthony Miller did not buck the trend, don’t worry. He logged 2 catches for 14 yards, for 3.4 PPR points. Chicago spread the ball around to everyone, with nobody seeing more than 8 targets. Miller was 6th with only 3. It is encouraging that at least the Bears’ offense looks to be capable of passing the ball, but with such low volume, Miller has no place anywhere near a starting lineup and likely is not worth rostering.
If you own him you may want to wait a week or two, but when a top priority waiver add is staring at you, don’t hesitate to drop Miller.