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I’ve always found honesty to be the best policy, so just letting you know the Rookie Report is going to be a little light this week.

Oh, you think it’s going to be light this week because I don’t want to write it? Of course not! I could write for hours about the duality of Todd Gurley’s running style, the professionalism of Amari Cooper, or the maturation process of Jameis Winston. So what’s the problem? Those three guys were all on bye weeks. Didn’t the NFL take this into account when they were making the schedule?

Obviously we do still have plenty of rookies to talk about. It’s just, well a lot of them didn’t play really well this week.

We had some injuries and we had some fumble problems and some rookie struggles. Poor offensive line play and bad defensive match ups all contributed to a down week for my rookies.

While I can explain overall why rookies as a whole had down production, let’s go over some of the notable guys and see what happened.

Week 7 Rookie Report

 

Quarterback

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

The only first round quarterback to take the field this weekend was Marcus Mariota. And boy I’m just glad to see Mariota walk off the field in one piece after the hits he took from the Dolphins. Now statistically Mariota played alright. He put up his typical efficient day, completing 21 of 33 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown.

Downside? He was facing pressure almost constantly from the Miami front. He was sacked five times and was hit many more times. One of those hits connected low and on his knee. For a second it looked like he might have suffered a season ending knee injury. The reports coming from the Titans are he’ll be ok but he was banged up. And in Fantasy terms, that pressure contributed to two interceptions. With all the hits he took, I’m going to wait a few days before making any start/sit decisions with him.

 

Running Back

Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

When I was watching those Sunday pregame shows, I kept hearing people highlight Duke Johnson as a rookie who could have a breakout game. When you hear things like that, remember who was on the Duke bandwagon first. Hint: it was me.

The only problem was Duke didn’t really do much this week. He did deliver the most rushing yards on the team (38), but there was a three way split with carries which is something Duke Johnson managers don’t love to see. He did see his usual work out of the backfield, but it was only for three catches for 18 yards. He was going against Denver which might be the best defense in football, so his lack of yardage is understandable. The Browns seem intent on giving him the ball so don’t worry too much about this week. Also don’t drop him yet.

Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

In the offseason there was an ongoing debate over which rookie running back would be more valuable in Fantasy this season. With Gurley’s injury concerns early in the year, a lot of people were picking Gordon. Right now those people aren’t looking so smart.

On Sunday against Green Bay, the San Diego backfield received a total of carries with Gordon delivering 29 yards. He fumbled once and then got banged up which kept him out of the game for a while, but he was largely ineffective. He didn’t catch any passes and if he’s not getting more touches than Danny Woodhead, his value takes a big hit. San Diego has been having a lot of trouble blocking for their running backs, which make Gordon’s plight even bleaker. I’d hold onto him now, but I would definitely keep him planted on my bench.

Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

Another guy a lot of analysts were pegging for a big day on Sunday was Ameer Abdullah. With Joique Bell out with injury, it looked like Abdullah was in for a heavy workload and more importantly a big Fantasy day. He did get 14 carries but only returned 48 yards. He also had three receptions for 21 yards. It was a relatively quite day overall but he also fumbled again for the fourth time in six games. Only one of those fumbles was lost, but a rookie who can’t hold onto the ball tends to stay on the bench. Abdullah is going to get opportunities with the banged up Lions backfield, but the fumbles are something to watch.

Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

One thing I love is when I’m right. And what did I say about Diggs back in June? If he gets the opportunity, his freakish athleticism is going to translate well into Fantasy points. And what is happening now that he’s made his way onto the field? He just become the Vikings primary receiver and one of Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite targets. Want proof? He’s played two games and has been targeted 19 times!

Norv Turner has definitely found ways to utilize Diggs’ speed and athleticism. You can routinely see him go up and make some great catches. This week he caught seven passes for 129 yards. What makes it even more impressive is that no other player on the Vikings caught more than two passes. He was the only guy getting open and the only guy making anything happen with the ball once he caught it.

Here’s my advice.  If he’s on your waiver wire, go get him now. Yes he’s a rookie and yes he’s played only two games, but he is the real deal. He looks like he’s going to be this year’s Charles Johnson.

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