We took our first real, hard look at the successful NFL rookies last week, and we’re back for our second consecutive look into the rookie life, as well as any fantasy implications that may exist.
Read on for the top 10 NFL rookies who are performing at a high level and likely deserve to be owned or at least monitored in most fantasy football leagues:
1) Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
Season Stats: 171/292, 1674 yds, 11 TD, 8 INT
Last Week : Bye
Bradford has had a solid year for fantasy owners and Rams fans. Over the last three weeks, his touchdown/interception ratio is 5:0 as he’s led the Rams to a 4-4 record, with all four wins at home.
Bradford has turned into a quality QB2 in most formats, and is a good spot start against poor pass defenses.
What’s most surprising is the fact that he’s done this with a very young receiving unit and slightly above average pass blocking from the offensive line. He seems to improve each week, and has the potential to be one of the best in the league in a few years.
2) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
Season Stats: 30 tackles (25 solo), 6.5 sacks, 1 PD, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD
Last Week vs. New York Jets: 3 tackles (3 solo)
Suh continues to dominate weekly stuffing the run, and making plays in the backfield. He didn’t have a career game against the Jets, but he recorded three solo tackles, and making it tough for Jets All-Pro Nick Mangold to keep quiet.
Suh is undoubtedly a candidate for the Defensive Rookie of the Year with his continued excellent performance.
3) Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Season Stats: 38 rec, 435 yds, 4 TD, 2 RTD
Last Week @ Green Bay: 9 rec, 86 yrds, 1 TD
Bryant continued his hot streak on Sunday night in a blowout loss in Lambeau Field. Bryant had a 41-yard reception, and caught another touchdown pass to bring his total to four on the season.
Bryant is proving to be a dynamic return man, as well as deep threat in the receiving game.
Fantasy owners should continue to get Bryant in their lineups as a WR2 or Flex option. Even with the Cowboy struggles, Bryant should keep producing.
4) Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 36 rec, 559 yds, 5 TD
Last Week @ Atlanta: 4 rec, 89 yrds, 1 TD
The Tampa Bay wide receiver continues to be a force to be reckoned with. In a loss to Atlanta, Williams caught four more passes on the season, to bring his total to 36, and added a touchdown to his rookie season stats.
His 89-yard performance brought him up to a fantastic 559 yards as well.
Williams is another rookie wide receiver who should continue to be plugged in weekly. He seems to catch anything, whether it’s a five-yard pass, or a 55-yard pass downfield. Williams makes for a solid WR2 play weekly.
5) Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs
Season Stats: 45 tackles (34 solo), 2 sacks, 6 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF
Last Week @ Oakland: 4 tackles (1 solo), 2 sacks
The Chiefs suffered an overtime heartbreaker in Oakland after Sebastian Janikowski nailed two late field goals.
Eric Berry’s only real mishap was not batting down a poorly thrown Jason Campbell pass in the fourth quarter that Jacoby Ford caught leading to the game-tying field goal.
Berry still registered two sacks from the safety position, giving him his first two of his career. Berry continues to excel in coverage and is excellent in run support. He’s another top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
6) Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks
Season Stats: 39 tackles (32 solo), 9 PD, 4 INT, 2 FR
Last Week vs. New York Giants: 4 tackles (2 solo)
Thomas and the Seahawks had a very rough day on Sunday. Seattle got blown out at home against Eli Manning and the Giants by a score of 41-7.
Thomas got beat a couple times, and could have played better overall, but he still recorded four tackles, two of which were solo.
Don’t fret, Seattle fans, as he is going to be prone to rookie mistakes. Add the fact that Seattle suffered a few critical defensive line injuries and couldn’t get any pressure on Eli Manning, and you have a recipe for a secondary disaster.
7) Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
Season Stats: 34 rec, 436 yrds, 2 TD, 2 rushes 31 yards
Last Week @ Cleveland: 5 rec, 48 yrds, 2 TD
Hernandez moves up a couple of spots on the rookie list after catching his first two touchdowns of the season. Just last week I was discussing how he has been a non-factor in the red zone. I must have lit a fire under him.
Granted, his first touchdown wasn’t designed to go to him, after it was deflected off of another New England receiver. However, Hernandez made an acrobatic catch off the deflection, kept both feet in, and made a play in the back of the end zone.
Hernandez caught another touchdown later in the game, and finally has his first scores of the season. Hernandez remains nice option at tight end for those of you who are missing out on Dallas Clark and Jermichael Finley due to season-ending injuries.
8) Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
Season Stats: 107 rush, 345 yards, 4 TD, 41 rec, 356 yrds, 1 TD
Last Week vs. New York Jets: 16 rush, 48 yards, 0 TD, 5 rec, 40 yrds, 0 TD
Best is in quite the touchdown slump, as he has not registered a touchdown since Week 2. He’s getting between 16-20 touches a match, but he’s just not getting the looks in the open field, and is having trouble breaking bigger plays.
He’s still being utilized heavily in the passing game, and his ability to break a play into a long game makes him a solid Flex play in most leagues, especially in PPR set ups.
9) Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Season Stats: 87 rush, 382 yards, 2 TD, 15 rec, 92 yards, 0 TD
Last Week @ Houston: 9 rush, 42 yards, 0 TD, 2 rec, 18 yards, 0 TD
Mathews' match was cut short after re-aggravating his right ankle injury that has slowed him down this season.
Mathews hasn’t shown the explosiveness that fantasy owners have wanted to see all season, as his longest play from scrimmage is merely 20 yards.
His fantasy value has been very limited, as he’s not getting the ideal amount of touches to make plays. The fact that he’s a part of a pass-first offense doesn’t help, either, although his role in the passing game should increase when healthy.
For now, it’s probably best to bench him in fantasy leagues, even though most of us drafted him in the fourth or fifth round.
10) LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 43 rush, 222 yrds, 3 TD, 2 rec, 9 yards, 0 TD
Last Week @ Atlanta: 13 rush, 46 yards, 0 TD
Week 9 wasn’t great to Blount, as the Buccaneers found themselves in a big deficit early and never really got to set up the run game.
Blount saw more touches in the second half, but still only rushed for 46 yards on just 13 carries.
I fully expect Blount to see more touches in the coming weeks. He’s a tough runner and has shown that he can bust a big run, despite a lack of top-end speed.
I would continue to plug Blount in your fantasy lineups as he can be a big time reward player at a very cheap price.
T.J. Ward, S, Cleveland Browns- 67 tackles (45 solo), 3 PD, 1 FF
Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals- 28 rec, 396 yrds, 1 TD
David Gettis, WR, Carolina Panthers- 20 rec, 266 yrds, 2 TD
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs- 30 rec, 344 yrds, 2 TD
Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints- 78 rush, 382 yrds, 0 TD, 1 rec, 17 yrds 0 TD