Fantasy Football Week 12: NFL Rookie Watch Edition

Keet Bailey@@KeetBaileyCorrespondent IINovember 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 21:  Mike Williams #19 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is congratulated by Kellen Winslow #82 after he scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Despite being a few games into Week 12, we’re still taking a look at the rookies for the upcoming weeks.

Rookie of the Year voting is a big deal in the NFL, and while fans often think it’s flawed (Vince Young in 2006), it’s generally a good way to rank some of the rookies.

NFLSoup presents its rookie rankings in terms of fantasy football and the NFL:

1) Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams

Season Stats: 228/376, 2,158 yds, 14 TD, 9 INT

Last Week vs. Atlanta: 26/39, 253, 253, 2 TD, 0 INT

Bradford has to be leading the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. Despite just a 4-6 record, Bradford has done enough to win football games, but his defense hasn’t been getting it done.

Bradford continues to limit turnovers, and has become a legit QB2 in fantasy leagues. He’s making an impact in his rookie campaign despite a slew of inexperienced receivers. Bradford is really making his wide receivers better, and the Rams are still in playoff contention.

2) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions

Season Stats: 45 tackles (34 solo), 8 sacks, 1 PD, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD

Last Week vs. New England: 4 tackles (3 solo), 1 sack

You have to love what Suh is doing for the Detroit Lion defensive line. Detroit’s defensive line has become very respectable.

Against the Patriots, Suh recorded his eighth sack of the season and played well in his first of many Thanksgiving Day matchups. Suh continues to penetrate the offensive line and make plays in the backfield and is a force to be reckoned with.

3) Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Season Stats: 43 rec, 681 yds, 6 TD

Last Week @ San Francisco: 3 rec, 54 yds, 1 TD

Williams has recorded at least 50 yards or more in all but two of his matches in 2010. He has scored a touchdown in three of his last four matches as well and is continuing his dominance in the NFL and in fantasy football.

Williams has become a nice WR2 in all formats and has a very favorable schedule the rest of the season. If he keeps this production up, he could surpass Bradford as the most valuable offensive rookie.

4) Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Season Stats: 38 rec, 435 yds, 4 TD, 2 RTD

Last Week vs. New Orleans: 0 rec, 0 yds, 0 TD

Bryant hit a wall in Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup against the Saints. He was targeted just six times and failed to record a catch.

Bryant still is a favorite in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and is just a step behind Sam Bradford and Mike Williams for the honor. In terms of fantasy football, he should still be started weekly as he’s a threat to score every time he touches the football.

5) Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks

Season Stats: 55 tackles (46 solo), 12 PD, 5 INT, 2 FR

Last Week @ New Orleans: 8 tackles, (6 solo), 1 INT

Thomas continues to play lights-out football and has emerged as the sole leader in the secondary for the Seattle Seahawks.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Seahawks defense isn’t playing very well after suffering through key injuries of Red Bryant and Colin Cole. But Thomas is becoming one of the better safeties in the NFL, and has a knack for finding the ball in the air and making a play after the catch.

6) Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

Season Stats: 58 tackles (44 solo), 2 sacks, 6 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF

Last Week vs. Arizona: 8 tackles (5 solo)

You have to love the progression Berry has made in 2010. He’s a great wrap-up tackler, and he’s doing an excellent job of finding the ball and making a play on it.

The Kansas City defense has improved quite a bit, and Berry is a big reason why. They still struggle a bit in the secondary, but teams have to fear Berry and Brandon Flowers when making plays offensively. Berry is making a strong case to be Defensive Rookie of the Year.

7) LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Season Stats: 101 rush, 441 yds, 4 TD, 2 rec, 9 yds 0 TD

Last Week @ San Francisco: 26 rush, 82 yds, 0 TD

Since coming in and getting majority of the carries in Week 7, Blount has literally ran with the opportunity.

He’s seeing around 15-20 touches per game, and has become a nice Flex option at the very worst in all formats. He’s a powerful runner that will get the carries in the red zone as well, and already has four touchdowns on the season. He’s not going to win Rookie of the Year, but he’s a nice option if your fantasy team has been riddled with injuries.

8 ) Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints

Season Stats: 108 rush, 519 yds, 3 TD, 1 rec, 17 yds 0 TD

Last Week @ Dallas: 7 rush, 38 yds 2 TD

Ivory is one of the biggest rookie surprises of 2010. Ivory is an undrafted rookie who played a bit at Washington State, before finishing his football career with Tiffin University in Ohio.

With the injuries to the Saints running backs, Ivory was called into action and has performed well in his debut with the Saints. He won’t always rush for a ton of yards, but he’s a tough back who can make plays on the goal line. However, his fantasy value could become limited with Reggie Bush's return and Pierre Thomas coming back.

9) Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

Season Stats: 25 rec, 310 yds, 6 TD

Last Week @ Detroit: 5 rec, 65 yds, 0 TD

Gronkowski has come onto the fantasy scene a bit more since Week 10’s three-touchdown performance. He’s an excellent red-zone tight end and generally has sure hands.

For most of the season, Tom Brady has gotten Aaron Hernandez more receptions between the 20 yard lines, but Gronkowski has been the primary tight end as of late and is becoming a nice sleeper tight end in fantasy.

10) T.J. Ward, S, Cleveland Browns- 67 tackles (45 solo), 3 PD, 1 FF

Season Stats: 80 tackles, (61 solo), 7 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF

Last Week @ Jacksonville: 5 tackles, (5 solo), 2 PD, 2 INT

Usually, I like to keep more offensive players in the rookie watch, but it’s hard to ignore what this hard-hitting safety is doing.

Ward is usually good for about six or seven tackles a game, but recently he’s made some plays in the passing game as well, including two interceptions against David Garrard and the Jaguars. The fact that he has 61 solo tackles for a safety is also quite a feat, and he’s not a guy you want to hit you when you’re a receiver coming across the middle.

Honorable Mentions:

Devin McCourty, CB, New England Patriots- 61 tackles (52 solo) 17 PD, 5 INT

Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions- 128 rush, 280 yds, 4 TD, 49 rec 375yds, 1 TD

Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals- 35 rec, 480 yds, 1 TD

David Gettis, WR, Carolina Panthers- 25 rec, 400 yds, 3 TD

Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs- 31 rec, 378 yds, 2 TD

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers- 86 rush, 379 yds, 2 TD, 15 rec, 92 yds

Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots- 35 rec, 444 yds, 3 TD, 2 rushes 31 yds

Follow me on Twitter @NFLSoupKeet


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