Week 13 is upon us, and we’re closing in on the end of the NFL season. It’s time for the rookies of the NFL to make their last minute push to be considered for offensive and defensive rookie of the year.
But these guys also have value in fantasy football. Offensively, Sam Bradford, Dez Bryant and Mike Williams are becoming legit starters on a weekly basis.
In Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, guys like Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Earl Thomas and T.J. Ward are valuable because of their ability to record several tackles and make plays for their respective teams.
1. Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
Season Stats: 250/413 2,466 yds, 17 TD, 9 INT
Last Week vs. Denver: 22/37 308, 3 TD, 0 INT
Bradford has to be leading the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. The Rams are now 5-6 and are in the playoff hunt for the NFC West. Bradford had his best performance of the season in Week 12.
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 in contention to win the NFC West.
If he keeps playing turnover free football and doing his best to win football games, he will be the unanimous selection for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
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: 45 rec, 701 yds, 6 TD
Last Week at Baltimore: 2 rec, 20 yds, 0 TD
Williams has recorded at least 50 yards or more in all but three of his matches in 2010. He has scored six touchdowns on the year and has rewarded fantasy owners with solid points if they drafted him late or picked him up in free agency.
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: 44 rec, 547 yds, 6 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: 63 tackles (53 solo), 12 PD, 5 INT, 2 FR
Last Week vs. Kansas City: 8 tackles, (7 solo)
Thomas continues to play lights-out football and has emerged as the sole leader in the secondary for the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas is showing that he can make tackles in the open field as well as his ability to make plays in coverage.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Seahawks defense isn’t playing very well after suffering through key injury of Red Bryant. 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 at Seattle: 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. However, Earl Thomas could stand in his way.
7. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 114 rush, 496 yds, 4 TD, 2 rec, 9 yds 0 TD
Last Week at Baltimore: 13 rush, 55 yds, 0 TD
Blount is seeing an increased role in the Tampa Bay offense. With Cadillac Williams being relegated to passing situations, Blount is the go-to guy to get the bulk of the carries and is making the most of his rookie season.
Blount only rushed 13 times in Week 12, but he amassed 55 carries. He failed to get in the end zone, however. Blount most likely won’t win rookie of the year, but he’s played very well since seeing more reps in Week 7.
8. Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints
Season Stats: 108 rush, 519 yds, 3 TD, 1 rec, 17 yds 0 TD
Last Week at 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 with Washington State, before finishing his football career at 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. His fantasy value could become limited with Reggie Bush back, and Pierre Thomas coming back, however.
9. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Season Stats: 25 rec, 310 yds, 6 TD
Last Week at 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
Season Stats: 87 tackles, (67 solo), 7 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF
Last Week vs. Carolina: 7 tackles, (6 solo)
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 around five to six solo tackles a week. He’s becoming a solid coverage safety as well, but he’s best known for his ability to knock you out coming across the middle. Ward was thought to be a reach in the second round, but he’s playing like a first round pick in 2010.
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 375 yds, 1 TD
Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals- 40 rec, 518 yds, 2 TD
David Gettis, WR, Carolina Panthers- 25 rec, 400 yds, 3 TD
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs- 32 rec, 384 yds, 3 TD
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers- 86 rush, 379 yds, 2 TD, 15 rec, 92 yds
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots- 36 rec, 462 yds, 3 TD, 2 rushes 31 yds