Week 1 Review: Rookies

Dominick Petrillo

What did we learn in Week 1?

Tom Brady is done.
Washington will win the NFC East.
And Nyheim Hines is going to have 32 TD this season.

Only the last of these matters for fantasy. None of these things are true. It is fun to see all of the overreactions, though. Not to mention the victory laps of some analysts because of one game, calm down Sparky.


The Rookies:

A good first week for rookies started Thursday with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. After having 92 receptions in his final year of college, it was the run game that propelled him in Week 1. With 25 rushes for 138 yards and his first career TD, he led the Kansas City Chiefs to a comfortable victory. We will now see what he can do as an encore. This week, he will face his first road game. He will also be facing Joey Bosa, and Melvin Ingram, and a reliable Chargers run defense. If he can show out once again, we may have something here.

Who led NFL rookies in receptions and receiving yards? Two thumbs are pointing at Johnathan Taylor. That is right—the bulldozer from Wisconsin who apparently cannot catch the ball. Although Nyheim Hines got the press for his two TD performance, Taylor also had a fantastic game. He did not have the same type of rush production as Edwards-Helaire, with only nine rushes for 22 yards. But his six receptions for 67 yards is a sign of things to come.

The injury to Marlon Mack is a real shame. It also means Taylor is going to take over as the lead back. Maybe sooner than some expected, but it was inevitable. Nyheim Hines also gains a lot of value. As a proper third-down back, both of these players will have a lot of value moving forward. Not only did the Colts look bad in a loss to the Jaguars Sunday, but Philip Rivers also looked a bit old. This means shorter passes and handoffs for Taylor and Hines. This also means a resurgence from TY. Hilton or a breakout from Parris Campbell may not be in the cards.

From the same game in Florida, we saw rookie receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. A player who looks like a clear number two and possible number one receiver for Jacksonville.

With 37 yards and one TD on three receptions, the numbers were not mind-blowing. With Gardner Minshew only throwing the ball a total of 20 times, this still gives him a 20% share. If he can keep up this rate in the passing game, not to mention his threat in the run game, he will finish as the rookie WR one at season end.

We have seen in past years it is not always the highest-powered offenses that produce the top-ranked fantasy rookies. Just last season Terry McLaurin finished in the position of WR one despite being saddled with Dwayne Haskins most of the season. Sure, some of this was due to their Ohio State connection. It was still Haskins, though. Not to mention the offensive line he was playing behind. This means a top 36 finish for Shenault is well within reach should he stay healthy.

Other highly touted rookies did not fair as well. Deandre Swift dropped a final second pass, which cost the Detroit Lions the game. Before the drop, he was relatively solid, though, as was J.K. Dobbins, who led the Ravens in rush attempts and had two TD in the demolition of the Cleveland Browns. But the guy we are going to talk about is the off-season darling which was Zack Moss.

Sure, he scored a TD in his first game. But this is where the good times ended. Everyone was convinced he was going to take over for Devin Singletary from the start. He did not. He and Singletary both had nine rush attempts. Moss only gained 11 total yards on those nine rushes. He also only gained 16 yards on three receptions. The TD saved his owners from an actual disaster of a week. This week, the Bills head to Miami to take on the Dolphins. The run game will get going a bit, but there is something about Miami in September. It just does not go well for division rivals. This may be another disappointment should you decide to start him again. Be patient. His time will come. It just may take time to realize it for him.

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