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Fantasy Intelligence Report: Rookie Updates

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The Fantasy Intelligence Report is taking a break from its studies to update all shark owners on the progress of a few rookies. Let’s get to it.

Note: All average draft positions (ADP) are courtesy of Myfantasyleague.com (all re-draft formats).

In St. Louis, tight end Lance Kendricks has been very impressive thus far, and according to the Washington Post is quickly catching the eye of quarterback Sam Bradford.

“I think he’s probably taken more reps than anyone in our offense,” Bradford said. “It seems like every time I look out there he’s in there.”

St. Louis tight ends haven’t exactly been gold in the past decade, but St Louis doesn’t exactly have a true No. 1 target either. Kendricks could definitely develop in to one, and it could be right away.

On Saturday night, Kendricks finished with a game-high five catches for 47 yards and scored on a 6-yard pass, courtesy of Bradford, in the first quarter. His current ADP is around 245.

In Cincinnati, and according to the Associated Press, wide receiver A.J. Green has been putting on a show at camp and is quickly becoming rookie quarterback Andy Dalton’s top safety valve.

“He’s making outstanding catches,” Dalton said. “He’s going up, he’s making diving catches, he’s doing it all. It might not always be in the right spot, but he can go get it.”

Green is also catching the eye of wide receivers coach James Urban.

“There’s a wow factor to him,” Urban said. “I’ve not seen a first week like this (by a rookie).”

Green caught four passes for 29 yards, while being targeted five times during Friday night’s game against Detroit. His current average draft position is 79.09.

Wide receiver Edmond “Clyde” Gates has been making plenty of noise in Miami Dolphins camp lately, and according to the Miami Herald, he may end up being a rookie Miami will need to step up to spark the offense.

“That guy has all the ability in the world,” cornerback Vontae Davis said Wednesday of Gates. “He reminds me of myself. He’s just got to learn, become a professional. He’s got stuff you can’t teach – it’s a matter of getting polished. He’s raw.”

Gates caught two passes for 23 yards and scored a touchdown on Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons. He is definitely in line to contribute not only on special teams as a return man, but as a fourth string wide receiver. His current ADP is 270.74.

In Atlanta, big ticket first round receiver Julio Jones is living up to expectations thus far, but isn’t the most impressive rookie story. That title belongs to running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who, according to atlantafalcons.com, is set to become the change-of-pace back next to starter Michael Turner. This is in spite of Jason Snelling re-signing with the team.

“We envisioned Jacquizz as being a change of pace back when we drafted him,” head coach Mike Smith said. “At the time, we were not sure what our roster was going to look like, because of the uncertainty. Now that we have Jason back, we feel that Jacquizz is going to take that role that we drafted him for, and that was to be a change of pace back.”

Rodgers ran the ball five times for 16 yards against the Dolphins on Friday night. His current ADP is 185.27.

In Green Bay Packers camp, wide receiver Randall Cobb has been all the talk on the field as he continues to make impressive catches, but according to jsonline.com his greatest weapon that he has brought with him from Kentucky is that he’s a student of the game.

“I’m a film junkie,” Cobb said. “I like to know the system, everything. I’m trying to learn all the aspects of the offense. Not just the plays.”

Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett added, “He’s a smart player, an instinctive football player. He does an outstanding job in the classroom. He’s a guy that can jump in there and play multiple spots.”

Cobb looked sharp on Saturday night, catching three passes for 60 yards while being targeted a game-high six times. His current ADP is 195.35.

In New Orleans, running back Mark Ingram has been turning some heads, and according to The Times Picayune,  impressing his new teammates on the field.

“His vision is very advanced,” said linebacker Jonathan Casillas. “He’s not a rookie with his vision. Usually rookies just follow the fullback on that same track. He’s willing to make that risky cut to get to the backside.”

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma added, “He finishes his runs. He doesn’t let up. He’s like a machine.”

Ingram carried the ball six times for 23 yards, and scored from 14 yards out on Friday night against the San Francisco 49ers. His current ADP is 59.69 and rising.

In New England, running back Stevan Ridley took full advantage of the extended reps he received during the Patriots’ 47-12 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars by rushing for 64 yards and two touchdowns. But, according to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Ridley has been running well throughout the offseason.

“The one thing that we’ve seen from him throughout training camp is how hard he ran, really downhill, and I think he showed that tonight,” quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “Obviously, he’s a rookie and it was his first game, so he has things to work on, but I thought he came out and was aggressive, which is good.”

In addition to his rushing totals Ridley also caught seven passes for 47 yards and scored an additional touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Ryan Mallett. His current ADP is 255.96.

In Oakland, Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore continues to impress and solidify himself as a real contender to get significant looks as the season nears. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, coaches and players are raving about Moore, even comparing him to breakout player Jacoby Ford.

Denarius Moore is like another Jacoby,” quarterback Jason Campbell said, comparing him to last year’s breakout rookie receiver Jacoby Ford. “He’s like one of those guys that you pick up late in the draft, and you wonder, how did this guy fall? He’s so talented, he’s so athletic.

“When you see Jacoby, it’s kind of like you have to do a double-glimpse, make sure it’s him or 17. The guy’s playing hard. He runs hard in practice. He has that factor. Some things you just can’t coach, he has about him. He’s a guy that can add a lot to our offense this year.”

Moore was targeted six times and finished with three receptions for 37 yards on Thursday night against the Cardinals. His current ADP is 275.93.

And in Tampa Bay, it looks as though Mason Foster is the front runner in the sweepstakes to replace recently departed Barrett Ruud. In fact, according to tampabay.com, it’s clear that the Buccaneers want Foster to man the middle, as he’s been taking all the first team reps since Aug. 6.

“He’s doing well. It’s hard to say the job is his and you’ve got to go through the bullets,’’ coach Raheem Morris said of Foster. “You’ve got to go through the games, you’ve got to go out there and prove yourself. But you want to give him an opportunity to win it. He’s doing a nice job of picking everything up and competing. I talked about (Derrell) Smith a couple times and he’s doing a nice job as well and T-Mack is also out there competing. So we’ve got to let these guys go out and play and fix it in a game. But he is getting some reps with the first group. I believe this morning he might have taken all of them. It’s fun.’’

Foster started Friday night’s game against Kansas City. He recorded a tackle and recovered a Matt Cassel fumble during the Chiefs second possession. His current ADP is 239.70.

The Top 4 (re-draft formats)
Listed below are my top fours for each position.

Quarterback

1. Jake Locker, Tennessee: Locker has had really strong mechanics throughout camp, and has been making some great throws on the run. I suspect he will be a locked starter by Week 4.

2. Cam Newton, Carolina

3. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco

4. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

Running back

1. Mark Ingram, New Orleans: Even running in a pass-heavy offense, Ingram will get plenty of chances to razzle and dazzle, especially inside the red zone. He will quickly make Pierre Thomas become a fantasy afterthought.

2. Daniel Thomas, Miami

3. Ryan Williams, Arizona

4. Delone Carter, Indianapolis

Wide Receiver

1. A.J. Green, Cincinnati: I don’t know if Green has the brightest future of this receiver class, but he certainly has the best opportunity heading in to the 2011 season. For re-draft purposes he’s a solid No. 3 on any fantasy team.

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta

3. Greg Little, Cleveland

4. Vincent Brown, San Diego

Tight End

1. Lance Kendricks: He’s clearly developing in to Sam Bradford’s top target already, and he has the skill set and drive to become a premier tight end in the NFL right away. I don’t know about you, but I’m stashing him on my bench as a No. 2 with starter potential.

2. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

3. Robert Housler, Arizona

4. DJ Williams, Green Bay

Individual Defensive Player

1. Mason Foster, LB, Tampa Bay: Foster is slated to replace Barrett Ruud in the middle of the Buccaneers’ 4-3 defense. He has a knack for finding the ball carrier and making big plays.

2. Casey Matthews, LB, Philadelphia: It looks like Matthews will start at middle linebacker for the Eagles. He will record plenty of tackles manning the middle for a defense that relies on solid inside play against the run.

3. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston

4. Von Miller, LB, Denver

Did you know?

In the past three seasons there have been only two rookies (Chris Johnson in 2008 and LeGarrette Blount in 2010) who have rushed for 1,000 yards or more in their first season.

Stay updated with the Shark Tank for further updates surrounding your favorite rookies.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for F antasysharks.com. Email him your thoughts at e.huber12@yahoo.com