Happy Holidays to all. Sorry for those of you who work in retail (like me). I feel your pain. Let’s get ready for the fantasy playoffs as we take a look at how the rookies are doing.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay – Despite a very rough beginning to his pro career, Winston has shown growth over the past month. Even though his fantasy points don’t show it, he is making progress each week. He is a victim of his surrounding cast. Tampa Bay has weak pass protection and Jameis has suffered many drops this season. On Sunday, Winston was 20 of 36 for 245 yards and a touchdown with five sacks and one interception, he also rushed three times for 27 yards. He is on track to be the top-rated rookie quarterback. With his schedule and growth, he may be worthy of a start when it matters most.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee – The Titans have a real issue running the ball this season, which really takes away from what Mariota does best, which is to ad lib on plays and use his legs. The issues with injuries to his wide receivers doesn’t help either. On Sunday, Marcus completed 17 throws on 37 attempts for 218 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions and two sacks. It would be wonderful if he actually had some decent receivers and running backs to help keep the defense honest. Part of the problem could honestly be that his receivers don’t run the correct routes. He has the talent to be a very good play-caller, he just needs help around him.
Garrett Grayson – New Orleans – Inactive
Sean Mannion – St Louis – Sean saw some action this week in a blowout loss. We will see if he gets more playing time in the future. Sean went six for seven for 31 yards in the blowout loss to Cincy on Sunday. Stay tuned, it doesn’t sound like the Rams are very thrilled with Nick Foles. Will he get more time going forward?
Bryce Petty – New York Jets – Inactive
Brett Hundley – Green Bay – Inactive
Trevor Siemian – Denver – Inactive
Todd Gurley – St Louis – It was tough going against the Bengals on Sunday and the Rams could do nothing on offense outside of Tavon Austin. Gurley only managed 19 yards on nine carries and had one catch for 11 yards on two attempts. The Rams need a better option at quarterback because of late, Gurley has not had his best days. St . Louis is home for three straight, but beware that they will be facing better than average defenses.
Melvin Gordon – San Diego – Once again, Gordon disappointed his owners without scoring, he has yet to score this year; a far cry from his senior year in Wisconsin. Melvin had 14 carries for 60 yards and added five catches for 20 yards. Part of it may be due to the injuries suffered by the Chargers offense, but I expected (and hoped) for a lot more.
T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville – In what appeared to be a DREAM matchup against the San Diego Chargers, let me say I am a tad disappointed with what Yeldon accomplished. San Diego has been terrible against running backs this year and I thought T.J. could have a monster day. Oops. Yeldon had nine carries for 36 yards and added four catches for 46 yards on five targets. With the Jags playing well of late and San Diego struggling, Yeldon should have had a coming out party of sorts. Well, that may happen, just not when I thought it would. The coaching staff did come out and say they need to get him more touches in the red zone, so there is some hope.
Ameer Abdullah – Detroit – In a blowout win against the Eagles on Thanksgiving, the Lions rushing attack looked really good, setting up the offense for success on 2nd and short situations. Abdullah had his best rushing day of the season with 16 carries for 63 yards while catching one pass for 12 yards and one drop. Detroit seems to be getting into gear on offense and Abdullah may offer more to his owners down the stretch.
Tevin Coleman – Atlanta
Tevin was given a chance to shine with Devonta Freeman out last week, but he was going up against a very solid Minnesota Vikings defense. Coleman ran very hard with 18 carries for 110 yards and a fumble. It does appear that Freeman should be back this week, but Tevin performed well in the interim.
Duke Johnson – Cleveland – The Browns backfield is a mess with each back taking away chances from the other. At least Duke can count on passes. Johnson ran seven times for 23 yards and added five catches for 23 yards out of six targets. To be honest, Duke is the only Browns running back to take a chance on, and that is only in a PPR format.
David Johnson – Arizona – David has already been named the starter for Week 13 with the injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. At first it may appear to be a tough matchup, but if you look closely, the Rams are struggling on offense of late. David is a BIG sleeper for this coming week. Johnson had eight carries for 21 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for eight yards on four targets. If you need a back this week, he should be your man to grab on the waiver wire.
Matt Jones – Washington – In what is a complete reversal, the Redskins decided to use Alfred Morris much more this week, leaving little work for Matt Jones. Jones only had eight carries for 19 yards and added one catch for 45 yards. With so little guaranteed in the Washington offense, it is best to not play any of them right now except Jordan Reed.
Jeremy Langford – Chicago – It sure looked like a split backfield against Green Bay this week with Matt Forte back. Maybe the weather had something to do with that, we will see. Langford actually had better numbers than Forte this week with 12 rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown while adding one catch for five yards on three targets. The weather was awful and also remember that Matt Forte was coming back from injury, so monitor the situation.
Jalston Fowler – Tennessee – One carry for one yard and one catch for one yard on one target. He is a fullback people, he won’t see much action.
Jarvorius “Buck” Allen – Baltimore – He hasn’t played much this season but man does he have a touchdown dance! “Buck” started for Forsett and will start for the rest of the year because of Justin’s injury. He performed well in an otherwise mild offense. Allen had 12 carries for 55 yards and added four carries for 29 yards and a touchdown on five targets. If he is still on your waiver wire, he is a MUST add. He could pay big dividends in your playoffs.
Mike Davis – San Francisco –No stat line/Did not play
David Cobb – Tennessee – The Titans have struggled all year running the ball. They need to acquire some high quality blockers via free agency and/or the draft next year. None of the backs this year have been given much of a chance. Cobb sat out the first 10 weeks on IR, so he is still learning, but he needs more help. David had three carries for eight yards. Please Tennessee, get some help on the line for your running backs (and the #2 overall pick this year Marcus Mariotta).
Jay Ajayi – Miami – Is there a change coming. Once again this week Lamar Miller struggled (he has done so a lot lately). Jay had six yards on three carries last week, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see his role increase with the a new head coach. What does he have to lose?
Karlos Williams – Buffalo – Two carries for five yards. Very strange.
Michael Burton – Detroit – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Cameron Artis-Payne – Carolina – Inactive
Josh Robinson – Indianapolis – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Aaron Ripkowski – Green Bay – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Marcus Murphy – New Orleans – Did Not Play/No Stat Line
Zach Zenner – Detroit – Sent to IR
Jarryd Hayne – San Francisco – Waived
Thomas Rawls – Seattle – Marshawn Lynch was inactive again this week, giving Rawls another start. Once again, he performed well with 21 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown. I know Seattle trusts Lynch from his past heroics, but maybe it’s time to give it to Rawls. I have always said that Lynch ran too much like Marion Barber, and when he hit the wall, he hit it hard.
Terron Ward – Atlanta – First of all, let me say that you won’t go far kicking a guy in the throat, but that is what Ward did last week against my beloved Vikings. Second of all, you are a backup AT BEST, prove yourself first. Terron had five carries for seven yards on Sunday and caught his only pass for eight yards. I don’t have time for players like him.