Welcome everyone to the Week 9 installment to the 2008 Rookie Report. Each week during the regular season, the report will cover trends, news items and analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2008 Rookie Class to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.
As we approach the midpoint of the 2008 season, the rookie report over the course of the next two weeks will present the All-Rookie team for offense this week and defensive players in Week 10. So sit back and let’s begin …
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Through the Falcons’ first seven games, Ryan has led the birds to a 4-3 record and looks to be a stud in the not-to-distant future. Ryan has totaled over 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns with a completion percentage of 57% with only five interceptions. As a rookie, Ryan has shown command of the offense and poise in the pocket, which is a rarity for quarterbacks in their first few starts in the league. As the game slows down for Ryan with more playing time, his performances should continue to improve and he looks to be someone to own on your fantasy teams for the future.
RB Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
After the departure of Cedric Benson this offseason, the Bears officially turned over the keys to the starting running back job to Forte in the first half of 2008. Through the first seven games, Forte has total 515 rushing yards; 29 catches for 223 receiving yards and six touchdowns. This production has led Forte to be one of the Top 10 running backs in most fantasy leagues to-date in 2008. With the upcoming cold Chicago weather and the Bears’ run-oriented offensive attack, Forte has a good chance to finish in the Top 10 at the running back position in his rookie year and be a dynasty force for the future.
RB Chris Johnson,
Through the first seven games of the season, Johnson has been the most impressive offensive rookie of 2008. He has split time with LenDale White in the Titans backfield; however, he quickly took over the starter’s job due to his explosiveness, speed, shifty style and power. Through the first seven games, Johnson is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has totaled 626 rushing yards; 18 catches for 92 yards and four touchdowns. In the preseason, I described him as a poor man’s Reggie Bush, but through the first half of 2008, Johnson has a chance to be a better player than Bush in his career.
Flex RB Steve Slaton,
Slaton’s impressive play after Ahman Green went down with injuries early in the year earned him the starting job for the Texans. After Green returned from injury, Slaton has split series with Green; however, Slaton continues to put up solid numbers despite the time share. Through the first seven games of the year, Slaton totaled 476 rushing yards; 22 receptions for 125 yards and six touchdowns. With the injury history of Green, it is likely Slaton at some point this year will take over sole possession of the backfield.
WR Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos
Brandon Marshall’s Week 1 suspension left the door open for Royal to establish himself as the starter on the other side of Marshall. Royal’s quick, shifty style has translated into some success in the first six games of the season. Royal has totaled 392 receiving yards on 39 receptions and two touchdowns. Royal will continue to be a weapon for Broncos for the remainder of the year and the future as he has already developed a good rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler early in his career.
WR DeSean Jackson,
WR Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams
After being limited through the first five weeks of the season, Avery has found a rhythm in the past three weeks totaling 14 catches for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Avery’s breakaway speed has allowed him to get separation from opposing corners particularly in the deep passing game. With Avery finally 100% recovered from his early season ailments, he looks poised to have a huge second half of the season.
TE John Carlson,
With the injuries to the entire Seahawks receiving core, Carlson has been a pleasant surprise as a consistent target in their offensive scheme. Through the first seven games, Carlson totaled 214 receiving yards on 20 receptions and two touchdowns. It is likely that fellow rookie tight end Dustin Keller will surpass Carlson in terms of fantasy production in the long-term; however, through the first half of the 2008 season Carlson has earned a spot in the starting rookie lineup.
Well that wraps up this week’s edition of the Rookie Report. If you have any comments on this week’s article, please see the Article Discussions forum in the Shark Tank.