Week four has come and gone. Situations and usage are getting more clear for most of the 2018 rookie group, while some are still murky. Let’s check in on the snap counts and production picture from this past week in the 2018 Week 4 Rookie Review.
If there were any questions about who the early-down back is for the Patriots, Sony Michel answered that resoundingly. Michel toted the rock 25 times, while James White saw just 8 carries. With no Rex Burkhead or Jeremy Hill, you can start considering Michel in your lineups on a weekly basis.
A situation that isn’t as clear is the Denver backfield. Phillip Lindsay led the backs in touches and edged out Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman in snaps, getting on the field for 24 plays to 20 and 16 for Booker and Freeman, respectively. Lindsay is clearly the most explosive back, but Freeman looks pretty good as well. Lindsay is a weekly flex play, while Freeman will be touchdown dependent.
One annoying situation wasn’t enough, you say? Let’s go to Detroit. On the Lions’ opening drive, Kerryon Johnson saw three carries. Sweet, right? Not so fast my friend (shout-out Lee Corso). Following this, Johnson saw just six more carries, while Detroit never trailed by more than ten points. He’s clearly the best back in Motown, but apparently, the coaching staff is fine with his workload.
Nyheim Hines has separated himself these past two weeks. In week three, Hines saw only two more touches than fellow rookie Jordan Wilkins, but was on the field for 26 more snaps. This past week, Hines saw 30 more snaps, 5 more touches, and produced 57 more yards and two touchdowns to Wilkins zero. Now, the difference in week four could absolutely be game flow, but Hines has the upper hand in your fantasy leagues because of his pass catching ability. I’m starting Hines where I have him in week five.
Ronald Jones watch is over! He was finally active against the Bears and although he didn’t impress us in any shape or form, neither has Peyton Barber. With the Bucs on bye this week, maybe we see Jones as the unquestioned lead back in week six.
Speaking of increased opportunity – can we please get more Nick Chubb? Three snaps. Three carries. 105 yards. Two touchdowns. Do the right thing, Cleveland.
Wanna talk about introducing yourself to the NFL world? How about coming into week four after being inactive the first three weeks and commanding 15 targets? Keke Coutee did just that. It is noteworthy that even with 15 targets, Coutee only garnered 51 air yards, good for a 3.4 aDOT. If Will Fuller sits this weekend, it’ll be interesting to see if Coutee is targeted downfield a bit further. We could also see Vyncint Smith active again.
After seeing 19 targets the last two weeks, not being productive with said targets, and making mistakes on top of that, Hue Jackson is saying publicly that Antonio Callaway may be in for a reduction in playing time. Snag up Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins if you still can.
Through four weeks, Courtland Sutton has seen 72% of Denver’s offensive snaps. On top of that, he leads the Broncos in air yards and aDOT. I thought we’d see his coming-out party Monday night against the Chiefs but that didn’t materialize. I’d be trying to buy him before that breakout comes because it’s on the horizon.
A breakout that may not be coming, however, is that of Michael Gallup. Dallas currently ranks 28th in pass attempts and has run the fifth-fewest total offensive plays. One thing that bodes well for Gallup, however, is that he’s tied for the team lead in air yards (162 – yuck) with Cole Beasley on eight fewer targets.
Just when you think the rookie tight end group can’t get any grosser, week four happens. Mike Gesicki was chosen as the picture here because he played 84% of the offensive snaps and that’s the highest mark so far this season for rookies. The highest amount of air yards this past week? SEVENTEEN! Christopher Herndon holds that prestigious mark. Will Dissly tore his patellar tendon and has been placed on injured reserve. If there’s anything to come out of this, check your waivers to see if Nick Vannett is available. Hopefully, we have some better news and some actual production to breakdown in week five.
That’ll do it! Huge thanks to Pro Football Reference, Football Outsiders, and AirYards.com for their data. If you’re reading this, you know about TFA’s articles, so don’t forget about our podcasts! Redshirts Fantasy Football Podcast has you covered for redraft, DegeNationPod crushes the DFS game, and the Dynasty Life Podcast recently recorded their 100th episode, bringing you the dynasty analysis you crave along with an inside look at your favorite analysts. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter or drop a comment below. Good luck in week five!