This happens every year but it’s nonetheless depressing each time – we’re at the halfway point of the fantasy season. Most of the 2018 rookies are settling into their roles by now, though we’ll have some new names and surprising production pop up over the rest of the year. All of that information will, as always, be tracked in the Rookie Review Datasheet here. Let’s dig into the past week and see how this year’s rookie class fared in the 2018 Week 8 Rookie Review.
With fellow rookie Royce Freeman inactive due to an ankle injury, Phillip Lindsay dominated touches for Denver. Lindsay tallied 21 touches to Devonta Booker’s 13, though Booker was productive with his workload. It’s clear that the Broncos are satisfied with utilizing all of their backs, leaving Lindsay as the only consistent play week to week.
It’s going to be interesting to see how/if the running back usage changes in Cleveland with the coaching staff shake-ups. Nick Chubb saw 18 carries for the second week in a row, and former RB coach Freddie Kitchens has been promoted to the OC position. If Chubb loses playing time to Duke Johnson, he’ll become a touchdown-dependent flex option, rather than a volume-driven RB1/2 play.
Could we be seeing a shift in the Philadelphia backfield? Undrafted rookie Josh Adams played behind Wendell Smallwood but doubled Corey Clement’s touches while playing five more snaps. The Eagles get their bye this week so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
Six different Seattle players recorded a rush attempt this past Sunday. Rashaad Penny was not one of them. In fact, Penny didn’t even see the field for an offensive snap. The further we get from the 2018 draft, the worse this picks continues to look.
With Torrey Smith inactive, D.J. Moore saw an increase in playing time and took advantage of it. Prior to Week 8, where Moore saw 71% of the offensive snaps, his high was 49% in Week 3. Moore tied Christian McCaffrey for the team lead in targets with six, and led the Panthers in both catches (5) and yards (90). The rookie out of Maryland also chipped in 39 rushing yards on two attempts. Moore needs to see the field more often, and this performance should be the catalyst for that.
Another rookie receiver that’s taking advantage of the injuries around him is Deontay Burnett. The USC product was signed to the Jets’ practice squad at the beginning of the year and made his NFL debut in Week 7. Looking at the Rookie Review Datasheet, Burnett played just 21% of the snaps that week. Jump ahead to Week 8, and Burnett was on the field 71% of the time, turning that into a team-high 61 yards on 4 targets. Burnett is an intriguing waiver add, especially considering his connection with fellow Trojan Sam Darnold.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the clear leader amongst the three rookies Green Bay drafted in 2018. MVS was second in snaps behind Davante Adams, while Equanimeous St. Brown saw just six snaps, and J’Mon Moore was a healthy scratch. Trade for MVS on the cheap before Randall Cobb is on a different team next year.
Also, your buy-low window on Tre’Quan Smith is still open. Hurry up and trade for him before that slams shut.
In this week’s edition of Rookie Tight Ends are Really Gross, Jordan Thomas delivered a top-3 TE week on just 29 yards. Yes, he had two touchdowns to go with his four catches, but come on.
Mike Gesicki led the rookies with 42 air yards, which he turned into a robust 14 yards on the week. No, that’s not a typo.
Christopher Herndon only had one catch on two targets, but he turned that lone grab into a tuddy. That extends his touchdown streak to three straight games.
That’ll wrap it up for the 2018 Week 8 Rookie Review! Whether you’re contending or looking ahead to next season, use the Rookie Review Datasheet to your advantage. Look for trends to snag rookies before they blow up, or trade them away if you believe their production is unsustainable. Thanks as always to Football Outsiders, AirYards.com, and Pro Football Reference. Good luck in Week 9!