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2017 Rookie Review

Another seventeen weeks down and another NFL regular season has passed us by.  The format for this week’s rookie review is going to take a season-long look from the top-45 producers.  Along the way, I’ll give some #analysis on what I’d be doing with these rookies going into next year.  Let’s get to the 2017 Rookie Review!

Kareem Hunt 2017 Rookie Review

Kareem Hunt – 64.9% snap share, 1782 yards on 325 touches (272 rush, 53 catches), 11 touchdowns

Rookie fever is a hell of a drug.  Buy if you can.

Alvin Kamara – 44.7%, 1554 yards on 201 touches (120 rush, 81 catches), 14 TD

I’d sell if you’re getting a premium price because I’m not sure if Kamara can maintain this efficiency.  Don’t get me wrong, however.  I’m more than fine holding onto this year’s most explosive rookie.

Leonard Fournette – 49.8%, 1342 yards on 304 touches (268 rush, 36 catches), 10 TD

I’ve seen some talk lately that Fournette should be a sell target because his body can’t hold up with his violent running style.  I can’t argue with that point, but if I’m a legit contender with a two-year window, I’m not selling for just rookie picks.  LF missed three games and had just four fewer rushes than Hunt.  His volume is unmatched.

Christian McCaffrey – 70.2%, 1086 yards on 197 touches (117 rush, 80 catches), 7 TD

To nobody’s surprise, nearly 60% of CMC’s production came via the passing game.  It’ll be interesting to see how/if his role grows next year, but I’m buying if I can.

JuJu Smith-Schuster – 63.8%, 917 yards on 58 catches (79 targets), 8 TD

As a certified Yinzer, I didn’t see this coming.  Also, as much as it hurts, I’d probably be looking to sell the charismatic rookie.  This has 100% to do with Big Ben’s playing career nearing an end.  Oh and that Antonio Brown guy being there, too.

Joe Mixon – 39.8%, 913 yards on 208 touches (178 rush, 30 catches), 4 TD

The most disappointing thing for Mixon is that Marvin Lewis is going to be his coach for two more years.  If Marv was out, I’d be going all-in on Joe.  I’ll still be buying, but limiting my exposure.

Cooper Kupp – 71.2%, 869 yards on 62 catches (94 targets), 5 TD

This offense is young and legit.  Buy.

Jamaal Williams – 42.3%, 818 yards on 178 touches (153 rush, 25 catches), 6 TD

This might be the most surprising name on this list, coming in at number eight.  If you can buy both of the Green Bay rookies on the cheap, I might do that, but admittedly I don’t have much confidence in this situation.

Samaje Perine – 35.4%, 785 yards on 197 touches (175 rush, 22 catches), 2 TD

I’m selling Perine for basically whatever I can get.  I wasn’t a fan coming in and Washington has a huge question mark at quarterback.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if they used somewhat-high capital to add to their backfield.

Keelan Cole – 66.6%, 748 yards on 42 catches (83 targets), 3 TD

With the Jags facing several contract decisions at receiver, I’d be looking to buy the UDFA if the price was right.  I wouldn’t spend more than a late second, however.

Evan Engram – 77.7%, 736 yards on 65 touches (64 catches/115 targets, 1 rush), 6 TD

With uncertainty at quarterback and the return of OBJ, Engram is a sell for me.  I believe the Giants will also address their RB situation, so I don’t see how Engram can maintain his opportunities in 2018.

Tarik Cohen – 36.8%, 728 yards on 140 touches (87 rush, 53 catches), 4 TD

The Human Joystick is a buy with one caveat; wait to see what the coaching staff looks like.  If an innovative, offensive mind ends up in Chicago, I’d be poking around to see how the Cohen owner values him.

Wayne Gallman – 30%, 669 yards on 145 touches (111 rush, 34 catches), 1 TD

Gallman is a sell/hold.  I can’t imagine too many people are going to be knocking at your door for his services, so you might as well hold to see what the Giants do this offseason.

Matt Breida – 28.2%, 645 yards on 126 touches (105 rush, 21 catches), 3 TD

If I owned Breida, I’d be hoping Carlos Hyde leaves, and then sell Breida for whatever I could get.  If Hyde stays, sell him to that owner.

Marlon Mack – 30.1%, 583 yards on 114 touches (93 rush, 21 catches), 4 TD

With reports that the Colts will possibly use a high draft pick on an RB, Mack is nothing more than a change-of-pace back (maybe) going forward.  The fact that Mack never got a shot to be their lead-back at any point of the season is head scratching.

Austin Ekeler – 18.5%, 539 yards on 74 touches (47 rush, 27 catches), 5 TD

Sell to the Gordon owner.

Chris Godwin – 41%, 525 yards on 34 catches (55 targets), 1 TD

Godwin was going to be one of my biggest buys this offseason until I’ve seen everyone on Twitter say the same thing.  If you can grab him before his price jumps, do it.

JuJu Smith-Schuster 2017 Rookie Review

George Kittle – 53.7%, 515 yards on 43 catches (63 targets), 2 TD

Maybe I’m drinking the Jimmy G Kool-Aid, but Kittle will be my most targeted tight end this offseason.  He can be had for cheap and has big-time upside.

Elijah McGuire – 25.7%, 492 yards on 105 touches (88 rush, 17 catches), 2 TD

Sell or drop.

Kenny Golladay – 45.7%, 486 yards on 29 touches (28 catches on 48 targets, 1 rush), 3 TD

When healthy, Golladay was clearly the number three receiver in Detroit, but I’m not sure how much value that has.  Per, the Lions could save $7 million by cutting Tate, but I don’t foresee that happening.  If you can get Kenny G on the cheap, just realize you’ll have to sit on him for another year.

Aaron Jones – 22.5%, 470 yards on 90 touches (81 rush, 9 catches), 4 TD

I truthfully have no idea what to expect from the GB backfield in 2018.  Does Ty Montgomery takeover again?  Do the two rookies split?  Do they add via draft or free agency?

Corey Clement – 22.6%, 444 yards on 84 touches (70 rush, 10 catches), 6 TD

Clement had some nice flashes this year and could provide some value even as a part-time player.  I’d send out some lowball offers, or wait and see if he’s dropped after rookie drafts.

Dalvin Cook – 15.1%, 444 yards on 85 touches (74 rush, 11 catches), 2 TD

If there’s any chance of grabbing Cook, I’m doing that.  His injury history is definitely worrisome at this point, but I think most dynasty players need to look at their leagues in a two or three-year window, not ten.

O.J. Howard – 55.6%, 432 yards on 26 catches (39 targets), 6 TD

Howard is an intriguing option, but I’m not sure what his target ceiling looks like in a Dirk Koetter-led team.  I’d wait until mid-2018 and hope his price is lower than it is today.

Trent Taylor – 44.6%, 430 yards on 43 catches (60 targets), 2 TD

While I think there’s going to be changes to the outside receivers in San Fran, Taylor seems to be safe.  He’s another player I’d be sending out lowball offers for in deep leagues.

D’Onta Foreman – 13.3%, 410 yards on 84 touches (78 rush, 6 catches), 2 TD

Foreman’s year ended in week eleven as he tore his achilles, and I’m staying away because of that.

David Njoku – 46.9%, 387 yards on 33 touches (32 catches on 60 targets, 1 rush), 4 TD

If Kittle is my number one rookie tight end target, Njoku is second.  I might regret it after buying in the Browns hype this year, but Njoku’s profile is too crazy to stay away from.

Corey Davis – 50.4%, 375 yards on 34 catches (65 targets), 0 TD

Davis will be my top rookie target this offseason.  His incoming hype mixed with the disappointing season is a perfect storm.  Wait for the rookie fever to hit and offer an early first, or package a mid-late first to check the owner’s temperature.

Dede Westbrook – 34.1%, 339 yards on 27 catches (51 targets), 1 TD

Considering Westbrook only played in seven games with Blake Bortles as his QB, his production is pretty encouraging.  Dede falls into the same box as Keelan Cole, where I’d be offering later-round picks with the hope that he sees number one/number two receiver targets next year.

Zay Jones – 75.2%, 316 yards on 27 catches (74 targets), 2 TD

The Bills are another team I have no idea what to expect from in 2018, except it runs across the entire offense.  Tyrod is probably out at QB, Shady is another year older, and Zay might be the only returning receiver.  I’d float out a late-round rookie pick if you’re a believer.

Taywan Taylor – 24%, 274 yards on 24 touches (16 catches on 28 targets, 8 rushes), 1 TD

I’m a believer in Taylor’s playmaking ability and he may be available on waivers.  Even if you have to pay for him, it won’t be an expensive trade.

Chris Carson – 14.2%, 267 yards on 57 touches (49 rush, 8 catches), 1 TD

With no expectations and only playing four games in 2017, Carson was far and away the Seahawks best running back.  Unfortunately for those that held him this long, word out of Seattle is RB will be a top priority.  Hold/sell.

Kendrick Bourne – 25.7%, 257 yards on 16 catches (34 targets), 0 TD

I liked what I saw from Bourne in his limited exposure, but I’m not sure there’s much playing time awaiting him in 2018.  Garcon will be back and there’s no way they don’t add more pieces around Garoppolo.  Hold/sell.

Gerald Everett – 28.8%, 257 yards on 17 touches (16 catches on 32 targets, 1 rush), 2 TD

This seems like a “too-many-mouths-to-feed” situation.  Maybe Everett can continue to grow as a player and force his way to more opportunity, but I still don’t see a high ceiling for him in this offense.  Hold/sell.

Mack Hollins – 25.4%, 226 yards on 16 catches (22 targets), 1 TD

If you’ve read my weekly rookie review for any length of time, you know Hollins is one of my favorite rookie stashes.  Check your waiver wire to see if he’s available, and if he’s not, I bet he can be had for a late third or fourth round rookie pick.

Ricky Seals-Jones, 11.7%, 201 yards on 12 catches (28 targets), 3 TD

The rookie sensation burst onto the scene in weeks ten and eleven, then faded away the rest of the season.  He’s worth holding onto, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dropped by your opponents.

Tion Green – 8.5%, 179 yards on 44 touches (42 rush, 2 catches), 2 TD

There’s no way the Lions don’t address their RB situation, right?  Tion showed well in his limited chances, but he’s not above replacement.

Curtis Samuel – 20.9%, 179 yards on 19 touches (15 catches on 26 targets, 4 rush), 0 TD

Samuel’s season-ending injury coincidentally happened at the same time he was having his best game.  The Panthers were clearly making a concerted effort to get him involved and was apparently one of the main reasons why they were fine trading away Kelvin Benjamin.  See if you can buy at a discount.

Jonnu Smith – 54.3%, 157 yards on 18 catches (30 targets), 2 TD

Jonnu is another favorite stash of mine.  Once Delanie Walker has moved on, I believe Jonnu slides into his role without skipping a beat.  Hold/buy.

James Conner – 6.1%, 144 yards on 32 rushes, 0 TD

Even if Le’Veon Bell isn’t back in Pittsburgh, I don’t see Conner having more than a committee role.  Sell.

Adam Shaheen – 24.1%, 127 yards on 12 catches (14 targets), 3 TD

The Chipotle-eating rookie out of Ashland should have a larger role next year.  Buy/hold.

ArDarius Stewart – 22.2%, 109 yards on 13 touches (6 catches on 13 targets, 7 rush), 0 TD

This wide receiver had more rush attempts than catches.  You may move on.

Josh Reynolds – 26.9%, 104 yards on 11 catches (24 targets), 1 TD

Depending on what happens with Sammy Watkins, Reynolds could be looking at an increased role in 2018.  He’s worth throwing out some lowball offers on.

Travis Rudolph – 23.3%, 101 yards on 8 catches (21 targets), 0 TD

With a healthy receiver group, Rudolph doesn’t have an offensive role.  I’d take whatever I could get if I had him.

Mike Williams – 22%, 95 yards on 11 catches (23 targets), 0 TD

I was lower on the Clemson rookie coming into the season, but I didn’t think it would turn out this bad.  Yes, he missed valuable time because of injury, but I’m still not buying him.  The good news for believers is that there’s definitely a buying opportunity here.

The “Forgotten Few”

There are a few names that I’d like to float out as potential buys that you can look into:

Carlos Henderson/Jake Butt – I believe the Broncos add a proven QB via free agency or spend high draft capital on one.

John Ross – Who drafts a player in the top-10 and sits them nearly all year?  Marvin Lewis and the Bungals.  I would try getting Ross as part of a bigger deal, but his situation is a major concern.

Chad Williams – The Cardinals offense is going to look completely different next year, and Williams could benefit from that.  He might be free off of your waivers.


That’s going to wrap it up for the 2017 Rookie Review!  Thanks to everyone that read this piece throughout the year and interacted with me.  Drop a comment below and let me know who you’re looking to buy and/or sell going into the offseason.

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