Ladies and gentlemen; we’re here! Week One of the NFL season has come and gone and a lot of (digital) ink has been spilled analyzing what just transpired. If you’re in a dynasty league, you should be wondering about your precious rookie picks from your rookie drafts. That’s what I’ll be doing for you every week. I’ll be breaking down snap counts, opportunity, and production for each skill position. I’ve put together a Google doc to make it easier to track, and I’ll analyze some of the more interesting points each week. Let’s get to the 2018 Week 1 Rookie Review!
I hate to be the “Bro if you take out play X, he wasn’t that good!” guy, but I’m going to do it here. If we remove Saquon Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown run, his stat line looks way less sexy: 17-38-0. Yuuuck. Truthfully, this is what we should have expected against the Jaguars stout defense. I’m not bailing or worried about GOATquon, and if he happens to hit a rough patch for a couple weeks, you better be trying to buy if at all possible.
The Broncos decided to take a page out of the 2017 Chicago Bears’ playbook and give us Phillip Lindsay out of nowhere, a la Tarik Cohen. The difference here will be that I don’t expect Lindsay to disappear for the rest of the season. This puts a damper on backfield-mate Royce Freeman, especially if he isn’t going to be used out of the backfield. Lindsay received more opportunity, 17 touches to Freeman’s 15, and this will be something to monitor going forward.
Another backfield with two rookies competing for touches is the Colts. Jordan Wilkins led the way in touches and snaps, with 17 and 46 respectively, to Nyheim Hines’ 14 and 37. Both produced, but Hines was on the receiving end of nine targets, and with the Colts’ suspect defense, he gets the edge for me.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS RONALD JONES??!! Oh, that’s right. He was a healthy scratch in favor of undrafted free agent Shaun Wilson. According to Trevor Sikkema on the Locked On NFL Draft podcast, this was due to Wilson being used on special teams, a place where RoJo struggled. Not great, Bob.
Just like we thought it would play out, Dante Pettis led the way in week one for rookie receivers. Overall, this group gave us some pretty uninspiring stat lines, so it might be a good idea to float out some trade offers to guys you like.
Michael Gallup, who a lot of analysts thought would be Dallas’ number one receiver, had just one target. He was also fourth in WR snaps and routes run, behind Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, and Deonte Thompson. Not a great start to the year for the former Colorado State Ram.
Christian Kirk played nearly 85% of the Cardinals’ snaps but only registered two targets. That was two less than fellow rookie Chase Edmonds. With another ugly week, a buying window may open from impatient owners.
Here’s a super-deep stash for those of you with a taxi squad or the bench space: Vyncint Smith. Straight outta Limestone College, Smith comes in at 6’3″, 195lbs and registered a 4.36 40-yard dash to go along with a 39.5 inch vertical at his pro day. With Will Fuller out due to a hamstring injury, Smith stepped in as the third receiver and was on the field for 50% of the Texans snaps. He was only targeted twice, but racked up 134 air yards! Fuller hasn’t had the cleanest bill of health thus far, and if Smith has a big splash play or two, you might be able to unload him for a late-round rookie pick.
Your waivers have processed by this point but if Ian Thomas is still available for some reason, snatch him up. Greg Olsen may be looking at a trip to the IR and Thomas flashed in the preseason. Even if Thomas only gets the tight end role to himself for half of the season, he’ll still be worth a stash on your roster with Olsen nearing the end of his career.
Will Dissly was widely viewed as a great blocking tight end, but not much of a receiver. That is until he went off for three catches for 105 yards and a tuddy against Denver. The presumed receiving tight end, Nick Vannett, played just two more snaps than Dissly and saw just two targets. With Baldwin missing several weeks, Dissly might be worth looking into in two tight end leagues, or for those that punt the position.
Mark Andrews was third amongst Baltimore tight ends in snaps with 22 (28%) but made the most of his opportunity, grabbing 3 of his 4 targets for 31 yards. He saw one more target than Maxx Williams, but both trailed Nick Boyle. Hayden Hurst is week-to-week with a foot injury, so Andrews will be worth keeping an eye on to see if he can climb up the depth chart while Hurst misses time.
That’ll do it for the 2018 Week 1 Rookie Review! I’d appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on the new format this year. Make sure you check out the Rookie Review Data sheet I’ve put together. I’m planning on updating that as the year goes on to allow us to find and track trends week-to-week. Huge thanks to Football Outsiders, Pro Football Reference, AirYards.com, and RotoGrinders for their data. Pair this rookie review together with our DFS and redraft content to dominate all year long!