Three weeks into the 2018 season and we have some rookies already established while others are vying for playing time. The Rookie Review Datasheet is here to help paint the bigger picture and I’ll be breaking down some of the more interesting points. Let’s get into the 2018 Week 3 Rookie Review!
Week three gave us two running backs from the same game that may have just moved atop their respective depth charts. Kerryon Johnson clearly looked like the best back in Detroit, while Sony Michel dominated carries for New England. Johnson had the same amount of carries as LeGarrette Blount but out-rushed him by 53 yards. While Michel’s yardage wasn’t nearly as impressive, he did receive 10 more carries than the next closest Patriot.
I’ll be looking forward to week four to see how Vance Joseph handles Phillip Lindsay’s ejection for throwing punches against the Ravens. Lindsay has been getting all the attention (rightfully so), but Royce Freeman has been solid if nothing else. If you’re reading this and have an in with the Broncos; tell Bill Musgrave to use Freeman in less obvious run personnel and situations. Get him involved in the passing game. We’ll all be thankful for it. As of week two, Freeman saw 56.5% of his rushes against 8+ defenders in the box. Compare to that to Phillip Lindsay, whose rate is just 24.1% (per Brandon Gdula/Next Gen Stats). I’m still a believer in Freeman and you should be able to get him at a discount.
Nyheim Hines is another name to keep a close eye on in week four. Hines saw 43 snaps to Jordan Wilkins 17. This could easily be a Patriots-esque, game-specific running back usage situation, however, so don’t overreact on either player.
Ronald Jones update: still being scratched. Yeeeesh.
I’d be burying the lead if I didn’t start off with Calvin “I Scored as Many TDs in One Game as Julio Had Last Year” Ridley. He legally changed his middle name to that, in case you were wondering. Ridley had that ridiculous game and still saw 17 fewer snaps than Mo Sanu, although I’m expecting that gap to close in week four.
Antonio Callaway was on the receiving end of 50% of the Browns’ air yards while seeing 90% of the snaps. If you’ve been living under a rock, Baker Mayfield has been named the starter in Cleveland, and it’s all systems go for the rookie duo. Bonus advice: With Jarvis Landry and Callaway getting all of the hype, Rashard Higgins is a cheap, sneaky buy.
We were lied to by another NFL head coach. This time, it was Riverboat Ron Rivera. D.J. Moore was supposed to be more involved this week but that never came to fruition. Sure, he saw more snaps but received just two targets for the second week in a row. Moore also had the second fewest air yards amongst the rookies in week three, totaling just 17.
James Washington was used differently than in week two, using him across the middle of the field rather than streaking down the sideline. This didn’t fare well for anyone that started him but is a good sign that they’re using him in different areas of the field.
Dante Pettis. Michael Gallup. Where art thou? Pettis had to deal with a healthy Marquise Goodwin and immediately took a backseat, tying for third in snaps with Trent Tayor. Add to that no Jimmy G and his value is tanking. Gallup has problems of his own and was fourth in snaps amongst Dallas’ receivers. Neither situations are worth buying into at this point.
Dally Dally! No? Alright. Dallas Goedert saw a huge increase in snaps which led to his production in week three. In the first two weeks, Goedert saw 17 snaps both weeks and that jumped to 55 against the Colts. We saw this happen last year with Trey Burton, so Goedert won’t be reliable unless Zach Ertz is on the bench.
Ian Thomas was a favorite waiver add of mine once Greg Olsen went down but Olsen’s production hasn’t been passed onto Thomas just yet. Thomas is dominating tight end snaps and routes run for the Panthers, so be patient.
The tight end position, in general, is pretty lackluster, and the rookie crop is even worse. If you’re in need of tight end help I’d look to the veterans, or just cross your fingers and hope that Noah Fant falls into your lap next year.
That’ll do it for the 2018 Week 3 Rookie Review. We’re starting to get more data points for these rookies so make sure you’re keeping up with the Rookie Review Datasheet. Thanks as always to Pro Football Reference and Football Outsiders for their stats/databases. The TFA team has been cranking out quality content daily, so be sure to check back regularly!