In week five, rookies were spared from major injury while veterans were not. We also had some surprise performances and first-timers in the week five rookie review. In addition to the breakdown, I’m also going to give my current top 30 rookies. With that out of the way, let’s get into the Week 5 Rookie Review!
Kareem Hunt – 71% snap share (up from 66%), 116 yards on 32 touches
Hunt is now up to 113 touches on the season, second amongst rookies. After scoring 5 touchdowns in his first two games, he only has one in the last three. I’m still buying if you can get a discount because of that.
Leonard Fournette – 72% (up from 50%), 184 yards, two touchdowns on 29 touches
Some of you know I’m a Steeler fan. When LF waved Mike Mitchell to bring the lumber, Fournette instantly became my favorite player. The rookie from LSU continues his backfield dominance, playing 39 snaps to Ivory and Grant’s 16. Owners who took him in the top-2 rookie picks are loving what they’re seeing.
Aaron Jones – 88% (up from 55%), 134 yards, touchdown on 20 touches
Talk about making the most of your opportunities. Jones completely took over the backfield, seeing 53 snaps to Jamaal Williams’ 2. Jamaal was coming off a knee injury, but I don’t think that matters going forward. Even when TyMo comes back, I’m fully expecting to Jones to continue seeing touches. How the Packers will split that remains to be seen, but he’s made his case for playing time in just seven quarters.
Wayne Gallman – 39% (remained the same), 82 yards on 16 touches
What a mess. Orleans Darkwa was looking really solid before going down to injury, and Gallman looked respectable. My prediction with OBJ done for the year is that we see more of Shane Vereen than we want to. If you have Gallman I’m holding, but until we get some clarity I wouldn’t be starting him.
Joe Mixon – 55% (up from 48%), 51 yards, touchdown on 15 touches
After having a down week, I was curious how the Cincinnati backfield would look. Lazor is still sticking with the rookie in terms of snaps and touches. Since Lazor has taken over as OC, the RB snaps breakdown as follows: Mixon – 101, Gio – 56, Hill – 37. If the Bengals can improve the offensive line, Mixon could be scary good. I’d be trying to buy Mixon before he sees 60-65% or more of the snaps and truly breaks out.
Matt Breida – 49% (up from 31%), 71 yards on 13 touches
Breida saw 2 more carries and 4 more targets than Carlos Hyde. After the game, Coach Shanahan said the team will use the hot-hand approach. This will likely be nothing more than a headache, but one we have to monitor.
Elijah McGuire – 68% (up from 27%), 30 yards on 13 touches
McGuire couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. Powell goes down and they’re facing the Browns. Even with the stars aligning, McGuire only mustered 30 total yards. Per Rotoworld, Powell is questionable to play Sunday, while Forte may be able to play. This is another messy backfield and I’d be looking to deal McGuire if possible.
Marlon Mack – 22% (hasn’t played since week 2), 93 yards, touchdown on 10 touches
This was almost a two-touchdown game for Mack, but he was ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line. In his first action since week two, Mack certainly looked explosive. Coach Pagano said the Colts would be wise to get Marlon more involved. I’m fully expecting his snaps to climb toward 30% or more next week.
Christian McCaffrey – 56% (down from 76%), 38 yards, touchdown on 9 touches
The snap share looks worse than it is, as CMC saw just 3 fewer snaps than Jonathan Stewart. McCaffrey is struggling running between the tackles, but he’s tied with Funchess for most targets on the team (36).
Corey Clement – 34% (up from 29%), 39 yards on 8 touches
Even with Smallwood missing the game, Clement was part of a three-headed monster. Blount saw the most work, with Kenjon Barner getting 5 carries to Clement’s 7. Unless Blount and Smallwood go down, Clement holds little value.
Austin Ekeler – 17% (up from 5%), 28 yards on 7 touches
Similar to Clement, Ekeler didn’t do much with his increased opportunity. Ekeler rushed four times for zero yards but chipped in 28 yards on three catches. If you have to click “submit lineup” with Ekeler in there, may God have mercy on your soul.
Tarik Cohen – 28% (up from 26%), 12 yards on 7 touches
After getting off to a promising start, the Bears have really Bear’d this one. Cohen is clearly their most explosive playmaker, and they’re failing to use him in any sort of productive manner. I hope you didn’t pay too much for the Human Joystick.
D’Onta Foreman – 14% (down from 29%), 37 yards on 5 touches
Foreman’s nine snaps represented his lowest since week one. He made the most of his limited touches, gaining 34 yards on just four carries. With Lamar Miller showing signs of life, Foreman may see reduced workloads going forward.
James Conner – 8% (remained the same), 9 yards on 3 touches
I could probably just copy and paste my analysis from the week 4 rookie review. Conner only has value if you’re a Bell owner.
Jamaal Williams – 3% (down from 22%), 1 yard on 1 touch
Boooof. I was on #TeamJamaal after the draft, and it looks like I can already take the “L” on that one.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 82% (up from 80%), 58 yards on 5 catches
With just 58 yards, JuJu was actually second for the Steelers. With how awful the offense looked, it is almost impressive he was able to come away with what he did. With whispers of Ben possibly being washed, it might decrease JuJu’s luster for this year. If that’s how the owner in your league feels, I’d be inquiring.
Cooper Kupp – 85% (up from 71%), 44 yards on 3 catches
Kupp was tied with Tyler Higbee and Robert Woods for most targets (8) in their week 5 loss to Seattle. He nearly had his third touchdown of the year but was unable to hold onto a diving grab. According to Josh Hermsmeyer’s air yards data, Kupp is second on the team in total air yards, good for 20%. This bodes well for Kupp going forward, and I’d be acquiring him without overpaying.
ArDarius Stewart – 21% (up from 9%), 12 yards on 2 rushes
Going into the year I was expecting more from Stewart, especially given his opportunity. His 12 yards in week 5 came on two rush attempts. No targets. Not good for someone employed as a wide receiver in the NFL.
Chris Thompson – 5% (down from 21%), 19 yards on 1 catch
I won’t lie to you. I hadn’t heard of this Chris Thompson until putting together this rookie review. He was promoted from Houston’s practice squad 2 weeks ago. He only played three offensive snaps Sunday and caught his lone target. With Will Fuller V back and producing, Thompson is safe to be left on waivers.
Zay Jones – 94% (up from 73%), 9 yards on 1 catch
Ugh. I want Zay to be a thing, but it just isn’t happening for him. He saw 3 red zone targets in week 5, dropping one, catching one out of bounds, and the other falling incomplete. His price is dropping by the day.
Chris Godwin – 22% (up from 14%), 8 yards on 1 catch
Week 5 represented another non-descript week from the Penn Stater. For the year, Godwin has seen just 7 targets which he’s turned into 4 catches for 52 yards.
Trent Taylor – 49% (down from 56%), 6 yards on 1 catch
Taywan Taylor – 54% (down from 59%), 5 yards on 1 rush
Taylor only saw one “target” from Matt Cassel, but it was uncatchable. I’m still excited for Taywan’s future in this offense, but he hasn’t done much operating as the #3 with Davis still out.
Keelan Cole – 50% (down from 59%), 4 yards on 1 catch
You can continue to the tight ends.
George Kittle – 56% (down from 89%), 83 yards, touchdown on 7 catches
This is again a spot where the snap share can be deceiving, as Kittle still lead all tight ends in snaps. The rookie from Iowa also posted his best game to date, seeing highs in targets, catches, and yards. I think Kittle can be a big part of the offense going forward, but for this year he won’t be a weekly fantasy start.
Jonnu Smith – 61% (up from 54%), 21 yards on 5 catches
Basically, all of the Titans are going to have ugly stat lines in the absence of Mariota. Keep this SPARQ monster stashed.
David Njoku – 46% (down from 51%), 49 yards, touchdown, on 4 touches
Njoku made a ridiculous diving, one-handed catch for his third TD of the season. We’ll have to see what happens with the QB situation in Cleveland, with Kevin Hogan possibly being better for Njoku’s production.
Darrell Daniels – 64% (up from 37%), 13 yards on 1 catch
Another Rookie Review virgin! Daniels saw increased snaps with Jack Doyle missing the game. Even if you’re in desperate need of TE help, there have to be better options than Daniels.
Gerald Everett – 35% (up from 30%), 8 yards on 1 catch
The Rams’ version of “Jordan Reed” was out-snapped and out-produced by second-year TE Tyler Higbee. Although the coaching staff is high on Everett, he’s safe on your waiver wire for the time being.
O.J. Howard – 57% (down from 66%) and Evan Engram – 81% (down from 84%)
If you were thinking “Oh look, Cody forgot to put their stat-lines in the heading.”, you’re wrong. Howard had one target which came with 3 seconds left in the game. Engram saw just four targets even though there weren’t any receivers left on the Giants. Howard isn’t cracking any fantasy lineups, and I have no idea what to expect from Engram moving forward.
The rankings below reflect the order I’d select rookies if I were in a draft today.
- Leonard Fournette – The OL is performing better than we thought, and you have to love his volume.
- Kareem Hunt – He’s doing it all with a head coach who is known for his RB production.
- Corey Davis – The start to his career is a bit of a letdown, but I’m still a huge believer.
- Dalvin Cook – I know he won’t be on the field for the rest of the year, but I saw everything I needed to see.
- Joe Mixon – His volume is what’s keeping him above CMC for me.
- Christian McCaffrey – He’s struggling with his rush attempts, but he’s getting his value in the passing game.
- Alvin Kamara – The receiving back on a Drew Brees offense. Say no more.
- Evan Engram – There will be questions about him going forward, but so far he’s provided a decent floor in PPR leagues.
- David Njoku – He’ll be a centerpiece of their passing game.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – As a Yinzer, he’s been an awesome surprise. JuJu is only 20. Big time upside.
- O.J. Howard – Brate sticking around is bothersome, but I can see more two tight end sets for the offense, getting O.J. more opportunity.
- Mike Williams – I was lower on MW than most, and not seeing him on the field makes it easier to drop him down.
- Cooper Kupp – There’s an easy-to-see scenario where Kupp is the number one target for Goff moving forward.
- Aaron Jones – Admittedly, this feels a little high on his small sample. His situation doesn’t get much better, however.
- Tarik Cohen – I want to have him a few spots higher, but the Bears have been completely misusing him.
- Kenny Golladay – If he could see WR2-level targets, I think Kenny could be a weekly starter.
- John Ross – His injuries are a huge concern.
- Marlon Mack – I doubt his ability to be a three-down workhorse, but he’s an explosive playmaker.
- Zay Jones – This one hurts me the most. I still believe he can turn it around, but I need to see it first.
- George Kittle – I think he’s on his way to being a PPR floor option.
- Taywan Taylor – Once the young guns take over in this offense, I think this ranking will be too low.
- Trent Taylor – I can see his production being between 2016 Jamison Crowder and Jarvis Landry if he continues to progress.
- Jonnu Smith – The same feelings for Taywan apply here as well.
- D’Onta Foreman – Lamar Miller has a history of being dinged up, and Foreman would become an instant RB2.
- Chris Godwin – I’m in it for the long haul.
- Curtis Samuel – He has potential in this offense if he can improve his route running and other nuances.
- Carlos Henderson – Tough break for him, but I see him as their starting slot receiver next year.
- Wayne Gallman – I mean, comparatively speaking, he’s looked good. Without OBJ and Marshall, they’re going to have to do something different.
- Matt Breida – He’s someone I’d wait for a big game and then move.
- Jake Butt – The forgotten man of the 2017 draft class. I’d be willing to take him here and stash him.
That wraps up another rookie review! Don’t hesitate to reach out and interact with me on Twitter, even if you just want to tell me I’m wrong. As always, big thanks to Football Outsiders for their snap count stats and Pro Football Reference for their incredible database!