The NFL season has reached the midway point, and we have another week of stats to break down. Without further ado, let’s jump into the data for the Week 8 Rookie Review!
Kareem Hunt – 74% snaps (up from 73%), 68 yards on 25 touches
By far his worst statistical game of his rookie season, Hunt’s streak of 100-plus yards from scrimmage ends at seven. His scoreless streak continues to five games and is starting to open a buying window. I’ll be sending out feeler offers in my leagues this week.
Joe Mixon – 62% (up from 43%), 109 yards on 14 touches
At this point of the season, I’m not sure we’ll see a Kareem Hunt-level game from Mixon, but he’s clearly been the lead back for Cincy. The rookie out-snapped his counterparts 35-21, out-touched them 14-6 and outproduced them 109-16 in week eight. The buying window is still open for the OU rookie.
Marlon Mack – 53% (up from 48%), 98 yards, touchdown on 14 touches
Mack scored his third TD of the year on a 24-yard screen pass, where he simply beat the defense with his speed. Frank Gore isn’t going away, but Mack is making the most of his touches and is a threat to break off a long play anytime he gets the rock.
Alvin Kamara – 51% (up from 49%), 76 yards, touchdown on 11 touches
Kamara and backfield mate Mark Ingram each had 31 snaps last Sunday, and each had success. Even with splitting time with Ingram, Kamara has quickly become a weekly RB play in fantasy.
Corey Clement – 27% (up from 18%), 54 yards on 10 touches
Reports out of Philly this week had Clement overtaking Wendell Smallwood for the number two role, and then Jay Ajayi happened. You can hold onto Clement for another week to see what happens, but I want nothing to do with this backfield.
Matt Breida – 32% (up from 23%), 56 yards, touchdown on 9 touches
Without an injury to Hyde, you can’t confidently play him.
Christian McCaffrey – 58% (down from 74%), 52 yards on 9 touches
I could probably just copy and paste my analysis from the past several weeks. CMC is struggling in the run game but giving us a safe PPR floor. With Benjamin headed north to Buffalo, McCaffrey may see a few extra targets each week.
Tarik Cohen – 27% (up from 18%), 8 yards, touchdown on 5 touches
It’s frustrating to watch an explosive player be misused week in and week out, but that’s what we have with Cohen. Even in game scripts that would favor the Human Joystick, John Fox is content trotting out Jordan Howard.
Austin Ekeler – 30% (down from 31%), 8 yards on 3 touches
Last week I said the Chargers backfield is one to monitor. On Sunday, Ekeler out-snapped Oliver 17-5. It would appear as of now that Ekeler is the backup to Gordon, and with all of the health issues Melvin has had, I’d want to roster him.
Matthew Dayes – 8% (up from 0%), 15 yards on 1 touch
This was Dayes first game with an offensive touch since week four. He also contributed 105 kick return yards against the Vikings. He’s not a waiver target just yet, but with Crowell possibly out next year, he could be a late-season stash.
Elijah McGuire – 5% (down from 12%), 2 yards on 1 touch
Ignore him unless there’s an injury.
James Conner – 6% (down from 9%), 1 yard on 1 touch
He’s only valuable to the Bell owners.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 80% (up from 45%), 193 yards, touchdown, on 7 catches
As a Pittsburgh homer, I was looking forward to typing up this one for the Week 8 Rookie Review. Quickly becoming a league favorite, JuJu now holds the Steeler record for longest pass play in team history. You obviously can’t count on nearly 200 yards and a TD each week, but you have to love what you’re seeing from JuJu this early.
Trent Taylor – 59% (down from 70%), 33 yards on 3 catches
This offense is abysmal. The 49ers have traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, but it’s more than likely we don’t see him taking snaps for several weeks. Pierre Garcon has been placed on IR, but I’m not sure that translates to more opportunities for Taylor. We shall see.
Zay Jones – 80% (down from 81%), 32 yards on 3 catches
Whenever I got excited that Zay caught three of five targets for 32 yards, it made me realize how rough of a year it has been for the ECU rookie. With Kelvin Benjamin joining the Bills, Zay could see more slot looks, which would be a better fit. It’ll be interesting to see how Zay’s snaps change in week ten.
Curtis Samuel – 28% (up from 26%), 26 yards on 3 touches
Samuel hasn’t had many opportunities this year, totaling just 97 yards on 10 touches. The Panthers’ run game has struggled all season, and with Benjamin out of the picture, Samuel should see an increase in snaps going forward.
Josh Malone – 34% (up from 25%), 35 yards, touchdown on 2 catches
This game marks only the second time Malone has seen a target this year, his first being last week. The rookie out of Texas A&M made the most of his three targets and should be seeing more playing time as reports have LaFell moving to the slot. Historically, the number two receiver in Cincinnati hasn’t provided much fantasy value, but it’s still a situation to monitor.
Mack Hollins – 26% (up from 12%), 30 yards on 2 catches
Still stashing the UNC rook.
Chris Godwin – 21% (down from 31%), 8 yards on 1 catch
Godwin has been averaging one catch for 7.5 yards the past four weeks. He should be relatively easy to buy and stash if you believe in him going forward.
Mike Williams – 39% (up from 24%), 7 yards on 1 catch
Williams’ snaps have been increasing since he saw his first action three weeks ago. With the Chargers schedule easing up the next few weeks, I’d expect to see an increase in his opportunities.
Ryan Switzer – 18% (up from 15%), 7 yards on 1 catch
The Cole Beasley clone saw an increase in snaps after his counterpart left the game with a concussion. Beasley has been cleared for the upcoming week, so Switzer is out of the picture.
George Kittle – 62% (up from 47%), 22 yards on 2 catches
Although the increase in snaps is positive, it didn’t lead to an increase in Kittle’s production. I wouldn’t be dropping Kittle at this point, but I’m not thinking about starting him either.
David Njoku – 41% (up from 38%), 19 yards on 2 catches
Tarik Cohen and David Njoku share the same frustrating, inexplicable usage problem. There’s no reason why Njoku’s snaps should be below 70-75%. What a mess in Cleveland.
O.J. Howard – 58% (down from 71%), 16 yards on 2 catches
I hope you listened to me last week and didn’t chase Howard’s fantasy points. Until he climbs the pecking order, he shouldn’t be starting in your lineups.
Jacob Hollister – 5% (up from 1%), 13 yards on 1 catch
Nothing to see here.
Cole Hikutini – 14% (down from 32%), 10 yards on 1 catch
Hopefully, this is a sign of the end of the Hikutini Experiment.
That will bring an end to the Week 8 Rookie Review! Be sure to look out for the week nine breakdown, as we see how the trade deadline moves change rookie roles, and how everyone else is progressing. Also, if you’re not checking out our redraft and DFS articles you’re doing it wrong! Even if you’re a dynasty snob and don’t partake in any other kind of league, the information from those sections are invaluable when it comes to start/sit and lineup decisions. Thanks as always to the folks at Football Outsiders and Pro Football Reference for their stats and databases.