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Rookie Focus: Week Five

This is a weekly installment dedicated solely to the rookie class of 2012.  The goal is to provide everyone with a list of rookie players who should be on your dynasty roster or radar and track their progress throughout the season. You won’t typically find weekly updates on players like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.  We already know their roles in the offense.  Rather, this weekly article will focus on the players who are working to carve out a role for themselves.

While updating the progress of certain players and highlighting the emergence of others, you can expect this article to cover players with big weeks, value rises and declines, depth chart movements, waiver wire suggestions and other recommendations.

Here is the rookie report from week five:

AFC East

Lamar Miller, RB MIA

Starter Reggie Bush played through his minor injury the last two weeks and that killed any hopes Lamar Miller owners had of seeing what he could do with a major role.  In week four he seemed to split carries with fellow backup Daniel Thomas, but then took a backseat in week five.  Although the inconsistency was confirmed by Coach Joe Philbin when he stated that the backup role would be determined by the match-up, Thomas sustained his second concussion this year last week.  There is no definite timetable for his return and Miller should be the primary backup for the time being.

Brandon Bolden, RB NE

In week four, Bolden busted onto the fantasy scene with 16 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown.  This type of performance definitely earned him some more playing time, as he followed up with another 14 carries in week five.  He should definitely be owned in all leagues at this point, but the backfield in New England is certainly crowded and unpredictable behind starter Stevan Ridley.  With Shane Vereen back into the mix, it only further complicates the matter.

Stephen Hill, WR NYJ

Hill sustained a hamstring injury, which comes in an especially untimely manner as Santonio Holmes was just placed on the season ending IR.  With Holmes out of the mix, it leaves another opportunity in this offense that already lacks play makers.  It opens the door for another receiver to step up and quarterback Mark Sanchez will certainly be looking for someone else to distribute the ball to in place of his lead target.  Hill is currently without a timeline for return, but could enter into a situation that gives him a larger role.

AFC North

Josh Gordon, WR CLE

Weeks four and five are a perfect example of the inconsistencies that Gordon has been facing so far this year.  In week four, he received just a single target, but then proceeded to have eight in week five.  Though the latter only resulted in two receptions, he made the most of them and totaled 82 yards and two touchdowns.  Expect the inconsistencies to continue for the time being, which makes him a poor play under any circumstances, but owners were happy to see him flash some of that big play potential.

Travis Benjamin, WR CLE

Another untimely injury comes for the smaller Browns receiver.  When Mohamed Massaquoi was unable to play in week four, Benjamin received the start in his place.  He didn’t exactly have a breakout game, but he did garner five targets and a pair of receptions.  There isn’t much more of an opportunity he could have asked for, but followed it up with a hamstring injury of his own.  It prevented him from suiting up in week five and gave the starting opportunity to someone else.

AFC West

Cyrus Gray, RB KC

In weeks four and five, Gray got his first action of the season with Peyton Hillis sidelined with an ankle injury.  It wasn’t any significant playing time, as he totaled just five attempts for 35 yards over two games.  With Jamaal Charles rolling right now and hovering around 30 carries per game, there is no expectation that Gray’s work will increase even with Hillis’ status uncertain.  Gray is still fourth on the depth chart.

Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN

Willis McGahee resumed a full workload in week four, but Hillman was still worked into the game receiving ten carries for 31 yards and two receptions for 32 yards.  Though his workload declined in week five, it was primarily due to the fact that Denver was playing catch-up in a shootout with the Patriots. He is still listed as third on the depth chart, but has fairly evenly split backup duties with Lance Ball.  It’s difficult to predict how this this will play out, and is definitely a situation to closely monitor going forward.

AFC South

Keshawn Martin, WR HOU

With Lestar Jean inactive in weeks four and five with a knee injury, Keshawn Martin was the only third wide receiver to get action.  Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to much more production or even more playing time.  He had three targets in week four, and zero in week five when they primarily went with two wide receiver sets.

T.Y. Hilton, WR IND

After a breakout game in week three (and a bye in week four), Hilton’s follow up performance totaled three receptions for 37 yards.  Although this doesn’t seem like much, he did have nine targets and played a whopping 75 snaps.  There is no doubt that Reggie Wayne is the primary target on this team, but if teams start giving him extra attention it could translate into more production for Hilton, who is locked in as the third wide receiver in the offense for the moment.

NFC East

Reuben Randle, WR NYG

Randle finally had his breakout game in week five with injury absences from both Hakeem Nicks (foot) and Ramses Barden (concussion).  Randle totaled 38 snaps as the third wide receiver, but made the best of it leading the team with nine targets, six receptions and 82 yards.  Eli Manning spread the ball out quite a bit, but Randle was finally given the opportunity to prove himself.  It’s hard to know what to expect in the near future with the lingering injuries to the Giants wide receivers, but the battle for the third wide receiver spot seems far from over.

Kirk Cousins, WAS QB

I doubt many people figured they’d see fourth round rookie pick Kirk Cousins behind center at any time in the near future, but this was the reality following a third quarter concussion to rookie superstar Robert Griffin III.  At first he looked comfortable in the pocket delivering accurate passes, including a 77 yard hookup with Santana Moss to take the lead in the fourth quarter.  However, in the final minutes of the game he threw back-to-back interceptions that were just poorly placed throws.  Even though he looked the part at times, Redskins fans and Griffin owners alike are surely welcoming the news that Griffin’s concussion is reportedly mild and he is already back at practice.  Though many are hopeful, concussions in this day and age are no sure thing.  If he is not be ready to go, you will get an extended look at the fourth round rookie pick that coach Mike Shanahan said was just too good to pass up.

NFC North

Alshon Jeffery, WR CHI

The consistency of Jefferey’s role remains, though his upside has been limited thus far.  Unfortunately, in week five he suffered a fractured hand and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.  This shouldn’t change much for your team if you own Jeffery.  His low upside play shouldn’t put him in your starting lineup at this point, and the recent injury shouldn’t change his long term outlook, either.  No one likes to see anything hinder the progression of their players, but there is nothing to suggest he will not retain the same role when he returns to the lineup.

NFC West

Daryl Richardson, RB STL

The current running back situation in St. Louis is unchanged as Steven Jackson continues to receive a full workload and Richardson remains the primary backup.  However, we just got some interesting insight into the possible future of the Rams backfield situation when they announced that they would allow Jackson to opt out of the final year of his contract.  It suggests that St. Louis is comfortable going forward with their rookie running backs, and most importantly, with Daryl Richardson’s future as the lead back.  If this were to happen, it would additionally open up more opportunities for fellow rookie Isaiah Pead, however, it is too early to count on Jackson moving on.  St. Louis said Jackson can opt out of the contract, but he is scheduled to receive $7 million and it’s hard to see Jackson walking away from a salary like this.  It’s highly unlikely he’d find a better contract next year as a 30 year old running back who has been a workhorse for the vast majority of his career and has lingering injuries.  He has made a point of stating that he wishes to stay a Ram until he retires.  With his $2 million guaranteed, it’s hard to imagine a clean break between Jackson and the Rams, but it does send a message that they think they have the future running backs on the roster.  Only time will tell.

Michael Floyd, WR ARI

Weeks four and five perfectly exemplify the inconsistencies for Floyd’s rookie year thus far. In week four, he had eight targets and four receptions, but followed that up with just three targets and a single reception in week five.  However, one thing worth noting is that it appears quarterback Kevin Kolb is actually starting to be more aggressive and taking the helm of the offense.  In the last two weeks, he has had 48 and 50 passing attempts, respectively.  I will be the first to say he hasn’t been the greatest quarterback option, but if the Cardinals remain dedicated to the passing attack, it could definitely accelerate Floyd’s progression.

NFC South

Joe Adams, WR CAR

After fumbling three times in the first three weeks, Adams was replaced as the kick and punt returner.  This is the quickest way to get benched as a rookie.  He was subsequently declared inactive in both weeks four and five and for the time being it appears that he has blown his opportunity to make an impact.

We’ll see you next week as we continue to monitor the progress of the rookie class.

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Allen Sarvinas
9 years ago

Any PPR projected value 4th/5th string WRs not uncovered to date? I honestly think the the month before preseason and the 1st couple of weeks of the preseason is the most important in DLF. I was on the fence with Foster as my only real producing RB in a 60 player IDP dynasty league, but because my homework is continuous, Morris, Richardson, Hawkins, Burfect, etc.. are really contributing.
What’s your thoughts on Cadet in a 1.5ppr?

JBlake
9 years ago

Love this weekly update! Can I be greedy and ask for a Sophomore weekly update as well?

JBlake
Reply to  Chris Rohrer
9 years ago

Yes, I did see that additional feature this week. I guess I wish it 1) contained updates on more than three players and 2) was split up into different draft classes.

JBlake
9 years ago

What about Chris Givens? He’s averaging 51.5 yds/catch the last two weeks 🙂

Lap Chu
9 years ago

Great, insightful analysis. Keep it up!

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