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Rookie Focus: Week Nine

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 significance 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 Nine:

AFC East

Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA

Tannehill fought through his injury from week eight and made the start in week nine.  He had a solid outing and kept the Dolphins in a position to compete.  He emerged from the game further unscathed and should be fine going forward.

AFC North

Josh Cooper, WR CLE

Week nine saw the return Mohamed Massaquoi and rookie Travis Benjamin.  Both had limited snaps, but their involvement meant that Cooper went back to the bench.  For now Cooper isn’t worth owning, though he should get another shot at some point as he did well with the few opportunities he saw.  Josh Gordon continued to lead the team in snaps despite the return of Massaquoi, however, Greg Little led easily the team in targets and receptions.

AFC West

Rod Streater, WR OAK

Streater finished with four receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.  He had double digit targets on the week with an impressive total of ten – this was largely due to a huge commitment to the pass after Oakland fell behind early in the game.  Quarterback Carson Palmer had 62 attempts on the game and spread the ball out quite a bit.  Oakland had four receiving options with nine targets or greater.  Streater’s high number of targets is nice to see, but rather than emerging as a top target for the offense, it was more the result of a heavy passing attack.

AFC South

Vick Ballard, RB IND

Although Donald Brown was active and was expected to play prior to opening kickoff, it was Ballard who took the reins in the backfield once Brown was deemed unfit to play.  Although his stats weren’t eye-popping, he still finished the game with just shy of 100 total yards.  It was a tough matchup against the strong run defense of the Miami Dolphins, and furthermore the Colts relied heavily on the pass in a close matchup that featured a rookie quarterback duel.  Ballard has proved to be a serviceable running back for the Colts and will receive his share of carries even when Donald Brown returns to the lineup.

Dwayne Allen, TE IND

With Coby Fleener out with a separated shoulder, we saw the expected rise in action for Allen.  He posted career highs with 79 snaps, seven targets, six receptions and 75 yards.  He also flashed some of that athletic ability with the majority of his yards recorded after the catch.  With Fleener out until at least week eleven, we should continue to see Allen with an uptick in playing time and opportunity.

NFC East

Lance Dunbar, RB DAL

It’s no surprise that Felix Jones has failed to produce for fantasy owners in the wake of DeMarco Murray’s injury leave.  Jones’ ineffectiveness and own lingering injuries are in all likelihood due to his inability to handle a full workload.  For this reason, undrafted rookie Lance Dunbar split carries with him in week nine.  Dunbar didn’t show much of a spark for the team, but with all of the injuries and inconsistencies in the Cowboys’ backfield, he will likely continue to get some work should Murray not return in week ten as planned.  This is not out of the question with Murray’s past health issues, and Dunbar could definitely be worth an addition to your roster until the backfield health issues clear up, but his long term potential is capped.

NFC North

Jarret Boykin, WR GB

Boykin is the all-time leading receiver for Virginia Tech, but he was clocked at 4.7 seconds in the 40 yard dash, crushing his draft stock.  The Packers signed him as an undrafted free agent and, despite their depth at the position, he made the final roster.  Over the last two weeks he saw his first action after being a healthy scratch in the first half of the season.   The injuries to star receivers Jordy Nelson (ankle) and Greg Jennings (groin) led to Boykin’s addition to the active roster, but he still had very limited opportunities.  Despite the large gaps to fill, Boykin had just three targets over the two games on limited snaps.  Boykin is only worth monitoring from a distance at this point as he is at the end of the pecking order in a very deep position for the Packers.

Alshon Jeffery, WR CHI

Jeffery was reported to be targeting week ten for a return to the lineup, though coach Lovie Smith said he will still be out “a while.”  In his absence, no one has stepped up production playing across from Brandon Marshall.  Once fully healthy, Jeffery should be reinserted into his role in the Bears offense.

NFC West

Michael Floyd, WR ARI

Michael Floyd’s integration into the offense has started to increase slowly over the last several weeks.  With the Cardinals continuing to commit to the pass, Floyd totaled five receptions on seven targets for 80 yards in week nine – that’s good for 16.0 yards per reception.  Early Doucet has had major problems holding onto passes and has totaled eight drops on the season.  This could certainly translate into less looks for him going forward and opening a larger role for the rookie.  Following a bye in week ten, Arizona beat writer Mike Jurecki suspects more opportunities will come Floyd’s way.

NFC South

Doug Martin, RB TB

Martin:  25 carries, 251 yards, four touchdowns.  LeGarrette Blount: 2 carries, 5 yards.  Enough said.

Note: Chris Rohrer can be found @ChrisR124 on twitter. 

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Allen Sarvinas
9 years ago

Cooper or Boykin in ppr leagues? Rodgers obviously gives an advatange, but Cle airs it out with the best of them and these “Amendola” types are usually severely underrated. This is a 14 team 60 player full IDP league, so I own Cooper already and Damarious Johnson, but should Boykin br owned over either of those 2? Ive been thinking Amendola is a sell-high with his injuries, am I far off? Stl has 4 1st end picks in the next 2yrs, so I’m thinking one of those will be Lee or Watkins.

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