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 Twelve:
Mohamed Sanu, WR CIN
Sanu’s role continues to grow in the Bengals offense. This week he had nine targets; five of which were receptions and two of which were touchdowns. Marvin Jones and Andrew Hawkins could be fully returning from their injuries this week, however Sanu remains the favorite for snaps. He is emerging as a red zone weapon and Andy Dalton has proven it could be possible for him to support more than just A.J. Green for fantasy owners.
Chris Rainey, RB PIT
Even with all of the Steelers’ running backs returning, Rainey actually saw about his most action all season. He had five carries for 17 yards (including a goal line carry for a touchdown) and four receptions for an additional 15 yards. He was actually the feature back for some time following first quarter fumbles lost by Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman. It was as if the Steelers were playing a game of hot potato – as a team they fumbled eight times, five of which were lost. Rainey eventually contributed two of these fumbles on the day so this certainly doesn’t put him in a position to have any major increased role following the early game blunders by his competition.
Jeremy Stewart, RB OAK
Stewart saw an uptick in touches this week. He had seven carries for 26 yards, but the majority of his contribution actually came from the passing game. He had team highs of six receptions and 37 receiving yards. Most of his work came in the second half, but during this time he was being regularly worked into the mix.
Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN
Although Hillman was expected to have a significant amount of work with Willis McGahee out for the season, it was Knowshon Moreno who emerged as the feature back. After being inactive for past weeks within memory, Moreno received a full workload while Hillman had just three carries all game. This doesn’t change Hillman’s outlook, as Moreno is not viewed as the long term answer, but Hillman owners were definitely anxious to see him featured and may have even thrown him into the lineup with this expectation.
Coby Fleener, TE IND
Fleener is back to full participation in practice and is expected to be back in action for week thirteen. It should be interesting to see his role upon returning since Dwayne Allen has been modestly consistent in his absence. Fleener will certainly be back in the mix a fair amount if he is 100 percent, but some think Allen currently sits as the favorite for the moment.
Justin Blackmon, WR JAX
With Chad Henne under center for the second straight week, Blackmon once again had a productive week. He totaled five receptions on six targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. Since Henne led the Jaguars to a rare victory, there should be no reason for a quarterback change in week thirteen, especially with Gabbert now on IR.
Bryce Brown, RB PHI
With LeSean McCoy out with a concussion, Bryce Brown took the helm of the offense in week twelve. He received a full workload, totaling 19 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Talk about busting onto the fantasy scene! McCoy still hasn’t been cleared to practice and Brown will get another start this week. It is unclear if McCoy will be shutdown for the rest of the season, but Brown could be a very valuable member of your fantasy team if you are making a playoff push.
Damaris Johnson, WR PHI
Star wideout DeSean Jackson was placed on the injured reserve with a rib injury. This is yet another injury in the Eagles’ lost season leading to an opportunity for a rookie. In this case a different “D.J.,” Damaris Johnson, will likely have a chance to step up. Early in the season Johnson performed admirably when filling in for injured wideouts. The Eagles were impressed by his play and used a wide variety of ways to get him the ball. With Jackson out look for the “other D.J.” to get additional looks again, but keep expectations low with an already struggling offense now led by inexperienced rookies. Nick Foles hasn’t produced much at the quarterback position and the Eagles will likely continue to heavily focus on the run game with Bryce Brown tearing it up.
Cole Beasley, WR DAL
With injuries at the wide receiver position, this week Cole Beasley stepped into a significant role in the Cowboys’ offense. This season he has 109 total snaps, 64 of which came in week twelve. He had seven receptions on 13 targets for 68 yards. With injuries still plaguing the Cowboys’ positional players, Beasley could remain a big part of the offense for the time being. He could be worth a roster spot as a flier in deeper leagues, but at this point his playing time is still dependent on these injuries.
Ryan Broyles, WR DET
As expected, Broyles had the greatest increase in work due to the latest Titus Young discipline issue. He had an impressive 12 targets for six receptions and 126 yards. I think I’ve probably raved about Broyles enough by now, but his value continues to rise as he proves himself with every opportunity.
Jarius Wright, WR MIN
Wright was tied for a team high in snaps for receivers in week twelve. He continues to step up and fill part of the void with Percy Harvin still out of the lineup. Wright finished the game with seven receptions for 49 yards, and is receiving plenty of targets for the time being. Harvin, however, certainly demands his fair share of targets when he returns from his injury. Though his return may not be week thirteen, it is unclear if this offense can still support a role for Wright when it inevitably happens.
Ryan Lindley, QB ARI
Standing out the most of Lindley’s stat-line in week twelve is the 0:4 touchdown to interception ratio. I think it’s fair to say he is blowing his chance by not making good decisions and protecting the ball. Yes, it is only his second career start, but most players in Lindley’s position don’t get a second chance. Did Cardinals fans EVER think they would be praying for the return of Kevin Kolb?
Chris Givens, WR STL
Givens continues impress with another big game. Not only did he eclipse the century mark receiving again, but he also found the end zone. Although Danny Amendola was active, he was very limited and remains questionable for week thirteen. Givens continues to carve himself a role in the Rams’ offense regardless of Amendola’s injury status. If Amendola is out, however, it leaves the door open for Givens to develop himself as more than just a deep route runner. Sam Bradford will probably look to him much more often with his primary target out of the lineup.
LaMichael James, RB SFO
In week twelve Kendall Hunter sustained an achilles tear ending his season. This could create an opportunity for rookie LaMichael James, who has yet to be active for a regular season game. His teammates have raved about his work ethic and abilities alike, and he is a very capable runner between the tackles. Although there is no doubt Frank Gore is the lead back, Hunter had solidified a role as a change of pace back and had a consistent number of carries every week. It will certainly be interesting to see how those carries will be distributed, and how James will be used as he is expected to get his first activation in week thirteen.
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