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Rookie Focus: Week Fifteen

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 Fifteen:

AFC North

Dan Herron, RB CIN

Two weeks ago Dan “Boom” Herron was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster.  He has been buried in the depth chart, but the Bengals’ running backs continue to fall due to injury.  He finally took the field in week fifteen and played all of nine snaps.  He totaled just eight yards from scrimmage on three carries, as Brian Leonard is currently the primary backup for the Bengals and ahead of Herron for carries.  Boom Herron’s opportunity is extremely limited even after the Bengals’ backfield has been decimated with injuries.  He should only be owned in the deepest of leagues.

AFC West

Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN

Hillman had an increased workload in the game against the Ravens.  Knowshon Moreno remained the workhorse for the meaningful portion of the game, but Hillman got the vast majority of the work in the fourth quarter when the Broncos had all but sealed the victory.  Hillman’s increase in touches was just to give Moreno a rest since he will continue to be the workhorse down the stretch and in the playoffs.  Hillman was much less effective with his touches, and was held to a 2.1 yards per carry average.

AFC South

Vick Ballard, RB IND

With Donald Brown on the injured reserve, rookie Vick Ballard has taken over the backfield for the Colts.  He had already earned a timeshare role and was gaining steam on Brown before the injury, but this gives him a solid chance to make his case before an off-season could bring new challengers for playing time.  He certainly made his presence known with his first 100+ yard rushing game following up a 94 yard performance last week.  Many think he is not the long term solution, but at least he will have the opportunity to prove doubters wrong.

DeVier Posey, WR HOU

Over the course of the 2012 season, there has definitely been a wide receiver contest in Houston, however, most of the attention has been on Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean.  In week fifteen, Posey caught all three of his targets for 46 yards.  He had more snaps and targets than Martin or Jean, though it appears he is making a run at Kevin Walter’s job rather than for the third wide receiving role.  Coach Gary Kubiak said Posey has really stepped up and he is getting more playing time because the coaching staff has liked what they’ve seen.  It appears we are going to be seeing a lot more of Posey, and with Walter aging, he can really make a run for the second wide receiver role.

NFC East

Kirk Cousins, QB WAS

Cousins once again showed he could get the job done with the season on the line.  He had a solid performance in place of Robert Griffin III, managing over 329 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns on the way to a victory.  The second overall draft pick still needs to be cleared by the team doctor to play, but he is expected to resume starting this week.  Cousins has made the best of his opportunities, and he could be worth stashing as quarterback starved teams take notice.

NFC North

Alshon Jeffery, WR CHI

Jeffery was back in the lineup last week after missing time after knee surgery directly following his fractured hand injury.  Since the Bears lack receiving threats outside of Brandon Marshall he immediately resumed his role as the second wide receiver upon return.  Last week he managed three catches on six targets for 57 yards and a touchdown.  He had another four targets in week fifteen, but failed to secure any for catches.  He was also called on three offensive pass interference fouls.  Since his return he has averaged 56 snaps and five targets per game.  He may have lots of improving to do, but he appears to be getting every opportunity to succeed.

NFC West

LaMichael James, RB SFO

James continued his role as backup to Frank Gore in week fifteen.  He has inherited all touches that would normally go to Kendall Hunter, however his biggest contribution in week fifteen came on special teams.  After the Patriots came all the way back from a 28 point deficit to even the score, James had a huge kick return and put the Forty-Niners in terrific field position.  It marked a huge momentum shift and the result of the drive was the game winning touchdown.  With plays like this he is most certainly earning the trust of the coaching staff and could continue to carve out an increased role for himself.

You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisR124.

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JBlake
9 years ago

I’m looking toward a Week 17 final in one of my redraft leagues…based on expected playoff seeding and coaching tendencies to rest veterans, any guesses on who is most likely to get a Week 17 start or heavy workload among this group of rookies: Lamichael James, Ronnie Hillman, Robert Turbin, Lamar Miller, Daryl Richardson?

We have an open waiver wire, and I’m trying to hoard as many good RBs as possible, as one of the other guys is currently rolling with PThomas as his RB2, and I’m sure he’ll be looking to upgrade.

Chris Howat
Reply to  JBlake
9 years ago

Could you explain why a league would want to play in week 17? I didn’t think any league did that anymore.

JBlake
Reply to  Chris Howat
9 years ago

Most of the prize money is paid out for the regular season champ (me this year), then the top 8 play for the remainder in Weeks 15/16/17. The core of the league is older (mid-50s), this league’s been around since pre-Internet, and the Commish is resistant to change. His main philosophy is to keep people interested and playing for something as deep into the season as possible. I tolerate it, because it’s easy money 🙂

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