Each week throughout the season, I’ll cover at least two rookies in the Rookie Report Card and try to always include the biggest performers from that particular week. On top of reviewing my expectations for each player coming into the league and covering how he’s performed at the NFL level to this point, I’ll actually give him a grade in three categories. Those categories are performance to date, 2016 potential and long term upside.
The series continues with a look at Robby Anderson and Kenneth Farrow.
Robby Anderson, WR NYJ
Week 14 Stats: six receptions, 99 yards (9 targets), two carries, 12 rushing yards
Every time I watched Anderson over the summer, I came away impressed with his playmaking skills. I wrote about him in the Jets’ Draft Review back in June.
“After starting his career as a cornerback, (Anderson) missed the 2014 season due to academic problems and switched to the offensive side of the ball. It was a good change as he hauled in 70 passes for 939 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. Then he raised eyebrows at his pro day, blazing a 4.34 40-time and posting a 36.5 inch vertical jump and 128-inch broad jump – all of which would have ranked him in the top-10 among wide receivers at the combine.
Tall (6’-3”) and thin (190 pounds), Anderson has the ability to make highlight reel catches with great timing on his jumps and excellent hand-eye coordination while high pointing balls in traffic. Unfortunately, he also drops too many passes.”
I concluded those paragraphs by calling Anderson a player worth keeping in mind for dynasty owners looking for a deep stash. Fast forward a few months and Anderson is coming off back-to-back double digit target games and I’m wishing I had recommended him as a fourth round pick or free agent add back in that article.
Although he has made a few eyebrow raising plays throughout the year, Anderson has been especially impressive over the last couple weeks. Athletic with incredible body control while in the air, he’s been fearless while going up to make “above the rim” catches. The grab he made deep down the left sideline in the third quarter on Sunday in San Francisco was impressive. With the safety baring down on him and the ball under thrown slightly, he made the savvy move of slowing down and stepping to the inside to get position on the defender, timed his leap perfectly and made the catch above his head. Boxing out to get position like a basketball player, he showed an excellent understanding of how to get position on the defender to make the catch. He made another nice leaping catch for a first down in overtime.
Going back to last week, Anderson made a few more noteworthy plays. For those that didn’t stay tuned for the second half of the Jets’ blowout loss to the Colts on Monday night back in week 13, he was targeted regularly after Petty took over in the second half. Although he dropped a very catchable deep ball down the middle of the field and committed another horrible drop on a curl route, he also made a brilliant 40-yard touchdown catch streaking deep down the middle of the field and was open often on fly patterns where Petty simply missed him running free.
If you’ve watch him closely over the last handful of weeks, you’ve probably seen that many of Anderson’s catches are made by high pointing the ball. It’s a skill that he showed routinely at Temple and has translated nicely to the NFL already. If he were in a better offense with a better quarterback, a case could be made that on top of the deep threat he’s proven he can be over the last couple weeks, he could potentially become a nice red zone threat.
All things told, after not getting many opportunities early in the season, Anderson was thrust into the number three wide out role for the Jets after Eric Decker was lost to injury and although his playing time went up drastically, his production was very limited. That held true until Bryce Petty got under center in New York.
Anderson’s three biggest games as a rookie have come against Los Angeles (3 catches/69 yards), Indianapolis (4/61) and San Francisco (6/99/1 TD). All three of those games came with Petty playing a lot so the naysayers will probably say that Anderson’s success is just the result of the chemistry a couple scout team players translated to game day when they both happened to get some playing time.
I’m not so sure that’s true, however.
Although the drops bother me, Anderson has shown good route running, incredible athleticism and great instincts with the football in the air which is enough to make me want him on my dynasty roster and even in my lineup down the stretch of the season as a reliable, high upside WR3/flex play. It’s too late to get him for free off of waivers but his price is still quite cheap. Dynasty owners looking for young upside could do worse than to inquire about adding the former Temple Owl.
Kenneth Farrow, RB SD
Week 14 Stats: 16 carries, 55 rushing yards, six receptions, 23 yards, (six targets)
Coming out of Houston, I didn’t even know about Farrow until I saw some tweets about his upside in the days leading up to and during the NFL draft. After watching him play, I came away intrigued by his combination of strength between the tackles and soft hands as a pass catcher.
A decisive runner with a strong cut back and powerful stride, Farrow is a north and south runner that gets everything that is blocked and can break tackles and always fall forward to gain extra yardage. With good change of direction for a guy his size (5’-9”, 219 pounds) he can make linebackers miss in the hole and has quick enough feet to shake a safety coming down at full speed in run support.
Although Farrow lacks the speed to outrun NFL caliber defenders to the end zone and isn’t going to be a consistent perimeter runner, his power between the tackles and surprisingly good hands made him a player I was watching over the summer.
So far with the Chargers, Farrow has been used only when Melvin Gordon needed a rest despite the injuries to Danny Woodhead and Dexter McCluster. But on Sunday when Gordon went down, Farrow got a chance to touch the ball 22 times. Unfortunately, he turned 16 into just 55 yards and six catches into only 23 yards.
Averaging 3.4 yards per carry and just 3.8 yards per catch against the Panthers, Farrow’s numbers weren’t all that impressive in his opportunity as a full-time running back. Even more concerning, he was blown up in pass protection by linebacker A.J. Klein off the edge which led to a strip sack by Klein that resulted in a turnover.
Farrow was decisive and ran behind his pads well on Sunday, getting what was blocked, but did nothing to show that he could be a difference making runner. When you add his lack of playmaking as a pass catcher and his ineptitude as a blocker, it’s hard to grade his performance on Sunday as anything better than a D.
Although I still hold out hope that Farrow could become a useful fantasy asset as part of a committee and should absolutely be rostered in all dynasty leagues at this point due to the potential of some short term value because of the injury to Gordon, I was disappointed in how he played on Sunday.
- Final Rookie Report Card: Wide Receivers, Part Two - February 27, 2021
- Final Rookie Report Card: Wide Receivers, Part One - February 19, 2021
- Final Rookie Report Card: Running Backs, Part Two - February 13, 2021