2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a fourth quarter pass against the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16

The leap from college football to the NFL is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. While some positions like running back have easier transitions, all rookies have to adjust to facing bigger, faster, and stronger opponents. On top of that, they also have to learn a new playbook and system that is likely different from the one they were used to in college.

The preseason is typically their chance to adapt and get used to the next level of play before the real season begins. Needless to say, an offseason with no field time until August, and no preseason, will cut significantly into the much needed experience these rookies will acquire. Expect the rookies, even the so called “can’t miss” guys, to start off slower than their fantasy managers are hoping for.

The 2020 Fantasy Rookie Tracker follows the fantasy production of the 2020 Rookie class and compares their results to the RotoHeat team’s consensus Dynasty Rookie Rankings. In the initial installment of this season long series, I took a look at the Top-20 ranked rookies, list their projections, and give you my thoughts on their match-up.

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As the season progresses, the rookies will be re-ranked based on their year-to-date performance. We then review their previous week and take a look at the week to come as we follow this draft class that comes with so much hype and promise.

Top 20 Rookies

Justin Herbert – QB Los Angeles Chargers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 18
Current Rank: 1
Week 15 Projection: 19.40
Week 15 Actual: 27.96
Season to Date Actual: 293.14
Weekly Average: 22.55
Week 16 Projection: 18.90

Justin Herbert completed 22-of-32 passes for 314 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Chargers’ 30-27, Week 15 overtime win over the Raiders, adding four carries for 14 yards and an additional score. This is the Justin Herbert his fantasy managers have become accustomed to.

The previous three weeks, Herbert has struggled (13.51 points/game) in comparison to his season long (22.55 points/game) tear. Herbert took advantage of a weak Raiders defense and did the majority of the damage without his top two pass catchers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. He enters Week 16, tied with Baker Mayfield for the rookie touchdown record with 27. Herbert will break that record and give you a stellar performance in Week 16 versus the Denver Broncos.

James Robinson – RB Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 30
Current Rank: 2
Week 15 Projection: 15.40
Week 15 Actual: 14.30
Season to Date Actual: 250.40
Weekly Average: 17.89
Week 16 Projection: 15.40 (Doubtful)

James Robinson rushed 16 times for 35 yards in the Jaguars’ Week 15 loss to the Ravens, adding three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. It was his 17-yard touchdown grab that saved an otherwise meager lackluster day. Robinson was listed as questionable to return but did not make it back onto the field in the fourth quarter. The ankle injury has been reported as the dreaded “high-ankle sprain”, which will leave you without Robinson when you need him the most in Week 16. The injury will end his season. Robinson became the fourth undrafted rookie in NFL history to total at least 1,000 rushing yards and the fastest to do it.

Justin Jefferson – WR Minnesota Vikings
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 6
Current Rank: 3
Week 15 Projection: 16.00
Week 15 Actual: 18.40
Season to Date Actual: 237.40
Weekly Average: 16.96
Week 16 Projection: 17.30

Justin Jefferson caught 8-of-11 passes for 104 yards in the Vikings’ Week 15 loss to the Bears. Jefferson led the Vikings with a 31% target share and has become the offense’s No.1 WR in the process. Jefferson hauled in his 73 catch of the year on Sunday, breaking the Vikings rookie record of 69 previously held by Randy Moss. Jefferson has two games remaining to catch Moss’ 1313 yards. Jefferson will enter Week 16 with 1182 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. Moss’ 17 touchdowns are out of reach. If not for Justin Herbert, Jefferson would be this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Expect Jefferson to keep up his upside WR2 play against the Saints, on Christmas Day.

Jonathan Taylor – RB Indianapolis Colt
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 1
Current Rank: 4
Week 15 Projection: 15.70
Week 15 Actual: 19.50
Season to Date Actual: 195.00
Weekly Average: 15.00
Week 16 Projection: 13.90

Jonathan Taylor rushed 16 times for 83 yards and a touchdown in the Colts’ Week 15 win over the Texans, adding four receptions for 12 additional yards. Fantasy managers will take the 95 yards and a score, but it should have been even more. After Taylor put up 31 yards and his touchdown on the Colts’ opening drive, he only got the ball 15 more times the remainder of the game. Nyheim Hines contributed for 7/54 just to be annoying.

Despite the what might have been feeling, Taylor is now averaging 127 yards from scrimmage with four total touchdowns over his past four appearances. Remember all the chatter of Taylor being a bust? That was cute. JT will remain a RB1 for Week 16 against the Steelers, who suddenly can’t stop the run.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16
CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 13: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16

CeeDee Lamb – WR Dallas Cowboys
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 2
Current Rank: 5
Week 15 Projection: 11.70
Week 15 Actual: 19.50
Season to Date Actual: 184.70
Weekly Average: 13.19
Week 16 Projection: 11.00

CeeDee Lamb caught 5-of-7 targets for 85 yards in the Cowboys’ Week 15 win over the 49ers. Lamb returned a late onside attempt by the 49ers for a touchdown to cap off his solid Week 15 performance, so here is hoping that your league scoring awards kick return points . The Dallas offense didn’t do much outside of Tony Pollard against the San Francisco 49ers. Lamb managed to make the best of what Andy Dalton had to offer. Lamb has been a viable WR3 option even after losing Dak Prescott, and he should be in for another startable performance against the Eagles in Week 16.

Chase Claypool – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 19
Current Rank: 6
Week 15 Projection: 13.60
Week 15 Actual: 7.80
Season to Date Actual: 184.40
Weekly Average: 13.17
Week 16 Projection: 12.50

Chase Claypool caught 3-of-8 targets for 54 yards in the Steelers’ Week 15 loss to the Bengals. His biggest play of the night was a 37 yard catch and run that set up Diontae Johnson’s touchdown. Claypool’s eight targets were second on the team, but Big Ben missed Claypool on multiple occasions including in the back of the end zone, limiting what could have been. Claypool hasn’t caught a touchdown since Week 11 after scoring eight times the first 11 weeks. As I have mentioned multiple times before, he is a boom/bust WR. Week 15 was a good bust game. He’ll likely be a WR3/4 for Week 16 against the Colts, but the way this offense is playing I want nothing to do with Claypool here.

Antonio Gibson – RB Washington Football Team
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 17
Current Rank: 7
Week 15 Projection: 0 – In Active
Week 15 Actual: 0
Season to Date Total: 183.20
Weekly Average: 15.27
Week 16 Projection: 2.40 (Doubtful)

Antonio Gibson was listed as doubtful all week, and ended up inactive for week 15. He remains out as a result of the toe injury he sustained in Week 13. It is beginning to look like we have seen the last of Antonio Gibson this fantasy season. Prior to his injury shortened day in Week 13, Gibson was averaging 21.56 PPR points a game in his previous 6 contests.

Brandon Aiyuk – WR San Francisco 49ers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 13
Current Rank: 8
Week 14 Projection: 15.20
Week 14 Actual: 22.30
Season to Date Actual: 180.40
Weekly Average: 16.40
Week 15 Projection: 16.30

Brandon Aiyuk caught 9-of-13 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 15 loss to the Cowboys. Simply put Aiyuk is on fire. Dating back to Week 7 ( 6 games), Aiyuk has averaged 20.83 PPR points a game second among all rookies to Justin Herbert. Without George Kittle or Deebo Samuel on Sunday, Aiyuk had a 30 percent target share. He is clearly the top pass-catching option for the 49ers and that should continue to close out the season. Even if Kittle returns, Aiyuk will command enough targets to be a fringe WR1, in Week 16 versus Arizona.

Joe Burrow – QB Cincinnati Bengals
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 11
Current Rank: 9
Week 13 Projection: IR – Out for the season
Week 13 Actual: 0.00
Season to Date Actual: 178.72
Weekly Average: 17.87
Week 14 Projection: 0.00 (Out)

Joe Burrow remains on IR and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 11.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 25: Clyde Edwards-Helaire #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs escapes a tackle attempt by Bradley Chubb #55 of the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter of a game at Empower Field at Mile High on October 25, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB Kansas City Chiefs
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 3
Current Rank: 10
Week 15 Projection: 12.90
Week 15 Actual: 9.30
Season to Date Actual: 176.00
Weekly Average: 13.54
Week 16 Projection: 0.00 (Out)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 14 times for 79 yards in the Chiefs’ Week 15 win against the Saints, adding one catch for 4 yards. CEH was forced to leave this one early due to a hip/leg injury. The injury is reported as a high ankle sprain and the injury will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season and quite possibly the playoffs. CEH currently sits as the RB13 overall entering Monday Night. As a result of the injury he will likely end up a back end RB2, a far cry from his perceived top-10 RB value on draft day.

Tee Higgins – WR Cincinnati Bengals
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 9
Current Rank:11
Week 15 Projection: 11.80
Week 15 Actual: 6.10
Season to Date Actual: 172.70
Weekly Average: 12.33
Week 16 Projection: 10.60

Tee Higgins caught 3-of-6 targets for 31 yards in the Bengals’ Week 15 win over the Steelers. Higgins saw all of his production in the first half. With the Bengals controlling this one start to finish and Ryan Finley throwing only 13 times, there wasn’t much meat on the bone Higgins. With Tyler Boyd going out early due to a concussion the result was a disappointment. He has a plus matchup in Week 16 at Houston, but its risky. He’s likely a WR3/4 if Boyd misses the game and his floor is extremely low regardless. Fade Tee Higgins in Week 16.

D’Andre Swift – RB Detroit Lions
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 5
Current Rank: 12
Week 15 Projection: 13.90
Week 15 Actual: 22.90
Season to Date Actual: 164.80
Weekly Average: 14.26
Week 16 Projection: 16.30

D’Andre Swift rushed 15 times for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions’ Week 15 loss to the Titans. He added four catches for 15 yards on five targets. Swift rightfully got the start in this one, and his 19 touches easily paced the Lions’ backfield ahead of Adrian Peterson’s six. Despite an early goal line fumble the Lions stuck with Swift, which further cements his role in this offense. Swift has had an up and down year, dealing with injuries and stubborn coaching. The good news for his dynasty managers is you have a solid back for years to come. In Week 16, I would do my best to fade Swift as the Lions hook up with the Buccaneers.

J.K. Dobbins – RB Baltimore Ravens
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 4
Current Rank: 13
Week 15 Projection: 14.00
Week 15 Actual: 15.10
Season to Date Actual: 126.80
Weekly Average: 9.75
Week 16 Projection: 15.50

From one running back that has solidified his role within his offense to another. J.K. Dobbins rushed 14 times for 64 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ Week 15 win against the Jaguars, adding a catch for 17 yards.
With Mark Ingram a healthy scratch, Dobbins was once again the primary ball carrier. He walked in for a first half touchdown on one of the many Baltimore scores against the lackluster Jacksonville defense. Dobbins looks unlikely to see a 20-plus carry workload in the season’s final weeks, with Gus Edwards also involved.

Dobbins is a safe RB2 in your league championship game against the Giants, as he will see enough work to provide a solid floor. He has the upside for more should he find the endzone once again.

Darnell Mooney – WR Chicago Bears
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 51
Current Rank: 14
Week 15 Projection: 9.70
Week 15 Actual: 16.50
Season to Date Actual: 123.70
Weekly Average: 8.84
Week 16 Projection: 9.10

Darnell Mooney caught 4-of-5 targets for 49 yards and one touchdown in the Bears’ Week 15 win over the Vikings. A few weeks back I wrote Mooney off as nothing but a dynasty bench stash. I may have sold the rookie a little short as he has been somewhat flex worthy in recent weeks. He has been a low-volume player all year with Allen Robinson dominating targets and that is ultimately tough to trust.

In Week 16, the Bears get the Jaguars another good matchup. In your championship final however he needs to sit. If you have a finals worthy roster, you should be able to do better, and this is a game the Bears should dominate on the ground. Mooney at this stage is the Bears No.2 WR barring any offseaon moves.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 08: Jerry Jeudy #10 of the Denver Broncos makes a reception against Kendall Sheffield #20 of the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16

Jerry Jeudy – WR Denver Broncos
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 7
Current Rank: 15
Week 15 Projection: 11.00
Week 15 Actual: 2.90
Season to Date: 118.50
Weekly Average: 8.46
Week 16 Projection: 10.20

Jerry Jeudy continues to plummet down 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16 like a boat anchor to the bottom of the lake. In the past 5 weeks, Jeudy has scored a combined total of 17.30 PPR points. That’s the bad news, the good news is this rookie WR is still extremely talented. In 2021 with what we can only hope is a normal offseason and the return of Courtland Sutton, the Broncos offense and Jerry Jeudy should be much, much better.

Jerry Jeudy is a hold for you dynasty managers and a buy low for those of you who do not currently have him on your roster. He is easily perceived as a flop this year when compared to CeeDee Lamb as he was all offseaon. The reality is the two situations although neither ideal are vastly different. Jeudy is a talent you will regret giving up on.

Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 16
Current Rank: 16
Week 15 Projection: 8.80
Week 15 Actual: 9.40
Season to Date Actual: 116.70
Weekly Average: 9.73
Week 16 Projection: 7.70

Laviska Shenault caught 5-of-6 targets for 42 yards in the Jaguars’ Week 15 loss to the Ravens, adding two rushes for one yard. The Jaguars manufactured touches for Shenault, but nearly all of his opportunities were at or near the line of scrimmage. He is a dynamic talent with the ball in his hands but the Jags need to get him in space to maximize his skill set. Laviska is a low-ceiling WR4/5 option for Week 16 against Chicago, and should remain on your bench unless you are extremely desperate.

Tua Tagovailoa – QB Miami Dolphins
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 21
Current Rank: 17
Week 15 Projection: 13.10
Week 15 Actual: 19.70
Season to Date Actual: 113.36
Weekly Average: 12.60
Week 16 Projection: 17.10

Tua Tagovailoa completed 20-of-26 passes for 145 yards and an interception in the Dolphins’ 22-12, Week 15 win over the Patriots, adding three carries for nine additional yards and two touchdowns. With the Dolphins’ severely short-handed at WR, and Salvon Ahmed returning, they leaned on the run and had Tagovailoa manage this game. He failed to complete a pass longer than 15 yards in this one and he didn’t have to. He had an ugly interception in the red zone in the first quarter but made up for it and saved his fantasy day with his two rushing scores.

With DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki hopefully returning for Week 16 against the Raiders, Tagovailoa should have QB2 value if you need him in your super-flex lineups.

Gabriel Davis – WR Buffalo Bills
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 38
Current Rank: 18
Week 15 Projection: 9.90
Week 15 Actual: 3.80
Season to Date Actual: 111.90
Weekly Average: 7.99
Week 16 Projection: 9.70

Gabriel Davis caught 2-of-5 targets for 18 yards in Week 15 against the Broncos. He was very close to scoring in this one but was tackled just short of the end zone. Saturday ended a three game touchdown streak for Davis, who has stepped up down the stretch for Buffalo. His role in Week 16 could be even larger. With John Brown on IR and the uncertainty of Stefon Diggs and his foot injury, Davis could be in line for a big Week 16 role. It’s risky start in the fantasy final without a doubt, but one you might want to consider if you are looking for an upside play.

Cam Akers – RB Los Angeles Rams
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 7
Current Rank: 19
Week 15 Projection: 15.10
Week 15 Actual: 7.20
Season to Date Actual: 91.20
Weekly Average: 7.60
Week 16 Projection: 0.00 (Out)

Cam Akers rushed 15 times for 63 yards in the Rams’ Week 15 loss to the Jets. Akers added a catch for -1 yards. I am not sure what was more surprising, Akers failing to crush it in a great match-up, or the fact that the Rams actually managed to lose to the hapless Jets. One contributing factor could have been the early ankle tweak he sustained. Akers returned heavily taped after missing one series, but game flow got away from the Rams as they trailed 20-3 at one point.

The good news is, this remained a one-man backfield besides 1-2 Malcolm Brown third downs. Even with Akers’ brief absence, Brown and Darrell Henderson combined for four touches. The bad news is Akers has already been ruled out for Week 16. If you were leaning on the late season push Akers provided, you will need to look elsewhere in Championship Week.

KJ Hamler – WR Denver Broncos
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 25
Current Rank: 20
Week 14 Projection: 9.00
Week 14 Actual: 1.40
Season to Date Actual: 89.80
Weekly Average: 7.48
Week 15 Projection: 8.6

KJ Hamler caught 1-of-4 targets for four yards in Week 15 against Buffalo. Hamler wasn’t a factor in this one after going off for 86 yards and two touchdowns the previous week. The Broncos offensive line struggled to pass protect, and Drew Lock didn’t take any deep shots to Hamler. Hamler is always a threat for a big play, but his ceiling is limited with a rock bottom floor in this Broncos offense. Hamler at best is a WR4 with WR3 upside for a Week 16 matchup with the Chargers. I would suggest avoiding him in such an important week.

Thank you for reading 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 16. Good luck in Fantasy Finals everyone!

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