2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3
CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks downfield for a receiver in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 17, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3

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 offseason 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 a slower than their fantasy mangers are hoping for.

The 2020 Fantasy Rookie Tracker follows the fantasy production of the RotoHeat team’s consensus Top-20 Dynasty Rookie Rankings. In the initial installment of this season long series, I take a look at the Top-20, list their week one projection and give you my thoughts on their match-up. As the season progresses the Rookies will be re-ranked based on their year-to-date performance. We will 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

Joe Burrow – QB Cincinnati Bengals
Pre-Season Rank: 14
Current Rank: 1
Week 2 Projection: 14.7
Week 2 Actual: 24.54
Season to Date Actual: 41.86
Week 3 Projection: 17.1

If I had to sum up Joe Burrow’s Week 2 performance with one word, it would be impressive. Burrow completed 37-of-61 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns, adding seven carries for 19 yards and a lost fumble. He looks poised beyond his years, and the Cincinnati Bengals have to find a way to protect their franchise QB. Burrow is getting hit far too often and the leaky offensive line is making it near impossible for plays down the field to develop. Heading into Week three versus Washington, I would expect Burrow to exceed his projections and have another solid outing.

Jonathan Taylor – RB Indianapolis Colts
Pre-Season Rank: 1
Current Rank: 2
Week 2 Projection: 15.0
Week 2 Actual: 19.00
Season to Date Actual: 33.90
Week 3 Projection: 18.7

Jonathan Taylor rushed 26 times for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Colts’ Week 2 win over the Vikings, adding two receptions for nine additional yards. JT immerged as the clear #1 RB for the Colts in their first full contest without injured Marlon Mack. Taylor was routinely tacking on extra yards and looking faster and quicker than the Vikings defense. Taylor out-touched Nyheim Hines 28-1. Hines isn’t going to be limited to one touch most weeks, but Taylor has clearly established that he will be an RB1 going forward. In a plus match-up in Week three, against a Giants defense that has allowed 138 rushing yards/game, JT is a top 10 RB.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB Kansas City Chiefs
Pre-Season Rank: 7
Current Rank: 3
Week 2 Projection: 18.0
Week 2 Actual: 13.0
Season to Date Actual: 32.80
Week 3 Projection: 17.0

In week two, Clyde Edwards-Helaire fell victim to game script. It’s not often that the Chiefs are chasing points, like they were this past Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers. A positive to take away from this one was his production in the passing game. CEH was held to just 38 yards on the ground on 10 carries, but did catch 6 of 8 targets for 32 yards. Darrel Williams left with an ankle injury and should he continue to miss time, it further elevates CEH in the passing game. Up next the Baltimore Ravens in a game that although not an overly positive matchup should be a game that CEH gets upwards of 20+ touches.

James Robinson – RB Jacksonville Jaguars
Pre-Season Rank: NR
Current Rank: 4
Week 2 Projection: 9.7
Week 2 Actual: 21.00
Season to Date Actual: 31.00
Week 3 Projection: 12.0

It would appear that James Robinson is indeed the man for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The UDFA is averaging 15.5 PPR points a game through two weeks. Robinson had 16 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown and caught 3-of-4 targets for 18 yards in Week 2 against the Titans. The touchdown was the first of his career. In week three its hard to imagine that the Jags go away from Robinson versus the Miami Dolphins, in what is a very winnable game for Jacksonville.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 13: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3

CeeDee Lamb – WR Dallas Cowboys
Pre-Season Rank: 3
Current Rank: 5
Week 2 Projection: 13.0
Week 2 Actual: 17.50
Season to Date Actual: 28.40
Week 3 Projection: 13.6

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw for 450 yards and his leading receiver was CeeDee Lamb. Lamb caught 6 of his 9 targets for 106 yards in the Cowboys’ come from behind Week 2 win over the Falcons. Through two weeks Lamb is second in targets (15), catches (11), and yards (165), trailing Amari Cooper in all three categories. It’s another favorable match-up for Lamb and the Cowboys in Week three versus Seattle, in what should be another high scoring game.

Joshua Kelley – RB Los Angeles Chargers
Pre-Season Rank: 45
Current Rank: 6
Week 2 Projection: 8.3
Week 2 Actual: 13.30
Season to Date Actual: 25.30
Week 3 Projection: 10.5

It would appear that Joshua Kelley has a firm grasp on what was the Melvin Gordon role in the Chargers offense from a season ago. Kelley rushed 23 times for 64 yards in the Chargers’ Week 2 overtime loss to the Chiefs, adding 2 receptions for 49 yards. Kelley is the Chargers’ preferred short-yardage back, and is looking like quite the value in terms of where his fantasy managers drafted him. Fire Kelley up in Week 3, against a Panthers defense that is allowing 4.8 yards per carry season to date.

Chase Claypool – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Pre-Season Rank: 27
Current Rank: 7
Week 2 Projection: 6.5
Week 2 Actual: 17.80
Season to Date Actual: 24.50
Week 3 Projection: 7.6

Chase Claypool finished with 3 catches on his 3 targets for 88 yards and touchdown Sunday. His day was highlighted by the 84 yard TD reception. Similar to his week one outing, its the big play that is making Claypool desirable. Season to date Claypool has secured all 5 of his targets for 127 yards and a touchdown. He is a boom/bust play that I would leave on my bench, (unless stuck for a flex) in Week three against the Houston Texans.

Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR Jacksonville Jaguars
Pre-Season Rank: 15
Current Rank: 8
Week 2 Projection: 9.9
Week 2 Actual: 10.20
Season to Date Actual: 23.90
Week 3 Projection: 10.0

What I like about Laviska Shenault is his versatility, and apparently the Jaguars share my admiration. It was another high-volume game for Shenault, who had five touches and a touchdown in Week one. Shenault was used as a change of pace back to James Robinson and rotated in three and four WR sets. It’s going to be hard for Shenault to maintain much of a role in the running game behind Robinson, but his usage in the passing game is on an upward trend. Health has always been my concern with Shenault and if he remains healthy I see him assuming the 3rd WR role on a more permanent basis. For now he remains a flex play in a leagues with deep rosters. I would expect him to have a solid outing in a favorable match-up in Week three versus the Dolphins.

D’Andre Swift – RB Detroit Lions
Pre-Season Rank: 2
Current Rank: 9
Week 2 Projection: 8.6
Week 2 Actual: 12.20
Season to Date Actual: 23.50
Week 3 Projection: 9.4

D’Andre Swift didn’t do much in the rushing game for the second straight week. Thru two games Swift has 26 yards rushing on 12 attempts (2.16 YPC). He maintains his PPR value via the pass. Despite dropping a sure TD pass in week one, Swift has totaled 8 catches on 10 targets for 75 yards. The 17.5 points in the passing game are 74% of his season’s total. He has a ways to go before you can start him with any confidence. Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson would be goal-line vultures even if Swift’s role grows in ground game. It’s best to take a wait-and-see approach with Swift until his snap count increases. Hopefully that happens in a match-up against the fast-paced Arizona Cardinals.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 20: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at SoFi Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3

Justin Herbert – QB Los Angeles Chargers
Pre-Season Rank: 27
Current Rank: 10
Week 2 Projection: 0
Week 2 Actual: 23.24
Season to Date Actual: 23.24
Week 2 Projection: 16.0

Justin Herbert had a surprise start in Week two versus the Kansas City Chiefs and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Herbert was one bad decision away from a performance rating that matches his uniform number. He connected on 22 of his 33 passes for 311 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the Chargers’ Week 2 overtime loss to the Chiefs, adding 18 yards and a score as a rusher. The one interception was costly and his lone miscue. Herbert certainly has the tools to be a franchise quarterback if he can limit his mistakes. He certainly appears to offer the Chargers much more than the injured Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is week to week with a chest injury, Normally I would suggest limiting Hebert to starting in two QB or Super-flex leagues, but in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers he is all systems go in all formats.

J.K. Dobbins – RB Baltimore Ravens
Pre-Season Rank: 4
Current Rank: 11
Week 2 Projection: 11.6
Week 2 Actual: 7.10
Season to Date Actual: 21.30
Week 3 Projection: 7.6

J.K. Dobbins rushed two times for 48 yards, catching one ball for 13 yards in Baltimore’s Week 2 win over the Texans. Dobbins was out-carried 10 to 2 by Gus Edwards and 9 to 2 by Mark Ingram but averaged 20.3 yards per touch in his role. His lone highlight was a 44-yard run up the middle as Baltimore cruised to victory over the Houston Texans. Entering Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs I would expect Dobbins to have limited touches yet again. He is currently averaging 2.13 points per touch, and that simply will not continue. Until his role increases Dobbins is staying on my bench.

Jerry Jeudy – WR Denver Broncos
Pre-Season Rank: 4
Current Rank: 12
Week 2 Projection: 12.0
Week 2 Actual: 10.20
Season to Date: 19.80
Week 3 Projection: 11.6

Jerry Jeudy caught 4 of his 7 targets for 62 yards in the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He continues to be involved after hauling in 4 of 8 targets for 56 yards in Week one. Jeudy missed some time in the first half after taking a hard hit on an catch, in the middle of the field. Thankfully he was able to return for a Broncos team that lost their #1WR for the season and their starting QB for upwards of 6 weeks. Jeudy will benefit from the injury to Courtland Sutton and is perhaps the Broncos new #1 WR. It remains to be seen if he will benefit from the move to Jeff Driskel at QB. If you can get away from starting Jeudy in week three I would recommend that you do.

Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears
Pre-Season Rank: NR
Current Rank: 13
Week 2 Projection: 0
Week 2 Actual: 12.60
Season to Date Actual: 19.40
Week 3 Projection: 5.6

Darnell Mooney caught all three of his targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in the Bears’ Week 2 win over the Giants.
The rookie for reasons unknown has played ahead of Anthony Miller as the #2 WR behind Allen Robinson through two weeks. He has six catches for 74 yards and the one score against the Lions and Giants. Mooney is worth an add off your waiver wire, but he is hard to trust in a sputtering offense that has averaged 22 points a game. The week three match-up vs. the Falcons however might just be too juicy of a match-up to pass up.

Antonio Gibson – RB Washington Football Team
Pre-Season Rank: 31
Current Rank: 14
Week 2 Projection: 10.5
Week 2 Actual: 12.20
Season to Date Total: 18.60
Week 3 Projection: 11.6

Antonio Gibson rushed 13 times for 55 yards and a touchdown in Washington’s Week 2 loss to the Cardinals, adding a reception for -1 yard. He led Washington in rushing attempts, averaged 4.2 yards per carry and was the team’s goal line back. Gibson took another step towards weekly fantasy relevance in Week two against Arizona. I am not quite there yet in terms of comfort with Gibson, but a few more weeks like this one and I will be fine with him in my flex spot. He will be in the consideration in week 3 against the Cleveland Browns.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 20: Quintez Cephus #87 of the Detroit Lions catches a pass in front of Raven Greene #24 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3

Quintez Cephus – WR Detroit Lions
Pre-Season Rank: 25
Current Rank: 15
Week 2 Projection: 5.80
Week 2 Actual: 8.40
Season to Date Actual: 15.70
Week 3 Projection: 6.4

Quintez Cephus caught 3 of 3 targets for 54 yards in the Lions’ Week 2 loss to the Packers. The 3 for 3 was an big improvement on the 3 catches on 10 targets in Week one. With Kenny Golladay looking like he will be back in week three, It should push Cephus to the sidelines. He is a WR that I wouldn’t hesitate to drop in Redraft if it means finding a replacement for an injured asset on your fantasy roster. As a Dynasty asset he should remain on your bench or taxi squad.

Zach Moss – RB Buffalo Bills
Pre-Season Rank: 13
Current Rank: 16
Week 2 Projection: 10.7
Week 2 Actual: 3.70
Season to Date Actual: 15.40
Week 3 Projection: 0

Zack Moss rushed eight times for 37 yards in Buffalo’s Week 2 win over the Dolphins. Devin Singletary out-touched Moss again 12-8. In addition Moss did not see a target in the passing game. Singletary has now out-touched Moss 26-20 on the year, and Moss has totaled 64 yards in two gmaes. If not for his week 1 touchdown, Moss would no fantasy relevance. He should be stashed but he is a far cry from someone I would be looking to start in the near future. Moss was ruled out on Friday.

Jalen Reagor – WR Philadelphia Eagles
Pre-Season Rank: 9
Current Rank: 17
Week 2 Projection: 9.1
Week 2 Actual: 8.10
Season to Date Actual: 14.60
Week 3 Projection: 0

Jalen Reagor played 85 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 2 against the Rams, the highest rate among Eagles wideouts. Pretty impressive for a rookie that missed a big chunk of training camp. He ran 61 routes against the Rams, 15 more than what he ran in Week 1 against Washington. It is only a matter of time until he is the #1 WR in Philadelphia. The Eagles as an offense need to get it together, especially the play from QB Carson Wentz for Reagor to see his full potential. Week three should be a solid opportunity for Reagor and the Eagles to right the ship versus Cincinnati’s weak secondary. Reagor was placed on IR and is expected to be out multiple weeks with a thumb injury.

Van Jefferson- WR Los Angles
Pre-Season Rank: 47
Current Rank: 18
Week 2 Projection: 6.8
Week 2 Actual: 8.40
Season to Date Actual: 12.50
Week 3 Projection: 7.6

Van Jefferson caught 4-of-5 targets for 45 yards in the Rams’ Week 2 win over the Eagles. He mixed in a 1 yard run as well. Van is slowly solidifying his role as the Rams #3 WR. Jefferson once again out-targeted and out-produced Josh Reynolds With Jared Goff spreading the ball around more than ever, Jefferson will struggle to be a dependable starter this season, but he’s a great player to have on your bench. Van Jefferson is one injury away from fantasy relevance.

Justin Jefferson – WR Minnesota Vikings
Pre-Season Rank: 8
Current Rank: 19
Week 2 Projection: 7.3
Week 2 Actual: 8.40
Season to Date Actual: 12.00
Week 3 Projection: 8.2

Somehow Justin Jefferson’s, 3 catch 44 yard effort this past Sunday, led the Vikings in receiving yards. Playing in an offense void of weapons, Jefferson is likely going to be somewhat involved, with Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Irv Smith. It’s hard to find a Viking you can trust to start each week, and two weeks in, JJ is certainly not one of them.

Freddie Swain
Pre-Season Rank: NR
Current Rank: 20
Week 2 Projection: 0
Week 2 Actual: 9.10
Season to Date Actual: 11.80
Week 3 Projection: 2.7

Freddie Swain had 1 target, 1 reception and 1 touchdown in the Seahawks 35-30 win over the New England Patriots. Swain took a swing pass from QB Russell Wilson and turned it into a 21 yard TD reception. In two weeks Swain, the 6th round selection out of Florida has 3 receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown. Swain is a nice taxi squad player and that’s about all at this stage of his young career.

Thank you for reading 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 2. Good luck in Week 2 everyone!

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