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 4

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 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 take a look at the Top-20 ranked, 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 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
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 14
Current Rank: 1
Week 3 Projection: 17.1
Week 3 Actual: 20.38
Season to Date Actual: 62.24
Weekly Average: 20.747
Week 4 Projection: 17.90

Another week, and another impressive performance from the rookie Joe Burrow. Burrow completed 31 of his 44 passes for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns. Once again he deserved a better fate but was forced to settle for a 23-23 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles. Burrow was under pressure all day and took several hard shots. He is averaging over 47 pass attempts per game through three weeks and has some rushing upside to his game as well. He’s gets the Jaguars in Week 4, another plus matchup.

James Robinson – RB Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 59
Current Rank: 2
Week 3 Projection: 12
Week 3 Actual: 30.9
Season to Date Actual: 61.90
Weekly Average: 20.633
Week 4 Projection: 16.30

James Robinson rushed 11 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns in the Jaguars’ Week 3 loss to the Dolphins, adding six receptions for 83 additional yards. He played 30 of 66 snaps (45 percent) in Week 3 against Miami. It’s down from the 68% Robinson played in Week 1 and the 51% snap share he had last week. Robinson was about all the Jags had going for them in this one. He scored both of their touchdowns and led the team in receiving. His six receptions more than doubled his total from Weeks 1 and 2. If Robinson is catching 3-4 weekly passes, in addition to his expected rushing totals, he will be a locked-in RB2 who offers occasional RB1 upside. The Bengals’ terrible run defense presents a RB1 opportunity in Week 4.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB Kansas City Chiefs
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 2
Current Rank: 3
Week 3 Projection: 17.0
Week 3 Actual: 18.40
Season to Date Actual: 51.20
Weekly Average: 17.067
Week 4 Projection: 16.80

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is starting to become the back that he was advertised to be. The receiving game is starting to show up on his stat sheet with more regularity. After seeing just two targets in Week 1, CEH has been targeted 14 times the past two weeks. He had 20 carries for 64 yards and caught 5-of-6 targets for 70 yards in the Chiefs’ Week 3 win over the Ravens Monday night. Edwards-Helaire now has a pair of 25-touch games in the first three weeks, which is very encouraging for fantasy purposes. Touchdowns remain his area of opportunity as he has only scored once this season. If he continues to receive north of 20 touches per game the touchdowns are simply a matter of time. He will get another tough opponent in Week 4 draw against the Patriots, but I cannot imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t start him.

Jonathan Taylor – RB Indianapolis Colts
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 1
Current Rank: 4
Week 3 Projection: 18.7
Week 3 Actual: 13.20
Season to Date Actual: 47.10
Weekly Average: 15.700
Week 4 Projection: 19.00

Jonathan Taylor rushed 13 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis’ Week 3 win over the New York Jets.
Indianapolis opened up a 14-7 lead to close the first quarter and never looked back — hence Taylor’s lightened workload on the afternoon. He handled 13-of-29 backfield carries and 14 of the team’s 35 backfield touches, out-touching Nyheim Hines (14 to 11) for the second consecutive performance. Taylor has averaged 4.1 yards per carry as Indianapolis’ starter in place of Marlon Mack. He will get a much tougher match-up in Week 4 vs. Chicago, but remains a low-end RB1, as the position is injury depleted around the league.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 27: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings avoids a tackle by Kenny Vaccaro #24 and Johnathan Joseph #33 of the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter of the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jefferson scored a touchdown on the play. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4

Justin Jefferson – WR Minnesota Vikings
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 10
Current Rank: 5
Week 3 Projection: 8.2
Week 3 Actual: 30.50
Season to Date Actual: 42.50
Weekly Average: 14.167
Week 4 Projection: 9.10

Justin Jefferson caught 7-of-9 targets for 175 yards and one touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 3 loss to the Titans. Jefferson entered this one with five catches for 70 yards on six targets. There was talk all week, that the Vikings wanted to get the rookie more involved against Tennessee. Jefferson had over 100 yards at halftime and then roasted the Tennessee secondary for a 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter. His nine targets led the Vikings. Jefferson is suddenly very much worth rostering in 12-team redraft leagues and a solid Week 4 Waiver Wire add. There is some added complexity in regards to The Vikings availability this week due to the Tennessee Titans positive Coivd-19 tests. If the Vikings play JJ is in the flex conversation against Houston.

CeeDee Lamb – WR Dallas Cowboys
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 4
Current Rank: 6
Week 3 Projection: 13.6
Week 3 Actual: 11.6
Season to Date Actual: 40.00
Weekly Average: 13.333
Week 4 Projection: 13.80

CeeDee Lamb caught 5-of-6 targets for 65 yards in the Cowboys’ Week 3 loss to the Seahawks. Lamb was tied for fifth in targets with Cedrick Wilson’s surprise performance. Wilson should not be a concern for Lamb’s volume going forward. CeeDee has proven to be a solid contributor to the Cowboys attack in just three games. Lamb being the slot receiver in one of the top passing offenses in the NFL, is paying off for his Fantasy Managers thru three games and entering Week 4 versus the Cleveland Browns, look for him to continue his productivity.

Justin Herbert – QB Los Angeles Chargers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 25
Current Rank: 7
Week 3 Projection: 16.0
Week 3 Actual: 15.70
Season to Date Actual: 38.94
Weekly Average: 19.470
Week 4 Projection: 14.90

Justin Herbert completed 35-of-49 passes for 330 yards, a touchdown, with an interception in the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Panthers. He adding three rushes for 15 yards. Surprisingly the Chargers trailed the majority of this one to the Panthers leading to negative game script and the heavy pass attempts. Herbert was not as sharp as his debut, often checking down to Austin Ekeler and taking occasional downfield shots. Herbert’s presence is a big plus for Ekeler and Keenan Allen. I would avoid starting him in 1QB leagues this week against Tampa, if at all possible and fire him up as your QB2 in Super-flex leagues.

Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 12
Current Rank: 8
Week 3 Projection: 10.0
Week 3 Actual: 8.40
Season to Date Actual: 32.30
Weekly Average: 10.767
Week 4 Projection: 10.60

Laviska Shenault caught 5 of his 6 targets for 33 yards in the Jaguars’ Week 3 loss to the Dolphins, adding a one-yard rush. With D.J. Chark ruled out for this one, Shenault was expected to see his role increase. Instead Laviska was used less in the running game, and wasn’t put in position to make any big plays as a pass catcher. He was barely heard from in the second half as the Jags played from behind. The positive takeaway is that the receptions were a new season high, while Shenault has now reached at least five touches in all three of his NFL appearances. The Bengals are a positive Week 4 matchup, where I would expect him to be more involved.

Antonio Gibson – RB Washington Football Team
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 20
Current Rank: 9
Week 3 Projection: 11.6
Week 3 Actual: 13.0
Season to Date Total: 31.60
Weekly Average: 10.533
Week 4 Projection: 12.30

Antonio Gibson rushed nine times for 49 yards and a touchdown in Washington’s Week 3 loss to the Browns, adding three catches for 11 yards. Game script impacted Gibson’s second half rushing opportunities. For the second straight week, Gibson led the team in rush attempts, taking the goal line duties and cashing in for a touchdown. He fumbled in the closing seconds of the first half as he tried to get out of bounds, having a negative impact on his fantasy day. Gibson will once again be a flex option next week against the Ravens.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 27: Joshua Kelley #27 of the Los Angeles Chargers eludes Jeremy Chinn #21 of the Carolina Panthers during the second half of a game at SoFi Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4

Joshua Kelley – RB Los Angeles Chargers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 29
Current Rank: 10
Week 3 Projection: 10.5
Week 3 Actual: 5.2
Season to Date Actual: 30.50
Weekly Average: 10.167
Week 4 Projection: 10.10

Joshua Kelley rushed eight times for 43 yards in the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Panthers, adding two catches for nine yards.
Game script dictated that this was going to be an Austin Ekeler game versus a Joshua Kelley game. Kelley also fumbled on his best run of the day, perhaps costing playing time in the second half. When game script turns against LA, it’s clear Kelley will struggled to get sufficient touches. He’ll be a borderline RB3 in Week 4 against the Bucs, and I would be looking elsewhere if at all possible to do so.

Jerry Jeudy – WR Denver Broncos
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking:
Current Rank: 11
Week 3 Projection: 11.6
Week 3 Actual: 10.5
Season to Date: 30.30
Weekly Average: 10.100
Week 4 Projection: 11.40

Jerry Jeudy caught 5-of-8 targets for 55 yards in Week 3 against the Bucs. Jeudy played through a questionable tag but looked to be 100%. His eight targets were behind only Noah Fant (10). The Broncos moved Jeudy around a lot, using him both in the slot and outside. Jeudy’s quarterback play caps his upside, but he should be helped by pass heavy game scripts with Drew Lock sidelined, provided third-string QB Brett Rypien can move the offense Thursday night against the New York Jets accommodating defense.

J.K. Dobbins – RB Baltimore Ravens
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 3
Current Rank: 12
Week 3 Projection: 7.6
Week 3 Actual: 8.40
Season to Date Actual: 29.70
Weekly Average: 9.900
Week 4 Projection: 9.40

J.K. Dobbins rushed one time for six yards in the Ravens’ Week 3 loss to the Chiefs. He caught all four of his targets for 38 yards to lead the Ravens in receiving on a night Lamar Jackson threw for just 97 yards. Dobbins has just three carries over the last two weeks after scoring twice in the opener. He simply can’t be used in 12-team leagues as a fantasy starter right now, even ahead of a nice Week 4 date with Washington. With all the injures through the first three weeks, Dobbins should be stashed on your bench for the foreseeable future. In “normal” season we would likely be a players that could be dropped off your roster.

Chase Claypool – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 13
Current Rank: 13
Week 3 Projection: 7.6
Week 3 Actual: 3.4
Season to Date Actual: 27.90
Weekly Average: 9.300
Week 4 Projection: 6.20

Chase Claypool had one catch for 24 yards on four targets in the Steelers come from behind victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. His one catch was nearly enough for him to exceed his Week three projection as he fell just short of the pylon when reaching for a score. Claypool remains a boom/bust WR. In three games, Claypool only has 6 catches but he has turned them into 151 yards (25.16 YPR) and a touchdown. With Diontae Johnson (concussion) questionable, Claypool will garner interest on waivers this week. He is a solid stash in case he eventually takes the team’s No. 3 receiver job full-time. Until such time however he will remain on your bench.

Tee Higgins – WR Cincinnati Bengals
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 15
Current Rank: 14
Week 3 Projection: 7.30
Week 3 Actual: 21.00
Season to Date Actual: 27.50
Weekly Average: 9.167
Week 4 Projection: 9.10

Tee Higgins caught 5-of-9 targets for 40 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ Week 3 tie with the Eagles. It would appear that in three short weeks, Tee Higgins has taken the WR 3 role in this offense. The Bengals elected to make WR John Ross was a healthy scratch, Sunday, in favor of their rookie WR. Higgins entered the week with a total of 6 targets, 3 catches and 35 yards. He had a successful debut, and looks to be a deep flex option moving forward because of the passing volume in Cincinnati.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 20: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 4

D’Andre Swift – RB Detroit Lions
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 7
Current Rank: 15
Week 3 Projection: 9.4
Week 3 Actual: 2.9
Season to Date Actual: 26.40
Weekly Average: 8.800
Week 4 Projection: 9.50

D’Andre Swift was held without a rushing attempt in the Lions’ Week 3 win over the Cardinals, catching 1-of-2 targets for 19 yards.
Swift played all of five snaps in this one as Adrian Peterson led the way with 22 carries, and Kerryon Johnson pitched in with three of his own. It would appear that the lost time in training camp combined with the addition of Peterson is dramatically impacting Swift’s usage. He is firmly in the RB3 role currently on a team that’s RB1 is not overly appealing. Swift should be stashed on your bench in 12-team leagues based purely on upside, but the earliest he might be a viable asset for fantasy is likely following the Lions’ Week 5 bye.

Brandon Aiyuk – WR San Francisco 49ers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 13
Current Rank: 16
Week 3 Projection: 9.30
Week 3 Actual: 21.10
Season to Date Actual: 25.20
Weekly Average: 12.600
Week 4 Projection: 10.20

Brandon Aiyuk caught 5-of-8 targets for 70 yards and added 31 rushing yards and rushing score in the 49ers’ Week 3 win over the Giants. He was the 49ers leader in all receiving categories, including targets. Aiyuk’s target competition will ramp up quickly with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel closer to returning, but Aiyuk can be held onto at the end of fantasy rosters to see how involved he’ll be. There is certainly upside here, that may be on full display as the 49ers return home to host the Eagles in Week 4.

Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 43
Current Rank: 17
Week 3 Projection: 3.40
Week 3 Actual: 12.10
Season to Date Actual: 23.30
Weekly Average: 7.767
Week 4 Projection: 0

Gabriel Davis caught all four of his targets for 81 yards in the Bills’ Week 3 win over the Rams. Davis’ 39-yard reception down the left sideline early in the second quarter was the Bills’ longest gain of the day. With John Brown missing time due to a calf injury, Davis saw his most run of the season. Davis has been talked up all offseason by the Bills’ coaching staff and so far living up to his pre-draft rep as a big, strong outside WR. Davis would be in flex consideration territory should Brown miss Week 4 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: NR
Current Rank: 18
Week 3 Projection: 5.6
Week 3 Actual: 3.9
Season to Date Actual: 23.30
Weekly Average: 7.767
Week 4 Projection: 4.9

Mooney caught 2 of his 5 targets for 29 yards in the Bears come from behind victory of the Atlanta Falcons. Mooney continued to out snap third-year WR Anthony Miller (51-47). With the transition to Nick Foles at QB in Chicago I would tend to believe that Miller will reestablish himself as the #2 behind WR Allen Robinson. Mooney is a tough guy to value, as he has vastly exceeded expectations and still only has 8 catches, 93 yards and a touchdown on his resume through 3 weeks. I won’t fight anyone who wants to stash him on their bench, even though I would not.

Michael Pittman – Indianapolis Colts
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 11
Current Rank: 19
Week 3 Projection: 9.60
Week 3 Actual: 5.60
Season to Date Actual: 16.30
Weekly Average: 5.433
Week 4 Projection: 0

Michael Pittman hauled in 3-of-4 targets for 26 yards in Indianapolis’ Week 3 win over the Jets. Pittman left for an extended period following an ankle injury in the second half. Pittman had been seeing a lot of work in blowouts the past two weeks, which was expected to eventually become a larger role with Parris Campbell on IR. Unfortunately Pittman underwent surgery to repair compartment leg syndrome in his calf. His is expected to be out until Indy’s Week 8 game against the Lions. Michael Pittman can safely be dropped in all 12 team redraft leagues.

Quintez Cephus – WR Detroit Lions
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 37
Current Rank: 20
Week 3 Projection: 6.40
Week 3 Actual: 0.00
Season to Date Actual: 15.70
Weekly Average: 5.233
Week 4 Projection: 0

Quintez Cephus failed to see a target and only played 10 snaps in the Lions surprising win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The return of franchise WR Kenny Golladay renders Cephus fantasy irrelevant in 2020 barring injury to Golladay, Marvin Jones or Marvin Hall. Cephus if owned should be dropped in all redraft formats.

Thank you for reading 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 3. Good luck in Week 4 everyone!

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