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 5

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 4 Projection: 17.90
Week 4 Actual: 16.10
Season to Date Actual: 78.34
Weekly Average: 19.59
Week 5 Projection: 17.10

Joe Burrow completed 25-of-36 passes for 300 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the Bengals’ Week 4 win over Jacksonville. The win is the first of Burrow’s career after the Bengals tied the Eagles in Week 3. Burrow’s lone mistake was an interception that came in the end-zone on a forced pass to TE Drew Sample. Burrow has gone over 300 passing yards in three straight and is on pace for 4,484 yards with a 24:8 TD/INT ratio. The first test of his young career comes in Week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens defense doesn’t appear to be the daunting unit of years past, and Burrow who sits at QB10 entering Monday night should be a viable starting option once again in Week 5.

James Robinson – RB Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 39
Current Rank: 2
Week 4 Projection: 16.30
Week 4 Actual: 14.70
Season to Date Actual: 76.60
Weekly Average: 19.15
Week 5 Projection: 15.90

James Robinson had 17 carries for 75 yards and caught four passes for 32 yards in Week 4 against the Bengals. Robinson was heavily involved early but the Jaguars abandoned the run while playing from behind. The volume was still there for Robinson as he caught all 4 of his targets for an additional 32 yards. His day could have been a better if not for a holding penalty that whipped out a 40-yard Robinson is averaging 4.75 YPC and on pace for 1,784 total yards and 12 touchdowns through the first month of the season. He sits at RB6 overall entering Monday night and is a must start RB week in and week out. Week 5 is a dream match-up vs the Houston Texans

CeeDee Lamb – WR Dallas Cowboys
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 4
Current Rank: 3
Week 4 Projection: 13.80
Week 4 Actual: 25.20
Season to Date Actual: 65.20
Weekly Average: 16.30
Week 5 Projection: 13.70

CeeDee Lamb was my top ranked rookie entering the 2020 virtual NFL Draft. I slide him back to 4 post draft and right now I am wishing I hadn’t. Lamb caught 5-of-7 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas’ Week 4 loss to the Browns.
His first touchdown of his career was a wide open 43-yard bomb from Dak Prescott, and his second brought the Cowboys back to within three points. After four weeks Lamb ranks 3rd in targets, second in yards and is tied with Dalton Shultz and Cedrick Wilson for the team lead in touchdowns with two. The Cowboys defense is horrible and as a result they are tops in the league in pass attempts and passing yards as they scramble to keep up in their games. CeeDee Lamb is top-15 WR at the quarter pole and I see not reason why he wont remain going forward.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB Kansas City Chiefs
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 2
Current Rank: 4
Week 4 Projection: 16.80
Week 4 Actual: 12.10
Season to Date Actual: 63.30
Weekly Average: 15.825
Week 5 Projection: 18.0

Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 16 times for 64 yards, hauling in all three of his targets for 27 yards in Kansas City’s Week 4 win over New England. It was a boring performance in what was a boring game. I was encouraging to see CEH handle at least 16 touches for the fourth consecutive game (and 19 in 3-of-4). Expect Edwards-Helaire to be a top-10 RB in Week 5 against Las Vegas.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5
EAGAN, MINNESOTA – AUGUST 19: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings makes a catch during training camp on August 19, 2020 at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5

Justin Herbert – QB Los Angeles Chargers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 26
Current Rank: 5
Week 4 Projection: 19.47
Week 4 Actual: 24.00
Season to Date Actual: 62.94
Weekly Average: 20.98
Week 5 Projection: 16.50

Justin Herbert is doing everything in his power to make Anthony Lynn’s quarterback decision an easy one. With Tyrod Taylor, recovering from a punctured lung, Herbert has competed 77 of 107 passes for 931 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The most glaring stat of all however is the 0-3 win/loss record. As long a Herbert continues to lose football games the possibility of Tyrod Taylor keeping his job remains. There is no disputing that Herbert looks like the man for the job. In Week 5 Herbert and the Chargers face the New Orleans Saints and their banged up defense. If you need a starter in a Super-Flex or 2QB league, Herbert remains viable.

Justin Jefferson – WR Minnesota Vikings
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 8
Current Rank: 6
Week 4 Projection: 9.10
Week 4 Actual: 14.30
Season to Date Actual: 56.80
Weekly Average: 14.20
Week 5 Projection: 13.60

I downplayed Justin Jefferson entering Week 4, feeling that he would be hard pressed to repeat his big Week 3 performance. Turns out I was right, but Jefferson exceeded his projection and my expectations to the tune of 14.30 PPR points. Jefferson caught 4-of-5 targets for 103 yards in the Vikings’ Week 4 win over the Texans and played 77 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps. In his last two games combined JJ has secured 11 of his 13 targets for 278 yards and a TD. That puts him at WR4 over the last two weeks, and he is living up to his post draft hype for the Vikings. Two great matchups are up next on Seattle and home to Atlanta. Get used to starting Justin Jefferson weekly.

Jonathan Taylor – RB Indianapolis Colts
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 1
Current Rank: 7
Week 4 Projection: 19.00
Week 4 Actual: 8.90
Season to Date Actual: 56.00
Weekly Average: 14.00
Week 5 Projection: 15.90

Now, I am certainly not qualified to be an Offensive Coordinator let alone a Head Coach, but even I can see that Jonathan Taylor’s problem thru 4 games is workload. After Marlon Mack was lost for the season in Week 1 it appeared to everyone that Taylor was going to take firm hold of that backfield. After the Colts Week 4 win in Chicago, I am not so sure. JT had 17 carries for 68 yards on Sunday. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins combined for 18 carries for 39 yards. In a game that was perfect for a large volume of rushing attacks, Taylor’s volume was disappointing especially when he was clearly the best back on the field. Continue to insert him into your starting lineup, I do believe that sooner rather than later he is a consistent top-15-20 RB.

Antonio Gibson – RB Washington Football Team
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 19
Current Rank: 8
Week 4 Projection: 12.30
Week 4 Actual: 22.80
Season to Date Total: 54.40
Weekly Average: 13.60
Week 5 Projection: 12.30

Antonio Gibson rushed 13 times for 46 yards and a touchdown in Washington’s Week 4 loss to the Ravens, adding four receptions for 82 yards. The Washington offense mostly ran through Gibson in the first half. He was targeted five times, breaking off a 40-yard catch and run in the first half. He saw almost every goal line opportunity, which is extremely exciting for his fantasy managers. This was as good as we have seen Gibson look, he bounced a couple runs to the outside, displaying his speed and elusiveness. The Football Team coaches have said Gibson’s role will grow as the season rolls along. They weren’t lying. Gibson needs to be in fantasy lineups next week against the Rams. His pass game involvement keeps him involved in the offense even when Washington falls behind.

Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR Jacksonville Jaguars
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 11
Current Rank: 9
Week 4 Projection: 10.60
Week 4 Actual: 14.10
Season to Date Actual: 46.40
Weekly Average: 11.60
Week 5 Projection: 11.50

Laviska Shenault caught 5-of-6 targets for 86 yards in Week 4 against the Bengals. Shenault’s targets and yards were second on the Jags to D.J. Chark. Shenault took a hard hit late in the game but was never announced with an injury. He was however listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring injury. Wednesday missed practices are not overly alarming but it is something worth monitoring the remainder of the week. Shenault is in the WR4/5 conversation Week 5 against the Texans, if he is healthy enough to go.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 01: Jerry Jeudy #10 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass for a touchdown against Pierre Desir #35 of the New York Jets during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 01, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5

Jerry Jeudy – WR Denver Broncos
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 5
Current Rank: 10
Week 4 Projection: 11.40
Week 4 Actual: 14.10
Season to Date: 44.40
Weekly Average: 11.10
Week 5 Projection: 12.10

Jerry Jeudy caught 2-of-3 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ Week 4 win over the Jets. Playing with Brett Rypien was interesting for Jeudy last week. Rypien appeared to prefer Jets CB Pierre Desir, on his throws. He went over the top and stole the ball on his 48-yard touchdown catch. It was a disappointing night, finishing with only two catches in a game where both K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant departed with injury. Jeudy offers big-play potential for the Broncos, but he will be a zero-floor WR for this week in New England.

D’Andre Swift – RB Detroit Lions
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 7
Current Rank: 11
Week 4 Projection: 9.50
Week 4 Actual: 15.20
Season to Date Actual: 41.60
Weekly Average: 10.40
Week 5 Projection: BYE WEEK

It is becoming more and more clear with each passing week, that D’Andre Swift is the most talented RB in Detroit. His usage remains extremely frustrating for fantasy however. D’Andre Swift rushed four times for 22 yards and caught all four of his targets for 30 yards and one touchdown in the Lions’ Week 4 loss to the Saints. 8 touches is simply not enough. Kerryon Johnson was injured last in this one, and if Johnson misses time, it could open a couple more touches for Swift. The Lions have a Week 5 bye, so its possible whatever is ailing Johnson is healed by Week 6.

Tee Higgins – WR Cincinnati Bengals
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 15
Current Rank: 12
Week 4 Projection: 9.10
Week 4 Actual: 13.00
Season to Date Actual: 40.50
Weekly Average: 10.125
Week 5 Projection: 11.30

Tee Higgins is becoming more and more fantasy relevant with each passing week. He caught 4-of-7 targets for 77 yards in Week 4 against the Jaguars. Higgins stayed involved coming off a breakout two-score game in Week 3. He saw more targets than A.J. Green, with Green missing time in the second half with an injury. If Green misses time Higgins is a top-36 WR for me this week. If Green plays Higgins is a flex play.

Brandon Aiyuk – WR San Francisco 49ers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 13
Current Rank: 13
Week 4 Projection: 10.20
Week 4 Actual: 13.60
Season to Date Actual: 38.80
Weekly Average: 12.933
Week 5 Projection: 11.10

Brandon Aiyuk didn’t have many touches Sunday night, but man did he make the most of the ones he had. He had 2 catches for 18 yards and adding one carry for 38 yards and a score, one the play of the year. Aiyuk finished fourth on the team in targets versus the Eagles, behind George Kittle (15) and Jerick McKinnon (eight), and Kendrick Bourne (six). The 49ers’ run-first approach and the return of Deebo Samuel make him a WR3/4 going forward.

Joshua Kelley – RB Los Angeles Chargers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 27
Current Rank: 14
Week 4 Projection: 10.10
Week 4 Actual: 4.30
Season to Date Actual: 34.80
Weekly Average: 8.70
Week 5 Projection: 10.60

With Austin Ekeler likely headed to IR for several weeks, Joshua Kelley just got a whole lot more interesting going forward. Kelley rushed 9 times for 7 yards and caught 3-of-3 targets for 26 yards in the Chargers’ Week 4 loss to the Bucs. The Ekeler injury leaves Kelley as the 1A in a possible committee with Justin Jackson. The Chargers schedule is nice over the five games (@NO, NYJ, @MIA, JAX, LV). Kelley will be an upside RB2.

2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 20: Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) beats New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine (25) to catch the football for a touchdown in the second action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants on September 20, 2020 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5

Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: NR
Current Rank: 15
Week 4 Projection: 6.40
Week 4 Actual: 9.90
Season to Date Actual: 33.20
Weekly Average: 8.30
Week 5 Projection: 7.80

Darnell Mooney caught 5-of-9 targets for 52 yards in the Bears’ Week 4 loss to the Colts. The nine targets were second on the team to Allen Robinson’s 10. Mooney came into Week 4 with target counts of 3, 3, and 5. He has 13-145-1 after 4 games. He has settled in as the No. 2 option, ahead of Anthony Miller. This offense will struggle to support more than Allen Robinson. Mooney who is questionable in Week 5 with a should injury will be a low end WR5 type if he’s a go Thursday against Tampa Bay.

Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 40
Current Rank: 16
Week 4 Projection: 5.90
Week 4 Actual: 9.60
Season to Date Actual: 32.90
Weekly Average: 8.225
Week 5 Projection: 6.60

Gabriel Davis caught his only target and tuned it into a 26-yard touchdown in the Bills’ Week 4 win over the Raiders.
An underrated prospect who checked boxes analytically, Davis has looked the part early in his career as a valuable deep threat. The Bills are mixing in four-receiver sets, but he’s still off the fantasy radar with Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley all healthy. If one of them is to miss time, Davis is an intriguing. The Bills game is in question this week due to the Tennessee Titans Covid-19 outbreak. If the game is a go, Davis is likely best suited for your bench.

J.K. Dobbins – RB Baltimore Ravens
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 3
Current Rank: 17
Week 4 Projection: 9.40
Week 4 Actual: 2.70
Season to Date Actual: 32.40
Weekly Average: 8.10
Week 5 Projection: 8.80

If you thought D’Andre Swift’s touches were bad, J.K. Dobbins touches or the lack there of is enough to make you ill. Dobbins rushed five times for 16 yards in the Ravens’ Week 4 win against Washington, adding one catch for for one yard. Mark Ingram is the only fantasy relevant right now. Dobbins is a bench stash. Even if Ingram missed time, Dobbins would likely split backfield touches with Gus Edwards. 2021 is the year Dobbins should break out.

Chase Claypool – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 21
Current Rank: 18
Week 4 Projection: BYE
Week 4 Actual: BYE
Season to Date Actual: 27.90
Weekly Average: 9.300
Week 5 Projection: 5.80

Claypool had an unexpected week off thanks to Covid-19 and the Titans situation. The week off may have impacted his fantasy potential in Week 4 as Diontae Johnson was questionable coming out of the concussion protocol. With Johnson back for Week 5, Claypool reverts back to a boom/bust WR5/6 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Freddie Swain – WR Seattle Seahawks
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: NR
Current Rank: 19
Week 4 Projection: 3.50
Week 4 Actual: 5.20
Season to Date Actual: 19.30
Weekly Average: 4.825
Week 5 Projection: 3.10

Freddie Swain finished Week 4 with 2 catches on 3 targets for 32 yards in the Seahawks win over Miami. Swain had proven to be reliable when called up on this season. In four games Swain has hauled in 5 of his 6 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. Being in a Russell Wilson led offense is a good thing, but being the 7th highest targeted option just doesn’t cut it. If there is an injury to one of the Seahawks top three WRs, Swain might have some 2020 value. Until then keep him on your bench or taxi squad.

Harrison Bryant – TE Cleveland Browns
RotoHeat Rookie Ranking: 54
Current Rank: 20
Week 4 Projection: 4.20
Week 4 Actual: 7.70
Season to Date Actual: 18.90
Weekly Average: 4.725
Week 5 Projection: 3.30

Welcome to the top-20 list Harrison Bryant. Harrison Bryant caught 1-of-3 targets for a one-yard touchdown in the Browns’ Week 3 win against Washington. The Browns looked determined to get their tight ends — Bryant and Austin Hooper — more involved in the passing game last week, which was nice to see. I wouldn’t bank on that going forward however. Bryant won’t be fantasy relevant unless Hooper misses time this year

Thank you for reading 2020 Rookie Fantasy Tracker Week 5. Good luck in Week 5 everyone!

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