The Rookie Blitz goes beyond the box score to examine the fantasy football impact of each NFL Draft class.
Sam Bradford continues to impress and it is looking more probable that he will be a top-10 dynasty QB. Bradford has even more room to grow and progress; he is currently only using about two-thirds of the field on his throws and only 12.7% of his passes by direction have gone outside the numbers to the left. The interesting thing to watch going forward is whether the Rams will limit his throws and reads to the right side of the field or if it is only a matter of where his favorite receivers are lining up. Mark Clayton (37 targets) has lined up primarily on the right at flanker, while Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson have lined up on the left at split end.
After taking a closer look at the numbers, it is clear why Jimmy Clausen continues to get the starting nod over Matt Moore. They are essentially the same player. The Panthers will want to see what they have in the rookie and determine if they need to continue their search for a franchise QB. Clausen got his first NFL touchdown against New Orleans after Jonathan Stewart was wide open in a busted coverage assignment.
|Name||Team||Snaps||Overall||Att.||Comp||Comp %||TA||HT||BP||SP||Yds||Yds / Att.||TD||In||Sk||DP||Rating|
Max Hall got his first extended action of the season in relief of Derek Anderson against San Diego. Hall displayed a quick release and mobility in the pocket, but was ultimately sacked 6 times in 20 drop backs. Hall has already been named the starter against New Orleans. Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells, and Tim Hightower will remain viable fantasy options going forward, but it is unlikely that you will want to start Hall at any point this season.
Despite all the preseason hype, Tim Tebow has not taken a snap since Week 1 as Kyle Orton (+8.7) continues his strong play for the Broncos.
Norv Turner eased Ryan Mathews back into the lineup after missing the last game and limited him to only 16 snaps. Mathews scored his first NFL touchdown on a run to the right side for 15 yards and showed great cutback ability on several other runs. Mike Tolbert will continue to take some snaps going forward, but Mathews flashed enough ability to be a weekly fantasy option for your team going forward.
Jahvid Best started against Green Bay and played in 54 of the Lion’s 85 offensive snaps. He was also relieved by Kevin Smith (29) for the first time this season. The injury clearly limited the explosiveness of Best, but he still contributed 88 total yards with 5 receptions.
Chris Ivory drew the start in place of Pierre Thomas and only played 17 snaps to Ladell Betts’ 60 snaps. Ivory fumbled for the second week in a row, but showed tough running with 43 of his 67 rushing yards after contact and two missed/broken tackles. It will be interesting to see how head coach Sean Payton utilizes Ivory with Thomas ruled out again this weekend.
I recommended C.J. Spiller as a buy low candidate this week after Marshawn Lynch was traded to Seattle and Fred Jackson being named the Buffalo starting running back. Spiller is tied for the team lead with receptions with 12 and will now get a better opportunity to run the football. For a player labeled as a speedster, 46 of Spiller’s 49 rushing yards have come after contact. This is more an indictment of the poor offensive line play than Spiller’s lack of talent or vision.
Joe McKnight, the much maligned running back on Hard Knocks, saw his first action of the season with 4 carries for 12 yards.
Demaryius Thomas turned in his third straight positive PFF rated performance against Tennessee. His fantasy value has been hampered because of the strong play of his fellow Denver wide receivers; he has only seen the field about 25% of the time in each of his first three games. The talent is clearly there for Thomas to be a great player; however, he is not ready to be a regular contributor to your fantasy team.
Dez Bryant used the bye week to rest his ailing rib injury. He remains the second-most targeted (20.6%) rookie wide receiver when he is on the field. Look for Bryant to become more of a fantasy factor going forward.
Jordan Shipley has seen his role decrease the last two weeks with only 3 targets in each game.
Stephen Williams and Max Komar, both undrafted free agents, are getting extended looks because of the injuries to Steve Breaston and Early Doucet. Neither play has shown enough to be a fantasy option.
|Name||Team||Snaps||% TA/SN*||TA||Rec.||% Ct||Yds||Yds / Rec.||YAC||YAC / Rec.||TD|
|Mike A. Williams||TB||176||11.9||21||12||57.1||139||11.6||59||4.9||2|
*Targets divided by offensive snaps
Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski will be the biggest benefactors in New England because of the Randy Moss trade. The Patriots have already indicated that the two tight end set will become their base formation on offense.
Hernandez is second on the team in receptions and leads the team in receiving yards. He will be used as more of a downfield threat going forward, and has already caught all three of his targets over 10 yards for 83 yards.
Gronkowski can also get vertical on a defense and is not limited to just a red zone option; he has caught three of his four targets over 10 yards for 52 yards. If you want to know how the Patriots’ offense will look going forward, just look back to the last two games for an indication. Randy Moss was only targeted a total of 4 times in those two games.
Jermaine Gresham has been a useful option in PPR leagues; however, he is not stretching the field as had been expected. Of his 24 targets, only 3 have been over 10 yards. He has not caught a targeted pass after 10 yards (0-3, 1 drop). The Bengals remain high on his future prospects, but he may not reach his real fantasy potential this year.
Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @PFF_Fontaine
*Statistics courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com