The Rookie Blitz – Week 8 in Review

The Rookie Blitz goes beyond the box score to examine the fantasy football impact of each NFL Draft class.

Quarterback

Although it wasn’t the biggest fantasy output of his young NFL career, Sam Bradford turned in arguably his best performance (+5.1) to date against the Panthers with a 112.4 QB Rating and a 78.1% completion percentage. Bradford’s low yardage totals the past 3 weeks (all below 200 yards passing) limit his fantasy value, but he has thrown 5 touchdowns and no interceptions over that time without Mark Clayton.

Colt McCoy has been named the starter against the Patriots. In his 3rd start, McCoy will have the chance to show whether he is the Browns’ long-term answer at quarterback. In his first two starts, McCoy has surprised with a 65.3% completion percentage and 7.3 passing yards per attempt.

Tim Tebow scored his second rushing touchdown in Loudon with another likely box score: 2 snaps, 2 rushing attempts, 1 TD. Tebow has yet to attempt his first NFL pass. If the Broncos want to continue to use Tebow as a gadget player, they will need to let him throw at some point to add that threat when he is on the field.

The Max Hall experiment might be over in Arizona. Hall’s play has eroded each week to the point where he has the worst PFF-rating of all QB’s (-10.6, 65th). If Hall isn’t the answer at QB, the Cardinals will turn back to Derek Anderson (-8.5, 64th).

Running Back

Name Team Snaps Fan Pts Pass Run Fan Pts per Opp. Change
LeGarrette Blount TB 72 43 15 46 0.71 0.15
Ryan Mathews SD 160 66 59 78 0.48 0.02
C.J. Spiller BUF 128 44 61 32 0.47 0.02
Jahvid Best DET 327 128 186 94 0.46 -0.02
Chris Ivory NO 94 36 15 69 0.43 -0.05
Toby Gerhart MIN 73 21 36 19 0.37 0.13
Keiland Williams WAS 149 38 103 11 0.34 0.04
Deji Karim JAX 62 15 25 27 0.28 -0.02

LaGarrette Blount extended his rookie-leading 0.71 fantasy points per opportunity with his 120 yard – 2 TD performance against the Cardinals. Blount gave credence to this new opportunity metric showing that he was deserving of more playing time based on his small sample size of game action. Most of Blount’s playing time was in the second half as he showed power and determination on his way to 110 rushing yards after contact (5.0) with 7 broken tackles. Blount may have passed Cadillac Williams on the depth chart as he had more snaps and rushing attempts than the veteran. Blount isn’t the second-coming of Jerome Bettis, but he reminded me of former-Falcons running back T.J. Duckett in the NFL Draft process. Blount is a similar running back in style and body type to Duckett but could enjoy more long-term success.

It wasn’t the breakout game we were expecting from Ryan Mathews, but Mathews showed the burst on several plays that indicate big things are on the horizon. Although Mathews left for a portion of the game in the third quarter, he had the most snaps (28) and rushing attempts (15) of any San Diego back. If you are disappointed with Mathew’s performance to date, be patient. He has little trade value at this point and could still justify his lofty preseason ADP.

Jahvid Best remains an enigma. Best has had pedestrian fantasy production since his Week 2 outburst. Best remains a must start in PPR leagues because of his heavy involvement in the passing game and the chance that he could take any opportunity to the end zone. Don’t be alarmed by the heavy involvement of Kevin Smith (38 snaps to Best’s 44) –he is already experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired knee.

C.J. Spiller played 20 snaps in the overtime loss to the Chiefs, but it was Fred Jackson who played the majority of the game (78 snaps). Spiller isn’t getting enough playing time to merit a flex start in your lineup. He can be dropped in shallow leagues. Spiller still has plenty of dynasty value because of his playmaking-ability and Jackson’s age (29).

Chris Ivory couldn’t do much with his 14 snaps against the Steelers (7 att, 7 yards rushing), but don’t drop Ivory yet. Ivory started the game and his 7 attempts tied Julius Jones for the team lead. There are better days ahead for Ivory.

Toby Gerhart didn’t gain a yard in his two rushing attempts, but caught 5 passes for 67 yards (66 YAC). Gerhart got 23 of those yards on the final play of the game, although, he nearly scored on a 10-yard reception at the end of the 1st half, only to be tackled at the 1-yard line.

Wide Receiver

Name Team Snaps % TA/SN* TA Fan Pts Pass Run Fan Pts per Opp. Change
Demaryius Thomas DEN 102 24.5 25 50 66 2 0.73 -
Mike A. Williams TB 429 13.1 56 103 267 0 0.39 0.04
Dez Bryant DAL 272 16.5 45 82 219 0 0.37 -0.03
Arrelious Benn TB 118 9.3 11 21 59 2 0.35 0.07
Golden Tate SEA 118 17.8 21 25 75 1 0.33 -0.05
Jordan Shipley CIN 299 9.7 29 65 202 0 0.32 -0.03
Dexter McCluster KC 212 9.9 21 42 125 11 0.31 -
Blair White IND 94 11.7 11 19 66 0 0.28 -0.02
Riley Cooper PHI 84 8.3 7 17 62 0 0.28 -
Damian Williams TEN 147 12.9 19 26 94 0 0.27 -0.06
Brandon LaFell CAR 246 13.4 33 42 167 0 0.25 0.04
David Gettis CAR 321 10.9 35 53 206 2 0.25 -0.06
Seyi Ajirotutu SD 61 9.8 6 12 50 0 0.25 -
David Nelson BUF 148 16.2 24 32 135 0 0.24 -
Jacoby Ford OAK 168 3.6 6 13 65 4 0.18 -0.02
Andre Roberts ARZ 111 5.4 6 11 76 0 0.14 -0.03
Mardy Gilyard SL 153 9.8 15 12 92 0 0.13 -0.01
Stephen Williams ARZ 155 12.9 20 15 125 0.12 -
Max Komar ARZ 118 12.7 15 12 104 0 0.12 -

*Targets divided by offensive snaps. Minimum 50 snaps required

Demaryius Thomas didn’t see the field much in London (7 snaps), but took a bubble screen 31 yards with his only target to start the fourth quarter. Although Thomas has only participated in 11 offensive plays in the last two games, his small sample size has breakout potential written all over it. His offensive snaps should increase after the bye week.

Mike Williams continued his assault on Rookie of the Year honors with his first 100-yard receiving day against Arizona. Williams scored on a 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Already a borderline WR1 in deeper leagues, Williams is the real deal. Williams’ size and speed combination has translated well and the character concerns that dogged him while at Syracuse are a distant memory.

Dez Bryant has finally earned well deserved playing time with the struggling Cowboys. His 62 snaps (80.5%) were 4 more than Roy Williams received and it is only a matter of time before this is a permanent change. Bryant’s 9 targets were his most since Week 1 (13).

Arrelious Benn started for the second consecutive game. He caught his only target against the Cardinals on a 53-yard reception in the 4th quarter to the 1-yard line, which set up Blount’s second touchdown. Benn played a season-high 44.3% of the Buccaneers’ offensive plays, mostly on running downs (18 blocking plays).

Tight End

Aaron Hernandez had a quiet afternoon with only 2 receptions for 33 yards against the Vikings. The Patriots had a conservative game plan, but he did have a nice 27 yard reception on a wheel route from the back field. Don’t be quick to downgrade or drop Hernandez, every New England receiver had a lousy fantasy day outside of Brandon Tate.

Tony Moeaki was almost held without a catch until the game went into overtime. Moeaki had 3 receptions for 45 yards in overtime including the 11-yard catch that set up the winning field goal from Ryan Succop. Moeaki remains a low-end TE1 in PPR leagues, but he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3.

As Jermaine Gresham has improved as a run blocker the last two weeks (+4.9), his fantasy value has taken a severe hit. Gresham has only caught 7 passes for 43 yards in this stretch. Gresham has still been targeted only 5 times over 10 yards on the season (5 targets, 0 receptions, 2 drops).

Name Team Snaps % TA/SN* TA Fan Pts Pass Fan Pts per Opp. Change
Michael Hoomanawanui SL 73 13.7 10 16 36 0.46 -0.08
Rob Gronkowski NE 267 4.5 12 38 86 0.44 -0.04
Tony Moeaki KC 407 7.4 30 64 161 0.40 -0.03
Aaron Hernandez NE 323 11.5 37 71 199 0.36 -0.01
Ed Dickson BLT 168 4.2 7 13 40 0.32 -
Jimmy Graham NO 41 17.1 7 10 33 0.31 -0.04
Jermaine Gresham CIN 431 9.5 41 61 220 0.28 -0.03
Andrew Quarless GB 134 9.0 12 22 85 0.26 -0.03
Nate Byham SF 123 4.9 6 8 37 0.21 -0.03
Dennis Pitta BLT 25 12.0 3 1 7 0.16 -
Brody Eldridge IND 166 3.6 6 5 42 0.13 -0.01

*Targets divided by offensive snaps. Minimum 25 snaps required

Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @PFF_Fontaine

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