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Rookies

2020 Rookie Rundown: Week 7

A look at the top-10 rookie performers from Week 7 of the NFL.

Through seven weeks, eight rookies are in the top-50 of the skill position scorers, and there is room for more rookies to breakthrough. In Week 7 specifically, we not only see the top names continue to emerge, but we also see new names for the first time this season. The information provided below is provided from FantasyData.com using their half-point ppr filter.

For this post, quarterbacks are not mentioned.

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats Rushing: 22-119-1
Stats Receiving: 4-18-1 (6 targets)
Snap Share: 90.5%
Weekly Finish: 4 overall (RB2)

Robinson isn’t fancy, and that’s OK. He catches the ball well, falls forward at the end of his touches, displays a solid baseline of athletic ability, and holds on to the football. All things considered, Robinson is adding a lot to the Jaguars offense. However, this is the upside. It isn’t bad, but if you can cash out on him for a premium price, I would do so as soon as possible.

Harrison Bryant, TE, Cleveland Browns

Stats Receiving: 4-56-2 (6 targets)
Snap Share: 76.9%
Weekly Finish: 11 overall (TE1)

Harrison finished Week 7 strong and, with Hooper out for a while longer, has an opportunity to continue his strong play. On the film side, Bryant made tough catches, was an aggressive blocker and found the soft spot in zone coverage. On Bryant’s first catch, he was well covered but was against a smaller defender playing the inside. When the route broke outside, Bryant was in the perfect position to make the catch. His second touchdown grab of the game was a tough catch. The ball was slightly behind him and was placed perfectly between two defenders. It took great concentration to haul that ball in.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington

Stats Rushing: 20-128-1
Snap Share: 47.8%
Weekly Finish: 16 overall (RB5)

In a week where Gibson received no receiving work, he was still very productive. Gibson showed again his versatility, and you can almost feel the comfort level growing with him in the backfield, and the data supports this. Per FantasyData.com, Week 7 was Gibson’s highest team rush percentage and highest touch percentage on the season. Gibson’s utilization is trending upwards, and is solidifying himself as the workhorse in the backfield.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Stats Rushing: 1-7-0
Stats Receiving: 5-71-1 (5 targets)
Snap Share: 84%
Weekly Finish: 26 overall (WR15)

There are little signs of an upward trend each week from Tee Higgins. At first, we saw an elevated snap share, then we saw his target share increase, and now everything is coming together. Higgins is on the field for over 80% of the team’s offensive snaps, and when his target share is below 10%, Joe Burrow is still finding Higgins in high-value situations. This is a leap I didn’t expect to see from Higgins in his rookie year.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Stats Receiving: 6-115-0 (7 targets)
Snap Share: 75.8%
Weekly Finish: 32 overall (WR20)

With another injury to Deebo Samuel, the runway looks clear for Aiyuk to surpass expectations for the remainder of the season. Even more encouraging, the 49ers are finding ways to manufacture touches so Aiyuk can use his impressive athleticism after the catch. Projecting the rest of the season, Aiyuk has a great opportunity to be above a 15% target share and continue being a full-time player.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cleveland Browns

Stats Receiving: 3-56-1 (3 targets)
Snap Share: 69.2%
Weekly Finish: 46 overall (WR27)

I have mixed feelings on Donovan Peoples-Jones (DPJ), and I’m not sure he will be a regular staple in this column. DPJ was involved later in the game when Odell Beckham went out, but the Browns, according to sharpfootballstats.com, only run 43% of the time in 1-1 personnel, one tight end and three wide receivers, 29th in the NFL. Looking closer at the film, DPJ had two receptions from Baker Mayfield and one from Jarvis Landry on a trick play. The two receptions from Mayfield were both on the final drive of the game. The first was a play where Mayfield played backyard football and just got the ball off before being brought down. The second reception was the game-winning touchdown. He turned his head at just the perfect moment and made a great concentration catch. Even after this great performance, I question how much playing time is on the table for DPJ.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB Kansas City Chiefs

Stats Rushing: 8-46-1
Stats Receiving: 1-17-0 (1 targets)
Snap Share: 52.9%
Weekly Finish: 48 overall (RB15)

This is a nightmare scenario for contending dynasty rosters who have Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH). In Week 7, CEH had his lowest snap share and second-lowest rush share of the season, and it was only Le’Veon Bell’s first week on the roster. Obviously, I don’t want to evoke panic, but I don’t know where the silver lining will be for this season.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

Stats Rushing: 9-27-1
Stats Receiving: 4-21-0 (5 targets)
Snap Share: 45.2%
Weekly Finish: 48 overall (RB16)

Everything is trending positively for Swift over the last couple of weeks; maybe the Detroit Lions’ coaches are reading this right now. Over the last two weeks, Swift has seen his highest snap share and utilization rates. On the film side, Swift looks great. He has accumulated a 17.9% target share, 25 targets, and has five touchdowns on the season. Unfortunately, Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson aren’t going anywhere, and the ceiling will remain limited, but Swift’s usage in the passing game helps.

La’Mical Perine, RB, New York Jets

Stats Rushing: 11-39-1
Stats Receiving: 2-16-0 (3 targets)
Snap Share: 70.2%
Weekly Finish: 54 overall (RB19)

I am excited to see Perine join this list. Over the last couple of weeks, Perine has seen his snap share, and team utilization hit season highs. As the Jets try to evaluate their roster, it would be no surprise to see this upward trajectory continue and for even better weeks to be ahead. In the film, Perine has been just as impressive. He catches the ball very well, as we saw him do in college; he is strong at the point of contact and shows good burst and long speed once the ball is in his hands.

Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints

Stats Receiving: 8-75-0 (10 targets)
Snap Share: 72.9%
Weekly Finish: 22 overall (WR10)

There was a hole in the Saints receiving group that someone needed to answer. Emmanuel Sanders missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19, and Michael Thomas is either injured or being shopped on the trade market, and the Saints don’t want him injured. Either way, Callaway stepped in and showed trust in the rookie. Unfortunately for Callaway, Week 7 could have been great if it weren’t for a penalty call on a touchdown reception. I would remain tepid with bids on Callaway on the waiver wire since he is dealing with an injury.

The Breakdown

RB – 5 (30 total)
WR – 4 (37 total)
TE – 1 (3 total)

It is exciting to see new names come through this week and to share thoughts on them. These new names help exemplify how great this rookie class is and how one draft class can change our dynasty rosters.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you found any of the information in this article useful, give me a follow on Twitter @TimNFL. More great pieces can be found on the Dynasty Nerds website, and don’t forget to subscribe to the DynastyGM. For the price of a cup of coffee, you can see how your team measures up against your league, find a trade partner, and more. Enjoy seamless integration with MFL, Fleaflicker, Sleeper, as well as manual input for other platforms.

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