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Rookie Roundup Week 8

A look at the top-10 rookie performers from Week 8 of the NFL.

A lot of new names on the rundown this week and, with bye weeks happening, there are still plenty more rookies in this class for us to check out. Overall, the theme of this week’s list revolves around filling in for injured starters. Of the ten rookies in this post, about half are producing because of injuries ahead of them.

The information provided below is provided from FantasyData.com using their half-point ppr filter.

For this post, quarterbacks are not mentioned.

DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Stats Rushing: 18-41-1
Stats Receiving: 5-17-1 (5 targets)
Snap Share: 79.4%
Weekly Finish: 10 overall (RB4)

After being the fourth running back on your team’s depth chart, coming in and starting as a rookie is not ideal, but Dallas at least was a serviceable player for the Seahawks in Week 8. Dallas was a reliable target, displayed baseline athleticism, and did not fumble the job away. With Carson, Hyde, and Penny all due back soon, Dallas needs to enjoy the spotlight while he has it.

Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

Stats Rushing: 14-81-2
Stats Receiving: 0-0-0 (1 targets)
Snap Share: 53.4%
Weekly Finish: 11 overall (RB5)

The Buffalo backfield is such an interesting case study. For the Bills, the higher leverage opportunities are going to the rookie. Moss has two games with three or more targets on the season and has more touchdowns than Devin Singletary. On film, Moss shows build up speed, decent feet, and excellent vision between the tackles. He will not beat defenders to the corner, but he will protect the football and grind out tough games.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Credit: USA Today

Stats Receiving: 8-91-1 (11 targets)
Snap Share: 90%
Weekly Finish: 15 overall (WR8)

Even before the injury, Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t doing Aiyuk any favors. Garroppolo was inaccurate with the football, but Aiyuk bailed him out with solid hands multiple times in this contest. Fortunately, with Nick Mullens at the helm, Aiyuk does not seem to be slowing down. Finishing Week 8 with a 17.5% target share, Aiyuk gets stud wide receiver volume, and Deebo Samuel still has time before he is scheduled to return.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears

Stats Receiving: 5-69-1 (6 targets)
Snap Share: 92.9%
Weekly Finish: 29 overall (WR18)

Mooney’s beauty isn’t just his speed; the beauty is that Nick Foles is trusting Mooney at all levels and areas of the field. On one play, Mooney can get behind his defender for a long gain, and on another, he is being trusted in the red zone by Foles. Anthony Miller will be annoyed and continue to pull targets away from Mooney, but Mooney has a quality floor and a WR1 overall ceiling on any week. Not bad for someone who was added off the waiver wire.

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Stats Rushing: 15-113-0
Stats Receiving: 1-8-0 (2 targets)
Snap Share: 65.9%
Weekly Finish: 42 overall (RB17)

He finally got his opportunity to be the primary ball carrier, and, outside of no touchdowns, he did not disappoint at all. Maybe the saddest part is that Dobbins only saw a 27.8 rushing opportunity share. On one run in the first quarter, Dobbins had the speed to get to the outside, strength to break a tackle, and amazing balance to keep his feet underneath him to gain yards after contact. This performance is exactly what we have been waiting for since his multiple touchdown game in Week 1. I hope Baltimore doesn’t try to limit Dobbins again when Ingram returns.

Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Stats Receiving: 3-16-1 (6 targets)
Stats Rushing: 1-6-0
Snap Share: 73%
Weekly Finish: 50 overall (WR26)

Welcome back, Jalen Reagor. The Eagles and fantasy football players missed you. Reagor had a healthy snap share in his first week back from the injured reserve and received 13% of the target share. The peripheral numbers are impressive. Outside of short work, there wasn’t much production in Week 8.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Stats Receiving: 6-78-0 (9 targets)
Stats Rushing: 2-6-0
Snap Share: 78.1%
Weekly Finish: 52 overall (WR27)

Higgins is a no-brainer start for everyone right now, and I don’t think people talk enough about how impressive this is. In one year, Higgins has managed to go from fourth on the depth chart to the primary pass-catcher used at all quadrants of the football field. A highlight play for Higgins came in the first quarter; Joe Burrow was rolling out to his right side after being flushed out of the pocket. Burrow throws the ball downfield, and Higgins manages to make a great concentration catch with a defender in his face and can get two feet down.

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Stats Receiving: 5-42-1 (9 targets)
Snap Share: 77.4%
Weekly Finish: 57 overall (WR32)

On his first reception of the game, Claypool made a tough catch and then had the ball ripped from his hands. The fumble was lost, but the offense did not go away from him. Through the rest of the game, Claypool’s touches were fairly easy catches outside of his touchdown catch. He and another receiver were stacked on one side of the formation, and Claypool broke outside. Ben Roethlisberger put the football over his outside shoulder, and Claypool made an impressive catch in the corner of the end zone.

JaMycal Hasty, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Credit: Draft Kings Nation

Stats Rushing: 12-29-1
Stats Receiving: 1-2-0 (1 targets)
Snap Share: 41.4%
Weekly Finish: 67 overall (RB25)

You want Kyle Shanahan running backs. We should always be willing to collect them all because they all tend to hit at some point. In Week 8, Hasty had his shot. On the day, Hasty had one run of five yards, and the rest of his carries were for four yards or less. It was a combination of problems. There wasn’t much room to work upfront, Jimmy Garoppolo was out of the game with an injury, and Hasty didn’t do himself any favors when he almost lost a fumble. It was an uninspiring performance. For now, Hasty will likely go back to the bench with the other runners on the team getting healthy.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

Stats Receiving: 4-73-0 (10 targets)
Snap Share: 89.2%
Weekly Finish: 70 overall (WR38)

I have been waiting for my chance to talk about Jeudy again because he is doing great work for the Broncos. On the season, Jeudy has played 72.6% of the team’s snaps and has maintained a 13.6% target share through eight games. On the season, Jeudy hasn’t played a game where he has fewer than four targets and goes against the top corners each week. He is playing exceptionally well for a rookie and could really take off in easier matchups.

The Breakdown

RB – 4 (34 total)
WR – 6 (43 total)
TE – 0 (3 total)

What a great week of unique names being added to the list and having the opportunity to dive into it. Week 8 has exemplified this rookie class’s depth and why dynasty owners were encouraged to stockpile 2020 draft picks. As a call to action, I would like to remind my readers to continue focusing on the big picture with rookies. While every week isn’t a gem, and they may have changing landscapes, it is important to focus on the long-term vision of your team build and not to be too quick to dump young players. Patience is key.

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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