The Rookie Report: Week 15

Dec 21, 2021
The Rookie Report: Week 15

In Fantasy Football, rookies are often the most confusing players to evaluate. Due to their inexperience and lack of sample size in the NFL, they are susceptible to inconsistency and volatility, creating chaos for your fantasy team. To help get a better understanding of how to deal with rookies, each week, I’ll be writing a column breaking down some of the most important rookies for fantasy and helping you decide how to value these players moving forward. Welcome to the Rookie Report.

Notes: Touches for running backs are calculated by adding carries and targets.

Quarterbacks

Rookie QB Week 15 Stats (Season AVG in Parentheses)
Player Attempts Pass. Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Fantasy Points Rank
Trevor Lawrence 38 (36) 210 (210.36) 0 (0.79) 0 (1) 10.5 (11.44) QB18
Zach Wilson 23 (30.8) 170 (191.1) 1 (0.9) 0 (1.1) 12 (10.54) QB15
Mac Jones 45 (30.6) 299 (226.29) 2 (1.29) 2 (0.71) 17.16 (13.34) QB8

Note: Bears rookie QB Justin Fields was not included in the initial publishing of this article as he played on Monday Night.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

Lawrence did not get a boost following the firing of Urban Meyer, as the former #1 overall pick was once again nothing special in the Jaguars’ loss. Lawrence can be left on the waiver wire for the last few weeks of the fantasy season.

Zach Wilson, Jets

Wilson continues to not look like a starting quarterback in the NFL. This week, he threw for under 200 yards and had zero touchdowns in the Jets loss, and was sacked six times. He’s nowhere fantasy-relevant for the rest of 2021.

Trey Lance, 49ers

Lance continues to be the backup quarterback for the 49ers, and will not be fantasy-relevant as long as that remains.

Mac Jones, Patriots

Mac was able to have a solid fantasy performance as the Patriots were in a large deficit versus the Colts and thus forced to throw. However, despite the solid outing, Mac is an extremely risky fantasy option for the playoffs (especially against Buffalo next week) and is better off being left on waiver wires.

Running Backs

Rookie RB Week 15 Stats (Season AVG in Parentheses)
Player Touches Rush. Yards Touchdowns Fantasy Points Rank
Najee Harris 17 (17.8) 18 (63.64) 0 (0.64) 3.6 (15.3) RB39
Javonte Williams 19 (12.1) 72 (58.21) 0 (0.43) 10.1 (11.7) RB15
Chuba Hubbard 9 (10.8) 40 (38.46) 0 (0.31) 4.6 (7.0) RB36
Rhamondre Stevenson 11 (11) 36 (46.5) 0 (0.3) 4.5 (8.1) RB37
Michael Carter 10 (10.8) 18 (40.73) 0 (0.36) 2.5 (10.4) RB44

Najee Harris, Steelers

Najee was one of many rookie skill position players that were colossal disappointments this week. He had 17 opportunities but was only able to muster 26 scrimmage yards out of them. If you were able to survive the poor performance and are still in playoff contention, I’d still be rolling Najee out as a top-10 running back, but the disappointing performance couldn’t have come at a worse time for fantasy managers.

Javonte Williams, Broncos

Javonte was once again solid for fantasy, turning 19 opportunities into 81 scrimmage yards in the Broncos loss on Sunday. He is electric with the ball in his hands, and can safely be treated as a top-24 running back option for the remainder of the season. It goes without saying that Javonte would vault into elite RB1 territory if Melvin Gordon were to miss time.

Chuba Hubbard, Panthers

Chuba had a measly RB36 finish as Cam Newton looked like the top running option for the Panthers. He’s nothing more than a desperation FLEX option for the last few weeks of the fantasy season.

Michael Carter, Jets

Carter returned to action this weekend but was rather disappointing for fantasy. He averaged just 2.25 yards per carry and saw his lowest touch count since Week 1. It’s possible that he was eased back into action due to injury, but I’d be wary of starting Carter in the fantasy semi-finals next week. Treat him as a low-end FLEX option.

Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots

Despite Damien Harris missing Saturday’s game with an injury, Stevenson was unable to take advantage of the increased opportunity. He was stifled by the Colts' run defense early on, and was replaced by pass-catching specialist Brandon Bolden in the second half as the Pats looked to overcome a 20 point deficit. With Harris likely to return to action next week, Stevenson is a FLEX option for fantasy with a limited ceiling.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers

Mitchell missed this week due to injury once again and is currently listed as a game-time decision for the 49ers Thursday Night clash with the Titans. If Mitchell does come back this week, he can immediately be plugged in as a top-24 option at the running back position.

Wide Receivers

Rookie WR Week 15 Stats (Season AVG in Parentheses)
Player Targets Rec. Yards Touchdowns Fantasy Points Rank Target Share
Ja'Marr Chase 4 (7.29) 3 (74.14) 0 (0.71) 0.8 (13.9) WR82 19.5%
Rashod Bateman 2 (5.44) 5 (45.44) 0 (0) 1.0 (6.4) WR79 5.13%
Amon-Ra St. Brown 11 (6.69) 90 (46.23) 1 (0.15) 23.5 (10.75) WR5 42.3%

Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals

Calling Chase a disappointment this week is probably an understatement, as the #5 overall pick in this year’s draft had just one catch for three yards on Sunday. To put that in perspective, some receivers that have more fantasy points than him this week include Cody Hollister, Keelan Cole, and Andy Isabella. However, if you were able to survive the horrible performance, I’d still fire Chase up as a top-15 option—He still had a 19% target share, and with shoot-out potential matchups against the Ravens and Chiefs in the next two weeks, Chase could be in line for a couple of bounce-back games.

Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins

Waddle missed Sunday’s game due to testing positive for COVID-19, but can still be treated as a top-20 option at the receiver position for the rest of the fantasy playoffs—Waddle is the WR10 in Fantasy Points per Game since Week 6.

Rashod Bateman, Ravens

Bateman’s up-and-down rookie campaign continued this weekend, as the Ravens rookie had just five receiving yards. He’s far too unreliable to be confidently started in fantasy and should be treated as a depth option at the receiver position.

Elijah Moore, Jets

Moore is on IR, and won’t be eligible to return until Week 17 at the earliest. He’s nothing more than an IR stash in hopes of a championship week return.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions

St. Brown has strung together a trifecta of games that have launched him into fantasy relevance. He’s 2nd in the entire NFL in targets since Week 13 and the overall WR1 in that span. Because of this absurd amount of volume, St. Brown should be picked up by all teams still in playoff contention and is a FLEX-able player.

Tight End(s)

Rookie TE Week 15 Stats (Season AVG in Parentheses)
Player Targets Rec. Yards Touchdowns Fantasy Points Rank Target Share
Kyle Pitts 7 (6.79) 77 (60.5) 0 (0.07) 9.7 (8.6) TE7 24.1%
Pat Freiermuth 4 (4.57) 37 (30.1) 0 (0.5) 5.7 (7.8) TE13 16%

Kyle Pitts, Falcons

Pitts turned in yet another “fine” performance for fantasy, finishing as a top-10 option on the week with 77 receiving yards. He’s a low-end TE1 to finish the year.

Pat Freiermuth, Steelers

Freiermuth left Sunday’s game early with a concussion but was somehow still a top-12 tight end on the week. His red-zone prowess puts him in the low-end TE1 conversation as well.

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