2015 Fantasy Football: Week 11 Rookie Report
Jameis Winston – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston had one of the best outings by a rookie in the history of the NFL last week. Much like Marucs Mariota in week one against Winston and the Bucs, Winston threw four touchdowns in the first half, but added one more to total five on the day. The Buccaneers are now 5-5 on the year and could make a serious playoff push with the remaining schedule that they have. Winston continues to prove that he is a winner no matter the level of football that he plays.
Winston had not thrown a touchdown pass since week eight against the Atlanta Falcons, but he went off in week 11 throwing for 246 yards and five scores. The five touchdowns look great, but the game ball should go to Doug Martin, who ran for 235 yards and put the Buccaneers in position to score with multiple long runs where he was caught inside the 10 yard line, making it an easy pitch and catch for Winston. That doesn’t take away from Winston’s game, as he did everything he was asked and did so without turning the ball over. Winston is still just 24.6% owned in ESPN leagues and could be worth taking a flier on if you need quarterback help.
Marcus Mariota – QB – Tennessee Titans
One of the main differences between Wintson and Mariota this season has been the supporting cast that these two quarterbacks have. Winston has Doug Martin, who just ran for 270 yards in one game, and Mariota has Antonio Andrews, who has 376 yards TOTAL this entire season. Jameis Winston has Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and Mariota, currently due to injury, has rookie Dorial Green-Beckham and Delanie Walker as his top two receiving options. Not to mention, the offensive lines protecting these two quarterbacks favor Winston and the Bucs as well.
Despite those things, Mariota has been impressive in his rookie season. He has shown outstanding poise, tremendous accuracy, and he is learning to take better care of the football in certain situations. When Mariota threw a touchdown pass in week nine against the Saints that deflected off of two Saints defenders into the hands of Delanie Walker, Mariota admitted that he was trying to throw the ball away but did not get enough on it to get it to the sidelines.
This past Thursday night, Mariota and the Titans took their chances throwing deep down field, but Mariota threw it just a little too far each time. Throwing the ball downfield is something that Mariota has not been able to do as well as Winston, but something he and the Titans have clearly been working on of late. Mariota did not turn the ball over against the Jags and did not have a passing touchdown, but he did post his first career rushing touchdown on a beautiful read option. If Mariota can continue to progress, just like Winston with the Buccaneers, they will both have long careers.
Todd Gurley – RB – St. Louis Rams
Gurley was held in check for the third straight week, rushing for just 66 yards on 25 carries. However, Gurley did reach the end zone for the fifth straight week, but he hasn’t seen near the success over the past three games that he saw in his first four starts for the Rams. His YPC (yards per carry) went from over 6.0 yards to now at 5.0 yards. Gurley’s 775 yards still lead the NFL amongst all rookies.
Thomas Rawls – RB – Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch has never had a game of 154 yards in his entire career. Rawls has done that twice this season as a rookie. Rawls has had just four games of double-digit carries this season, and has run for 100+ yards in three of the four games. Marshawn Lynch is still the guy in Seattle as long as he’s healthy, but for how much longer? Can the Seahawks rely on Rawls as their starter moving forward if Lynch were to leave town? We could be seeing the last of the beast mode era in Seattle with the resurgence of Rawls. He ran for 209 yards on 30 carries and added a touchdown in the Seahawks win over the 49ers and is just 171 yards behind Todd Gurley for the NFL lead by rookies in rushing yards with 54 less carries. Rawls leads the NFL with 6.0 yards per carry among rushers that have at least 25 carries this season.
Melvin Gordon – RB – San Diego Chargers
Who has been more disappointing this season: Melvin Gordon or the San Diego Chargers? I’m not sure there is a correct answer to that question. It’s been a season to forget in San Diego and a rough rookie season for Gordon. Gordon has is averaging just 12.9 attempts and 3.5 yards per game in his rookie season and has split a lot of snaps with Danny Woodhead. Gordon has yet to be a factor in any of the Chargers games this season, as they have been a dominant passing team so far this year. You can steer clear of Gordon for the rest of this season unless he has a breakout game and puts it all together one week.
Stefon Diggs – WR – Minnesota Vikings
Just like Gurley, Diggs broke out in his first four games for the Vikings, but has been quiet in his three games since. Diggs had six catches for 66 yards in week 11 against the Packers, in a game where the Vikings had a hard time moving the ball against the Packers defense. Diggs has emerged into the top receiving option for the Vikings and they have gone out of their way to get him as involved as possible. Diggs should see plenty of opportunity moving forward as he leads the Vikings in targets since week four.
Devin Funchess – WR – Carolina Panthers
There was a lot of speculation coming into this season about Funchess and his ability to perhaps replace Kelvin Benjamin as the Panthers top receiving option. It took until week nine for Funchess to have more than two catches, and he only amounted three. This past week against Washington, Funchess had a career high four catches. He also had 64 yards and a touchdown, bringing his total for the last three games to nine catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Funchess has developed into a nice receiving option for Cam Newton and the suddenly high-flying Panthers offense.