2015 Fantasy Football: Week 15 Rookie Report
Marcus Mariota – QB – Tennessee Titans
It was a short day for Marcus Mariota against the New England Patriots when he sprained his MCL in the first half after passing for just 32 yards and no touchdowns. It was later revealed that Mariota has a sprained MCL in his right knee, which is the same injury he had in his left knee in week six against the Dolphins. There have been multiple reports that Mariota’s rookie season is now over, as he will miss the final two games of the season because of the injury. However, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey noted that there is a chance he will suit up in week 17 against the Colts. It was a fantastic rookie season for Mariota, despite the team’s lack of success in the win column, and he is more than deserving to take home rookie of the year.
Jameis Winston – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston and the Bucs faced a tough Rams defense in what might be the final game in St. Louis for the Rams. The Buccaneers fell 31-23, but Winston threw for a career-high 363 yards in a losing effort. It was the first time that Winston threw for over 300 yards in a game, and he nearly reached 400 on 29 of 50 passing. Winston will likely edge out Marcus Mariota for rookie of the year, simply because he has played every game to this point and looks to be good to go down the stretch. It was a great rookie season for Winston as well, and he will look to finish with a bang against the Bears and the Panthers.
Todd Gurley – RB – St. Louis Rams
Despite not playing in the first two games of the season and not getting a start until week four of the season, Todd Gurley is now over 1,000 yards rushing on the year with nine touchdowns. Gurley was held to just 48 yards on the ground in week 15 against the Buccaneers, but he was able to reach the end zone for the ninth time this year in the Rams victory. Gurley has a tough matchup next weekend with a trip to Seattle against a stout Seahawks team that has won five games in a row. Gurley, however, can be relied on from this moment forward on into 2016 as one of the top running backs taken in the draft. Gurley has nearly 200 more yards than the next leading rookie rusher (Thomas Rawls).
Stefon Diggs – WR – Minnesota Vikings
It had been a tough stretch for Diggs and his fantasy owners since stringing together four great games in weeks four through eight. While Diggs had just three catches for 55 yards, he was able to find the end zone twice against the Bears secondary this week. He beat the Bears for six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown earlier in the year, and was able to do even more damage in the end zone this time around. The Vikings have been up and down this season, especially on offense, and they will look to keep it going in week 16 against the Giants poor secondary. Diggs has tremendous play-making ability when he has the ball in his hands, and maybe this game will rejuvenate him to get going like we saw from him earlier in the year. The Vikings are holding on the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC, making these final two games vital if the Vikings want to remain in the playoffs. They are going to have to get Diggs going on offense to create even more space for Adrian Peterson if they want any chance at continuing their season past week 17.
Melvin Gordon – RB – San Diego Chargers
It has been a rough rookie season for the first year back out of Wisconsin, who is now finished for the season due to injury. Gordon carried the ball 184 times for 641 yards this season and failed to record a touchdown. He is the only player in the NFL to not have a touchdown with that many carries, and he will not have the chance to break that in the final two games. It wasn’t just a rough year for Gordon himself, as the Chargers are sitting at 4-10 with just two games left in the season and a possibility of moving to Los Angeles looming. Gordon should still be a fairly high draft pick next season, as he should take on more of the workhorse duties in the San Diego backfield now with a year under his belt.
Amari Cooper – WR – Oakland Raiders
Cooper went over 1,000 yards receiving on Sunday against the Packers, which is the first time an Oakland receiver was able to do that since Randy Moss did so. Cooper now has 68 catches for 1,040 yards and six touchdowns on the year, and with the emergence of Michael Crabtree, it has only helped Cooper’s case and help him take some attention off of the first year wide-out from Alabama. It would not be a surprise to see Cooper come off the board even earlier next year than he was this year, as he and the Raiders offense is only going to get better moving forward. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree are still young players and will look to take the jump next season into a playoff team. Cooper exploded for six catches and 102 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers, and he will look to stay red hot in the teams final two games against the Chargers and the Chiefs.