Let’s check in on some of the league rookies after Week 4.
Jameis Winston had a day to forget on Sunday against the tough Carolina Panthers defense, throwing four interceptions. He did throw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, but the four interceptions were just too much for the Bucs to overcome. The rookie from Florida State will look to get back on track as the Buccaneers will get the struggling Jaguars at home in their final game before their bye week.
Todd Gurley had an exceptional game on Sunday as the Rams were on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. Gurley carried the ball 19 times for 146 yards. Gurley did not reach the end zone, however, it was still an outstanding performance in what was essentially his first game as the lead back in St. Louis. Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham had just two carries each compared to Gurley’s 19 carries, showing what Gurley’s role is going to be moving forward. There is some concern with Gurley’s health in his knee after ACL surgery sidelined him for the end of his final year at Georgia and the first few games of 2015, so the Rams could still ease him in to the full workload and ride with the hot hand. But if he continues to run like he did against the Cardinals, he will prove to be worth the 10th overall pick the Rams used on him this spring.
TJ Yeldon had a great game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, which shows what he is capable of doing when the Jaguars are not trailing and they have the ability to have a balanced offense. Yeldon had 22 carries for 105 yards on the afternoon, and if he can figure out how to keep this up and get his way into the end zone, Yeldon could finally be the consistent back that Jacksonville has been looking for since Maurice Jones-Drew was their workhorse. Yeldon hasn’t been able to show much consistency so far in 2015, but if he can continue to get carries, he has the ability to put up the numbers to be a great RB2 or flex option every week.
Karlos Williams has a touchdown in every game so far in 2015 through four weeks, although this time it was through the air. LeSean McCoy sat out to heal his hamstring injury that he has been playing on since training camp, so Williams had the chance to be the lead back in Buffalo. Williams was a very intriguing option this week with McCoy out, but he had just 40 yards on 18 carries. He was able to add 30 yards and a touchdown receiving, however, and he will continue to work his way in to the Bills offense with or without McCoy in the lineup.
Amari Cooper continues to dominate his competition as the Raiders look like that have found themselves an outstanding wide receiver for Derek Carr to throw to for a very long time. Cooper had just four catches for 49 yards, but he caught his second touchdown of the season. Cooper is without a doubt the best receiver in the 2015 class and he is proving to be Derek Carr’s favorite target already just four games into the season.
Duke Johnson had a terrific game for the Browns in San Diego, but it did not come as a runner. Johnson had just eight carries for 31 yards on the ground, but added nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown through the air. Johnson looks like he is getting more and more comfortable in the NFL, being more productive each week, but he likely won’ become a fantasy stud anytime soon, strictly because the Browns have a lot of work to do on offense.
Nelson Agholor finally worked his way into the Eagles offense on some level on Sunday, with three catches for 64 yards including an incredible one handed catch. He did, however, mishandle the ball on a double reverse, losing his first fumble of the season. It was, overall, an encouraging game for the rookie out of USC, and if he wants to get involved in the offense more and more each game, he has to start somewhere. Agholor now has 100 receiving yards on the year through four games, which would put him on pace for a disappointing season of just 400 yards for the year. It is always tough to draft a rookie receiver like Agholor, because you never know what you’re going to get. Last season’s receiving class raised the bar about as high as possible when it comes to expectations, which allowed for receivers like Agholor, Devin Funchess, DeVante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham and Phillip Dorsett to be drafted a little higher than they probably should have been.
David Johnson, much like Karlos Williams in Buffalo, had a productive game on Sunday, but not on the ground. Johnson only carried the ball three times for just 18 yards, but had four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. It’s hard to buy into guys like Johnson and Williams because they don’t show that they are doing things that you can rely on every week, but the NFL is not what is used to be in terms of true workhorse running backs. Pass catching backs, especially in PPR leagues, are proving to be a valuable asset in fantasy football today. Just like CJ Spiller in overtime against the Cowboys.