Let’s take a look at where some of the league’s rookie are through six weeks.
Marcus Mariota suffered a grade two MCL sprain in the Titans 38-10 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday in interim coach Dan Campbell’s first game in charge in Miami. Campbell raised some eyebrows when he was introduced as the interim coach of the Dolphins when he said he wanted his team to walk the line of playing dirty but didn’t want to cross the line. Marcus Mariota was the victim in the first game of this new physical style of play for the Dolphins, as he was sacked six times and hit twice below the knees.
Titans head coach Ken Wisenhunt confirmed the injury to the MCL and his status for week seven would be determined as the week progresses. As for the game, Mariota threw for 219 yards and a touchdown, but he turned the ball over four times (two interceptions and two lost fumbles). Mariota appears to struggle more and more in each game since his historic week one performance against the Buccaneers.
Melvin Gordon has been one of the biggest rookie disappointments when you factor in the hype before the season began. We may have been overestimating what Gordon was going to do for the Chargers this season in the first place, given their struggles on the offensive line and their pass first offense, but there is no question that everyone expected better that what he has given us through six weeks of the season. Gordon was benched for the second half of the game against the Packers after fumbling the football twice, although just one of them was lost. He carried the ball just seven times for 29 yards and did not record a catch. Danny Woodhead and Brandon Oliver handled the duties at running back for the second half against Green Bay. There are some serious concerns if you’re a Gordon owner and it doesn’t look like they’re going away soon.
Dorial Green-Beckham played 29 of the Titans’ 69 offensive snaps in week six (42%), which is easily the highest percentage of snaps he has seen this season. It’s only a matter of time before DGB becomes more involved in the Titans offense, as his numbers compared to the Titans current number two receiver, Harry Douglas, show that they need to be giving him an expanded role. Harry Douglas has been targeted 23 times this season on 228 offensive snaps, averaging 3.5 yards per target and has one touchdown. DGB has been on the field for 80 offensive snaps, has been targeted 11 times and is averaging 8.4 yards per target and has two touchdowns.
He has mainly been used as a red zone option in the first five games of the season, but in week six DGB had a career high with three catches for 57 yards. DGB’s stats compared to their number two receiver, Douglas, should mean that he will continue to see more and more opportunity. However, Mariota had a pass nearly intercepted in the first quarter against the Dolphins on a third down play because of some confusion on Green-Beckham’s part and not coming back to the football on one of his routes. The Titans have been very outspoken about the development of his raw talent and that they want to bring him along slowly, considering he hadn’t played a meaningful football game in over a year coming into his rookie season.
Ameer Abdullah had a career high 14 carries in the Lions first win of the season against the Bears on Sunday, despite missing most of the second half. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that Abdullah sat because of a stinger in his arm and is considered questionable for week seven. It’s unfortunate luck for Abdullah and his fantasy owners, as Joique Bell and Zach Zenner were both out of the game due to injury, which left Abdullah and Riddick as the only two backs on the roster.
Abdullah’s main concern, other than his size, coming in to the NFL was his troubles with fumbling the football, and that has come to life here in the last two games. He now has four lost fumbles this season and three alone in the last two games. He will continue to be a good option in PPR leagues moving forward, especially if Joique Bell misses more time with his ankle injury. The Lions host the Vikings in week seven, but Abdullah had just nine yards on six carries and one catch for nine yards the last time these teams played in week two.
Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 129 yards in week six against the Chiefs, which followed a six catch for 87 yard performance before the team’s bye week in week four against the Broncos. He failed to record a catch in the first three games of the season, but has really come alive in games four and five for Minnesota. Charles Johnson has not played in these last two games because of a rib injury, which has given Diggs his opportunity to shine, but he has made the most of it. Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph are the only other options in the passing game for Teddy Bridgewater, making Diggs an intriguing sleeper the rest of the way for the Vikings.
There are a lot of rookies that are dealing with injuries right now across the NFL, as T.J. Yeldon, Matt Jones, Ty Montgomery, Duke Johnson, Abdullah, Mariota, Karlos Williams, Zenner, and Tevin Coleman are all listed as questionable for their week seven matchup, just to name a few.