Dynasty League Rookie Round Up - Week 5

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In this series, I'll continue to look at rookies from a dynasty fantasy football league perspective.

Last week, I highlighted some under the radar names you should be aware of. This time around I'll switch gears a little bit and talk about some of the outstanding -- and surprising -- rookie performances thus far this season. Of course, I'll also touch on the dynasty ramifications.

Let's start by looking at who is leading the way in targets among rookies at each position.

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Target Leaders

Somewhat surprisingly, the rookie target leader after four weeks is tight end Evan Engram. He was a top prospect, but even so tight ends usually take a while to become productive. It's especially surprising that he's averaging over two targets per game more than the top rookie wide receiver. You should be aware of the fact, however, that the Giants have had one of the best tight end schedules to start the season, but have one of the worst for the remainder of the year. If you own Engram, be excited about his early production, and don't fret any future struggles too much. He's bound to come back to earth a little bit. On the flip side, if you don't own Engram, wait for a few weeks of poor performance and try to acquire him.

There's a two-way tie for second on the rookie target leaderboard. Running backs Christian McCaffrey and Tarik Cohen each have 29 targets. No surprise as far as McCaffrey goes, but Cohen is an unexpected name. He's no longer under the radar, but he's still a solid hold and a definite acquisition target.

Finally, our first wide receiver shows up in fourth place: Cooper Kupp. No joke. Props to him and obviously hold him if you've got him. He's still got to compete with Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, not to mention Todd Gurley, however. I take his presence atop the leaderboard to be more about the rest of the rookie wide receivers than about Kupp personally.

 

Carry Leaders

Fewer surprises here, as Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook pace the rookies. Kareem Hunt sits in third, followed by Joe Mixon. Hunt's volume wasn't expected before the season but became obvious once Spencer Ware was injured. Hunt has more than paid off owners' investment so far and is an early candidate for fantasy rookie of the year honors. It's doubtful you'll be able to acquire him. Mixon is a different story. He's gotten respectable volume (52 attempts, 11 targets) but hasn't produced as expected. Nothing about his long-term outlook has changed, however. Jeremy Hill is also underwhelming, and Mixon's workload is increasing despite the slow start. Look for a frustrated owner to see if you can pry him free.

Mixon is a different story. He's gotten respectable volume (52 attempts, 11 targets) but hasn't produced as expected. Nothing about his long-term outlook has changed, however. Jeremy Hill is also underwhelming, and Mixon's workload is increasing despite the slow start. Look for a frustrated owner to see if you can pry him free.

Chris Carson, Samajae Perine, and D'Onta Foreman are the next three leading rushers, in terms of attempts. Carson is a nice story, but the Seahawks didn't invest much draft capital into him, his injury is serious, and nothing suggests Seattle's backfield will be any less cloudy next season. I'd gladly trade him for pennies on the dollar and wouldn't be afraid to drop him in shallow leagues. Perine is a bit of a surprise and is probably cheap to acquire. Foreman is the one I prefer, however, as he was a better prospect and has been a bit more productive thus far.

Yardage Leaders

Christian McCaffrey leads all rookies in receiving yards. We knew coming into the season that pass-catching would be a big part of his game, and the early results are encouraging. I'm ignoring concerns about his "ability to run between the tackles." Who cares. He's getting you over 10 points per game in PPR formats, just from the receiving game. Think of him as a receiver who happens to also get rushing yardage.

Evan Engram show and Cooper Kupp show up again, at second and third respectively in receiving yards. Right behind them are Kareem Hunt and Tarik Cohen. Hunt's performance as a receiver is a great bonus, but once again, Cohen is a big surprise. He's actually put up more receiving yards than Alvin Kamara, who plays with Drew Brees and was always expected to be a top pass-catching back.

Elijah McGuire actually has more rushing yards than Joe Mixon. That's not a slam on Mixon, just an interesting note. Yes, most of McGuire's damage came in Week 4, but in Weeks 2 and 3, he averaged over six attempts and 30 yards per game. Those numbers aren't winning you any dynasty titles, but they are a good indicator. The Jets are a mess, and a three-way backfield committee makes it worse, but if you've got deep benches in your league, McGuire makes a cheap stash. Bilal Powell is a nice player but almost 30 himself, and there are no major salary cap issues if the Jets want to cut either Powell or Matt Forte next season.

 

Early Disappointments - That Aren't Really

All three are top-10 draft picks so there's no need to worry about their long-term dynasty value yet. Ross and Williams entered the league with injury question marks and have so far only validated those concerns. Don't panic if you own them and if you can get them at a discount to their rookie draft price that's a good idea.

Njoku's lack of production looks worse than it is by virtue of the fact that Engram has been playing so well. But what Engram does really has no bearing on what Njoku's potential is. So what if he's pacing for fewer than 40 receptions. Know who else had fewer than 40 catches as a rookie tight end? Jason Witten, Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen, Kyle Rudolph, Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Clark. No need to worry about Njoku. He's playing regular snaps, which is a good sign. Be patient.

Golladay's situation is different, but there's also no need to worry yet. He's still earning regular snaps and targets, and ups and downs are to be expected. He's still outproducing Marvin Jones on the year, and with Eric Ebron disappointing, Golladay's role isn't getting squeezed out any time soon.

 

More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy