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Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch - Marquise Brown, Devin Singletary, Hunter Renfrow


Week 9 of the fantasy football season is banging on your front door with the force of a thousand fists. Hopefully, you're at a point in your win-loss record where you feel comfortable letting it in. Now, let's all take a seat on the couch as we once again turn our focus to the 2019 draft class and try to spot some potential breakouts, question marks, and future studs.

In case you are new to this column, each week we highlight a few first-year players who are worth keeping your eye on. Not all of the players listed below are must-starts, but all of them are in a position to be viable fantasy options.

If any of these names are sitting out on your waiver wire, you should strongly consider picking them up to play this week or stash for your fantasy playoffs if you have space. Ideally, some of these names will help fantasy players get some roster depth which can minimize the negative impact of injuries and bye weeks.

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The Hollywood Hills

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

The most highly-drafted receiver of 2019 returns from an ankle injury that's kept him out the last two games. Unfortunately, he'll be fed right into the meat grinder that is the New England Patriots Defense allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. The main argument in favor of putting someone like Brown in your starting lineup is that New England hasn't faced an offense as talented as this one. That Lamar Jackson and company can dazzle this supposedly restrictive defense into giving up chunk plays. And while that's certainly true, it's still tough to fully trust Brown in this one.

At least we'll finally have our answer to what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. And you may not have a better option than that unstoppable force to put into your lineup on this rough bye week.

 

The Mania

Gardner Minshew (QB, JAC)

The cat has been out of the bag for a while about the rookie sensation with a magical mustache and an arm made of dreams. But Minshew is in an especially great situation this week, facing a Houston defense that was already allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks before JJ Watt was sidelined for the year. Minshew has faced off against the Texans once before, in Week 2, and posted 213 yards and a touchdown while adding 56 yards on the ground.

But that was on the road, and Minshew's confidence has continued picking up steam as he rolls along. The young Uncle Rico has accrued 13 total touchdowns and just two interceptions in his eight starts. He protects the ball well despite throwing majestic bombs down the field at any given opportunity. There's something special happening in Jacksonville and I expect that to continue against Houston's honeycombed pass defense.

 

The Garbage Man

Preston Williams (WR, MIA)

Preston, if you're reading, please don't be offended by that title. I don't mean to suggest that Williams is a garbage receiver, but rather he's been doing solid work on a garbage offense. He continues to find his way into this article more weeks than not simply based on the fact that he's been as steady as can be, seeing now fewer than six targets since Week 1 and putting up respectable (but not monstrous) stats each week.

But now he gets to play in the garbage game of the year. Dolphins vs Jets, two teams with defenses softer than freshly-fallen snow and offenses led by quarterbacks with arm cannons. It's not going to look pretty, but this game could honestly have one of the highest overall point totals of the week. I'm not afraid to put any of either team's wide receivers into my lineup, and that includes Williams. Fingers crossed this is the week he finally blows up.

 

The Turbulent Talent

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)

It's been quite the rollercoaster ride for Devin Singletary's fanbase. The ups and downs -- from the NFL draft to today -- have been too many to count for those that believe in him as a strong fantasy asset. Singeltary has looked good in the few games he's been healthy enough to play, but the presence of the indelible Frank Gore has put some ankle weights on the rookie's fantasy production.

Singletary was given just seven carries against Miami in his first game back, rushing for 26 yards in Week 7. But hey, it was just the Dolphins, so why risk injury to your running back of the future? But last week against Philadelphia, Singletary was given only three carries for 19 yards, though he added four receptions for 30 yards. And it's not that Frank Gore is out there racking up dozens of touches, either. The quizzical usage of Buffalo's backfield makes Singletary tough to trust on a weekly basis, but his matchup with Washington will be an important one to help determine if the rookie can blossom into a starter for your fantasy lineup at any point this season.

 

The Big Little Man

Hunter Renfrow (WR, OAK)

Standing at just 5' 10" and weighing 185 lbs, the rookie out of Clemson looked like a pass-catching dynamo when the cameras were on him during HBO's Hard Knocks. Yet, through the first seven weeks of the season, Renfrow was pretty much an afterthought in Jon Gruden's offense. Oakland made no bones about the fact that their offense ran through the likes of Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, and fellow rookie Josh Jacobs. But when called upon last week against Houston, Renfrew delivered 88 yards and a touchdown.

To be fair, the bulk of that came on a 65-yard touchdown gallop wherein Renfrow sidestepped and/or broke a couple of so-so tackles. But knowing that kind of big-play potential exists, especially in what should be a high-scoring matchup against Detroit, makes Renfrow a reasonable dart throw this week.

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