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Fantasy Football Rookies To Watch In Week 3


Each week in this column, we'll 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 keep a close watch on them.

Ideally, some of these names will help fantasy players get some roster depth which can minimize the negative impact of injuries and bye weeks.

Initially, some of these names will seem fairly obvious. As the season progresses, expect this column to pay more attention to under-the-radar options.

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The Quarterback Youth Movement

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Eli Manning didn't get much of a farewell tour, as the Giants decided to let Daniel Jones loose after just two games. What's strange is that Manning hasn't looked all that bad thus far. Regardless, the sixth overall pick will try to prove he was worth the high draft investment in a game against an improved Tampa Bay defense this weekend. The biggest question is how Jones will utilize his two biggest weapons, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram. Jones liked to stand tall in the pocket in college until he could float a pass downfield, but behind a beatable offensive line, he may need to show some of his sneaky mobility.

 

The Hot New Toy

Ty Johnson (RB, DET)

The C.J. Anderson era is over in Detroit before it ever really began. Anderson accumulated just 43 yards on the ground and punched in a touchdown before getting booted out of town. This should mean a significant uptick in volume for Kerryon Johnson, though you'll also want to keep your eyes peeled for rookie Ty Johnson's usage. The rookie was a big play maestro at Maryland who averaged an obscene 7.6 yards per carry. He'll see some snaps as a change-of-pace back who is a constant threat to take one to the house.

 

The Underrated Receiving Option

Deebo Samuel (WR, SF)

While the rest of the world was debating Dante Pettis vs. Marquise Goodwin, the rookie out of South Carolina was just biding his time and waiting to breakout. It didn't take long, either. Samuel put up five receptions on seven targets for 86 yards and a touchdown and did so while playing just over 38% of snaps. That's way down from his 88.1% snap share in week 1. With Trent Taylor on IR and Jalen Hurd still banged up, there should continue to be plenty of chances for Samuel. The good news is he's able to plenty of damage even if he's not out on the field every play.

 

The Hype Dream

Darwin Thompson (RB, KC)

It looks like it's finally happening. After what feels like years of offseason hype, those who believed in Darwin Thompson's talent will get to see if it translates to NFL production. Damien Williams has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Ravens and LeSean McCoy is still questionable. But even if Thompson gets the lion's share of the backfield touches this week, keep your expectations in check. Baltimore has allowed a measly 41 rushing yards through two weeks. They haven't been beaten by pass-catching running backs either, which means the Thompson hype may get put on ice for another week.

 

The Last Man Standing

JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR, PHI)

The majority of Carson Wentz's pass-catchers exited the game last week, leaving a hodgepodge of receiving options. DeSean Jackson is confirmed out for this Sunday while Alshon Jeffery is a wait-and-see. This could leave a big opportunity for Arcega-Whiteside to show his value, especially as a red-zone option. The rookie was out on the field for 93% of snaps last week compared to just 3% in Week 1, though he still only saw four targets and logged just one reception. He was streaking open down the field on a couple of plays and was simply overlooked by Wentz, however. If he was able to earn his quarterback's trust in practice this week, Arcega-Whiteside's physicality should allow him to dominate.

 

The Sneaky Overachiever Part Two

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

Johnson was listed in this space last week on the basis that he flashed some promise and Donte Moncrief looked really bad. Both of those things are still true. And now Johnson has been announced as the starting X receiver. He'll get to work with Mason Rudolph, who Johnson got plenty comfortable with during training camp and in preseason action. The production hasn't been there so far, but as a bona fide starter there's plenty of upside for the rookie.

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