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NFL Rookies to Watch for Fantasy Football Week 15 Including Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Brian Robinson, Jahan Dotson

Garrett Wilson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups - icon rotoballer

Last week, several rookies who were not fantasy contributors to start the season had impressive performances. 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy finished as the QB8 in his first week as a starter in the NFL. Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo was the week's TE3 thanks to his 18.5 PPR points. The Patriots' Pierre Strong Jr. was the RB12 despite not having been inside the top 60 RBs in any prior week this year.

Some other more mainstream rookie options played well also. The Jets saw receiver Garrett Wilson turn in another quality stat line, as did the Chiefs with their young tailback Isiah Pacheco. Lions receiver Jameson Williams also scored his first career touchdown after missing the first 12 weeks of the season while recovering from a knee injury.

Clearly, whether you're a redraft manager or a dynasty manager, being ahead of the curve with rookie players is vital to your team's success. For that reason, each week I am breaking down which rookies you should be watching out for. This column is split into two parts: one pertaining to players most relevant in redraft leagues, and the other for rookies particularly worth watching in dynasty formats.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


NFL Rookies to Watch in Fantasy Football Redraft Leagues

Brian Robinson Jr. (RB, WAS)

In his first seven games this season since his debut in Week 5, Commanders rookie RB Brian Robinson Jr. had been seeing solid volume. Indeed, he had at least 15 touches in five of those first seven appearances, despite having just four total receptions in that span. However, his efficiency was lacking. He did not surpass 4.0 yards per carry in any of those contests, and his yards before contact per attempt never rose above 2.1. His mediocre production allowed teammate Antonio Gibson's involvement in the backfield to rebound.

However, Robinson has been much improved in his previous two games. The Alabama product had 18 carries for 105 yards (5.8 YPC) against the Falcons in Week 12, and he also added two receptions for 20 yards and a receiving touchdown. In Week 13, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry by gaining 96 yards on 21 attempts. He also averaged at least 3.5 yards before contact in each of those games, including a mark of 4.1 in Week 12. Over those two weeks, Robinson was the RB11 in PPR formats.

Coming off of a bye week, Robinson will face the Giants on Sunday. With New York having been his opponent in Week 13, we know that Robinson can perform well against this defense. Indeed, most running backs can; the Giants have surrendered the fifth-most rushing yards and sixth-most rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs this season. Watch to see if Robinson can maintain his elevated play for another week against a familiar foe.

Garrett Wilson (WR, NYJ)

New York Jets rookie receiver Garrett Wilson has had an excellent past three games. He had five catches for 95 yards and two scores in Week 12, finishing as the week's WR5 in PPR formats. He followed that up with a WR9 finish in Week 13 by making eight catches for 162 yards. Last week, he made six catches for 78 yards in another solid performance. In his six games this season with either Joe Flacco or Mike White at quarterback, he is averaging 19.3 PPR points per game.

However, due to White's rib injury, Zach Wilson will be starting at quarterback for the Jets on Sunday. Garrett Wilson's production has been much lower with the second-year passer leading the offense. The first-rounder from Ohio State has averaged just 8.4 PPR points per game with Zach Wilson at the helm. Moreover, Garrett has not reached that mark of 19.3 points a single time in Zach's seven starts this year, nor has he found the endzone.

Garrett Wilson will be facing an apparent downgrade at quarterback this week, so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his recent level of output despite the weakened offense. He did have two top-15 WR weekly finishes with Zach Wilson starting earlier this year, so it's not as if he is incapable of producing under these circumstances. Keep an eye on how this plays out this week, because the Jets' quarterback situation has been volatile this season.

Chris Olave (WR, NO)

Like Garrett Wilson, New Orleans Saints rookie WR Chris Olave has been a strong fantasy option this season. Olave is the WR20 on the year in PPR formats, just below Wilson's ranking as the WR17. Olave's had two weeks where he finished inside the top 10 wideouts (Week 3 and Week 11) and four more inside the top 20. He is also 17th in expected fantasy points per game with 14.3 and 11th among WRs with 887 receiving yards. He is clearly having an excellent first season.

A big reason why Olave has been successful is that he is seeing a lot of volume in the New Orleans offense. Despite being just 35th among wideouts in route participation rate, Olave has the 17th-highest target share at his position. He also has the 10th-highest target rate and is 10th in yards per team pass attempt. A lot of his targets have been deep; in fact, only two receivers have gotten more deep targets than Olave's 26. This has led to him having the fifth-highest air yards share among receivers.

Olave and the Saints will take on the Falcons this week. He is expected to face some combination of cornerbacks A.J. Terrell, Isaiah Oliver, and Darren Hall, which collectively amount to about an equal matchup. Olave is coming off of a two-game stretch in which he has not really stood out; he has scored just 21.7 PPR points in the last two weeks combined. Look to see if Olave can put together a top-20 performance this Sunday to gain momentum for the closing stretch of the season.

NFL Rookies to Watch in Fantasy Football Dynasty Leagues

Jahan Dotson (WR, WAS)

Jahan Dotson got off to a superb start in 2022. A first-round draft choice out of Penn State, Dotson finished as a top-25 WR in PPR formats in three of the first four weeks. He also scored four touchdowns in that span, including a game-winner against Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Dotson sustained a hamstring injury in a Week 4 loss to the Cowboys that caused him to miss five consecutive matchups. Upon his return in Week 10, he struggled to regain his footing, making just two catches over the next three games.

Dotson was able to perform well in Week 13 against the Giants, however. With five catches on nine targets for 54 yards and a score, Dotson had a stat line reminiscent of his early-season production. His snap share and routes run were both the highest he's had since Week 3, and his five catches and nine targets were actually his highest such numbers of the year. It certainly seems as though Dotson has recovered from the injury that had been hindering him.

One thing to watch this week as Dotson takes on the Giants again is if he sees similar target numbers as he did last week. He has been achieving some solid fantasy performances this year, but he has done so despite just a 14.3 percent target rate, 97th among receivers. His fantasy scoring has mainly been due to his touchdown totals, but that may not be sustainable for fantasy managers. Dotson has scored the eighth-most fantasy points per target among WRs his year, so hopefully he can get more opportunities to shine.

Rashid Shaheed (WR, NO)

Rashid Shaheed made quite a statement in Week 7 when he made his first career catch. In a primetime matchup versus the Arizona Cardinals, Shaheed scored on a 53-yard strike from quarterback Andy Dalton. That was not his first big play, though; the week prior, Shaheed sprinted for a 44-yard touchdown run against the Bears. The speedy Shaheed is capable of burning defenses, but that has not translated into reliable fantasy production.

Fortunately, the undrafted rookie's outlook improved after his most recent showing. Shaheed set career highs with four targets, four catches, and 75 yards against Tampa Bay. This actually marked his second game in a row with at least 50 receiving yards, as he put up 53 yards on two grabs in Week 12. The former Weber State Wildcat has just 15 targets on the year, but five of those have been deep. His aDOT of 16.5 would also be among the league leaders if he had enough targets to qualify; D.J. Chark leads all receivers with a mark of 16.8.

Shaheed has had a snap rate of at least 63 percent in each of his past three games, and he even led the team in receiving yards in Week 13. Keep an eye on his involvement again this week as the Saints return from their bye week. Shaheed is a dynamic athlete who has shown big-play potential, so he is definitely a sleeper to keep an eye on. New Orleans will face Atlanta this weekend, and the Falcons have given up the seventh-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts this season.

Cade Otton (TE, TB)

Buccaneers rookie tight end Cade Otton has been a quality contributor in Tampa Bay this season. Teammate and fellow tight end Cameron Brate has been sidelined several games this season due to various injuries and ailments, and Otton has stepped up throughout the year. Since Week 5, Brate's first missed game, Otton has been the TE11 in PPR formats. Otton has had at least an 80 percent snap share and at least 31 routes run in each of the five games Brate has been absent for.

Otton has been less effective, though, in the games where he has had to share time with Brate. Last week was his best such performance, and he had just four catches on five targets for 28 yards. In Week 12, when Brate was also active, Otton was held without a target. The game before that, the rookie out of Washington ran just eight routes, although he did catch all three of his targets that week. Otton's snap share alongside Brate has been above 60 percent just twice and never above 70 percent.

Drafted with the first pick of the fourth round, a rookie Otton will naturally be of interest to dynasty managers. However, the fact that his usage is so correlated with Brate's availability complicates any positive interpretations of his output this year. Dynasty managers will hope to see Otton separate himself over the final stretch of the season and establish himself as a quality fantasy option moving forward. That effort starts this weekend against Cincinnati.

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