Earlier this year, before the season officially started, I published an article titled “Rookies to Watch” on July 6, 2016. I mentioned 8 rookies with fantasy potential for this season. The rookies listed were: Sterling Shepard, Josh Doctson, DeAndre Washington, Will Fuller, Paul Perkins, Austin Hooper, Michael Thomas, and Roberto Aquayo.
Four of the eight names listed have had OK to good fantasy points on the season thus far. Then there is the other four names, which have been either disasters or still unproven. Josh Doctson (WR) for the Redskins has yet to see the field this season. Doctson was placed on IR and might return to play in Week 15 due to an achilles issue. Will Fuller (WR) made a huge splash in his debut. After the first two weeks of this season, Fuller had 9 receptions for 211 yards and 1 TD. Since Week 3 to now (Week 10), Fuller has only added 16/161/1 to his total stats. Austin Hooper (TE) in recent weeks has started to heat up, but the majority of the season Matty Ice has been targeting WRs Jones and Sanu. Last but not least, is Roberto Aguayo. The rookie kicker who nearly was perfect at his time at FSU has struggled big time this season with accuracy.
The four standouts from this list are: Michael Thomas (WR), Sterling Shepard (WR), DeAndre Washington (RB) and Paul Perkins (RB).
Michael Thomas (WR) NOS – Arguably already the number one WR to own in New Orleans with an elite passer such as Drew Brees. So far, through Week 9 of the NFL season, Thomas has 47 receptions for 573 yards and 5 TDs. Look for those numbers to increase, since each week Thomas seems to get more and more looks his way. He is a big and physical WR that is the red zone target Brees has been missing since Jimmy Graham left.
Sterling Shepard (WR) NYG – Shepard fell into a great situation and that is why I was so high on him to begin the season. When your offense has Odell Beckham to take most of the double teams, which only helps Shepard. After nine weeks, Shepard’s stat line for the year is 34/384/3. Now, I know those numbers are not eye popping by any means, but you need to remember that the Giants offense has not looked the same this year compared to last. In recent weeks, it looks like the offense is picking up steam.
DeAndre Washington (RB) OAK – Washington is a player that the GM of the Raiders was very high on in the offseason. Washington is a quick, shifty runner with excellent receiving skills out of the backfield. After 9 weeks, Washington has 302 rushing yards with 72 receiving yards and no TDs. The Raiders seem to live and die by the pass, even their starting running back Latavius Murray has not had a very efficient year rushing the ball. Murray has been saved by his TDs, which makes him dependent on TDs for fantasy owners.
Paul Perkins (RB) NYG – The Giants have stuck with running back Rashad Jennings for far too long. Perkins has the quickness and elusiveness to take it to the house on any given play. The Giants coaching staff is finally beginning to see what we have seen all along – the running game in New York is a joke. Look for Perkins to get more and more work as the season goes on.