2012 NFL Rookie Rankings: Analyzing Week 3′s Top Fantasy Rookies
The beginning of an NFL rookie’s career can sometimes be a disaster, or it can wind up being just the opposite. Some rookies on this list have put up Pro Bowl numbers through two weeks, while others are steadily performing at a rate that NFL veterans have performed for years.
A couple of the names on this list had a rough rodeo in Week 1, but had responded like veterans to sneak them back into the Top 10. Two Redskins in Robert Griffin III and his running back Alfred Morris top this list at 1 and 2, but who’s going to round out the rest of the Top 10? Are RG3 and Morris the only pair of teammates to share spots on the list?
Let’s start with the guy who owns the coolest nickname in the NFL:
1. Robert Griffin III QB, Washington Redskins
Wow. That says it all. Coming out of Baylor and into the NFL draft, Griffin III had big expectations ,and boy is he living up to them rather quickly. Last year, at this time Carolina QB Cam Newton came in and made a monster debut. Many wondered if we would ever see a debut like that again. Well, we just did. Griffin III has turned in the Redskins into a potent offense, and became a fantasy starter as quick as possible. RG3 is the No.1 fantasy player in the NFL through two weeks. Griffin III has thrown for 526 yards with 3 touchdowns and one interception, and has also rushed for over 120 yards. I have seen him start in leagues over guys like Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan in Week 2. Get used to seeing Robert Griffin III in the 1 slot in this column for many weeks to come.
2. Alfred Morris RB, Washington Redskins
This sixth round draft pick has exceeded every expectation he has faced so far entering the NFL. A month ago, Morris wasn’t sure if he was going to be on the 53-man roster for the Skins, now he sits at No. 2 on the Rookie Rankings list. Morris rushed for 185 yards on 44 carries with two touchdowns. He is currently eighth in the NFL in rushing, and it looks like he is going to continue punishing tacklers in his way for weeks to come. He still has to prove if he is just a product of Mike Shanahan’s running game, but to us it really doesn’t matter in the world of fantasy football.
3. Andrew Luck QB, Indianapolis Colts
The number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft pops up third on our list for Week 3. The biggest NFL prospect since Peyton Manning has shown many early signs that he could be something like this predecessor. Although he hasn’t posted eye popping stats, Luck has shown an uncanny ability to stand in the pocket and dissect defenses. His awareness is incredible and is definitely on par with some of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. Luck threw three interceptions in Week 1, but let’s remember it’s not so easy to face a formidable Bears defense in your NFL debut. But after Week 2, Luck stands in with 533 passing yards, three touchdowns, and go the Colts to 1-1 with a win at home last week.
4. Trent Richardson RB, Cleveland Browns
Richardson was clearly the best running back talent in the 2012 NFL draft, and after Week 2 we really seen glimpses of a blooming superstar. Richardson was a sketchy pick in the draft because of his early preseason injury woes. But, has T-Rich put those worries to sleep or what? Richardson struggled in his NFL debut against a great running stopping defense in Philadelphia, but had an incredible Week 2 to follow up. Last week, Richardson ran for 109 yards and touchdown, while also netting a touchdown on four receptions. Look for further success for No.33.
5. Doug Martin RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seemed to have put their trust in No.22, and fantasy owners have done the same. Martin has taken 44 carries in two weeks proving his fantasy workhorse capability. He rushed for a combined total of 161 yards and a touchdown through two weeks. Martin looks to be a good fit for an RB2 slot, and he definitely will have the opportunity to get into the lower RB1 category. Look for more progress from the Buccaneers’ rookie back in Week 3.
6. Russell Wilson QB, Seattle Seahawks
Third-round pick Russell Wilson is in great command of the Seahawks offense. He makes wise decisions and plays with the intelligence of an NFL veteran. Although he hasn’t had too much fantasy success, he sits at No. 6 because of his consistent ability to give his team a chance to win. Wilson has thrown for under 200 yards in two starts, but has made the plays necessary to put his team in a winning position. Wilson is a great offense manager, and opens it up just enough for running back Marshawn Lynch to gain some good real estate on the ground. He is a nice selection for a backup on your fantasy squad.
7. Ryan Tannehill QB, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill had a disastrous Week 1, throwing three interceptions and ended up with a passer rating of 39.0. But with rookies, it’s all about how they respond right? Well, rookie Ryan Tannehill did just that. He responded in winning fashion on Sunday over the Oakland Raiders. He put up a rating of 91.0 by throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter. Tannehill had his offense well in command in Week 2, but will he step up again in Week 3 and stay off of “Revis Island” against the New York Jets?
8. Brandon Weeden QB, Cleveland Browns
What a difference a week makes. Brandon Weeden had as bad a rookie debut as one can possibly imagine. He chucked up four interceptions against the Eagles in Week 1, and finished 12 of 35 passing with an awful rating of 5.1 Not 51, yes 5.1. But like Tannehill, Weeden responded in a huge way. He racked up 20 fantasy points in Week 2, and looked much more like an NFL pro. He finished 26 of 37 for 322 yards and two touchdown passes. He also did not throw an interception on Sunday, which was huge for his confidence. Unlike Tannehill, Weeden did not earn the W for his Browns, but still broke him into the Top 10.
9. Blair Walsh K, Minnesota Vikings
Kickers are football players, too, especially fantasy football players. Hey, sometimes having a key kicker can make or break a game or two for you this season. Blair Walsh can be a sneaky little pick to help you this year. The Vikings rookie leg has nailed all six of his field-goal attempts, two of which have been beyond 50 yards. Walsh has shown that he is not intimidated by the big stage, and could possibly turn out to be an elite kicker. I like what Walsh has shown us, and he can be a solid kicker on any fantasy team.
10. Stephen Hill WR, New York Jets
Although the Steelers had rookie wideout Stephen Hill on lockdown this Sunday, Hill still had a monster performance in Week 1 which is going to keep him cliffhanging from the Top 10 for Week 3. Against the Bills in Week 1, Hill hauled in five passes for 89 yards and two touchdown scores. I had Hill a bit higher, but he still makes the No.10 spot because I think he can be a huge weapon for the Jets this year. As long as he takes advantage of his 6’4, 215 pound frame, he will be a nice option for Mark Sanchez in 2012.
There are your Week 3 Top 10 offensive rookies. As you can see, I’m very big on how a rookie responds to a bad outing (ex. Tannehill, Weeden) . It seems like RG3 has set up shop in the No.1 slot and will remain there for a while, as others like Ryan Tannehill and Stephen Hill fight to keep their weekly positions. I am predicting a big week for Trent Richardson against the Buffalo Bills this week. I was most impressed with Richardson in Week 2, and I think he can find some good running room against the Bills.
In week 3, I would also like to see if guys like WR Alshon Jeffrey and TE Coby Fleener can try to break into the Top 10? Who do you see entering my Week 4 Top 10? Let me know your thoughts. Keep your eye out next Friday for my Week 4 Top 10 rookies.