It was a tremendous week for a couple players I’ve been highlighting in my weekly rookie report, so let’s check in on all nine guys. [Note: the ranking from my final 2018 Big Board is listed in parenthesis]
Josh Allen, Bills QB (2)
Last week (@ MIN)
15/22 (68.2%), 196 yards, 1 TD // 10 carries, 39 yards, 2 TD
55.7%, 515 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT // 22 carries, 97 yards, 2 TD
As expected, Josh Allen did damage as a runner to move the ball on the road against Minnesota, but I had no idea he would takeover the game like he did with three total touchdowns and several highlight plays in the first half of a 27-6 victory. Remember, Allen was a “low-probability prospect” that might never develop into a starting quarterback according to “experts” (most/all of whom probably didn’t even watch him in college), but he’s been playing well with arguably the worst supporting cast in the league around him. And while the players and fans in Buffalo seem to know they got a stud with the No. 7 overall pick, the national media is selfishly holding off praise and hoping he fails just as they predicted. Maybe Allen won’t turn into a superstar or even an average starting quarterback, but the rookie looking like the top talent on the field against the league’s best defense is certainly a good sign.
Jaire Alexander, Packers CB (8)
Last week (@ WAS)
18 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss
The Redskins got off to an early 7-0 lead against the Packers on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson—a play on which he lined up against Jaire Alexander—but the Packers were running cover-3, and it was probably safety Kentrell Brice’s fault more than Alexander’s that he was able to get behind the defense. Either way, the Louisville product definitely has the cover ability to be an impact player, and he’s been really remarkable as a tackler, which was a strength of his coming out of college. It should be fun to watch Alexander face off against Josh Allen this weekend.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals WR (11)
Last week (v CHI)
7 receptions, 90 yards // 1 punt return, 0 yards
12 receptions, 121 yards // 3 punt returns, 44 yards
If the switch to Josh Rosen benefits anyone for the Cardinals, it’s probably Christian Kirk after the pair showed a good rapport in preseason action. That said, in his first NFL start last week, Arizona’s rookie receiver was a standout option for Sam Bradford against the Bears, and the veteran is clearly the best quarterback on the roster in my opinion. The Cardinals aren’t going anywhere this year, though, so at least fans can get an extended look at what they hope will be a great connection for years to come.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins TE (13)
Last week (v OAK)
3 receptions, 31 yards
4 receptions, 42 yards
The Dolphins played it somewhat slow with their second-round pick to start the season, but he finally took over as the clear lead tight end with 64% of the offensive snaps (double that of A.J. Derby) in last week’s win over the Raiders. I can feel a breakout game coming soon for Gesicki, and it could be against a New England defense that appears very susceptible to intermediate passes and chunk plays through three weeks, so football fans and fantasy owners alike should take note.
Kerryon Johnson, Lions RB (14)
Last week (v NE)
16 carries, 101 yards // 2 receptions, 9 yards
29 carries, 161 yards // 10 receptions, 52 yards
I’ve been all-in on Kerryon Johnson since he was at Auburn, and it was awesome to see him record Detroit’s first 100-yard rushing game since Thanksgiving of 2013—and in a primetime spot, too. He still isn’t the clear featured back (LeGarrette Blount also had 16 carries against the Patriots), but as I said last week, Johnson is the key to creating a balanced offense, and he should only get more work as the season progresses. Could the rookie have a repeat 100-yard performance against the Sean Lee-less Cowboys defense?
Josh Jackson, Packers CB (18)
Last week (@ WAS)
10 tackles, 1 TD
Kevin King (groin) was inactive for Week 3, but Josh Jackson still operated as the clear No. 3 corner with 62% of the snaps behind Tramon Williams (97%) and Jaire Alexander (93%). This week, I’ll be looking to see if he is perhaps tasked with defending Kelvin Benjamin because he can match up when it comes to size unlike most cornerbacks, and Jackson could be aiming for his first career interception against fellow rookie Josh Allen.
Nick Chubb, Browns RB (19)
Last week (v NYJ)
2 carries, 6 yards
7 carries, 41 yards
Chubb hasn’t played since my last rookie report, but as I said previously, guys that play on Thursday night will be talked about the following week. In Cleveland’s TNF win over the Jets, Chubb didn’t get much playing time behind Carlos Hyde (23 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns), but he nearly scored the game-winning touchdown on one of his two carries—a six-yard run that he nearly powered into the end zone before being tackled at the one. Right now, it looks like the rookie is just insurance for Hyde until 2019.
Lorenzo Carter, Giants OLB (21)
Last week (@ HOU)
3 tackles, 1.0 sack
7 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 deflection
It was only a matter of time before Lorenzo Carter got on the board with a sack, and it came in a good spot against the Texans to help the Giants win their first game of the year. If/when Olivier Vernon returns, it could take the pressure of the six-foot-six edge defender and allow him to just go out and make plays. For this week, Carter will be “the man” again, and the Giants might need a game-changing play out of him to stop Drew Brees.
Anthony Miller, Bears WR (28)
Last week (@ ARI)
4 receptions, 35 yards
8 receptions, 60 yards // 1 kick return, 14 yards
After a touchdown in Week 2, Anthony Miller was able to get more involved against the Cardinals with four receptions for 35 yards, but he is going to miss some time with a dislocated shoulder just when he was starting to become a bigger factor offensively. Injuries can sometimes derail a season for a rookie, but Miller should have a role for a team with playoff aspirations when he returns.