What a week for rookies. We saw four first round rookies – Kyle Pitts, Jamarr Chase, Najae Harris and Kadarius Toney – going for well over 100 yards each and combining for 4 touchdowns. You expected Najae Harris to hit the ground running, but Pitts, Chase and especially Toney all had their own pre-season stories, high expectations and question marks.
We also saw Davis Mills ball out for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as Trey Lance getting his first start as a 49er, who carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards but wasn’t very spectacular as a passer throwing under 200 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Unfortunately, neither got a win, but there was lots of promising points to take forward for these young apprentices.
It’s easy to get excited when it comes to rookies in fantasy after these sort of performances, but it’s important to stress they are still rookies and there will be teething issues with many of them. Some present a fantastic buy low opportunity, some a sell high opportunity – sometimes you just have to have a shot in the dark and hope for the best.
Here’s some buy or sell targets, that includes one special rookie talent:
A.J Brown (WR – Tennessee Titans)
After missing week 4 due to a hamstring injury, Brown returned in week 5 and generated 38 yards on 3 catches from 5 targets. The box score appears low but, in a game where Ryan Tannehill only threw the ball 22 times in a comfortable home win for the Derrick Henry Titans over Jacksonville, 5 targets for Brown equalled a 29% target share. He also was on the field for 64% (41) of snaps, which was 2nd only to a wide receiver called Marcus Johnson (seriously where have the Titans pulled these guys from?) who played 75% (48) snaps.
A.J gets a date with the Bills this week, who have been stingy all round on defence, but the Titans are going to have to air it out to win this game and with Julio Jones still ailing I wouldn’t be surprised to see 10+ targets and 100 yards and a score from Brown. Buy low now, you could probably get him at RB2/WR2 value right now.
Kadarius Toney (WR – NY Giants)
Kadarius Toney looks like the real deal and after a rocky start, now is the time to invest. After an injury in preseason which surely didn’t help his development, followed by another injury holding him out of week 2, which was sandwiched by two games of -2 yards and 16 yards…rough.
Since then, in weeks 4 and 5, he’s gone for 267 yards, 16 catches on 23 targets. In week 5 he even had a rushing attempt and a passing attempt. Toney is still yet to make it into the endzone (pulled down at the 1 yard line twice in week 5), but we just saw him put Trevon Diggs in a spin cycle. Seriously, at times his routes look so sharp that you could be convinced he is a football robot sent from the year 2089, on a mission to make cornerbacks look stupid. Just watch his full week 5 highlights in all their glory…
If he’s on your waiver, pay up or do whatever you can to get him. If he’s on someone’s roster, sneak an offer in now and try and get him at WR3/4 price, or even throw a backup running back at the owner for him (Michel for the Henderson owner, Collins for the Carson owner etc).
Tee Higgins (WR – Cincinnati Bengals)
A shoulder injury held Higgins out of weeks 3 and 4 after a hot start scoring in weeks 1 and 2. In the meantime, Jamarr Chase has well and truly arrived in the NFL. Both these things have resulted in a lot of people being down on Higgins, but in his week 5 return he received 7 targets and caught a 2 point conversion attempt.
Joe Burrow has thrown the ball 32 and 38 times the last two weeks, and this passing offence is fully funnelled towards Chase, Higgins and Boyd who combined have received 64% of the targets on the season.
Higgins is a fine WR2 option who may be available at WR3 price or lower, so buy low now as bizarrely the week 5 return might have lowered his value even further.
Damien Harris (RB – New England Patriots)
Was on my buy low list last week. Fumbled at the goal line and appeared to be banished to the doghouse in week 5, but you might be able to get him for pennies now. This won’t be the last we’ve seen of Damien Harris, he could even start this week. Rhamondre Stevenson is still in the doghouse from fumbling in week 1 albeit receiving 11 carries sans Harris in week 5, but outside of that there’s no real threat to Harris’ work.
Buy at probably the lowest you can all year!
Myles Gaskin (RB – Miami Dolphins)
This has got to be one of the biggest outlier performances of the year so far for me.
5 carries for 25 yards against the Bucs – fine. 10 catches on 10 targets for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns…what the frick? The Dolphins had a hugely depleted receiving corps with Gesicki and Waddle the only other really viable options, but Gaskin had caught 5, 4, 3 and 0 passes in the last 4 games, for 27, 21, 9 and 0 yards respectively. The Fins were also playing catch up for all of the game, obviously, so it was dump offs galore, but the main point here is this is not going to be representative of Gaskins season going forward.
No, I don’t think anyone did start Myles Gaskin.
You have to sell high on this one to someone who thinks they’re getting the Gaskin of 2020, a pass catching back who’s good for 15 touches a game on a team playing catchup most the time, plus with Tua coming back as early as week 6. That’s the sell, you might even be able to get Chris Carson for him at the moment.
Marquez Callaway (WR – New Orleans Saints)
Before week 5 Marquez Callaway’s season totals was 13/9/137/1. In week 5 he went for 8/4/85/2, which is almost his whole season output so far, even doubling his touchdown total. One of the touchdowns was a 49 yard hail mary. Usually if a player scores on a huge play you have to factor in that that guy has the ability to generate that play (think Ronald Jones’ 90 yard touchdown vs Carolina Panthers last year). But a hail mary comes off once in a blue moon and just isn’t representative of the week that player has just had, and in Callaway’s case, the season he is having.
Now, Jameis Winston has a reputation as a gunslinger and the New Orleans Saints still have the reputation of a high octane offense. Neither of these things are now true. Winston is being forced to game manage (and probably for the best, to be honest) and the Saints are running the ball a lot (5th highest rate in the league, 31.2 attempts per game) with no real talent to throw to.
You really shouldn’t need much more proof or data to backup why you should sell high on this performance. Trade Callaway for a WR3 with upside, or package him up with someone like Gaskin to try and nab a reliable RB2/WR2.
Mark Andrews (TE – Baltimore Ravens)
This is not to say you should be looking to sell Mark Andrews, nor should you trade him for anything that comes your way. This is the prime sell high, where a good player performs way way above expectation, and if other league members are viewing that players value as their most recent performance, go ahead and cash in on that.
The performance I’m talking about is 13/11/147/2 plus two 2 point conversions, for the tune of 30.2 fantasy points in standard scoring. Andrews was fantasy’s 6th highest scoring player this week, right in-between derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor. Before this week Andrews hadn’t topped 70 yards in 3 out of 4 weeks, hadn’t scored a touchdown and hadn’t topped 5 catches in a game yet.
The Lamar Jackson to Mark Andrews connection is indeed strong. But it won’t be this strong every week, or even ever again this season or the season after that. This was likely a career game for Mark Andrews. Andrews scored more fantasy points in this one game than he had in 4 weeks all season.
Sell high ya fools, but ask for a kings ransom. You’d probably be able to get Waller + something for him right now and maybe even Kelce in some fashion. If you can get another great tight end option plus an upgrade at RB or WR for Andrews I’d go for it.