Rookies you can believe in

Every season we see a surge of rookies that make an impact and help guide you to a fantasy championship. This year is nothing short of the same. We will have gone from immediate impacts in week 1 (James Robinson, Helaire, Taylor, Lamb) to some unexpected rookies(Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham, Joshua Kelley) and others that will only keep showing up throughout the season (Akers, Dobbins, Swift, Aiyuk). For the most part, all of these players could have been drafted late or grabbed off the waiver wire.  Yet, they are all examples of how impactful rookies can be, even in an untraditional offseason. I’m going to highlight the rookies that I think are still undervalued and will help you for rest of season and playoffs.

Justin Jefferson WR, MIN:

Justin Jefferson was my WR 1 coming out of this class. He also has been the top WR in PPR since week three.  He has shown the route running, big play ability and size/speed combination that we saw in college. It’s games like week three and six that show us the type of ceiling he has. Even though Minnesota is a run first team they are heavily concentrated to Thielen and Jefferson. He is averaging 19.2 YPR and has at least 103 yards in 3/4 games. He is not a player that will see 10+ targets consistently, but he also does not need that many targets to be productive as those three 100-yard games came from 9, 5 and 11 targets. Jefferson will continue to have some low catch games but I believe that the bye week will help strengthen the relationship with Cousins making him a WR2 rest of season.

Tee Higgins WR, CIN:

The big Clemson wide receiver saga continues with Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. Still only rostered in 60% of ESPN leagues, Higgins is emerging as Burrow’s top option, if not already. Since week three, Higgins has led the Bengals wide reccievers in red zone targets and air yards. After easing into the offense weeks one and two, he has had 7 or more targets and played at least 79% of snaps. Joe Burrow and Higgins may have faced each other in the National Championship game, but they were seen working out together prior to the NFL draft. This chemistry is no coincidence and I believe Higgins has a great chance to end the season as the top targeted wide receiver in Cincinnati. I really like him as a borderline WR2/3 with a nice floor moving forward. 

Cam Akers RB, LAR:

This is a player that had a lot of production in college on a very underwhelming Florida State offense, and underwhelming is being nice. Sean McVay has been running a “hot hand” approach this season as Henderson, Brown and Akers have each had multiple games with 9+ carries. It may seem like Henderson has established himself as the NO. 1 right now, but that’s why Cam is a great buy low. The Rams offensive line has taken leaps and bounds to improve since the first couple weeks as Andrew Whitworth is showing father time who is boss. Henderson has had a few productive games but nothing to say he has supplanted Akers from taking the job. Akers showed flashes in week five with a 9/61 line while Henderson had 15/38. The next two opponents before their bye week are Chicago and Miami. I expect Henderson to struggle in these games leading to more opportunity for a healthier Akers to set himself up to breakout as an RB2 after the bye. 

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