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Phillip Lindsay
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Fantasy Roundtable

Roundtable: Rely on Rookies

by Ryan McDowell

Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23)We’ve entered the final week of the fantasy football regular season for most leagues. As expected, many teams are scrambling with make or break lineup decisions. Recently, I’ve noticed the impact the rookie class is making on the totality of the NFL season and fantasy leagues.

We’ve now seen all five first-round quarterbacks earn starting roles at some point this season and it appears that Lamar Jackson might be in the process of pushing Joe Flacco to the bench.

We all expected Saquon Barkley to be a dominant force and he’s lived up to that. Other rookies backs, including undrafted free agents like Phillip Lindsay, Josh Adams and Gus Edwards have made an impact. Not to mention highly-drafted players like Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson.

The receiver position has been a bit of a roller coaster ride but has given us Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, Courtland Sutton, Anthony Miller and Tre’Quan Smith, among others. 

With the season on the line, which non-Barkley rookies are you willing to trust in your fantasy lineups for this week and into the fantasy playoffs?


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Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco):  I’m all in on Nick Chubb. He has two things working in his favor: volume and touchdown upside. Chubb has worked as the Browns’ clear workhorse since Carlos Hyde’s departure, averaging 23 touches over his last five games. Even in losses to Pittsburgh and Kansas City, Chubb wasn’t affected by negative game-script, logging 20-plus touches in both games. He’s also been a touchdown machine, finding the paint five times in his last three outings including twice in last week’s win over Cincinnati. The knock on Chubb coming out of Georgia was that he wasn’t a polished receiver. But he seems to have conquered that shortcoming by nabbing six balls for 77 yards and two touchdowns over his last two contests. A tough road game against Houston (seventh-fewest rushing yards allowed) awaits him in Week 13, but I’m still betting on Chubb to get the job done. Cleveland’s offense has been much improved since Freddie Kitchens’ promotion to offensive coordinator. 


I wish the Broncos would give him more work, but my god is Phillip Lindsay explosive. It’s like he’s shot out of a cannon on every play. Initially, I was worried he’d lose goal-line work to Royce Freeman, a pretty logical fear given that Freeman is almost 50 pounds heavier than Lindsay. But that hasn’t stopped Lindsay from contributing seven touchdowns including six rushing scores, which ranks second among rookies behind only Saquon Barkley. I love his matchup this week against a slumping Bengals team that has shown zero resistance against the run (second-most rushing yards allowed).   


Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin)I do not think it is a secret I am #TeamAdams, and there is not much reason to back off that position even with Darren Sproles returning to practice on Thursday. Adams' usage has done nothing but increases over the last five games, and he set new season-highs with 22 carries and a 61.5 percent snap share last week against the Giants. Even after that massive workload, coach Doug Pederson said they want to get Adams even more involved moving forward. There is certainly a concern Pederson's committee roots push through and relegate Adams to a less-than-desirable role, but he is getting workhorse usage right now. That should keep him at worst an RB2 through the playoffs.  


Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat): Chubb is already an every-week RB1, regardless of matchup. Lindsay has been stunningly consistent. He's averaged fewer than 4.5 yards per carry once in 11 games. Not even Royce Freeman's return has had any impact on his production. I see no reason to go away from either for the fantasy playoffs.


I also trust Adams and Edwards. Adams is kind of self-explanatory at this point. 22 carries make you an RB2. I'm in on Edwards as long as his health cooperates. John Harbaugh signaled for months he wanted to go away from Alex Collins. Edwards has given him license to do that. 


The receivers are more volatile, but let's remember: Ridley is having an identical season to Tyler Lockett. Moore has cleared 90 yards three times in five games. Devin Funchess' return hurts Moore's floor but not his ceiling. You can feel safe to #RookieUp for the stretch run.