Ethan Hewett| September 26th, 2019
In this week’s edition of our rookie rankings, we have more new faces who have quickly risen to the top of the leaderboard after exceptional performances last weekend, including one rookie who made history. We also have a couple of names missing including Marquise Brown, who just missed the cut, and Kyler Murray, who had a rough week three performance including being sacked eight times. Who broke out in week three, and who slipped down the rankings this week? Some of the names just might surprise you, so let us begin, as always, with a couple of honorable mentions.
David Montgomery – While Montgomery hasn’t put up incredible stats, it is clear that Montgomery is the best running back on his team. The Chicago Bears have continued to use him more in their offense, and this has allowed Montgomery to show off his incredible contact balance and vision to help move this Bears offense down the field. This week they will be taking on a division rival in the Minnesota Vikings, so look for Matt Nagy to continue to get the ball in Montgomery’s hands.
Oshane Ximines – Ximines was another edge player who grabbed his first NFL sack last week. He looked incredibly powerful off the edge contributing to the several sacks the New York Giants were able to create last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ximines showed off the pure strength that he has combined with his speed. Look for Ximines to possible get more snaps this week against the Washington Redskins who allowed four sacks last week.
15. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Week Three Stats: 2 Rec, 67 Yards
Metcalf has made plays nearly every week for the Seahawks offense. While he hasn’t seen the majority of the touchdowns for this offense, Metcalf has served as a strong No. 2 to Tyler Lockett and also a solid target for Russell Wilson. Week four takes the Seahawks to Arizona to take on the divisional opponent Cardinals. The Cardinals have had an up and down season so far, so look for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks offense to work around the young Cardinals secondary who are going to be missing Patrick Peterson right about now.
Projected Stat Line vs Arizona: 5 Rec, 95 Yards, 1 TD
14. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Three Stats: 3 Rec, 52 Yards, 1 TD
Johnson had a great breakout game last week in a 24-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He was able to show off the big-play ability and was able to reign in a 39-yard bomb from backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. Johnson’s offensive playing time nearly doubled last week as the Steelers continue to find a No. 2 receiver behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Johnson will most likely remain as a big-play option downfield, if the chemistry between him and Rudolph can continue, big things could be in store. This week the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals, so look for them to exploit this Bengals secondary with the likes of Johnson.
Projected Stat Line vs Cincinnati: 4 Rec, 90 Yards, 1 TD
13. Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers
Week Three Stats: 4 Solo Tackles, 1 Sack
Burns was able to rack up his second sack of the season in week three against the Arizona Cardinals as a part of the eight total sacks that the Panthers were able to force. Along with this he showed his tackling ability and had four solo tackles. The Panthers are wanting Burns to be a big part of this defense as he played for 75% of the team’s defensive snaps against Arizona. Week four takes the Panthers down to Houston to take on the Texans whose offensive line has struggled at times so look out for Burns to potentially pick up his third sack in three straight games.
Projected Stat Line vs Houston: 5 Solo Tackles, 1 Sack
12. Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills
Week Three Stats: 3 Rec, 67 Yards, 1 TD
Knox had himself a game last week racking up a decent amount of yards along with his first NFL career touchdown. While his snap counts didn’t go up tremendously this week, his stats did as he tallied 67 of his 86 total receiving yards in week three. With the absence of Tyler Kroft, Knox broke out with a 49-yard reception as well. Knox will continue to build upon his breakout game when the New England Patriots come to town this week. When Kroft returns, we could see a decline Knox’s snaps but until then watch out for Knox this week.
Projected Stat Line vs New England: 4 Rec, 55 Yards, 1 TD
11. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Three Stats: 11 Total Tackles, 2 FR
Bush has been one of the few bright spots for this Pittsburgh team during a rather dreadful start to their 2019 campaign. While the team is off to an 0-3 start, Bush is leading their defense with 29 tackles and three fumble recoveries. Last week we saw another tackle clinic from Bush including nine solo tackles and his continued push for Defensive Rookie of the Year. This week Pittsburgh brings in their divisional rival the Cincinnati Bengals who are also 0-3 to start the year. Look for Bush to continue to be all over the field this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Cincinnati: 10 Total Tackles, 1 PD
10. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Week Three Stats: 13 Car, 53 Yards, 2 Rec, 73 Yards
Sanders had a day last week against the Detroit Lions after two weeks of lackluster production. Sanders leads the Eagles in carries but his 34 carries for 106 yards is disappointing, but things could be on the upswing as Sanders nearly doubled his yardage totals last week. Sanders also showed his ability as a pass-catcher putting up 73 yards on just two receptions. Philadelphia will be expecting more of the same if not more out of Sanders in the coming weeks, and especially this week against the Green Bay Packers who boast one of the best defenses in the NFL right now.
Projected Stat Line vs Green Bay: 18 Car, 80 Yards, 1 TD
9. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week Three Stats: 20/30, 204 Yards, 2 TD
Minshew was finally able to get his first win last Thursday over the Tennessee Titans. While the stats weren’t as big, Minshew helped them win that game including a couple of nice-looking touchdown passes to secure his team the victory. Minshew Mania has taken over Jacksonville and if he can secure a couple of more wins early on, he could solidify himself as the successor to Nick Foles, if the Jaguars choose to hold on to him after he returns from injury. This week the Jags take on a struggling Denver Broncos team who find themselves 0-3 with zero turnovers and zero sacks. Look for Minshew to have another good game this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Denver: 25/32, 280 Yards, 3 TD
8. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers
Week Three Stats: 5 Total Tackles, 1 INT
Savage came very close to having a couple of turnovers in his first two weeks as a rookie but eventually sealed the deal last weekend against the Denver Broncos, by picking off veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. The play looked similar to his almost interception in week one where he dove after the falling ball and was able to cradle it in his hands before touching the ground. Savage has been a big part of this Packers defense early this season as he has been on the field for every defensive snap so far. Look for him to try and grab another pick this week against a struggling Philadelphia Eagles offense.
Projected Stat Live vs Philadelphia: 6 Total Tackles, 2 PD
7. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins
Week Three Stats: 6 Rec, 70 Yards, 1 TD
McLaurin made history last week by becoming the first rookie to have five catches and a touchdown grab in his first three games. McLaurin has continued to impress this season and while the job security of Case Keenum right now is up in the air, he does at least have a good connection with McLaurin. This week McLaurin made a nice contested 15-yard grab for a touchdown to bring his stats up to three touchdowns to go along with 257 receiving yards. Look for the Redskins to keep McLaurin involved this week against a young secondary in the New York Giants who are ranked 32nd in passing yards in the league.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 7 Rec, 100 Yards, 1 TD
6. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Washington Redskins
Week Three Stats: 7 Total Tackles, 1 Sack
Sweat was finally able to grab his first career sack last week on Monday night against the Chicago Bears. He showed great speed off the line and pursuit as he was able to run down Mitchell Trubisky who was rolling away from Sweat. While he was able to get some decent pressure on Trubisky throughout the game, one player isn’t going to change everything. This week the Redskins head out east to take on the New York Giants. We’ll see if they can take advantage of a sub-par offensive line and get pressure on the young starter Daniel Jones.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 5 Total Tackles, 1 Sack
5. Christian Miller, EDGE, Carolina Panthers
Week Three Stats: 2 Solo Tackles, 2 Sacks
After not putting up any statistics in weeks one and two, Miller played a big part in the demolition of the Arizona Cardinals offensive line last week helping to create eight sacks throughout the game. His first sack came on a play where Kyler Murray was attempting to escape the pocket but Miller stuck with the play and fought back downfield to take down Murray in the backfield. This week the Panthers take on the Houston Texans whose offensive line has improved since week one but have still allowed 12 sacks so far this season. Look for Miller and this Panthers d-line to feast again this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Houston: 5 Total Tackles, 1 TFL
4. Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Week Three Stats: 13 Car, 103 Yards, 1 TD, 3 Rec, 25 Yards
Pollard went off against the Miami Dolphins averaging 7.92 yards per carry along with grabbing his first NFL touchdown on a sixteen-yard run where he burst through the left side of the offensive line. Along with this Pollard also was able to break away for 28 yards earlier in the fourth quarter making a couple of guys miss and showing off the top speed.
This was a really good game from Pollard who served more as a counter to Ezekiel Elliott most of the game but had his moments later on in the game. Pollard also showed his ability as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Look for Pollard to continue to be involved in this Dallas offense as a third-down back and also in some two running back sets with Elliott heading into week four against the New Orleans Saints on the road.
Projected Stat Line vs New Orleans: 9 Car, 60 Yards, 4 Rec, 45 Yards
3. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Week Three Stats: 2 Rec, 97 Yards, 1 TD
Week three saw Hardman notch his second NFL touchdown on an 83-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes. Hardman was supposed to be a receiver that needed time to develop before he could produce, but he has stepped up big time in the absence of Tyreek Hill and defenses have to respect the 4.3 40-yard dash speed that Hardman brings to the field. Hardman continues to impress us with his route running and playmaking ability that we saw on the pass he got behind the line of scrimmage where he made something out of nothing.
Week 4 takes the Chiefs to the Detroit Lions who are currently 22nd in passing yards allowed this season including 14 plays of 20-plus yards. Look for Mecole to continue his dominance over the top of defenses.
Projected Stat Line vs Detroit: 4 Rec, 110 Yards, 1 TD
2. Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week Three Stats: 4 Total Tackles, 2 Sacks
Allen was finally able to notch his first NFL-career sack, an he also was able to rack up his second one in a game where this Jaguars defensive line had nine total sacks against the Tennessee Titans. While we had to wait until the second half to see these sacks, Allen was constantly getting pressure on Marcus Mariota, and on his first sack he used great power to push the right tackle into Mariota’s lap and force a fumble as well. Week four takes the Jaguars to Denver to take on the Broncos who allowed six sacks last week against the Green Bay Packers. Look for Allen and that Jags defensive line to feast again this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Denver: 5 Total Tackles, 1 Sack
1. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Week Three Stats: 23/36, 336 Yards, 2 TD, 2 Rushing TD
In his first career start replacing the two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Jones went off and brought this Giants team back from a 28-10 deficit to win the game 32-31. Jones brings a dimension to this offense that Manning hasn’t been able to for years now, and that is the threat to be able to take off on the ground. Jones was able to ruin tackle angles outside from Tampa Bay Buccaneer defenders on his first touchdown run and eventually was able to run in the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter.
Jones is not afraid to throw the ball downfield and we saw explosive plays from what had been a rather stagnant offense outside of Saquon Barkley. This week the Giants are bringing the Washington Redskins to town, so I expect Jones to have another good day against a struggling defense.
Projected Stat Line vs Washington: 26/38, 300 Yards, 3 TD, 1 Rushing TD
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