Week 7 Lessons Learned: Yet Another Rookie Breakout

by Tyler Strong · Fantasy Football
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The data points are coming together and we are learning more about who these teams are, week over week. The true contenders are being revealed as frauds fall down, and that goes for fantasy assets too. Let’s take a look at this week’s rookie breakout and several other developments through PlayerProfiler.com’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics.

Thursday Night Breakdown: The Undeniable Travis Fulgham

Travis Fulgham led the Eagles in targets for the fourth week in a row. The Eagles are third in the league in pass attempts per game, and Carson Wentz‘s lock-on to Fulgham is only to bring more fantasy production. He’s the clear alpha in this voluminous offense and it’s not going to change as long as Wentz is under center.

Travis Fulgham Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Fulgham has risen into the top 50 of wide receivers on PlayerProfiler.com’s dynasty rankings and for good reason. The former sixth-rounder has flat out been the best offensive player for the Eagles this season, and the loss of Zach Ertz to IR will only increase the Old Dominion product’s Target Share, which was already top-12 in the league.

Action: Fulgham is a premier buy in dynasty leagues as half the teams in your league are likely starting to sell pieces to improve their rookie draft stock. With many fantasy players likely hitting on Fulgham off waivers, he might be had for a reduced price for folks who need his relatively cheap production.

Lesson Two: Baker rallies back, OBJ hurt

Baker Mayfield started his day 0 for 5 with a pick. He ended it 22 of 29 for 297 yards and five touchdowns. Talk about fighting with your back against the wall. Many were coming for his head after a Week 6 benching and he was close to taking himself right out of a job before rallying back on Sunday. Mayfield was accurate and sharp after the poor start, linking up with all manner of secondary options such as Rashard Higgins (6-110) and Harrison Bryant (4-56-2), who drew the start over David Njoku. It was Donovan Peoples-Jones, however, who suprised the most.

It was yet another rookie breakout from a plus athlete who will have more opportunities with Odell Beckham tearing his ACL. People-Jones and Rashard Higgins have the most to gain in an offense that’s had a healthy 83 pass attempts since Nick Chubb went down in Week 4.

Action: Higgins and DPJ will be intriguing tournament options against Oakland, who have surrendered 77 points and six passing TDs over the last two weeks.

Lesson Three: Another Rookie Breakout with Antonio Gibson

This has been the most productive rookie class I can remember. From quarterback to running back to receiver, there’ve been breakouts all over the place. Antonio Gibson got a bump with the axing of Derrius Guice, and he finally saw a full slate of work against the laughable Cowboys on Sunday. The rookie turned 20 carries into 128 yards and a touchdown, with one carry going for 40 yards.

J.D. McKissic did receive two targets to Gibson’s zero, but it’s a minor gripe. Gibson profiles as a three-down workhorse with the requisite size at 6-0, 228-pounds and it’s only a matter of time until the receiving work and rushing share synthesize into the role he’s capable of.

Action: Buy. Buy, buy, buy.

Lesson Four: JuJu? JuJu Smith-Schuster??

Would you believe it? JuJu Smith-Schuster drew 14 targets in Sunday’s barn-burner against Tennessee. It was as many as he’s seen in the last three weeks combined. Diontae Johnson‘s return to the offense and its success gives some credence to the popular theory that Smith-Schuster is more suited as a high-quality WR2 than an offense’s true alpha. Regardless, Johnson’s return appears to spell good news for Smith-Schuster’s ROS outlook. Appears being the operative word.

Action: Smith-Schuster remains a high-ceiling GPP option going forward. The Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens this week, and it’s literally anyone’s guess how the Target Share shakes out next week with Johnson back in the lineup. It would behoove the Steelers to get all three of their receivers involved, as all are dynamic in their own way. At $5400, Smith-Schuster is worth playing in a couple of those tournament lineups.

Lesson Five: Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert Are For Real

We discussed the Browns above, but Joe Burrow deserves his own entry here. The NFL Draft’s top pick has been phenomenal through the first half of the season. Burrow has had five 300-yard games out of seven played, all while suffering over 57 QB hits. He’s been fantastic despite huge pressure, behind a bottom-5 OL in Protection Rate. Burrow investors have to feel validated, and his budding bromance with Tee Higgins has been great to see.

The more surprising QB breakout has been Justin Herbert. The rookie has produced more fantasy points in four straight weeks, culminating in a 39-point smash against the Jaguars Sunday. He’s a top-10 QB since his first start in Week 2, and that includes a bye week. He’s actually QB9 to Burrow’s QB10.

Action: Herbert’s price is finally snapping up more to where it should be in DFS. However, he’s still a great option at $6900 on DraftKings this week with relatively low totals across the slate. He offers a high floor and ceiling with his rushing prowess and gunslinger mentality.