We’re two weeks into the 2020 NFL season and offensive rookies are making an impact across the NFL. Some are soaking up their prime time action, while others helped lead their team to victory in hard-fought battles.
Each Wednesday, The Draft Network, in conjunction with Panini, will be taking a close look at three rookies whose stock is on the rise in fantasy football. After Week 2, the spotlight shines brightly on No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, along with another first-rounder, and an impact UDFA running back.
QB: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Although his first NFL win has eluded him, it’s not hard to see why Burrow just had the greatest college football season of all time for a quarterback and was taken No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. His poise under duress is akin to a player with several more years of experience and his ball placement is superb. And all of this is happening with no preseason and an abridged offseason program. Remarkable.
Burrow finished as the QB9 in Week 2 and is the QB12 overall through the first two weeks of the season. His passing volume—aided by a poor defense that should continue to yield points in buckets—coupled with his assumed improvement with more pro reps makes him an intriguing longterm play, even in single-QB leagues. He’s not quite a surefire QB1 yet, but he’s well on his way. If wide receiver A.J. Green can help him out a little bit going forward, that would be a big boost as well.
RB: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson looks like he could be the next impact UDFA running back after his first career 100-yard performance on Sunday. The Jaguars leaned heavily on the former Illinois State back against the Tennessee Titans, handing him the ball 16 times—no other player had more than five carries and no other running back had more than two. The primary beneficiary of the team cutting Leonard Fournette, Robinson’s strong camp gave him this opportunity and injury/illness to Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo will ensure he holds onto it.
Robinson finished as the RB9 last week and has a juicy matchup against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football in Week 3. He’s a top-15 fantasy running back through two weeks and should continue to have a significant role in the Jaguars’ offense moving forward. His stock is on the rise and should keep climbing, with only a few bumps along the way.
WR: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
With all due respect to Michael Gallup, let me introduce you to the new No. 2 wide receiver on the Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb. The rookie out of Oklahoma had a 24-yard catch in the fourth quarter that helped put the Cowboys in position to complete their improbable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. He finished the day with six catches on nine targets for a team-leading 106 receiving yards. Lamb had nearly twice as many targets and three times as many catches as Gallup in Week 2— he equalled No. 1 wide out Amari Cooper in both of those categories.
The big performance places Lamb inside the top 25 at the position after two weeks. However, it doesn’t look like he should fall any further than WR3/flex territory anytime soon. Dallas is going to throw a lot and Lamb has already emerged as the No. 2 option, showing chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s a WR2 in my rankings this week and will spend plenty of time in that realm going forward.