I’d like to start this blog post by mentioning how crazy the NFL season has been so far. Scoring is coming super easy, as is yardage. Right now, 6 quarterbacks are on pace to break the single season passing yards record. 2 receivers are on pace to break the single season receiving yards record. 1 receiver is on pack to break the single season receiving touchdown record. To say there has been a lot of passing is an understatement. We shall see if it continues, but a lot of the teams don’t appear to be slowing down.
The rookies continue to perform at great levels as well. I truly have no words for what Cam Newton is doing right now. The rookies are similar to the rest of the NFL in that passing and receiving numbers are strong. Rushing numbers, not so much. Anyway, on to the rankings for this week.
1. Cam Newton QB Carolina Panthers (Last week #1)
I must say that it’s going to be a long time until someone can unseat this man as the top rookie for 2011. All of his numbers are astounding. He’s averaging 346.5 passing yards per game. He’s also averaging 33.3 rushing yards per game. He has 9 total touchdowns. He does have 5 interceptions, but 3 of them were against Green Bay. His QB Rating is 84.5 which is uncanny for a rookie. He’s third in the league in passing yards. Third in the ENTIRE league. I can’t emphasize that enough. He has more yards than Aaron Rodgers. I thought one game was a fluke. Two games was a surprise. But, after 4 games he’s still doing it. I was not a fan of him coming into the season. I’m really starting to believe. The only negative I can really come up with is that his team is 1-3. In fairness, they have lost 2 close road games and a close home loss to the Packers. And they have absolutely no defense. So, they have been as competitive as they are because of Cam. End of story.
2. Julio Jones WR Atlanta Falcons (Last week #3)
Julio continues to dominate. He had 11 receptions for 127 yards this week. He’s 11th in the league in receiving yards. He’s 14th in the league in receptions. The one downside is he doesn’t have any touchdowns yet. He’s making a huge difference though and that’s why the Falcons gave up what they did to get him. He’s an absolute beast and seems to be getting better and better.
3. A.J. Green WR Cincinnati Bengals (Last week #4)
A.J. had another very solid game. He makes some amazing plays. He’s not being targeted as much as Julio is, but he’s making the most of the opportunities he is getting. He’s a hair behind Julio in yards and receptions. But, he does have 2 touchdowns. You also have to remember that he plays for the Bengals and has a rookie QB throwing the ball to him. That makes a HUGE difference. Both of these receivers are off to great starts.
4. Andy Dalton QB Cincinnati Bengals (Last week #6)
Dalton had a solid week. His overall numbers weren’t great. However, he led his team to a nice comeback win against the upstart Bills. He threw a TD and ran for another after his team was down 17-3 at halftime. His numbers on the year aren’t amazing. However, they are very solid for a rookie. He has 868 passing yards, 4 TDs and a 76.9 QB Rating. The best part is the Bengals are 2-2 and were very much in the two games they lost. So, he’s making a difference for this team for sure.
5. Stevan Ridley RB New England Patriots (Last week #12)
This was a tough spot for me to pick. Daniel Thomas certainly doesn’t deserve to drop too far. But, I couldn’t ignore Ridley. He ran the ball for 97 yards on only 10 carries. He also scored a touchdown. The most important thing is that he is starting to look more and more like the feature back in New England. Ridley is averaging a ridiculous 8.2 yards per carry for the season. If he becomes the true feature back, his cards should soar. As it stands, they are still relatively affordable.
6. Daniel Thomas RB Miami Dolphins (Last week #2)
Thomas sat out again with a hamstring injury. He has been amazing in the games he played. However, he needs to get over this injury if he wants to have a successful rookie year. The good news is that Miami has their bye this week. So, hopefully he’ll be healthy after the bye and be ready to go.
7. Blaine Gabbert QB Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week #9)
Gabbert didn’t have a great second start. His completion percentage was an abysmal 38.1. His yards per attempt was 4.7 and his QB rating was 51.3. With all that said, he kept the Jaguars somewhat in a game against the Saints. I don’t understand why Jacksonville asked him to throw the ball 42 times when Jones-Drew was averaging 8.4 yards per carry. I think Gabbert will get better and will turn into a solid QB. A few more weapons on offense certainly wouldn’t hurt.
8. Kendall Hunter RB San Francisco 49ers (Last week #13)
He had a decent game. He ran for 38 yards on 9 carries and caught 2 balls for 62 yards. So, he totaled 100 yards against the Eagles which is not bad at all. I think he has a lot of upside and there is serious potential here. Frank Gore has a great game too, but he is brittle and will most likely miss some games. In addition to this, the 49ers are 3-1 and seem to have a great chance at winning their very weak division. If they continue to win, Hunter’s cards should continue to rise.
9. Mark Ingram RB New Orleans Saints (Last week #8)
Ingram continues to be stuck in mediocrity. He certainly had his chances this week, but he didn’t make much of them. He had 19 total touches for a grand total of 58 yards. Not good. He averaged 3.2 yards per carry and is at 3.5 for the year. His longest run this week was 8 yards. That’s just not good enough. He’s shown very little explosiveness. The even worse news is that Pierre Thomas is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 6.45 yards per touch. Darren Sproles is averaging 8.9 yards per carry and 8.73 yards per touch. Compare those to Ingram at 3.5 yards per carry and 3.23 yards per touch. Ingram simply isn’t getting it done. The only good news for him is that the Saints are winning. However, Payton isn’t going to continue to give this guy touches if Sproles and Thomas are outperforming him so badly.
10. Denarius Moore WR Oakland Raiders (Last week #7)
Moore really didn’t do much this game. He ended up getting a touchdown in garbage time, but ended up with only 3 catches for 19 yards. He does still have 199 yards with 2 TDs in only 4 games. Not bad for a rookie. I think he’ll continue to get better as he learns the offense. The Raiders have enough weapons where no one will be able to focus in on stopping Moore. I like his chances the rest of the way.
11. Doug Baldwin WR Seattle Seahawks (Last week #14)
Baldwin led the Seahawks in receptions and yards this week for the second time this year. With Sidney Rice back from injury, that is saying something. He has 194 yards and 1 TD on the season so far. He’s never going to sell products by himself. However, it’d be nice if Topps or Panini would make some cards of him for collectors to enjoy. If he can put up solid number with Tarvaris Jackson at QB, who knows what he could do with a real QB.
12. Randall Cobb WR Green Bay Packers (Last week unranked)
Cobb made another splash this week. Although let’s be honest, who didn’t on the Packers? He caught 2 balls for 75 yards. He also returned 2 kicks for 59 yards and 2 punts for 7 yards. He has 148 receiving yards and 1 TD in addition to his 293 total return yards. Point is that he is making an impact on the best team in the NFL. That’s saying something for a rookie.
13. Kyle Rudolph TE Minnesota Vikings (Last week #17)
Rudolph continues to be a growing part of the Vikings offense. He had 44 yards on 3 receptions this week. He only has 98 yards on the year, but his stats have gotten better each week. The fact that the Vikings don’t have any great WRs is making their TEs even more valuable.
14. Greg Little WR Cleveland Browns (Last week #16)
He had a very productive game this week going for 57 yards on 6 receptions. For the year he has 131 yards on 14 receptions. Not terrible numbers for a rookie. The good news is that Colt McCoy looks legit at QB. McCoy is averaging almost 50 more yards per game than he did last year. And he has 6 passing TDs in 4 games after having only 6 in 8 games last year. I do think the Browns will focus a little more on Hillis going forward, but I still think Little will be a part of their offense.
15. Titus Young WR Detroit Lions (Last week #10)
Finished this week with 41 yards on 3 receptions. I should probably have him ranked higher, but he’s not getting an publicity on this team with Calvin and Stafford doing their thing. And, unlike Little and Moore, he has no chance of being his team’s number 1 receiver. I think he definitely has a decent future, but I think he’ll always need to be on a team with a guy like Calvin to take away the coverage. The good news is that the Lions are going to be a passing team as long as Stafford stays healthy. With that in mind, Young is going to get his chances.
16. Roy Helu RB Washington Redskins (Last week #11)
He had a solid game with 35 yards on 8 carries. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Ryan Torain had a monster game. So, in theory, there are now 2 RBs ahead of him on the depth chart. The Redskins do run the ball a lot, but there are just too many options. If Hightower or Torain get hurt, then maybe Helu will make a bigger impact. Until then, his role (and value) will be limited)
17. Jacquizz Rodgers RB Atlanta Falcons (Last week unranked)
He didn’t do anything major this week, but he was solid as a back-up. He seems to be getting more carries as the change-of-pace back. He had 6 carries for 25 yards and 1 reception for 10 yards this week. He’s starting to show more and more each week. I think he’ll be an integral part of this offense by week 10 or so. And if he gets touches, he should have some production.
This has been a great year so far, in my opinion. Big time offensive numbers are great for card sales and that’s what we are seeing. The top of the rankings have been relatively easy so far. It does get a little tougher near the bottom. It’s hard to rank guys that have a huge game one week and then do nothing the next week. So, I’ve tried to drop those players down a little and rank the players who have been more consistent. I dropped Torrey Smith completely out of the rankings for that reason. He had a monster game in week 3. But, he has 1 catch for 1 yard in the other 3 games combined. Plus the Ravens are on bye this week and Lee Evans should be back after the bye. I’d be shocked if he has more than 300-400 yards for the rest of the year if Boldin and Evans stay healthy.
All I can hope for is that the offensive explosion continues. I’m sure some of the guys will slow down. But, maybe someone new will pick up their slack. It might not be much longer until we see Christian Ponder in Minnesota. If he becomes the full time starter, we would have 4 rookie QBs who are starting. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Have a great week.
Tags: aaron rodgers, atlanta falcons, Bengals, Browns, cam newton, carolina panthers, carry, entire league, FEATURE, julio jones, nfl rookie rankings, nfl season, offense, qb rating, road games, Saints, something, tds, touchdown, year