Fantasy managers, there is no need to insult anyone's intelligence by insisting on working into this Rookie Rundown any more accolades for Bijan Robinson. The same can be said about Puka Nacua doing his best Cooper Kupp imitation at the outset of his NFL career. Zay Flowers plays much bigger than his size and experience, and he has the trust of Lamar Jackson this early.
They’re all so good that throwing any more flowers at them almost seems lazy.
This Rookie Rundown will vary week by week to keep from becoming repetitive. Some players got a second write-up this week, likely because they took a further step in their development. A couple of players actually debuted here without playing in an NFL game yet. Must read on to get the full reasoning.
That’s enough of a lead-in. Time to get into the report.
Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts quarterback has flashed his brilliant dual-threat toolset in two games, but he has also finished both games on the bench due to injuries. The most serious was a concussion, which leaves his status for this weekend in doubt. After Week 1, James Boyd of The Athletic captured these words of advice that Trevor Lawrence had for Richardson:
“He made some unbelievable plays, but just try to protect yourself,” Lawrence said. “The hits add up in this league, and they are a little different than in college.”
Richardson is different and appeared to be on his way to a big game after scoring two touchdowns on just three rush attempts before the concussion. With so much of the Colts' hopes riding on Richardson, it's understandable that he's been ruled out for Week 3. He has put some good work on film, though.
C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
With 384 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts, Stroud announced himself to the NFL as a quarterback to be taken seriously in his rookie season in the right matchup. A home game against the Colts was such a matchup.
With three receivers — Nico Collins, Tank Dell (more on him later) and Robert Woods — getting either nine or 10 targets in Week 2, Stroud made several very good plays. It’s hard to expect consistency from a rookie quarterback, but one thing that was especially encouraging was his solid 10.2 aDOT. That was third in the league last week.
Taking shots downfield to three capable receivers, Stroud might be startable a few more times this season. While he might be better left benched on the road in Jacksonville this weekend — its defense has 27 quarterback pressures in two games, good for 12th in the league — he’s far from a total zero for fantasy managers for the rest of the season.
Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints
How does a player who has yet to see the field in his rookie season warrant a write-up in this space? Well, when the top two running backs are suspended (Alvin Kamara) or hurt (Jamaal Williams), that could mean more than just seeing the field for Miller.
Miller is trending toward playing after logging a full practice for the Saints to start the week. He has the size (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) to be on the field on every down and is competing for touches with a practice-squad player in Tony Jones. A third-round draft pick who rushed for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns for a TCU team that played in the national championship game, Miller could see the field plenty — at least, this weekend.
Green Bay is on the docket, and its defense was 26th, with 139.5 rushing yards allowed per game in 2022. The Packers are 30th this season, giving up 333 rushing yards through the first two games. Miller is worth a stash if he’s activated Sunday.
Zach Evans, Los Angeles Rams
With Cam Akers traded to the Vikings, Kyren Williams is clearly the lead back for the Rams. But head coach Sean McVay has not had a single back carry the primary load for the Rams since Todd Gurley in 2018.
Evans is competing with Royce Freeman and Ronnie Rivers to be the No. 2 back for the Rams. Williams also measured 5-foot-9, 194 pounds, so it’s difficult to envision him carrying a large load all season. Evans is a speculative pick for fantasy rosters that can afford to wait for a player to develop.
Marvin Mims, Denver Broncos
When Russell Wilson throws a deep ball, it’s a thing of beauty — almost like an Aaron Judge home run, with plenty of hang time and a majestic arch. Wilson tossed up a pair of long balls to Mims that totaled 113 yards in distance. One was a 60-yard touchdown:
Mims ran just six routes in Week 2 after playing eight total snaps in his debut. It’s hard to imagine head coach Sean Payton limiting Mims’ opportunities after a game like this past Sunday. Look for Mims’ routes and targets to continue to ramp up.
Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants
Hyatt began to show what he can do when targeted on long passes in the furious comeback against the Cardinals on Sunday. He caught both targets and took them for 89 yards. His aDOT of 37.5 was borderline ridiculous, though Hyatt’s average would've certainly gone down had he drawn more targets.
And lest we forget, quarterback Daniel Jones had a passer rating of 119.3 on deep balls in 2022.
Hyatt needs to see the ball more, and the opportunity is there for him to be more than a player running fly routes to clear out the defense. Hyatt has special speed — 4.40 in the 40 — that no other player on the Giants has. If Saquon Barkley’s ankle injury is going to sideline him more than a couple of weeks, Jones will need other playmakers to step up. Hyatt should run to the front of that line because the 49ers are on deck in Week 3. The only way teams have competed with San Francisco is by passing the ball (see Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell last week).
Jayden Reed, Packers
Reed is taking advantage of Christian Watson's absence, as he has become a full-fledged part of the Green Bay offense. He ran the third-most routes among Packers wide receivers and easily led the team with seven targets, four receptions for 37 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Even in a low-volume game like the Packers had against the Falcons, this is impressive for a rookie.
What happens when Watson is back to full health? Reed leads the team with 13 targets, while Romeo Doubs has eight. Doubs also scored a pair of touchdowns in Week 1. Will the Packers have enough pass volume to support multiple receivers, much less three?
The Saints come marching into Lambeau Field this weekend. They have allowed 351 passing yards, tied for sixth-best in the league. The Packers might be the best passing offense the Saints have faced thus far, so Reed is a flex play if needed.
Tank Dell, Houston Texans
As already mentioned in the Stroud writeup, Dell is developing quickly. Slight by NFL standards (5-foot-10, 165 pounds), Dell plays much larger than his size and hardly shies from contact as he goes after extra yards. Hence the nickname "Tank."
Dell’s 63 routes are respectably fourth on the team, behind Woods, Collins and tight end Dalton Schultz. Being well-connected with Stroud is going to help.
Dell might not rise above being a flex play, but he’s talented. Keep an eye on the upcoming matchups, though. Home games against the likes of Arizona, Tennessee and Tampa Bay could be games where Dell sneaks into fantasy lineups.