It’s hard to think that such big, athletic guys had some growing up to do at the beginning of the season, but they did. It goes to show that no matter what your physical preparation might be, there’s still a learning curve in the NFL. These guys have essentially made the grade, and should be good fantasy pickups as you head down the stretch.
Mark Ingram – Saints – His rookie season has been overshadowed by DeMarco Murray’s record breaking runs, the Saints’ high flying offense, and his Week 1 goal line stuffing against the Packers. However, he still leads all rookies in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. As the season gets serious, expect the Saints to impose their will on the ground with Ingram and Pierre Thomas leading the way.
DeMarco Murray – Cowboys – Looks like Murray has finally learned about blocking assignments. A combination of learning the playbook and injuries to Felix Jones catapulted him into the starting lineup. While Sunday’s romp against the Rams was very special, don’t expect him to carry the entire load the rest of the season. Yes, he was pretty good between the tackles, but historically he has excelled catching the ball out of the backfield. So look for him to great play if the Cowboys continue to use a tandem running attack along with Phillip Tanner and Felix Jones.
Kendall Hunter – 49ers – Another rookie highlighted in the preseason, Hunter has an established role as a change of pace back to compliment Frank Gore. His big runs against the Bucs and Eagles indicate that he will be a player as the Niners try to win their division.
Delone Carter – Colts – He arguably was the lone bright spot in the Colts’ 62-7 nightmare last Sunday. He broke a nice 42 yard run and scored their only touchdown. With his 65 carries this season so far, he’s averaged 4 yards per carry, which isn’t bad. The one thing about bad teams, players are always playing for jobs next season. Don’t expect Carter to rest on his laurels.
A.J. Green – Bengals – Julio Jones – Falcons – Remember the preseason debates you had between A.J. Green and Julio Jones? Aside from Jones’ hamstring injury, both turned out to be solid picks. They lead all rookies in receiving yards (1 and 2, respectively). Green has scored 4 TD’s but Jones is yet to find the end zone. Green has become Andy Dalton’s favorite target, and Jones has become a threat opposite Roddy White. If Jones’ is able to come back after the Falcons’ week 8 bye, he would be a great play against the Colts’ porous defense. Meanwhile, A.J. Green is a solid play with Andy Dalton hitting his stride.
Greg Little – Browns – Throw away the game tape from the Seahawks game. Pure garbage. Aside from that, Little has emerged as Colt McCoy’s favorite target since he’s earned a starting job. Remember, 25 catches in 5 games started, so he definitely gets targets. Could be a great week 10 pickup when the Rams come to town.
Doug Baldwin – Seahawks - The Stanford rookie has definitely been a surprise. Yes, the 2 touchdowns came about through blown coverage, but points are points. It also shows that he gets his share of targets. While the Seahawks offense could be horrible at times, Baldwin deserves some consideration.
Denarius Moore – Raiders – If you haven’t been watching, he’s quickly become the Raiders’ number one deep threat. Throw the Chiefs’ game out. Once Carson Palmer becomes more familiar with the offense, Moore’s production should increase.