The first quarter of the National Football League season is in the books. Week 4 brought us our first game delays due to COVID-19. However, some things stayed the same. One of those things was the phenomenal rookie performances on both sides of the ball. And we now get to look back on some of the best here in the Week 4 edition of the NFL rookie rankings.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Aiyuk had another notable performance for the 49ers. The former Arizona State Sun Devil caught two of the five passes thrown his way and took his one rushing attempt to the end zone. Aiyuk scampered for 38 yards on his way to a leaping score where he showed off the speed and the hops. Aiyuk and the 49ers will be taking on the Miami Dolphins this coming weekend.
Julian Blackmon, S, Indianapolis Colts
Blackmon had just one tackle on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Still, he hauled in his first career interception as well as totaling three passes defended. The rookie safety seems to have earned the starting role with Malik Hooker out for the season. He saw the field for 100 percent of the Colts defensive snaps against Chicago. Keep an eye on Blackmon as he and the Colts take on the Cleveland Browns this weekend.
15. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos
Week 4 Stats: Two Receptions, 61 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown
Jeudy hauled in two of the five passes thrown his way last week against the New York Jets. Not only that, but he also found his way into the end zone for the first time of his young career on a 48-yard pass early in the second quarter. Jeudy made the most of his opportunities and continued to play a decent role in the offense with Courtland Sutton out for the season. However, Jeudy likely can not wait for Drew Lock to return to the field later this season. Jeudy will look to connect more with Brett Rypien this weekend against the New England Patriots.
Projected Stat Line vs. New England Patriots: Four Receptions, 55 Receiving Yards
14. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Week 4 Stats: 17 Carries, 68 Rushing Yards
For some reason, this past couple of weeks, Taylor has seen fewer carries than he saw in his breakout Week 2 performance. However, he made the most of what he got this past weekend, rushing for 68 yards on 17 carries giving him an average of four yards per carry. Taylor saw the field on just 46 percent of the offensive snaps, and the Colts would be wise to increase that this weekend against the Cleveland Browns. They should also get him involved more in both the run and passing game.
Projected Stat Line vs. Cleveland Browns: 18 Carries, 70 Rushing Yards, Five Receptions, 45 Receiving Yards
13. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 4 Stats: Four Receptions, 77 Receiving Yards
Higgins has been in sync with fellow rookie Joe Burrow this past couple of weeks. The duo connected on four passes for 77 yards this past weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Higgins is playing in a crowded top trio of receivers between Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, and himself, and has earned a fair share of targets. The former Clemson Tiger was on the field for 57 percent of the snaps last week and added 13 rushing yards late in the second quarter. Look for the Bengals to get as many players involved again this weekend as they take on the division-rival Baltimore Ravens.
Projected Stat Line vs. Baltimore Ravens: Five Receptions, 66 Receiving Yards
12. Javon Kinlaw, DL, San Francisco 49ers
Week 4 Stats: Four Tackles, One Pass Defended
Kinlaw had a slow start to the season, but with the 49ers defensive line dealing with injuries, he has started to see more time on the field. The former South Carolina Gamecock was able to tally four tackles and knocked down a pass in the 49ers’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kinlaw saw the field for 76 percent of San Francisco’s defensive snaps and showed some flashes of the game wrecker he was back in college. Despite a weak performance from the rest of the 49ers club, Kinlaw showed some hope for the future, putting up a couple of quarterback pressures on Carson Wentz.
Projected Stat Line vs. Miami Dolphins: Five Tackles, One Sack
11. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 4 Stats: 25-36, 300 Passing Yards, One Touchdown, One Interception
It only took four games before the rookie quarterback got his first taste of victory. Burrow and the Bengals won by a comfortable margin against the Jaguars on Sunday. The former LSU Tiger continued to show why the Bengals took him first overall. Burrow completed 69 percent of his passes while also averaging his highest air yards per completion at 7.1. While he did throw an interception late in the first quarter, Burrow would then lead his team on five straight scoring drives in the second half. Burrow looks to build off the momentum of his first win in this weekends matchup against the Ravens.
Projected Stat Line vs. Baltimore Ravens: 28-39, 280 Passing Yards, Two Touchdowns, One Interception
10. Jeremy Chinn, LB/S, Carolina Panthers
Week 4 Stats: Eight Tackles
Chinn continues to put up substantial tackle numbers through his rookie campaign totaling eight in the Panthers win over the Arizona Cardinals last week. He played well in coverage allowing just four yards on the three passes thrown in his direction and has now led or co-led his team in tackles the past three games. The Southern Illinois product is shaping up to be a reliable replacement for the retired Luke Kuechly after continuing to be on the field for more than 85 percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps. Chinn will look to continue to be a tackling machine this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons.
Projected Stat Line vs. Atlanta Falcons: 10 Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss
9. Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
Week 4 Stats: Eight Tackles, One Sack
Diggs had a bounce-back performance from two weeks ago; however, the rest of his defense just decided to forget how to tackle. The Alabama product racked up eight tackles, grabbed his first career sack, and allowed a passer rating of just 77.7 on passes thrown his way. Diggs has shown several flashes this season and is a strong tackler having only three missed tackles this season, two of which came in week one. He has played every defensive snap so far, and right now, he looks like Dallas’ best defender.
Projected Stat Line vs. New York Giants: Seven Tackles, Two Passes Defended
8. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 4 Stats: 16 Carries, 64 Rushing Yards, Three Receptions, 27 Receiving Yards
Edwards-Helaire has continued to impress through the first quarter of the season. Last week against the New England Patriots on Monday Night, he still put up 91 yards from scrimmage despite a strong defensive performance. Edwards-Helaire averaged four yards per carry with a total of 64 rushing yards and caught all three passes thrown his way. While it took a while for the Chiefs offense to get going, once they did, it took off, and that included Edwards-Helaire, who got the yards needed to allow the Chiefs to cruise to victory late. Week 5 brings the Las Vegas Raiders to town who currently have a bottom-tier rushing defense.
Projected Stat Line vs. Las Vegas Raiders: 20 Carries, 80 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown
7. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Week 4 Stats: Five Receptions, 79 Receiving Yards, Two Touchdowns
Lamb found the end zone not once, but twice last week in the Cowboys’ loss to the Browns. The former Oklahoma Sooner caught five of the seven passes thrown his way, hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, and also caught a five-yard touchdown late in the fourth to close the gap to just three points. Lamb has shown strong hands this season, totaling zero drops and finding open space against opposing defenses. Lamb and the Cowboys will look to bounce back this weekend against the New York Giants.
Projected Stat Line vs. New York Giants: Six Receptions, 80 Receiving Yards
6. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
Week 4 Stats: 13 Carries, 46 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown, Four Receptions, 82 Receiving Yards
Gibson had a great performance last week against the Ravens despite the loss. While he didn’t get many carries with just thirteen and averaging 3.5 yards per carry, Gibson was second on his team in receiving yards. He also added a two-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. The former Memphis Tiger put up 82 receiving yards, including a screen pass that he took for 40 yards. Gibson showed off the explosiveness and has become not just the lead back on his team, but potentially the first or second-best player on the offense. Gibson is hitting his stride just in time to take on the Los Angeles Rams this weekend.
Projected Stat Line vs. Los Angeles Rams: 16 Carries, 60 Rushing Yards, Three Receptions, 45 Receiving Yards
5. Kenneth Murray, LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 4 Stats: 10 Tackles
Murray was a tackling machine during his time at Oklahoma, and he is starting to come into his own in the heart of the Chargers defense. Last week Murray racked up 10 tackles in their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he needs to become more consistent in pass protection, Murray has been stout against the run and had just one missed tackle last week against the Bucs. Murray has started to become an all-down back for the Chargers after playing for 97 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Projected Stat Line vs. New Orleans Saints: Nine Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss
4. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Week 4 Stats: Four Receptions, 103 Receiving Yards
After reaching 175 receiving yards two weekends ago, Jefferson once again passed the century mark in receiving yards in the win against the Houston Texans. The former LSU Tiger has become a big part of the Vikings offense and a legitimate no. 2 behind Adam Thielen. While Thielen is the more efficient receiver, Jefferson provides some much needed big-play ability that the Vikings offense needs. Jefferson’s abilities to get separation and pick up yards after the catch should also continue to bolster the Vikings offense moving forward.
Projected Stat Line vs. Seattle Seahawks: Six Receptions, 95 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown
3. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 4 Stats: 20-25, 290 Yards, Three Touchdowns, One Interception
Herbert had himself another strong performance in Week 4 against the Buccaneers but would fall short at the end of the day. However, the 22-year-old quarterback had an efficient day completing 80 percent of his passes and averaged 11.6 yards per pass attempt. Herbert threw three touchdown passes to put the cherry on top, including a 72-yard bomb to Jalen Guyton. Herbert’s confidence has continued to grow over the past couple of weeks. The one interception he did have was late in the game when the Chargers needed big yardage and points. Herbert will look to continue to play well and, with a little help from his defense, try to upset the Saints this coming weekend.
Projected Stat Line vs. New Orleans Saints: 24-35, 300 Passing Yards, Two Touchdowns
2. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 4 Stats: 17 Carries, 75 Rushing Yards, Four Receptions, 32 Receiving Yards
Robinson is the real deal for the Jaguars. Last week the Illinois State product surpassed 100 yards from scrimmage for the third game in a row and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Robinson saw the field for the largest number of snaps so far this season, with 76 percent, and he made the most of it. While he did fail to reach the end zone this past weekend, Robinson was still efficient and dangerous coming out of the backfield into open space. He and the Jaguars will look to bounce back from a loss last week as they take on the 0-4 Houston Texans this weekend. If Robinson is on your fantasy team, be sure to start him this week against a disastrous Houston run defense.
Projected Stat Line vs. Houston Texans: 20 Carries, 100 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown
1. Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Week 4 Stats: 12 Tackles, Three Tackles-for-Loss
Arguably the best linebacker of his draft class, Queen, made a statement last week to all the teams who let him fall to the 28th overall pick. Queen tallied his first double-digit tackle game with 12, and also added three tackles-for-loss. While he did look stout against the run, Queen still could use a little more consistency in the passing game, as most rookie linebackers do. However, his sideline-to-sideline speed was on full display against Washington. He held fellow rookie Gibson to just 3.5 yards per carry. Queen saw his largest portion of snaps so far this season at 80 percent and will look to continue his success in Week 5 against the Bengals.
Projected Stat Line vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Eight Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss
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