Of the notable rookie performances that I didn’t see coming in week 1, Terry McLaurin sits near or at the top of the list. Not somebody I was overly high on after reviewing his college film, but showed up for the Redskins who have limited options at the wide receiver position.

Still not sure where to take this column on a weekly basis. Maybe I’ll start looking ahead to 2020 rookies at some point, but for week 1, here are some thoughts on what we saw from the most notable performers.

Terry McLaurin

Pre-season Evaluation

  • Shows flashes, but inconsistent with his effort.
  • Uses hands well at the line and down field, but can get hung up running routes with more physical corners.
  • One of the better catch radius of this draft class. Has top end speed, but the acceleration doesn’t show off the line. 

Week 1 Evaluation 

  • Acceleration off the line still didn’t look special, but showed an extra gear about 7-10 yards down field that shows up on his touchdown.
  • The touchdown was a broken play for the Eagles as they brought pressure and didn’t get home without safety cover over top, but Terry still burned Darby for the score.
  • Showed some of his catch radius and ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls.
  • Later in the game, he burned Sidney Jones down the field again, but gets overthrown as he got bumped off his route and threw the timing off just enough.
  • Still don’t believe he’s any kind of top WR, but for the Redskins, he may be the best option available. Paul Richardson did match him for targets though.

Josh Jacobs

Pre-season Evaluation

  • Despite the lackluster 40 time, Jacobs showed good acceleration through the line and the ability to get around the corner.
  • He will take guys head on and has the ability to power through them or push a pile.
  • He’s not a running back that is overly elusive, but does show a nice hesitation and side step move that is his best option.
  • Doesn’t perform well when he’s met in the backfield, but can be a handful if he gets up to speed and onto the linebackers.
  • Unsure if his top end speed will play up enough at the next level to finish big plays and out run.
  • Has decent hands, but best suited for typical check down routes more so than downfield.
  • Prefer both Singletary and Montgomery from a pure skill standpoint, but Jacobs has the opportunity to be the #1 back out of the gate for his team.

Week 1 Evaluation

A lot of places are probably telling you that he looked amazing and you’ve heard his stat about reaching 100 yards in his first game hundreds of times by now. A lot of what I saw was in line with my pre-season work. If anything, the performance was a little bit disappointing as he didn’t show any effective power running until later in the game.

  • He did run hard and battled for yards, but just didn’t break many tackles.
  • He laid the boom on defenders just like in college,  but they brought him down or slowed him enough for others to get there.
  • When he did manage to make a defender miss or pull away from a tackler, the acceleration wasn’t there to make more out of it.
  • His first touchdown run, he jumps the pile and gets met in the air, but spins and reaches the ball across the goal line.
  • His second touchdown, he did show some balance staying on his feet, but just kind of banged around inside until he ended up in the end zone.
  • His best run of the day was the last one where he gets up to speed quickly and hits the hole with authority. He pushes through a couple arm tackles and drags another defender for a first down.
  • My biggest takeaway isn’t an adjustment in my evaluation for Jacobs, but that he has the job to himself and Gruden appears to be ready to run him into the ground. 43 snaps compared to 9 for Jalen Richard and 5 for DeAndre Washington.

T.J. Hockenson

Pre-season Evaluation

  • Routes are smooth with breaks that most tight ends don’t show. 
  • Has the look of a wide receiver.
  • Smart finding open areas both in short yardage and down the field.
  • Tough after the catch runner that can be a handful to bring down.
  • Versatile tight end that can runs as a wide out or stay in an block. 

Week 1 Evaluation

  • Showed his versatility lining up all over the field, in the slot, off the line, out wide, and from the fullback spot. 
  • Had a big gain from the split fullback position where the linebacker read run and then couldn’t chase TJ down. 
  • On his touchdown, he gets behind the linebackers that are in zone coverage underneath, and finds an open area to sit down in the back of the end zone. 
  • Routes are clean and you can definitely mistake him for a big wide receiver out on the field. 
  • He tied Kenny Golladay for 2nd on the team in targets behind Amendola. Jesse James only had 1 target. 64 snaps was 3rd most for a receiving threat on the team behind only Golladay and Marvin Jones

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

Pre-Season Evaluation

  • Ridiculous top end speed and acceleration. 
  • Aggressive stutter steps and double moves that defenders struggle to adjust against.
  • Hands are questionable when he has contact at the point of reception. 
  • Electric in the open field and uses his speed to outrun or make guys miss. 
  • Fluid down field route running.
  • Limited route tree in college. 

Week 1 Evaluation

  • First catch was a long TD was on a slant route and Marquise pulls through the tackle and shows off his speed to score.
  • 2nd catch was also a long TD. Defense in zone coverage and Hollywood just runs through everyone. Nobody turns to get him until it’s too late.
  • Brown’s deep threat pushed corners way off and got a quick toss on a short comeback route. 
  • Showed some elusiveness on his catch down inside the 10 and made multiple defenders miss.
  • Last pass attempt to Brown was incomplete. LJax buys time and we see Brown breakdown into the scramble drill with a nice double move, but gets overthrown. 
  • Still a very limited route tree of different down field go routes and underneath crossing work.
  • Was high on Brown’s big play ability coming into the year and he did not disappoint. As with most big play threats, I’m sure there will be some let down weeks, but as you saw in game 1, he can take just about any pass to the house.

Kyler Murray

Pre-Season Evaluation

  • Elusive behind the line and in the open field. 
  • Has to adjust to the mental clock for the pros after having all day to throw in college. 
  • Not a precision passer as he will miss the placement on throws at every level.
  • Keeps his eyes down field as he moves around in the pocket or scrambles behind the line. 
  • Will make the hero throw at times when he should throw it away or check it down.
  • Height is a concern as he had a number of passes batted down even in college. 

Week 1 Evaluation

  • First run was backed up against his goal line, run/pass option (RPO) that he keeps and gets out from the shadow of the goal posts.
  • Showed his quickness and elusiveness buying time. 
  • Still holds ball and doesn’t get rid of it as he tries to make the big play. 
  • It’s a cliche and all of that, but he looked like a rookie qb in his first game.
  • Missed his spots on multiple passing attempts. 
  • At least a couple of throws he probably shouldn’t have made.
  • Looked best in the 2 minute drill and he was getting the ball out quickly.
  • Best throw of the game is in overtime when he tosses a deep ball to Fitzgerald out on the borders.
  • Crucial pass batted down in overtime.
  • Inside the 10 in overtime, pressure was on him. 2nd and goal, the Cardinals call a RPO and the play was doomed from the start. On 3rd and goal, Kyler’s elusiveness plays up and he eventually tosses the ball away, but was lucky not to take a costly sack.
  • Good and bad here with Kyler as he made a few throws when it really mattered, but I saw somebody who is still acclimating to the speed of the pro game.
  • Lions defense became predictable in the 2nd half and especially later in the game, the Cardinals adjusted the game plan to give Kyler some easier reads and throws closer to the line. 

Some other rookies

  • Dare Ogunbowale – Lead the Tampa running backs in snaps and appears to have a pretty clear role as the passing down backs at least. 
  • Hunter Renfrow – Somebody has to take some targets here other than Tyrell Williams. I don’t believe JJ Nelson, Dwayne Harris, or Ryan Grant is the answer. 
  • Preston Williams – Watch his touchdown in the back of the end zone. Better than the toe tap at the end was the break in the route that broke the defenders ankles. Had a shot at a 40 yard touchdown, but safety came over top and broke it up. 
  • Noah Fant – 5 targets was 3rd on the team and Fant is a freak of nature. 


Follow B_Don on Twitter @RazzBDon and subscribe to the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast with him and Donkey Teeth!


  1. CMUTIMMAH says:

    Some things you chose to ignore in this write-up that I think are important:

    Murray had 3 total passes batted down at the line and a 4th pass that he had to adjust because of his height that was incomplete, and that was just on the plays that I noticed. His height has it’s problems even if others discount those problems.

    Hockenson “sitting down in coverage” was more due to the report with Matt Stafford already. Stafford gave him the signal on what direction to move to, and Hockenson moved that way. It was also a confidence ball thrown by Stafford meaning it wasn’t a bullet, and it was a longer pass with a triangle of defenders in the area, even though none of the defenders broke to the ball quickly, the throw was up in the air for a long time for a throw to a rookie. Good sign of trust, and gaining trust is one of the toughest things for a rookie to do.

    Hollywood Brown’s route tree is a problem. He didn’t get enough reps in camp/preseason and only played on 12 snaps. Yes, he’s good. But the game script for Baltimore will be more run oriented in competitive games, and Lamar had all day in the pocket against MIA. I think Brown is early years Desean Jackson at this point. Let’s hope he never drops the ball at the one yard line. If he grows his route tree (he has a cousin that could teach him a thing or two…) he will be a WR1 for a long time. Dynasty leagues this guy is a gold mine.

    Josh Jacobs is in the perfect offense for Josh Jacobs. They have speed guys to the outside, a move TE, and a bruising RB. I was concerned about Jacobs ability coming into the year, but I also ended up with a lot of shares of him in leagues because I valued his potential workload. Remember Denver is not really a bad defensive team. Oakland stayed pretty vanilla the whole game also, so we could end up being very impressed by week 5 if they start using him in the passing game.

    Noah Fant is Eric Ebron. Since preseason, he has taken a LOT of dumb penalties, has had a good amount of drops, and goes entire series as a non-factor. To be fair, youth is probably a factor. No TE comes out of the gates like Hock has, so I still like him long term. I just think he is a guy that could have zero fantasy value until 2021.

    • CMUTIMMAH says:

      haha – just read that top line, didn’t mean for it to come across as crappy as it does.

      Just meant to see some other things that were cleared up when watching games in preseason and last weekend.

      I should re-read my stuff more often…

      • B_Don

        B_Don says:

        Hey man, no worries, gotta have thick skin to cover fantasy sports. Please do understand though that there are some things I don’t mention or leave out at least partially because nobody wants to read an article that scrolls for days. Good notes in general that you added though.

        I brought up the last Kyler batted pass because it was the most important and to portray that it could be a problem moving forward.

        There is chemistry between Stafford and TJ and Matty did point him out, but TJ still had to have the recognition to see the QB and sit down. Not something that always comes easy to young players.

        The route tree is a problem for Brown, but honestly, I think the routes he runs are primarily the ones that we will see LJax target. Short underneath and go routes. I agree that Desean Jackson is likely his outcome for this season, but that’s not too bad. LOVE his dynasty upside like you mentioned.

        Idk that I agree it’s the right offense for Jacobs, but as long as he’s getting all the carries, not sure that it matters. I see a lot of him just getting what is there, but Alfred Morris had back to back 1000 yard seasons doing just that with a majority of work. Not that I think he’s Alfred Morris…

        Noah Fant is an amazing athlete, played 52 snaps, and got 5 targets. I can’t say he’ll break out this year, and you’re right that rookie TE is a hard position to break out at, but I do still believe in him for dynasty and he could at least be like all the other non elite TEs. That bar is pretty low.

        Watching the film is the best way to make your own judgments about these players, and then people can come in and make intelligent comments that add to the conversation like you did.

  2. B_Don

    B_Don says:

    Alfred reminded me to mention that Dare isn’t a rookie. Just a Razzball favorite.

  3. Pops says:

    Lost Hunter Henry to injury (shocking). I have Vance McDonald. Worth a speculative add of Fant over, say, Trey Burton?

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I still think I’d rather have both Vance and Burton over Fant for now in a redraft league. Fant has to be owned in dynasty.

      • Pops says:

        Thanks, appreciate the advice!

  4. Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

    have ben in one league, am now super weak at RB too though with guice out (they seriously claimed it wasn’t a tear that needed surgery for 3ish days then finally told the truth. what do these teams think they are gaining with these lies anyway?

    anywho probably could both use RB depth now (will have issues in bye weeks already, one more injury and i’m just done, have guice in the IR slot now) and backup for when ben goes on road and looks like that.
    QB ben
    RB (2) AAron, jacobs, both MIA guys (man it’d be nice if they just let drake play, but we’re now on regime 4 consecutive at MIA that refuses to use their best RB as a starter (l.miller/drake), mostert
    WR (2) lockett (return yards worth half scrimmage), adams, kupp, sutton, j.brown
    TE (1) kittle (at least i’m set here)
    1 flex
    IR guice

    RB options: ty mont (maybe bell is already f’d), hines, ito, both my OAK/GB handcuffs are out there, burkhead, gore, j.jax

    QB options: (games that ben has on road are listed here)
    week 3:
    jimmy g vs PIT
    allen vs CIN
    murray vs CAR

    week 5 (ben at home but it’s vs BAL)
    jimmy G vs CLE
    dalton vs ARI
    allen @ TEN
    murray @ CIN

    week 6:
    keenum @ MIA (if he’s still starting by then)
    murray vs ATL
    jimmy G @ LAR
    fitz vs WAS (if he’s still starting by then)

    week 7 (ben bye)
    keenum vs SF
    allen vs MIA
    murray @ NYG

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I’d go with Ito first. Got the most snaps of anyone in your RB options and is a good option if they can get him in space. After that, I’d go Burkehead for the chance he maintains 1/3 of the gig while healhty, then justin jackson.

      We’ve only seen one week of football, and even more than regular I can’t guess at the weather, so, I’ll take my best shot at these QBs, but come back and ask on that week.

      week 3 Allen
      week 5 Kyler
      week 6 Keenum
      week 7 Allen

      • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:

        yeah, nabbed j.allen for now (due to the best week 3) i guess drop ballage and hold mostert for the RB list you had or hold ballage in case of drake lack of usage?

  5. And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

    good lord, cam newtown is like that guy you remembered being an awesome, funny, smart party animal type that you don’t see for a few years, now he has a meth/heroin/crack problem and has trouble having a coherent conversation and has liver damage from the drugs before he’s even 40. can’t tie his shoes right, all that stuff. some good news here, in a 60 person (with a rebuy possible if lose before week 5) last longer it’ll be REALLY nice if CAR loses this game. we’ll get i think an extra 8-10 buy ins in there.

    • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

      if this game was a woman’s orifice i wouldn’t have touched this game in a last longer with your dick.

      • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

        and MF’er does arians nation ignore his TE’s, howard getting jerked around here.

        • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

          the amount of times receivers tonight were thrown behind is more than the keuchly solo tackles.

          • B_Don

            B_Don says:

            Week 1 they just took it easy with Cam and didn’t ask him to do much. You have to give him time to find his touch before writing him off, but it’s definitely a concern early on in the season and potentially for re-injury if he’s not recovered.

            • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

              i was saying all that as a newton owner (along with jimmy G in a 14 teamer), wasn’t suggesting YET to just drop him, but he looks quite bad. it was also a thursday game of course, tons of people look bad on thursday division games. am FAR more worried about oj howard’s usage with arians nation (also have oj howard in the newton league and in another 14 team dynasty, at least there i have d.walker as well and this week will be playing both as coleman/m-will both hurt (did get mostert and already have breida) and pettis possibly too good to drop just yet but certainly can’t play him yet either, along with aj green and n.harry in the 2 total IR slots)

  6. tigersharkz says:

    The long TDs are, imo, fool’s gold. What impressed me about McLaurin was that catch down the sideline of a pass Keenum essentially threw at the Philly DB. Scary Terry reached back, high pointed the shitty pass, and ripped it out of the air before it could fall into the DB’s hands. Lots of burners in the NFL these days. Not a lot of guys that can actually fight for the ball, and not drop it. (here’s looking at you John Ross…) Played 93% of snaps. Only thing Scary Terry is missing is a good QB.

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I agree about John Ross, and in general the big play types in a standard league. They’re great at the end of your roster for best ball though, and I think Hollywood will develop into more.

      The best thing about Terry is his ability to adjust to shi**y throws and he’s going to need it this year.

      I’m moving Terry up for dynasty purposes, but I’m not ready to stan for him yet. He likely gets a bigger jump in redraft than dynasty b/c of the lack of options there this year, but situations change and I think he’s best served as a Robin to somebody else’s Batman.

      The catch you’re talking about was nice, but every other reception he was wide open. I want to see him be able to get off NFL corners when they body him. I was impressed by the burst we saw on that long TD because I don’t remember that from film, yes I know the 40 was 4.35, but just didn’t pop on film.

  7. toolshed says:

    I enjoyed this piece. Speaking of hockensen, are you downgrading marvin Jones after one week? He had 2 targets until OT (2 20yd+ receptions) that somewhat salvaged his day at least made it look better than it actually was. Thanks

    • jason batteiger says:

      at least a little, i know MB is quite worried about marv jones with both dola and hockenson’s week 1.

      • B_Don

        B_Don says:

        I think you have to move him down a little. I still think he’s going to be part of the offense depending who gets covered up on a given week. Stafford utilizing the TE is something we haven’t really seen, so, have to move the targets around some.

  8. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:

    14 team PPR, best use of an open spot while a.wilson is out.
    QB (1) newton, jimmer G
    RB (2) carson, d-will, thompson, singletary, gio B, m.davis
    WR (3): JJSS, AB, j.brown, sutton, c.davis (just added on the cheap after one bad week and was dropped, in a 14 teamer)
    TE (1): oj howard (not THIS usage is scaring me)
    1 flex
    IR (2) a.wilson

    WR: parker (finally gonna get some targets now), beasley, chark, k.johnson, quinn
    TE: VD (reed might be braindead now), one of the CIN or DAL guys, dissly, hurst, gesicki
    RB: ogun, gore, lots of straight up backups, guice (also could obtain by tomorrow and IR stash first, in fact that’s a near freeroll play).

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