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Top 5 Rookie Running Back Performances Of Week 2

Overview:

Week 2 is in the books and we got another look at this year’s promising rookie running back class. Although Week 2 wasn’t quite as successful statistically as Week 1, there were still many noteworthy performances.

I will be recapping last week’s top five and predictions and then create a top five performances of Week 2 list. Finally, I will be summing up the rookie class into a top five on the season up to this point. Each week I will update the list and show who I think is the favorite for rookie running back of the year.

Kareem Hunt

Projection for Week 2: 16 carries 92 yards, 3 catches 17 yards, 1 touchdown.

Actual for Week 2: 13 carries 81 yards, 3 catches 28 yards, 2 touchdowns.

Leonard Fournette

Projection for Week 2: 24 carries 124 yards, 2 catches 8 yards, 2 touchdowns.

Actual for Week 2: 14 carries 40 yards, 2 catches 21 yards, 1 touchdown.

Dalvin Cook

Projection for Week 2: 19 carries 83 yards, 3 catches 9 yards, 0 touchdowns.

Actual for Week 2: 12 carries 64 yards, 2 catches 0 yards, 0 touchdowns.

Tarik Cohen

Projection for Week 2: 8 carries 45 yards, 6 catches 42 yards, 1 touchdown.

Actual for Week 2: 7 carries 13 yards, 8 catches 55 yards, 0 touchdowns.

Christian McCaffrey

Projection for Week 2: 10 carries 63 yards, 4 catches 98 yards, 1 touchdown.

Actual for Week 2: 8 carries 10 yards, 4 catches 34 yards, 0 touchdowns.

Results:

Not so bad on the predictions. I overestimated the rookie’s abilities to find the end zone. The first couple weeks of the regular season have been offensively challenged as starters get back into their rhythm. The rookies got a little less work this week than last but were still overall productive. Now let’s take a look at my top five rookie running back performances of Week 2.

Week 2:

1. Kareem Hunt

Now I’ll be the first to admit he has been unexpectedly impressive since being thrust into the starting role. He scored two touchdowns this week and helped the Chiefs beat a tough Eagles squad. However, where I may differ from others is that I think a lot of this has to do with being a product of a system. The Chiefs have always supported a stud running back and without much competition, Hunt is seeing most of the touches. Kansas City is a great team and while efficient, Hunt is in my opinion not as talented as say, Ezekiel Elliott. Let’s see if he can continue his success against the Chargers this week.

Projection for Week 3: 18 carries 120 yards, 2 catches 8 yards, 1 touchdown.

2. Chris Carson

Anyone that can run for nearly 100 yards behind that offensive line deserves a shout out. It appears as though Carson is the back to own in Seattle at this point. Eddie Lacy was inactive this week and Thomas Rawls was disappointing, to say the least. C.J. Prosise appears to be the third-down back. Carson looks powerful and fresh out of the backfield and grinded his way to a 4.7 YPC average against the 49ers. The next test against the Titans will hopefully be a better gauge of his ability as they have a slightly better defense.

Projection for Week 3: 14 carries 64 yards, 1 catch 2 yards, 0 touchdowns. 

3. Dalvin Cook

Cook was limited by the game script in this one as the Vikings were playing from behind nearly the entire game. He still looks impressive but it was a little more difficult for him to find running room with Case Keenum at the helm. The Steelers keyed in on Cook and didn’t allow him to break many runs. The Vikings have another tough matchup against the Bucs this week. Barring a Sam Bradford return, it seems likely that they will be playing catch up with Tampa Bay’s high-powered offense again this week. I’m gonna say that Cook breaks off a 60-yarder at some point in this game but otherwise, he will be mostly held in check.

Projection for Week 3: 12 carries 82 yards, 3 catches 14 yards, 1 touchdown.

4. Leonard Fournette

Fournette was another victim of the falling behind early as the Titans crushed Jacksonville in this one. “Sacksonville” was nowhere to be found and Fournette paid the price as he only registered 14 carries. Fournette still looks like a physical specimen but if I had to guess I would say he gets held back by the rest of his team this year more than his own limitations. The Jaguars have another challenging matchup against the Ravens this week. The difference here is that this game should be a little bit lower scoring hopefully allowing the Jags to stick to the run a little bit more. I predicted this last week but I’ll double down and say Fournette finds pay dirt twice this week.

Projection for Week 3: 22 carries 74 yards, 2 catches 12 yards, 2 touchdowns.

5. Samaje Perine

This was a tough call because there wasn’t a lot of production this week from the rest of the rookies. Perine had padded stats out of necessity as Washington starter Robert Kelley went down with an injury early in the game. Perine averaged a paltry 3.2 YPC on 21 carries and looked like the third best back on the depth chart. He will be pushed into a larger role if Kelley can’t come back soon but I see Chris Thompson eating into the carries as well. He may get another chance to prove he’s NFL ready against the Raiders this week.

Projection for Week 3: 11 carries 34 yards, 1 catches 4 yards, 0 touchdowns.

*Assuming Kelley doesn’t start*

Best of the rest: Tarik Cohen, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara

Stay Tuned:

Next week I will provide an updated look at these backs and any more that play their way into the limelight. After two weeks, it appears the rookies are in fact still learning the ways of the NFL. Outside of Kareem Hunt, there was not a ton of success in Week Two for a variety of factors. Hopefully, Week Three provides more bountiful results. There are a few tough matchups this week so it will be up to the talent of these young runners to show through and carry their teams to victory.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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