Rookies Make History: 3 Bold Predictions for Week 6

“I never saw it coming.”

In this bold predictions series, we’ll look at weekly matchups, using history as a contextual backdrop – as well as in-season trends – in order to unearth unexpected events that have a chance at coming true.

Our record sinks to a sorry 1-161 on the season after a week where nothing quite went right.

  • Eli Manning and Philip Rivers couldn’t find four interceptions between them, but they did throw one pick each, with Eli adding a fumble. It was about what I expected, just not an epic meltdown.
  • Thankfully, there was no threat of getting my prediction of a top-15 week for DeVante Parker right after he left in the first quarter with an injury.
  • All hopes hung on a historical Monday Night Football performance from Mitch Trubisky, and while he flashed mobility and a deft touch as expected, he also made a couple of key mistakes which cost me… I mean the Bears, the game.

To get back on the board in Week 6, we’re turning to the best thing about this NFL season so far — the rookie running backs — and this week, we have a bonus fourth Bold Prediction for you.

Kareem Hunt – The Best 6-Game RB Start to a Career

The measure: after this week, Kareem Hunt will be the leader in rookie rushing yards, total TDs, and PPR points scored through the first six games of a career (since 2000).

This prediction really comes down to rushing yards and TDs, because Kareem Hunt is already just a few PPR points shy of the best six-game start to a career, and he’s only played five games. It’s been a lot of fun to watch, and it’s truly incredible in terms of historical context. Here’s what needs to happen to make this prediction come true this weekend.

  • The record for most PPR points in the first six games of an RB’s career (since 2000) belongs to Adrian Peterson with 132.8. Hunt has 129.5 and needs just 3.4 points to pass Peterson.
  • Hunt needs 96 rushing yards to pass Ezekiel Elliott for the most rushing yards through a rookie’s first six games (704).
  • Hunt has six total touchdowns through five games (four rushing, two receiving). He needs to score two this week to pass LaDainian Tomlinson’s seven TDs (all rushing) through six games. Side note – Leonard Fournette is tied with Hunt for second on this list2 with six TDs and could also break the record.
  • Attaining the receiving record might be less realistic. Hunt needs 120 yards through the air to beat Reggie Bush’s mark. I don’t think he’ll do that, but another rookie will. More on that in a moment.

To recap, here is what we need from Hunt to get this prediction right: at least 96 yards rushing, two TDs, and 3.4 fantasy points.

Here is a sortable table of the top-10 rookie PPR performers since 2000.3

PLAYERSeasonRush AttRush YdsRush TDsRec TDsRec YdsRec TDsPPR Points
Kareem Hunt2017976094161662129.5
Matt Forte20081274593272062123.5
Ezekiel Elliott2016136704511980121.2
Adrian Peterson2007966084101751118.3
LaDainian Tomlinson2001152544710900115.4
Jahvid Best2010792494312851114.4
Leonard Fournette20171094665131281108.4
Trent Richardson2012953404221861104.6
Alfred Morris20121165385325089.3
Giovani Bernard201360237220201287.8

Christian McCaffrey – Most RB Receiving yards to Start a Career

Lost in the historical debuts of both Hunt and Fournette is one of the best starts we’ve seen from a pass-catching back in the past 16 years. I’m predicting that after this weekend, Christian McCaffrey will also have a piece of history by collecting the most receiving yards over the first six games of an RB’s career.

Here is the same table with the best-receiving totals by RBs since 2000.

PLAYERSeasonRush AttRush YdsRush TDsRecsRec YdsRec TDsPPR Points
Jahvid Best2010792494312851114.4
Reggie Bush200665196038285086.1
Christian McCaffrey20173496027237166.3
Matt Forte20081274593272062123.5
Giovani Bernard201360237220201287.8
Duke Johnson201549159024190164.9

McCaffrey has already passed Matt Forte and needs 49 receiving yards against the Eagles on Thursday Night to pass Reggie Bush and Jahvid Best (285). The Panthers rookie has averaged 47.4 yards receiving per game, while the Eagles have given up an average of 45.6 per game. It’s going to be very close.

Tom Brady – Under 300 Yards Passing

Tom Brady has thrown for at least 300 yards in four of five games so far and has cracked 400 yards once. He leads the league in passing by quite a margin — his 1,702 yards easily best that of second-place man Carson Palmer. So if he’s averaging 340 yards passing per game, what makes me think he’ll be held under 300 yards this week?

The Jets.

While Brady has had some fine fantasy days over the past three years against the Jets, he hasn’t put on the kind of aerial show we’re used to seeing from him.

Capture

Brady has just one 300-yard game against the Jets in his last six efforts, and none on the road, which is where the teams will meet for first place in the AFC East this week. Using the Game Splits App, we see just how dramatic the difference over the past three years when Brady faces the Jets in New York versus every other game.

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A Bonus Bold Prediction

I saved the boldest of the predictions for last — not only are we getting back on the board this week, but we’re going three for three to put up a perfect week.

  1. To be honest, while I am bit bummed by the record, this article is more about historical context and examining outliers. It is a fascinating piece to research and has quickly become my favorite and most time-consuming weekly article to write.  (back)
  2. Again, with one less game played than the others.  (back)
  3. Note that the RotoViz Screener doesn’t account for bye weeks, so in the case of Adrian Peterson, this list does not include his sixth game. But we’ve noted his updated PPR totals after six games above.  (back)