If Week 1’s encounter between the Packers and Saints confirmed anything other than Aaron Rodgers’ talents and Mark Ingram’s promising future, it’s that selecting rookie wide receivers in your fantasy league may not have been such an absurd option after all.
On Thursday night, Green Bay’s prolific execution in the air came as no surprise, but rookie receiver Randall Cobb’s debut came entirely out of left field. After reeling in a 32 yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers, Cobb went on to take a spin, a flip and a 102-yard kick return to the house with a little guidance from above.
And you know what, all of that happened in one night against a Saints defense that ranked fourth overall last year, but after Cobb put on such a show, it’s time to look at four other rookie wide receivers who will lace up on Sunday and try to do the very same.
On Sunday afternoon, there will be a battle in Ohio between the Bengals and Browns, but unfortunately for first year receiver A.J. Green, this rivalry has seen much better days.
There is a familiar college aspect Green can look forward to on Sunday though, as second year cornerback Joe Haden will be the first to welcome him to the NFL. Physicality is at the top of both players resume, and after Green handled Darrelle Revis comfortably in the preseason, it’s unlikely he has a quiet game this weekend.
Scouting reports repeatedly state that Green has the ability to read a defense and adapt, and the Browns regular season debut of the new 4-3 scheme will be his first test. Pat Shurmur also makes his Browns debut, so Green has a chance to implement his name in Ohio rivalry folklore rather early.
Prediction: Bengals 23 – Browns 20
The Falcons were 6-2 on the road last season, and ironically both Atlanta and Chicago saw their playoff campaign ended at home against the soon to be Super Bowl champions.
Out of all the rookie wide receivers though, Julio Jones by far has the toughest task at hand. Not only will he have to compete with Roddy White on a play-to-play basis, he’ll also have to face a Bears defense – which is, well, rather disgruntled.
History says the Falcons aren’t the favorites on Sunday afternoon, however. Even with Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs financially frustrated, the Falcons have lost five straight times at Soldier Field in the past – and Charles Tillman could make Jones’ day all that more difficult.
Prediction: Falcons 14 – Bears 20
The Chiefs have a few roster changes to make before Sunday, and the likelihood of rookie Jonathan Baldwin sitting out Sunday’s game against the Bills is high. According to reports, Baldwin broke his thumb during a locker room altercation with Thomas Jones several weeks ago, and although nothing can be confirmed just yet, sources close to the team have told of Baldwin’s inability to catch passes in practice.
The Chiefs will also be without tight end Tony Moeaki this weekend, leaving Matt Cassel without one of his key targets.
Prediction: Bills 21 – Chiefs 28
A long and healthy season with Matt Stafford under center will help Titus Young’s numbers greatly, and after offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Detroit Free Press that Young’s hamstring is nearly 100%, the Lions frightening offense only continues to grow stronger.
As for this week, Young may be stretched for possessions against the Bucs, as the Lions look to set up a strong offensive structure early in the season behind Calvin Johnson. Still, this game is made all the more intriguing by Detroit’s depth, and Young will have to fight against a Bucs defense that ranked seventh in pass yards last season.
Prediction: Lions 20 – Buccaneers 31
Follow @RyanCook13 on Twitter.