Tyus Tate is averaging 8.7 yards every time the Washington Redskins give him the ball, including 8.3 yards per rushing attempt. The third-round rookie running back from Western Michigan already has eight touchdowns — more than any player in the XCFL this season. And four of those scores have come from more than 50 yards. At this point, no one would be surprised if Tyus Tate grew wings and flew out of FedEx Field in Week 5.
This was not supposed to happen. Tate toiled in relative obscurity in the Mid-American Conference and really only impressed scouts at the NFL combine, while running a 4.32 40-yard dash. Tate's XCFL.com pre-draft scouting report raised a lot of red flags about his ability: “Small in stature... too cute in the hole … could struggle to find chunk runs on the next level.” Welp.
That’s why he was available with the 86th pick in the draft when the Redskins selected him. For the next couple of months, there was no indication that this kind of explosive debut was remotely possible. Tate, instead, was praised for his off the field characteristics and his ability to learn the system. Then incumbent starter Keith Marshall was not resigned in the off season, which translated into a field promotion for the rookie.
As the Redskins prepare for their Sunday night game against New York, the only people more excited than Redskins fans to watch what Tate will do next are his fantasy owners. In the realm of fantasy, Tate is already a god — a status rookies seldom achieve. Since 2000, here are the rookies who accumulated at least 20 total traditional fantasy points in their first three games.
The question remaining is how long Tate can keep up this level of production. The list of rookie RBs who accumulated eye-popping yards-from-scrimmage totals in their first four career games is dotted with legends who burst out of the gates when they reached the pro level — such as Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson and Barry Sanders.
That means it’s still too soon to say for sure how big Tate’s stats will end up being. Based on the relationship above, we’d expect an RB with over 750 yards from scrimmage in career Games 1-4 to put up about 1,950 yards from scrimmage over the rest of the season, which (when added to the stats he’s already produced) would give him 2,500 scrimmage yards. As far as rookie RB performances go, that’s very good. All the Redskins could possibly ask for from a guy that wasn't even supposed to be.