Week 6 Risers and Fallers
October 22, 2015 | Chet
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Never rest on your laurels, ladies and gents. Just because you’re 4-2, 5-1 or 6-0 (liar) it doesn’t mean you can sit back and watch your team waltz into the championship and take down the competition yet again. You’ve gotta take stock of your team and understand who is on the rise, and who is falling too far to keep holding on. Here’s a group of players who are doing just that — rising or falling.
If you’ve got a question or comment about a specific guy, whether he’s on this list or not, drop a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter!
The ownership percentages are a median between Yahoo! and ESPN own%.
Lamar Miller (94.3%) came out of the bye week with 131 rushing yards on the year and 9 carries per game. Whether coincidence or not, Dan Campbell debuted as the Miami coach and Lamar ran for 113 yards on 19 carries. The team finished with 32 rush attempts by the time the game was said and done as they incorporated Jonas Gray and Damien Williams only after the win was well within reach. He’ll have another plus matchup in Week 7 against a Houston defense that is ranked 21st in Football Outsiders’ Rush DVOA. Hopefully this usage trend will continue and we’ll have ourselves the RB2 we thought we had when we drafted him.
John Brown (86.1%) helped to prove that he is no longer a “2 reception, 65 yard and a possible score” wide out anymore by catching a career high 10 of his career high 14 targets for a career high 196 yards. If you’re complaining that he didn’t score then you’re simply a jerk. Being that this was the greatest game of his career we can hardly expect this week in and week out, but if you look at his game logs for the season so far it’s not crazy to assume that his floor with Carson Palmer slinging the ball everywhere isn’t that much lower than Antonio Brown’s floor when Big Ben is healthy. At the very least, his Week 7 floor should be incredibly high against a Ravens defense that just got absolutely torched by deep balls to Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin from Colin Kaepernick. Get Johnny boy in your lineups; redraft, GPP, cash games, all of it.
Allen Hurns (74.6%) just keeps on scoring, making it a cool four game stretch of reaching the end zone. Though a couple of those games have only been fantasy relevant because of the scores, the fact remains that he’s going to have some very nice games when the defense starts to load up on teammate Allen Robinson. Though ARob is definitely the guy you would rather have, I don’t think those back-to-back 116 yard games from Hurns are outliers; Blake Bortles will continue to have to chuck it often when his team is playing from behind. He’ll have a good chance to continue his TD streak against a Buffalo pass defense that allows 268 yards a game through the air (22nd in the league) and has allowed 13 passing scores (behind only Kansas City with 14). Not the greatest WR2 option, but you shouldn’t feel bad sticking him in a Flex spot in any given week.
Christine Michael (42.3%) breaks a bit of an unwritten rule of mine here; me claiming that somebody is a “riser” based not on his two touches this season, but entirely based on speculation. The Cowboys’ offensive line is still a force to be reckoned with, even if the running backs playing behind it this year look like they beg to differ. Somebody needs to win this job and judging by the 753 carries DeMarco Murray had last year, Dallas doesn’t give much of a crap about a RBBC or general running back health. Christine is taking first team reps this week and coming out of a Bye might point to a much needed change in the dichotomy of this offense. If he does get the job we can look ahead to Week 8, when they play Seattle (hashtag narrative street) and, more importantly, to Week 9 when they could have a healthy Tony Romo and a healthy Dez Bryant soon thereafter. By all means, do not plug him into your lineup right away, but this is the stash of all stashes right now.
Stefon Diggs (23.4%) and his ownership percentage are literally rising as I type this so don’t get too bent out of shape if all of your leagues have him by the time you read this.
The rookie has filled-in admirably in the two weeks Charles Johnson has been out (Week 5 was a Bye), turning 18 targets into 13 catches and 216 yards opposite Mike Wallace. Chuck will return for Week 7 but here are his last 5 games with Teddy, including Week 15 + 16 of 2014; 3-38, 2-22, 2-27, 3-10, 1-9. It would stink if these two games were just a flash in the pan for Stefon, but you Charles Johnson owners (those of you that still exist) don’t want to see him get thrown by the wayside, either. I’m grabbing Diggs everywhere I can, but I won’t slide him in until I see if he can consistently provide fantasy points with Bridgewater’s often meek passing performances.
Benjamin Watson (22.1%) reeled in 10 passes and 127 yards on Thursday Night Football, topping double digit catches and triple digit yards for the first time since 2010 while playing for the Browns and catching passes from the one and only Jake Delhomme. The Saints and Drew Brees had to have a win to turn this season into anything but a travesty and Brees responded by targeting his tight end (who had 21 targets coming into this game) 12 times. Brandin Cooks had another one of his disappointing games (4-41-0) as Drew instead picked on the linebackers, feeding Ben Watson in the open field and even on a few well contested routes. It is highly unlikely that an offensive explosion like this will happen again this year (or ever) for the old man, but he has certainly become a viable TE streamer in your deeper leagues.
Peyton Manning (95.5%) gets a Bye Week at the perfect time to rest his aching helmet. Right now Peyton on the field looks more like a bobblehead of Peyton Manning than he looks like Peyton Manning: professional defense slayer. He has had two perfectly reasonable games against two perfectly subpar defenses in Kansas City and Detroit and has four completely awful games against four…well, completely subpar defenses (Baltimore, Minnesota, Oakland, Cleveland). If you don’t like to see a career’s demise via numbers please, look away.
Yards per attempt: 6.4 (30th)
Yards per completion: 10.4 (31st)
Interceptions: 10 (Last)
Completion Pct: 61.6% (25th)
QB Rating: 72.5 (32nd)
If you can sell high simply because of namesake, this might be your last option.
Kendall Wright (78.1%) was out-targeted by tight end Delanie Walker and rookie Dorial Green-Beckham, much to his chagrin. Though Tennessee was behind the entire game they still didn’t feel the need to force it in to their no. 1 wideout. Kendall’s ceiling will continue to lower and DGB’s ceiling figures to rise as the Titans try to get a feel for what their future weapons will be around Mariota. Zach Mettenberger could get the start on Sunday against the Falcons, which would bolster absolutely nobody’s fantasy appeal. Playing any of these WRs is a desperate move.
Charcandrick West (73.0%) broke more FAAB wallets than he did tackles last week, carrying the ball 9 times for 33 yards and catching a single pass for 6 more yards. A late game fumble when the Chiefs were actually driving down the field might equal more Knile Davis action (West led snapcount 43-19) when KC hosts a Pittsburgh team that is much better against the run than the pass. Knile is in his 3rd year with Kansas City and has filled in for an injured Jamaal Charles in the past. Apparently West still has the lead back role, but I’m very skeptical that he’ll be a 15-20 touch guy.
Darren Sproles (48.1%) was the odd man out on Monday Night Football as DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews combined for a 31-149-1 line. Philadelphia had an early lead thanks to some sloppy New York play and the Eagles had no problem feeding their bigger backs to drain some clock. Definitely not the game script that would benefit Darren. Sproles also got suplexed into what looked an awful lot like a concussion on a punt return, one more thing that we don’t want to see for physical or fantasy football well-being. Philly gets a very tough Carolina defense and then a Week 8 Bye. It might be difficult to continue holding on to the little guy.
Markus Wheaton (17.6%) had a day like many of us envisioned with Martavis Bryant returning from suspension — a relative goose egg. Michael Vick and Landry Jones combined their efforts into targeting Wheaton 2 times while the wide receiver hauled 1 in for eight yards. Meanwhile, on what may have been a completely different football field, Martavis snatched 6 balls for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh accounted for only 174 total yards through the air Sunday. Soooo, you can see where the QBs’ eyes were looking. Roethlisberger returns very shortly and that only adds more value to Bryant and Brown. Markus is safely droppable.