Week 8 Risers and Fallers
November 5, 2015 | Chet
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In a week riddled with big name players going down, it’s important to look at the guys surrounding them to find the gems who are rising and can make a larger impact for your fantasy teams. For those players that are on the other end of the spectrum – those who are falling – can we expect an uptick in play or should we throw them by the wayside? Below are my opinions on some guys on both sides of the ledger. If you’ve got some differing opinions or would like some insight on someone not on this list feel free to holler at me on Twitter!
The ownership percentages are a median between Yahoo! and ESPN own%.
Jonathan Stewart (94.3%) lost a fumble Monday night but still managed to find the end zone on a short run to mark three straight weeks with either a touchdown or 100+ yards rushing. After a mediocre first month of the season, Stewart is benefiting from opposing defenses being forced to respect the legs of QB Cam Newton, with most of the receiving core a hodge-podge of players that probably don’t have much business starting for an NFL team. The overall numbers are anything but eye-popping for the Carolina back (505 yards on 127 carries for a very mediocre 3.98 YPC), but the Panthers will happily allow him to continue punishing defenses for as long as he can stay healthy, as told by his 304 yards after contact and 29 broken tackles. Jonathan will be matched up against a Packers defense that has had trouble against the run and made Colin Kaepernick’s option attack so viable that some of us were even convinced that he was a viable quarterback. The only thing that will stop another good game from JStew would be if Cam runs all the scores in himself.
Dion Lewis (89.0%) was limited in Week 6 and sat Week 7 out completely before coming back in Week 8 and reminding us all that he can still catch passes and run really really fast. His 5 rushes for 19 yards meant nothing, even in your Standard league, as he caught 6 of his 9 targets for 93 yards and a score. He managed all of this in only the first half as the Patriots played clock management after going up 19-0 at halftime. His established (healthy) floor is one that is in play every week he’s starting, whether or not it’s a “Blount game”, and the matchup against Washington this week shouldn’t be any different. The 531 yards on the ground Washington has allowed could benefit LeGarrette, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help Lewis as well. Hopefully you didn’t bench Dion last week, but at the worst, let that be a lesson to you.
Michael Crabtree (70.4%) keeps getting the ball thrown his way and topped 100 yards receiving for the second time this year, going 7-102-1 on 12 targets against a great Jets defense. He has now led or tied the team leader in receptions five weeks of the season and is well on pace to best his career numbers in catches and yards. Oakland and Derek Carr have been surprisingly productive on offense, and with only one week under 8 targets thus far Crabtree has brought to the table a very reasonable floor and a ceiling that is rarely surpassed by other WR3/Flex types. Week 9 brings on a Steelers team that would love to turn the matchup into a shootout.
Malcom Floyd (46.5%) is one of many many players who should see an expanded role after sooo many big name fantasy contributors went down for the season on Sunday. Keenan Allen has left the field for the remainder of the season, and he’s taking his 67 catches for 725 yards with him. After a more than disappointing Week 7 in which the veteran Floyd caught only 1 ball for a meek 7 yards, he filled in admirably for Keenan by catching 4 of his 6 targets for 92 yards and 2 scores. While this certainly isn’t likely to happen week in and week out it is worthwhile to point out that Philip Rivers has now thrown for 300 yards in five straight games and will look to get the ball in the air as often as possible. San Diego gets Chicago on Monday night, a bye week and then Kansas City/Jacksonville. Should be some opportunities for another great game in there.
Coby Fleener (15.9%) far out-targeted fellow TE Dwayne Allen once again by grabbing 7 of his 11 targets for 43 yards and an 8-yard score. Even though his 43 targets through six games sound enticing for a tight end, it’s still a very real thing that a fledgling Andrew Luck is throwing him the ball and it’s not 2014. Coby has just two double-digit scoring weeks in Standard leagues and is about to face easily the best defense in the league with the Broncos coming to town this week. Worthy of a streamer or DFS punt play once the Colts come out of their Week 10 bye, but be weary of a low ceiling.
Chris Ivory (97%) was shut down mightily by Oakland this past weekend, accruing only 17 yards on 15 carries (1.1 YPC), including five second half rushes for a total of 2 yards. It was a brutal week again for the back who rushed for only 41 yards on 17 carries in the week prior. The good news here is the Week 9 matchup against a Jacksonville defense that allowed huge games to between-the-tackles running backs Doug Martin (24-123-2) and LeGarrette Blount (18-78-3) over their previous five games. Bilal Powell is still not 100% and Ivory has averaged the 3rd most rushing attempts per game in the league with over 19 totes a game. Don’t let the last couple of games dismay you too much as Chris should find his way back into the end zone and snag a few passes in the process. A great chance to return back to his RB2 ways this weekend and for the majority of the rest of his schedule.
Travis Benjamin (84.3%) had his second straight subpar fantasy output on Sunday, collecting 3 of his 5 targets for 26 yards and marking the second straight week without double digit targets after a solid four game streak. Manziel will get the start Thursday night against the Bengals, which bodes well for Benjamin owners if you’re the type of owner who can trust quite possibly the worst quarterback in the league to throw 60-yard touchdowns against the Cincinnati defense. Travis had only 4 targets in his big breakout game of Week 2 with Johnny behind the helm at QB. Four targets against a secondary that has only allowed three top-24 receivers on the year seems like a hard play to buy into. He’s a feasible Flex play if this bye week has given you a sucker punch, but he will remain a questionable play in a very poor offense.
Mike Wallace (63.7%) gave us a big fat goose egg against Chicago’s defense despite getting himself wide open on a couple of occasions. Teddy Bridgewater missed him badly more than once, and of his last 18 targets over the previous three weeks he has caught only 6 of them for 59 yards. With Stefon Diggs garnering 40%+ of Teddy’s targets this past week — and being the quick release safety valve that the young quarterback needs — it’s obvious that Wallace and his drop-prone ways are rarely going to be a large part of this offense. A start against the Rams is out of the question unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Colin Kaepernick (35.9%) has played himself out of a starting job and what could end up being his job altogether with the San Francisco 49ers. For those of us who maybe waited a little too long to draft a quarterback this summer we know the feels all too well, as Kaep has only been startable in three of these first eight weeks — even in 2-QB leagues. So up steps Blaine Gabbert to try his hand at this deflated offense and franchise. With a lack of any running game (or any running backs for that matter) Gabbert could be some semblance of a fantasy commodity, if not a real life football commodity against a Falcons team that shouldn’t have any trouble scoring points this weekend. Pick up Gabbert in the deeeepest of leagues and think about starting him in a GPP. But maybe only think about it.
Danny Amendola (27.5%) had one of the days we’ve come to expect over the last two seasons. After a couple of promising weeks from the L’il Engine That Could, he turned in a 1-11-0 line when Brandon LaFell stepped onto the tracks. A healthy LaFell almost doubled Danny’s snapcount (62-34) while getting himself 7 targets to Amendola’s 1. Brady’s targets are quite clearly Edelman-Gronk-Lewis-LaFell-Amendola, which leaves the former Ram scraping the bottom of the barrel with Scott Chandler.