Fantasy Football Stock Watch: NFL Week 14
Howard Bender takes a look at the rising and falling value of a number of NFL players you'll want to keep tabs on heading into Week 14 of the fantasy football season.
What a crazy week it was for fantasy football owners. Week 13 brought you massive disappointment and an array of injuries that have those headed towards the playoffs frantically scouring their waiver wire for replacements and hopefuls. Making the right decisions now can be crucial to your success in winning the title, so let’s take a look at some of the players who are both rising and falling in fantasy value.
Josh Allen , QB BUF – His value is obviously limited to 2-QB and superflex leagues as you’re never going to start him over a legitimate passing QB, but as a complement to your lineup, you can take advantage of the fact that he’s doing a ton of running on his own. He had over 100 yards two weeks ago which got knocked down to 99 after he took a knee twice, but he also rushed for 135 yards this past week. He did actually connect on a pair of touchdown passes to Zay Jones , so while that’s far from the focus as to why you should use him, there’s nothing wrong with a little gravy.
Spencer Ware , RB KC – He’s the obvious choice as far as whose stock is seeing the biggest increase this week. Kareem Hunt is a misogynistic a-hole who deserves to be out of a job now and fantasy owners should have taken full advantage of the change. Ware only rushed for 47 yards, but he did find the end zone which gave those who picked him up a reward. Damien Williams will continue to see some work, particularly on the passing downs, but Ware is clearly the No. 1 in this offense and we all know what Andy Reid’s scheme does for lead running backs who play in his system.
Jaylen Samuels , RB PIT – This is the big waiver claim for Week 14 if he’s still available on your waiver wire. Even if you don’t need a running back, you’re going to have to put in a claim for him just to block your opponents. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that he intends to run a committee out of the backfield this week with James Conner out, but Samuels is still the guy you want. Will Stevan Ridley get some work? Yes. On the early downs though. Samuels is the more versatile back and his game fits much better into the system than Ridley’s does. And for those of you who play on Yahoo, Samuels also qualifies as a tight end, so if you’ve been struggling at that position all year and you’re good with your RBs, then you can use Samuels there. Think about it – a tight end who sees three targets per game or the running back for the Steelers. Bit of a no-brainer there.
Jeff Wilson , RB SF – If you’re in need of scraping the bottom of the barrel, or if you just want to block your opponents from grabbing a lead running back, then Wilson is a must-add with word that Mat Breida has already been ruled out for this week’s game. Wilson is the last man standing in an offensive scheme that is supposed to cater to a pass-catching RB. He racked up 134 all-purpose yards on eight catches and 15 carries. There’s no one else in this backfield Kyle Shanahan is going to tilt towards, so that immediately bumps the value of Wilson.
Chase Edmonds , RB ARI – With his first two career touchdowns scored last week, the question now remains whether or not he will continue to see the goal line work. He was used instead of David Johnson on two key red zone carries and converted both into touchdowns, so new OC Byron Leftwich is obviously looking ahead to see exactly what he has in his backfield, assuming he retains the OC job, that is. Edmonds is still really more of a handcuff, but if we see him getting more red-zone carries this week against the Lions, he could prove to be an interesting flex option in Week 15 when the Cardinals face the Falcons.
Keenan Allen , WR LAC – With word that Melvin Gordon may return in Week 14, there’s an element of concern that comes with the Chargers backfield. Will it be Gordon (he’s actually considered week-to-week) or will Austin Ekeler be teamed up with Justin Jackson once again. That uncertainty could produce another game of what we saw this past week as Philip Rivers opted to lean more heavily on Allen in lieu of going with a heavy ground attack. The two put together an insane week and if Rivers is concerned with his backfield, he could just feed another 19 targets to Allen once again.
Ian Thomas , TE CAR – The tight end position remains as trashy as ever and with Greg Olsen out for the season with a ruptured plantar, it’s time to fish around the bottom of the barrel. We had hoped Thomas would have stepped up a little earlier in the season when Olsen was first banged up, but to no avail. Now the Panthers are in a similar situation but now also have Cam Newton ’s obvious shoulder issues more front-and-center, perhaps they utilize Thomas more. He’s a dart throw for sure, but no different than some of the other tight ends probably sitting on your roster or waiver wire.
Austin Ekeler , RB LAC – Well first there’s the possibility that Gordon returns earlier than expected, but even if he doesn’t, Ekeler is going to have some issues as Philip Rivers goes with a more pass-heavy scheme when he changes plays at the line. We saw this in Week 13 and with an impending match-up against the Bengals who are super-easy to pass on, Rivers could take some of the targets/carries away from Ekeler and just punish the Cincinnati secondary. Sorry, Austin.
Gus Edwards , RB BAL – While he may be the lead running back on this team, he still has Kenneth Dixon , Ty Montgomery and Javorius Allen poaching touches. On top of that, let’s face it…when the ball is inside the red zone, Lamar Jackson is taking it himself. We see this will a lot of young, mobile quarterbacks – they look for their primary target and if that receiver isn’t open, he takes off and runs rather than be patient and find his next target. Edwards may get the work between the 20s, but without touchdowns, what good is he?
LeSean McCoy , RB BUF – Everything just said about Gus Edwards applies here with McCoy and his quarterback Josh Allen . McCoy isn’t even competing for touches with other running backs, he’s just losing the red zone work to Allen. Bummer.
Alshon Jeffery , WR PHI – When you’re averaging just over four targets per game over your last three games and the coach is still telling the media they are trying to get you more involved in the offense, there should be some concern. Golden Tate is being integrated into the offense more, Nelson Agholor is running routes on the outside, Carson Wentz still only has eyes for Zach Ertz and we’ve moved into a more run-heavy scheme with the emergence of Josh Adams . Where are the targets going to come from, especially if Wentz is throwing less often? Not to mention the fact that when the Eagles face a defense with a shutdown corner, he’s usually on Jeffery. Bit of a recipe for disaster in fantasy, don’t you think?
Tyler Boyd , WR CIN – When A.J. Green first got hurt, we watched as defenses started to throw heavier coverage Boyd’s way in an effort to shut him down. While he had moments where things still looked good, overall, the production was lacking. Well, Green is back on the shelf and it’s still Jeff Driskel l under center. If Boyd were a little more seasoned, we could debate the possibility of using him in softer match-ups, however, with the Bengals remaining schedule, trusting him is going to be very difficult.
All Redskins WR – Two words: Mark Sanchez
Trey Burton , TE CHI – He’s been a colossal disappointment this season, especially after remembering all the preseason hype. He was supposed to be the next Zach Ertz and working under Matt Nagy, he was supposed to blossom. Right? Wasn’t he supposed to be used just like Travis Kelce was in Kansas City? Yuck. Not only has Burton been a bust of a seventh-round pick, but things are getting worse as Adam Shaheen is now being incorporated more, particularly inside the red zone. Burton’s value is probably as low as it could be right now and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better.