Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 16
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 16 of the fantasy football season.
Well here we are. Gearing up for Week 16. Championship week. For most, that is. To those of you who play it out to Week 17, you’ve got the semi-finals coming up and they are, obviously, just as important. Whether it’s waiver claims you need to make or lineup decisions you’re mulling over, checking in on the value of players is always imperative. Let’s take a look at who’s rising and falling lately.
Nick Foles , QB PHI – The more things change, the more they stay the same and here we are at the tail end of the season with Foles replacing Carson Wentz again. It’s not necessary to start comparing the two quarterbacks because it’s a moot point. We’re in the middle of a late-season quarterback crisis and while you may think it crazy to use Foles for your championship game, this match-up with Houston in Week 16 is actually pretty favorable. He knows the offense, he’s got a familiarity with his weapons and he is a capable passer. If you’ve been disappointed with your current quarterback’s performance, Foles could be worth a look.
Derrick Henry , RB TEN – How do you not see a player’s value rise after the two-week run like Henry just had. He’s the clear-cut No. 1 in the Titans backfield right now and he’s racked up 448 yards and seven touchdowns over the last three weeks. He absolutely decimated the Jaguars and then ran roughshod all over the Giants. This week he gets the Redskins, a team that’s allowed 176.3 rushing yards per game over those same three weeks Henry was crushing it. This is a guy who could be winning you a fantasy championship right now.
Kalen Ballage , RB MIA – With Frank Gore sideline for the duration of the season and the Dolphins coaching staff down on Kenyan Drake , it looks like they’re going to audition their 2018 fourth-round pick and see what he’s got to offer. If he succeeds, then maybe running back isn’t a draft priority in April. If he doesn’t, at least they know now. Ballage ripped off 123 yards on 12 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown against the Vikings this past week, an eye-opening performance, for sure. He should get the bulk of the work this week against the Jaguars, a run defense that has allowed an average of 138 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks.
Jamaal Williams RB, GB – This could be an interesting guy to grab off waivers if you’re looking for some running back help. If he’s available, that is. Aaron Jones is dealing with an MCL sprain he suffered last week and we’re hearing reports that Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a groin injury and may not be available this week. That means the Packers could be rolling out Williams and DeShone Kizer against the Jets. With Kizer under center, you can expect an increased ground attack for the Green Bay and that puts Williams front-and-center against a run defense that has allowed almost 120 rushing yards per game. If he’s getting the touches, you may want him in the flex over some random wideout.
Mike Williams , WR LAC – Williams is coming off his best game of the season as he totaled 75 yards with two touchdowns and was also on the receiving end of a two-point conversion during the Chargers 29-28 win over the Chiefs on Thursday. If he was on the waiver wire in your league, you can bet he’s going to be grabbed, especially with Keenan Allen (hop pointer) still not back at practice. He’s got fantastic promise and should be considered a viable option, though we should add the caveat of a terrible match-up against the Ravens this week. He plays a strong vertical game, but the coverage is going to remain extremely tight and Baltimore has shut down equally formidable passing attacks in the past.
Alshon Jeffery , WR PHI – The change to Foles under center now marks the return of Jeffery for fantasy owners. Last season, Foles locked onto Jeffery as his most-trusted wideout and the two together became one of the fiercest weapons that helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl. In just one game together, Jeffery finished with 160 yards on eight catches and will now look ahead to facing a suspect Houston secondary in Week 16. You may have had a tough time trusting him mid-season, but he’s going to be a nice asset down the stretch.
Aaron Rodgers , QB GB – Reports are telling us Rodgers is dealing with a groin injury and there are a lot of questions as to whether or not he’ll even play. The Packers aren’t going to the playoffs and there’s really no reason for him to play. Maybe that’s why the spread against the Jets this week is Packers +2.5. Yes, you saw that right. The Packers are an underdog to the Jets. When you’re done laughing, you can go pick up a new QB to use this week.
Cam Newton , QB CAR – Just go watch footage of Newton’s last two games and tell me there’s no shoulder injury. Come on. How this guy was left off the injury report in Week 15 is a bit of a head-scratcher, especially when you hear recent reports where head coach Ron Rivera said he, “hasn’t ruled out shutting down Newton for the duration of the season.” What a huge bummer with Atlanta next up. You simply cannot trust him even against the softest of pass defenses.
Todd Gurley , RB LAR – More late-season injury news to drag down the value of one of the more priceless fantasy assets in the game today. Gurley seemed to tweak his knee during Sunday’s loss to the Eagles and while the Rams are running tests and determining the extent of the injury, it seems unlikely that Sean McVay would risk the health of his premier offensive weapon. And if you’re thinking that the Rams need this game to secure home field and a first-round bye, they just signed C.J. Anderson to likely serve as a back-up to John Kelly . Unless there’s a miraculous recovery, you should expect Gurley to sit.
Jaylen Samuels , RB PIT – It would appear that James Conner is returning to the lineup for the Steelers this week and that means the value of Samuels takes an immediate nosedive. We have no idea how the carries will be split or even if they will be. They’re playing for their playoff lives and seeding, so the Steelers are going to want to give him the full complement of carries. That means you can’t even use Samuels as a tight end if you’re playing on Yahoo. You’ve gotten out of him all you’re going to get this season.
Doug Martin , RB OAK – The Raiders have lost three offensive linemen over the last three weeks and they’re just not as strong with the run or pass-blocking. Martin was able to get into the end zone for three-straight weeks, but without a strong line, the Muscle Hamster isn’t getting much running room. Last week helped illustrate that when Martin failed to gain more than 39 yards and wasn’t even given the ball when the Raiders were sitting on the one-yard line. Time to move on.
D.J. Moore /Curtis Samuel , WR CAR – Well, if we’re out on Newton, we’re out on all his receivers as well. Neither Moore nor Samuel are going to be worth using this week given the way Newton is throwing the ball. Or not throwing the ball for that matter. The Panthers are going to have to go with a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey again and that will pull away passing opportunities and, subsequently, targets from these guys. If you’re clearing out your roster for waivers Tuesday or Wednesday, these guys can be casualties.