Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 3
Justin Vreeland surveys the fantasy football world and examines whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Week 3.
Welcome back FANation! I hope everyone is off to hot starts in their fantasy leagues! We are now three weeks into the NFL season and our samples continue to grow. With each week, we get a better idea of who is for real and who isn’t. We can also get a better feel for matchups on a weekly basis as the data piles up. Like always in the NFL, we lost multiple players to injuries and fantasy owners now have to plan what their next moves are and continue to compete. Injuries, of course, can change fantasy values for certain players drastically. Feel free to shoot me feedback or anything else in the live chats or on Twitter @JustinVreeland. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Daniel Jones, QB NYG – Wow! How about that for an NFL debut from the Giants sixth overall pick in this year’s draft? Jones completed 23-of-36 passes (64%) for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions while rushing the ball four times for 28 yards and two more scores in a comeback victory for New York. He finished with a 112.7 quarterback rating and an 87.9 QBR. While not fast, he showed an uncanny ability to make plays and get the job done. It is worth noting that Eli Manning never had more than one rushing touchdown in a season, let alone in one game. He was throwing nice passes all day long and he did a great job of spreading the ball around, as he had at least five targets to five different players and did not target any one guy more than nine times. His two top passing catching weapons (Engram and Shepard) both finished with over 100 yards and a score. It’s only one game and it came against a lousy Bucs team, but it was certainly a good showing and has his stock on the rise.
Cooper Kupp , WR LAR – Kupp had another big game on Sunday Night Football, hauling in 11-of-12 targets for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was his second straight game with over 100 yards. The thing I really love about Kupp is his volume, as he has received 10 targets, nine targets, and 12 targets through three games, respectively. He leads the Rams in targets (by eight), receptions (by ten), and in receiving yards (by 43). He is Goff’s favorite receiver and it has shown both last year and this year. The torn ACL he suffered last year hasn’t made him lose any amount of quickness and he will continue to be a great weekly asset in any PPR format.
Will Dissly , TE SEA – Dissly didn’t do a whole in Week 1, but he has been fantastic over the last two weeks now. In Week 2 he caught 5-of-5 targets for 50 yards and a pair of scores. In Week 3 he caught 6-of-7 targets for 62 yards and a garbage time touchdown (still counts!). He is currently third in fantasy points for Seattle, only behind Wilson and Lockett. He is third on the team in targets to this point with 14, but hauling in 12 of them is a good way to get your quarterback to look your way more often. Given that tight end is such a crummy position in fantasy, Dissly is worth an immediate add if he is still available. He has a fantastic matchup on tap this week too, as the Seahawks will take on Arizona; opposing tight ends have had huge weeks in all three games that Arizona has played to this point.
Josh Gordon , WR NE – In the first game post-AB Gordon was targeted 11 times and hauled in six receptions for 83 yards. That isn’t a great catch rate, but it’s still a solid line and the volume is fantastic. It’s also worth noting that in Week 1, when the Pats were without AB, Gordon had three receptions for 73 yards and a score. With AB out of town, Gordon will be locked into a much larger role within the Pats offense and should continue to be a focal point of the passing game. We all know that Gordon, when not suspended, is a fantastic receiver who can make plays and he will have nice fantasy value going forward. Keep in mind that Gordon had 720 yards and three touchdowns in just 11 games for New England last season. A key point is also the fact that in the three games that Gronk did not play last year, Gordon averaged 9.3 targets and 104 receiving yards.
Chris Carson , RB SEA – Uh oh, Carson has developed a major case of fumblitis. He has fumbled in all three games this year and leads the league in lost fumbles with three. On top of that, he also hasn’t surpassed 60 yards rushing in any game and is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry to this point. That isn’t the cause for concern though. Fantasy owners should be cautiously optimistic with Carson right now and should not look to trade him, but should try and own Penny. Carson is still the lead back and with Penny currently dealing with an injury it gives Carson some breathing room. That being said, no player can lose fumbles on a weekly basis and remain in a featured role and it is something that Carson needs to straighten out immediately. He isn’t really a buy or sell player right now and his value could take a major swing one direction or the other in the upcoming weeks.
Sony Michel , RB NE – A Patriots running back with a big change in value after a short span? Classic. Michel had just nine carries for 11 yards this week and it was the second time this year that he has had less than 20 rushing yards. He is averaging 2.4 yards per carry through three weeks and doesn’t even have double the amount of carries that Burkhead has. In fact, Burkhead led the team in carries this week and was far more effective than Michel. This is feeling like Mike Gillislee all over again. Michel has just one target this year and zero receptions. Gillislee had zero targets through eight weeks for the Pats in 2017 as the lead back. I really don’t understand the Patriots in this aspect; it is not hard to stop a running back when he is zero threat to catch passes. You have to keep the defense honest. They knew when Gillislee was in the game (and Michel now) that a run up the middle was coming. Michel’s value in PPR leagues has fallen off a cliff and he is un-startable. As for standard leagues, he isn’t at all reliable and is a touchdown dependent FLEX play at best. This is not someone I would try and buy-low on and I would try and sell him after his next good game.
James Conner , RB PIT – Conner has double-digit carries in all three games this year but he has only produced 21,33, and 43 rushing yards, respectively. He has 34 carries for 97 yards this year, good for a 2.9 YPC clip. He is averaging nearly four receptions per game, but only has 70 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. The volume hasn’t been crazy high, but it’s high enough to where he should be producing better than this. We are talking about a first or second round pick and he hasn’t topped 100 total yards on the ground or through the air. To make matters even worse, he had a very costly fumble late in the Steelers loss on Sunday. Mason Rudolph did not look good Sunday either and if his play doesn’t improve quickly, Conner is going to be facing more stacked boxes than he is now. All that being said, the volume is still there, he’s strong in the passing game, and coming off a huge year; now is the perfect time to shoot a buy-low offer out there and try and add him.
Stefon Diggs , WR MIN – Diggs has been placed on milk cartons around the country. He has just six receptions on 12 targets and 101 yards through three games. Four targets and two receptions per game? That’s really all you can give us Minnesota? The biggest issue for Diggs is that the Vikings are rushing on an NFL-high 61.3-percent of their plays. Cousins is barely averaging 20 pass attempts per game and only about four of those are going to Diggs. He is second on the team in targets and right behind Thielen, but this is not a passing offense at all, at least not to this point. Cousins only has 507 total passing yards to this point, good for an average of 167.3 per game. Hard to expect a whole lot from a receiver on that low of an amount. This is very concerning for Diggs’ owners and Cook is giving the Vikings no reason to not continue to run the ball, as he is going off on a weekly basis. You can’t sell Diggs for much of anything and I am not even sure he is a good buy-low at this point, unless you are buying extremely low.
Stocks to Watch
Wayne Gallman , RB NYG – Gallman is not Barkley, nor is he even close to Barkley, but he will operate as the lead back in the Giants offense for the next 4-to-8 weeks and needs to be added anywhere that you can. Gallman was solid with volume in his rookie year, rushing 111 times for 476 yards. He is very solid in the pass catching department as he has hauled in 51 receptions on 75 targets over 31 career games, despite only making three starts in his career. He isn’t going to see Barkley volume, but he is still going to get double-digit carries and a handful of passes per week, which will give him a nice floor and a solid ceiling on a weekly basis. He isn’t going to be an elite back, but he will likely hold RB2 value or at the very least FLEX appeal. He does have a fantastic first game on tap as the Giants will face the Redskins, who have really struggled to stop backs to this point.