Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 5
Justin Vreeland surveys the fantasy football world and examines whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Week 5.
Welcome back FANation! We had plenty of huge performances this week in football and a few of those guys have a spot in this week’s stock watch. We also had a few continued woes from some big-name guys and you will see a few of them in here as well. With five weeks of action in the books, we have a really good feel for what we should expect going forward. Feel free to shoot me feedback or anything else in the live chats or on Twitter @JustinVreeland. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Aaron Jones , RB GB – It’s unfortunate that it took an injury to Williams for the Packers to finally see what Jones is capable of as a lead back. We have all been waiting for this to happen and it finally did Sunday and Jones went bananas. He finished with 19 carries for 107 rushing yards and plunged into the end zone FOUR times. The biggest thing I loved seeing though was him hauling in seven of eight targets for another 75 yards. For whatever reason the Packers have continued to act like Jones can’t work on passing downs, even though he continues to show that he can, as he has now hauled in 19 of 23 targets on the year. His stock is way up after this game and hopefully he finally opened Green Bay’s eyes on what he can do with a full workload. He has good matchups on tap for the next couple weeks and should be able to really run away with this backfield.
Christian McCaffrey , RB CAR – CMC was the number one player on my fantasy board coming into the year, so how can his stock possibly go up? Well, when you’re on a record setting pace, your value rises. This guy has been absolutely sensational thus far. He finished with 237 total yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers Week 5 win over the Jaguars. In PPR leagues he currently leads the league in fantasy points... by 30! He has racked up 587 rushing yards on 105 carries and has found the end zone six times. He has also hauled in 31 of 40 targets in the passing game for an additional 279 yards and a score. That’s 866 yards from scrimmage through five games, an average of 173.2 per game. That currently puts him on pace for 2771, which would shatter the NFL record for yards from scrimmage in a single season (currently held by Chris Johnson who had 2509 back in 2009). The NFL MVP Award has become a QB award, but CMC is making a strong push for it through five games.
D.J. Chark , WR JAX – People ask weekly if they should start Chark and the answer is always yes. This guy should be a lock in your weekly lineup at this point. He finished Sunday’s game with eight receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns on eleven targets. It was his second 100 yard game of the year and he now has five touchdowns through five games. He is averaging 8.3 targets per game with Minshew as the starting QB and they have a clear chemistry together. This type of production is what a lot of people were hoping for from Westbrook, and while he’s starting to improve (double-digit fantasy points in three straight), it’s Chark who is the guy you want from this passing offense. He is currently the number five ranked receiver in PPR leagues and he should have your trust at this point. Play him on a weekly basis until he gives you a reason not to.
Allen Robinson , WR CHI – Robinson had a great game in the Bears loss in England, hauling in seven of eight targets for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This guy is extremely talented and it’s a shame that the team he plays for holds him back from having stat lines like this on a regular basis. Fortunately for his fantasy owners, his stock is still on the rise, despite who he is stuck playing for. He now has 31 receptions for 377 yards and two touchdowns through five games, which currently makes him the 13th ranked WR in PPR leagues. Of the top-13 receivers, he is one of two with fewer than three touchdowns (Boyd being the other). Hard to put the touchdown blame on him though, considering the Bears are averaging just 17.4 points per game, which only tops the Bengals, Redskins, Jets, and Dolphins. For that reason, I think Arob isn’t a bad sell-high candidate, as much as I love him and believe in his talent. His floor is solid, but his team will continue to hold him back.
Aaron Rodgers , QB GB – Rodgers is still a really good quarterback and amongst the best in football, BUT he is no longer an elite fantasy asset or even a great one. The Packers were victorious over the Cowboys 34-24 and Rodgers failed to crack double-digit fantasy points as he finished with zero touchdowns and 238 pass yards on 34 attempts. It was his first game being held in single-digits, but through five games he has managed to score over 15 points just ONE time. He currently ranks 19th in fantasy points among QBs, behind guys like Minshew, Mariota, and Dalton. In fact, the only guys that he has out-scored who have played five full games are Flacco, Cousins, and Carr. The Packers have a strong defense for the first time in a long time and Jones is the best back the Packers have had since Rodgers took over under center. Better days are ahead for Rodgers, but don’t expect top-five (or even top-10) fantasy production from him at the position this year. We already saw signs of this last year and he was over-valued this year in drafts. Being a great player does not mean you are a great fantasy asset.
Stefon Diggs , WR MIN – Diggs is disgruntled and he made that clear before the game this week. He is too talented to be putting up the piss-poor numbers that he is. With that being clear, you would have thought the Vikings would try and get him more involved against a poor Giants defense, but that wasn’t the case. He was targeted just four times and hauled in three of them for 44 yards. This line came from a game in which Cousins through 27 times for 306 yards. Not good. He picked up the same number of targets as Bisi Johnson. The poor game brings Diggs’ totals for the year up to 16 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown on 23 targets. Having 23 targets through five games is just ridiculous and I can see why he wants to be traded. He has four or less targets in three of five games this year and hasn’t had a single game with more than seven. He has been a monumental fantasy bust this season, but I really can’t put the blame on him. His catch rate is his highest since 2016 and his yards per target is the highest of his career. He is currently on pace for 74 targets this year, which would be LESS THAN HALF the amount he had across 15 games last season (149 targets). Fantasy owners need this guy to be traded and traded quickly.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling , WR GB – MVS was supposed to step into the spotlight and have a nice game with Adams out of action, but that was simply not the case. He was only targeted four times and he only managed to haul in one of them for 18 yards. It was his worst game of the season, in what was supposed to be a big game. The poor catch rate has often been a theme of his season thus far as he has hauled in just 17 of 32 targets this year. He is averaging fewer than 50 yards receiving per game (47) and he has just one touchdown to this point. The Packers offense is not this high firepower offense that people want it to be and MVS is not the fantasy asset that people want him to be. He has just one game with double-digit fantasy points in full PPR leagues and he is not someone that should be going anywhere near your starting lineup right now.
LeSean McCoy , RB KC – McCoy “started” for the Chiefs at running back in the Sunday Night matchup with the Colts, but he was a complete non-factor and his fantasy value is way down. He finished with ZERO carries for the game. He hauled in both of his targets in the passing game, but after fumbling he was in the dog house the rest of the game. Damien Williams plodded his way to 23 rushing yards on nine carries and was the only RB to tote the rock on the ground for the Chiefs. The Chiefs are a pass-heavy offense (and why wouldn’t they be) and they use an RBBC approach which makes all of their backs not all that great for fantasy purposes. He is not someone that you should cut, but you can’t expect weekly production from him and he’s better off left on your bench.
Stocks to Watch
Demaryius Thomas , WR NYJ – We have a DT sighting, as the veteran receiver was targeted nine times in the Jets blowout loss to the Eagles. He only managed to catch four balls for 47 yards, but the nine targets are worth noting. It wasn’t all that long ago (2017) that DT held fantasy relevance and there is an outside possibility that he could become so once again. That being said, he can be left on the wire in most leagues right now and is more just someone to keep your eye on and see if this type of volume continues. The Jets WR core is up for grabs, but we will need to see if he has any chemistry with Darnold, once he returns from his bout with Mono.