Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 18

Trending in the right and wrong directions to close out the 2021 season.

The 2021 season has been one of the most frustrating in the history of fantasy football. COVID-19 had an impact last season in terms of forcing games to be shifted from one week to another and messing with lineups, but the NFL made it clear prior to the start of this season that, while there could be flexibility within a week to switch games (Tuesday Night Football was a thing again this year), if you had an outbreak, it would be on the individual organizations to play. This time around, the show must go on.

The balance of power shifted completely as outbreaks hit teams. Quarterbacks who had never started before made starts. Entire position rooms went down – it’s hard to win you start your third left tackle or fifth defensive end or cornerback.

Hopefully, by the beginning of the 2022 season, this global nightmare will finally be behind us, but a lot of fantasy owners have seen their seasons come to an abrupt end due to COVID. For those who weren’t able to dodge the loss of key players at key time, just know you weren’t alone.

Here is the Week 18 Fantasy Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

RB Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

Mitchell isn’t a surprise riser – he’s posted five 100-yard rushing games – but in his last four games has become a workhorse like no other back in the league. In those four games, he has 97 carries for 399 yards and has scored three touchdowns. If the 49ers get into the playoffs, which is a distinct possibility, if they’re able to control the ground game like they have with Mitchell, the 49ers will be a hard out in the postseason.

TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

There is always discussion about who will fill out the Tight End Mount Rushmore along with Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller – the accepted Big 3. Andrews has always been in consideration to be the fourth guy, but he has really stepped it up, especially in the last month. He has 99 catches for 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns, including five 100-yard games, but in the last month he may have cemented his spot. In his last four games, he has caught 35 passes for 465 yards and three touchdowns – planting his Mount Rushmore flag for next season.

WR Cyril Grayson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A guy who didn’t play college football, he only has 10 receptions, but has gained 212 yards, including a 62-yard catch and touchdown receptions of 33 and 50 yards. With Chris Godwin out due to injury and Antonio Brown gone altogether, somebody has to step up, and Grayson may well be that speed option by default. Tom Brady has a history of turning receivers into fantasy darlings, and Grayson could be the next in a long line of them.

RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler is a guy who is in fantasy lineups almost every week because he’s a poor man’s Alvin Kamara – or at least he was. He has just one 100-yard rushing game and hasn’t hit 70 receiving yards in a game, but it’s the body of work that matters here. He has scored 18 touchdowns (11 rushing, seven receiving), has a touchdown in each of his last six games and, over that six-game span, he has scored nine TDs. If you had Ekeler and didn’t win a fantasy championship, it wasn’t his fault. He gave you what you needed to be successful.

WR Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

Cooks has become a very poor man’s Davante Adams. Everyone knows the ball is coming his way, but he didn’t have Aaron Rodgers throwing it to him. He has 130 targets (next highest on the Texans is 53). He has 87 receptions (next highest is 30). He has 1,011 yards (next highest is 379). He has six TD receptions (next highest is three). When most would give up on him, over his last three games, he has 22 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns – stepping up for those who showed faith.

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Fantasy Football Fallers

QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

His fantasy contribution as a rusher is negligible. What you get from him is passing yards and garbage-time touchdowns. That hasn’t happened this year, and it has gotten worse as time has gone by. The Falcons didn’t get in the QB run at the start of the draft and were willing to ride it out with Ryan – known for 300-yard games is losses. In his last eight games, he not only doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, Ryan has been under 200 in five of them, hasn’t thrown more than one touchdown in any game, and has no touchdown passes in four contests. Those are the kind of stat lines you get from COVID replacements, not a guy who is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate.

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

He has been on this list before, but it has been because the expectations of a player of Elliott’s stature are pronounced. Unlike other running back disappointments, he has played in every game and never got benched in fantasy lineups. Scoring 12 touchdowns is great, but it has come with a price for a top-five pick. He has caught 46 passes, but they have gone for just 284 yards. He has 25 or fewer receiving yards in 13 games. What makes it an issue is that, in his last 10 games, his high for rushing yards is 52. Still in the heavy-lifting portion of his contract, this hasn’t been acceptable for some time. His stock for next year has a floor for the first time.

QB Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts

Fantasy football doesn’t care if you win or lose. Guys like Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford have become fantasy gods by having a brutal defense that provides fluffed numbers late in games (the Roethlisberger Effect). Wentz has a reputation for being capable of posting solid numbers. In his first nine games, he threw two or more touchdowns in seven of them and found his way into a lot of fantasy lineups. In his last seven games, he has one or no TDs and has thrown for 180 or fewer yards in five of them. Those who bought in during the first half of the season have been forced to rethink their position. While his team has been successful, he has stunk out loud from the fantasy perspective.

WR D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

When the season started, it seemed like a lot of the same with Moore. Through his first four games, Moore caught 30 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. That was when things were good. In 12 games, he has caught 56 passes for 672 yards and one touchdown. As bad as things have been, even those averages are above his last three games – 14 catches for 132 yards and no touchdowns. Moore was brought onto fantasy rosters with the knowledge that he was going to have issues at quarterback. But, he has had that before and thrived. This time around? Not so much.

QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence came in with the can’t-miss franchise tag of a “can’t miss” prospect – the best since Andrew Luck, many postulated. In his first game, he threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and the expectations suddenly went off the hook. In the 15 games since, he has thrown just seven touchdowns (with 14 interceptions) and has thrown for fewer than 230 yards in 11 of them. In his last 11 games, he has accounted for just four touchdowns. It’s not his fault that the Jaguars are extremely limited talent-wise, but four touchdowns in 11 games is something you expect from a marginal tight end, not the No. 1 overall pick.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 17

Fantasy football risers and fallers entering Week 17.

With many fantasy football leagues have their championship games this weekend, it’s amazing how many seasons have been devastated by COVID-19. Last year, the balance of power was tipped by the lack of crowds. This year, teams have been forced to play practice squad players and street signees to field rosters due to in-house outbreaks.

In 2020, when significant outbreaks hit teams, games were shifted – sometimes to dates weeks later than the originally scheduled games. This year, the biggest shift has been pushing games to Monday or Tuesday of the same week of games and putting lineups on the field that can be without numerous starters.

It would be unfortunate for a fantasy team to lose its chance to win a championship because of COVID outbreaks. If there is any solace, real NFL teams are finding themselves in the same boat as they try to make the playoffs with a third-string quarterback or without three or four offensive linemen or their entire starting secondary. Hopefully by next season, this two-year nightmare will be over and we can get back to football as we remember it.

Here is the Week 17 Fantasy Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

RB Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams

There’s an old adage (lie) that says a player doesn’t lose his job due to injury. Michel is proof of that. In the first weekend in December, starter Darrell Henderson had missed one game. In that game back in Week 3, Michel ran 20 times. Over the next eight games when Henderson returned, Michel averaged just less than six carries a game. The Rams made the switch four games ago and, in that span, Michel has 89 carries for 423 yards and two touchdowns and looks to be a focus of the offense moving forward.

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

A fourth-round rookie, few receivers have been hotter than St. Brown over the last month. He has quietly caught 74 passes this season and has been doing his most damage over the in December (so much for the rookie wall). In his last four games, he has been targeted 46 times, catching 35 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns, which should significantly elevate his stock heading into the offseason for a team in search of a No. 1 wide receiver after losing their top guys last year.

RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

For a team that typically doesn’t have a single dominant back, Harris has become that guy for the Patriots. Despite missing two games due to injury, he has five 100-yard rushing games, including his last two – both against Buffalo, rushing 28 times for 214 yards and four touchdowns. Over his last nine games, he has scored 11 rushing TDs and made himself a must-play fantasy back. The Patriots have a time-honored history of mixing and matching running backs, but Harris would appear to be breaking that mold.

WR Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After the shocking fake COVID vaccination card debacle, there were questions as to whether Brown would ever play for the Bucs again. However, injuries have changed the coaching mindset for the Buccaneers offense with the team’s top two receiver in terms of receptions – Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette – out for the season and Mike Evans sidelined with a hamstring injury. Brown has played in only six games but has caught five or more passes in five of them and has seven or more receptions in each of his last four games. AB has 93 or more receiving yards in four of them and has scored four touchdowns. He has a rapport with Tom Brady, and his numbers are Pro Bowl-worthy if extrapolated over a 17-game season (111 receptions for 1,471 yards and 11 touchdowns). He may not be a long-term answer in Tampa, but he’s putting up strong numbers.

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RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

Penny has been a career disappointment after being taken with as a first-round pick in 2018. The team declined his fifth-year option in the spring and, when Chris Carson went down with injury, Seattle didn’t turn to Penny. Instead, they turned to Alex Collins and then to Adrian Peterson (for one game). Over the last month, Penny has got his chance to be the main man, and he has responded. In his last three games, he has 135 or more rushing yards in two of them and has scored three touchdowns. Whether he’s stating his case to return to Seattle or go as a free agent somewhere else, he has finally had his opportunity and is making the most of it.

Fantasy Football Fallers

WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood is known for his big-play ability, but he has become such a non-factor in the Ravens offense that has become little more than a Check-down Charlie. In his first eight games, he had 80 or more receiving yards in four games and scored six touchdowns, including TDs of 42, 43 and 49 yards. In his last six games, he has caught 39 passes, but they have gone for just 271 yards – a miserable 6.9-yard average. He has just one catch of more than 15 yards in that span, no games with more than 55 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Granted, the Ravens have had issues at quarterback, but it hasn’t hurt guys like Mark Andrews, despite killing Brown’s fantasy value.

RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Sanders was drafted to be a RB1 in every fantasy format there is, but he has been a lineup liability to every fantasy owner who has him. In the 12 games he has played, he has fewer than 65 yards rushing in eight of them, is averaging just two catches a game for 12 yards, and has yet to score a touchdown. He has a broken bone in his hand, which will sideline him, but that could actually be a bonus for fantasy owners in their championship games, because they can replace him with somebody who may actually score a touchdown.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills

Sanders has always been a popular player to have on fantasy rosters because he has been productive wherever he played, including Pittsburgh, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans. Coming to Buffalo, big things were expected given what Josh Allen had accomplished in 2020. After a strong start, Sanders has all but disappeared. In his last six games, his receiving yardage totals have been 27, 26, 28, 22, 25 and 20 and he hasn’t scored a touchdown in his last nine games. He has become such a non-factor that he has rendered himself useless in most fantasy lineups, if not all of them.

QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Carr’s selling point was massive yardage games and a ton of multi-touchdowns games. But, in 2021, he hasn’t thrown more than two touchdown passes in any game, hasn’t thrown more than one touchdown in his last six games (five total in those six games) and has thrown for fewer than 265 yards in six of his last seven games. Seeing as he gives you nothing as a runner, his only value is as a passer and he isn’t living up to that end of the bargain.

WR Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

Jones was acquired for huge money ($23 million over two years) with the expectation of being the All-World wide receiver that will make him a Hall of Fame player. But, he has been an unqualified bust with the Titans. In the nine games he has played, he has just 26 receptions (2.9 a game) for 376 yards (41.8 yards per game) and has no touchdowns. Since missing three games due to injury, in the three games since he has come back, he has caught just five passes for 40 yards and is tied for sixth in receiving yards on his own team. He’s been an elite receiver for years, but there is no way Tennessee brings him back for more than $11 million next year.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 16

Risers and fallers of the late-stage fantasy football season

At the start of the 2021 season, I made the bold prediction that I thought all four teams in the NFC West had the potential to finish the season with winning records, which is why I was bullish on drafting fantasy players from the division. Barring the Seattle Seahawks running the table, that isn’t going to happen, but another division has stepped up to live out the big talk I had for the NFC West.

The AFC North has found itself in a situation where all four teams control their own destiny to win the division and make the playoffs in the final three games. All four teams have looked dominant at times and awful at others, but their fantasy players are all filling up playoff lineups. When you’re fighting for a fantasy championship you need to have all your players in games that mean something. It would appear every game the teams from the AFC North play from here on through are going to have playoff implications, which is all fantasy owners can ask for with titles on the line.

Here is the Week 16 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

RB D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans

When the Titans lost Derrick Henry, the organization’s first idea was to dust off Adrian Peterson. After three weeks, they gave up on that theory and went to Plan B. Foreman was signed in the days after Henry went down and, over the last three games, he has looked a little like the franchise – and played like him as well. In those three games, he has rushed 54 times for 264 yards and a touchdown – topping 100 yards in two of them and scoring a TD in the other. He won’t make fantasy owners forget Henry, but he likely won’t be a journeyman after this season.

WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have been an offense in transition. Future Hall of Famer Julio Jones was allowed to leave. Calvin Ridley left the team for personal issues. All-World Kyle Pitts has been up and down. The most consistent player over the last month has been Gage. He has help keep the Falcons’ dim playoff hopes alive over the last four games, catching 29 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns. He has become a go-to flex option and still is affordable in daily play as he makes his case moving forward on a Falcons team in transition.

RB Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions

You don’t look to Detroit for fantasy players, especially in the playoffs, but Reynolds is making the most of his opportunity. The Lions are his fourth team in three years, and he has been little more than a practice squad live body. But with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams both down, he has been thrust into the mix against a pair of good defenses (Denver and Arizona). He has responded with 37 carries for 195 yards. Like Foreman and Gage, Reynolds is making his statement to his current team and the rest of the league that he has the skills to be a factor in the NFL.

QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots

The rookie QB hasn’t been flashy and doesn’t bring a lot in the run game, but he has started putting together some solid fantasy numbers. In huge games with playoff implications against the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, he has thrown for seven touchdowns and, in the last two of those games, he has 310 and 299 passing yards. They aren’t the kind of numbers that have him in fantasy playoff lineups, but his stock is on the rise heading into 2022.

RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

The time share between Ezekiel Elliott and Pollard is getting less all the time. Pollard has 119 carries to Zeke’s 201, but Pollard’s rushing average (5.7 yards) is 1.4 more than Elliott’s (4.3), and he had a better rushing average in eight of the last nine games both have played. Anyone who has Elliott isn’t going to bench him, but the Cowboys are consistently getting more yardage out of Pollard. As games increase in importance, he may be seeing even time as the Cowboys season gets more intense and impactful with each coming week.

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Fantasy Football Fallers

WR Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

Few players run as hot and cold as Cooper. Over the last seven games, he has played in five of them and, in those games, he has just 15 catches for 188 yards and one touchdown. An average of three catches for 37 yards over five games (technically seven) isn’t what fantasy owners bought into, and there has to be legitimate concern about continuing to play him with a fantasy season on the line.

QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

With all the weapons Burrow has, huge numbers are expected every week. Over his last six games, he has accounted for just eight touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) and has thrown for 190 yards or less in three of his last five games. Considering that he never had fewer than two touchdowns in his first eight games and 20 TD passes in those contests, his drop-off has been pronounced. He isn’t the must-start player he was the first half of the season.

WR Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Through his first five games of the season, Williams was averaging 95 yards and scored six touchdowns, making him one of the breakthrough players of the early season. However, in his last nine games, he has more than 61 receiving yards just twice, less than 50 yards in five of them, and has scored just one touchdown. The Chargers offense has been lighting things up, but Williams hasn’t been a part of it enough to warrant staying in fantasy lineups.

TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

It’s been the tale of two seasons for Gesicki. He is among a growing number of fantasy tight ends those of whom without one of the Big 3 are looking to step up and make a statement to be a TE that plays every week. Over his first seven games, Gesicki had three games with 85 or more receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. Over his last seven games, he has fallen flat, registering 54 or fewer receiving yards in every game and scoring no touchdowns. Considering Miami has gone a six-game winning streak in that stretch, it has become apparent that the Dolphins don’t need Gesicki to come up big for them to win.

WR Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

The fact Golladay hasn’t scored a touchdown for the Giants after signing a big free-agent contract is bad enough, but his production has completely flat-lined. In his first four games, he was productive, catching 17 passes for 282 yards. In his last seven games, he has caught just 14 passes for 195 yards and no TDs – an average of just two catches for 28 yards a game, which not only will get you benched on a fantasy team, it will get you waived.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 15

Fantasy football risers and fallers entering the playoffs.

It’s arrived a week later than usual, but the 2021 fantasy football playoffs are beginning for leagues across the country this week, and the reality of the matter is that only one team in each league is going to win it all and the rest will be resigned to wait until next year.

If you have played fantasy football for any period of time, you are familiar with the concept of the “bad beat” – a particularly gruesome end to a season. It can be a huge game against you on a Monday night or the classic bad beat of Brian Westbrook breaking loose for a touchdown only to slide to a stop at the 5-yard line so his team could kill the clock.

Here’s hoping your season doesn’t end until you’re hoisting a league championship trophy, but for those who lose along the way, hopefully you won’t be stricken by the bad beat that you remember for years to come.

Here is the Week 15 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

WR Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders

Renfrow has been a popular selection in PPR leagues because of his consistent production – he only has two games this season with fewer than five receptions. But, since Darren Waller got injured on Thanksgiving Day, Renfrow has taken his game to a new level – the kind of production that would make Wes Welker or Percy Harvin blush. Over the last three games, he has been targeted 33 times, catching 30 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown. Derek Carr has locked in on him and transformed him from being a fantasy receiver you have on your roster to a player who has become a must-start in almost any format.

TE Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

Most people likely don’t know that Knox leads all tight ends in scoring with eight touchdowns, including three in his last three games – when fantasy owners needed him most. For owners who don’t have guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Darren Waller as a lineup rubber stamp every week (when healthy), the goal is to find somebody who consistently catches four passes or more passes and can be counted on to give you a handful of touchdowns. Knox has been exactly that – leading the Bills will eight TDs despite missing two-and-a-half games due to injury.

WR Jalen Guyton, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have plenty of weapons, but Guyton has come on in the last two weeks as a deep-ball threat the Chargers haven’t consistently had this season. He came to the Chargers in the same draft class as Justin Herbert, and their rapport has been on display the last couple of weeks. After catching just 14 passes in the first 11 games of the season, over his last two games, Guyton has caught seven passes for 177 yards, including touchdowns of 44 and 59 yards. While more of a player to consider as a cheap option for daily fantasy play, he and Herbert have made a connection that looks to potentially have some big-play staying power.

WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

Osborn has been up and down with the Vikings this season as the No. 3 guy. He started extremely strong in his first two games (12 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown), but was hit-and-miss after that. He has made some big plays, including an overtime TD at Carolina and a touchdown Minnesota badly needed late in the Steelers game. With Adam Thielen injured, over the last two games, Osborn has caught seven passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, showing he can do more than simply fill in for their starting wide receiver.

QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints

Hill is still available on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues, but the Saints seem committed to him in the short-term as their QB and long-term as a Swiss Army knife type player fresh off signing an eight-figure-a-year contract extension. He can produce points in a lot of ways. In his two starts he has thrown for 439 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 22 times for 174 yards and two more TDs. When you look at his point production in each of the last two games, it’s better than a lot of quarterbacks viewed as “must-start” guys, and he has forced his way into the conversation for being a fantasy starter as the playoffs begin.

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Fantasy Football Fallers

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

There are some players that fantasy owners feel obligated to live and die with in the playoffs because they dread the potential of benching him in the game he blows up. Elliott has become one of those guys. In the first five games of the season, Elliott looked his normal self, posting three games with 95 or more rushing yards and scoring six touchdowns. However, in the eight games since, he has scored just three touchdowns and, over the last seven, has weekly rushing totals of 50, 51, 41, 32, 25, 45 and 45. He hasn’t averaged four yards a carry in any of the last five. Given the investment fantasy owners made in Zeke, it’s hard to imagine them just walking away from him, but he’s on the worst five-game stretch of his career, and he’s hurting a lot of owners’ chances of winning a title with his lack of production.

QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

In the era of the dual threat quarterback, Mayfield brings next to nothing as a runner, so his value to a fantasy owner is strictly as a passer, and therein lies the problem. Mayfield has hit the 250 passing yard mark just twice this season (none in the last seven games) and, over his last four games, he has been limited to 190 or fewer passing yards in three of them. Compounding the problem is that he has thrown just 13 touchdown passes in 12 games – two TDs in four games, one in five games, and none in three games. Are those the kind of numbers you want to let your season ride on?

WR DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Last year I was kicking myself all season in my most important league (bloodsport for 20 years) by having the option of drafting Cooper Kupp or Metcalf and made the wrong call and took Kupp. Fortunately, I wasn’t posed with that conundrum this season because, if I had Metcalf, I would be experiencing the same pain I did with Kupp last year. It seemed like situation normal for Metcalf the first half of the season – topping 95 yards in three games and scoring eight touchdowns. However, in his last five games, he has all but disappeared. At a time when Tyler Locket has put up three games with more than 95 yards, Metcalf has disappeared, catching just 17 passes for 216 yards and no touchdowns. If three catches for 44 yards and no scores – his average over the last five games – is what you’re looking for, stick with him. Otherwise, difficult decisions may need to be considered.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Tannehill’s only saving grace is that he has six rushing touchdowns – almost all from the 1- or 2-yard line. As a passer, his numbers have been dismal, despite having a wealth of talent around him most of the season and the onus to win moving from Derrick Henry’s shoulders to his. In 13 games, he has thrown more than one touchdown just twice, over his last five games he has thrown for 191 yards or less three times and has just four TD passes. He’s never been a must-start player, but is nearing the point of being a must-bench after throwing for 191 yards and no TDs in a home win over Jacksonville.

RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There was a time when Jones was the starter and Leonard Fournette was the backup/change-of-pace guy. Those days are long since over. Fournette has almost three times as many carries as Jones, has 62 receptions and scored 10 touchdowns. In 13 games, Jones has 63 carries for just 274 yards, has caught only five passes and scored just three touchdowns. As Forunette thrives down the home stretch as a legitimate three-down back, Jones has been left on the Island of Misfit Toys, averaging less than five carries a game and being dropped from fantasy rosters looking to add depth at other positions from the waiver wire.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 14

A look at who has been hot and cold down the stretch.

Monday night’s game in Buffalo provided a preview of what to expect moving into the final five weeks of the season. High-wind warnings with gusts approaching 50 miles per hour made the game plans for both teams had to be forcibly modified the day of the game.

This isn’t unusual, but the addition of one more week of games are pushing back fantasy schedules where most leagues are finishing in Week 17 instead of Week 16. Compounding the problem is the NFL didn’t start its season a week earlier, so there will be two weeks of regular-season games played in January.

With Week 17 games slated Jan. 2-3 to be played at Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, New England, New Jersey, Washington, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, the potential for frigid temperatures, snow and howling winds will almost surely impact fantasy football championship games everywhere, which may prompt some fantasy owners to pay a lot more attention to the schedule prior to drafts or auctions in the heat of summer, because you know Old Man Winter is going to rear his ugly head somewhere as the fantasy playoffs play out.

Here is the Week 14 Fantasy Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

RB Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams

Michel has been mired in the back end of a time share with Darrell Henderson, but has proved to be more than merely a handcuff. In the two games Henderson has missed, Michel has had more than 20 carries in both. Sunday against Jacksonville, he got his opportunity and made the most of it, rushing 24 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. In the 10 games he has played, Henderson has had 20 carries just once and hasn’t had a game with more than 90 rushing yards. Michel may be little more than a handcuff, but clearly the Rams aren’t shy about using him when the opportunity presents itself. As a likely playoff team, riding the hot hand is a thing in the NFL.

WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

One of the problems you run into with teams like the Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers when it comes to fantasy football is that the same players don’t come up big every week like other teams with one or two go-to players. Even teams with productive offenses like Kansas City and Dallas have the same players typically leading the way week after week after week. Higgins has led the team in receiving yards in four of the last five games and, in his last two games, he has been targeted 22 times, catching 15 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase took the No. 1 spot when Higgins missed two weeks in September, but Higgins has reemerged as the go-to guy for Joe Burrow as the Bengals make their stretch run.

RB Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have seen a revolving door at running back due to injuries that saw them digging up guys like Le’Veon Bell from the NFL graveyard. With high hopes for J.K. Dobbins prior to him going down before the start of the season, it seemed like the Ravens couldn’t make up their minds about who to stick with. Remember Ty’Son Williams? He’s had seven carries in the last nine games. Latavius Murray? In the three games he’s played since coming backs after missing three games, he has rushed 20 times for 47 yards. Freeman has 10 or more carries in each of the last five games and looks to be the featured guy moving forward, which has value in a run-heavy offense like the Ravens down the stretch.

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RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

They say a starter doesn’t lose his job due to injury. That’s a lie. It happens all the time. Williams has been the No. 2 guy in Denver all season, despite having a better rushing average than veteran Melvin Gordon. Gordon was a no-go last week and the Broncos came into their huge road game with the Kansas City Chiefs announcing Williams would be the primary back. How did he respond? 23 carries for 102 yards, six receptions for 76 yards, and he scored a touchdown. Whenever Gordon gets back, he may find himself on the short end of the time share, because the Broncos likely have their future riding with Williams, not Gordon.

WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

The talented rookie is only 14 receptions away from hitting the 100-catch milestone and is catching everything in sight. He has eight or more receptions in four of his last five games (all Miami wins, by the way). Over his last three, he has 26 catches for 292 yards and a touchdown. Waddle has only six fewer receptions than the next four Miami wide receivers combined and still seems to be flying a little under the radar. He doesn’t get much mention in the race for Rookie of the Year, but for a guy on pace to catch 112 passes for 1,100 yards, he would put himself in some rarified air in the rookie history books, whether he is acknowledged or not.

Fantasy Football Fallers

TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Pitts was the talk of the fantasy world in mid-October when he strung together a pair of games against the AFC East, catching 16 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown. He was prematurely anointed as potential the fourth face on the tight end Mount Rushmore. Unfortunately, he has crashed back to earth in the six games since. In that span, he has caught just 18 passes for 238 yards and no touchdowns and has fallen into the huge clump of tight ends looking to make a fantasy impact beyond the Big 3. It looked like he made it briefly, but his numbers are bleak over the last month and a half, which hurts fantasy owners who made a major investment in him, because he didn’t come cheap.

WR Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (for now)

Brown has been frustrating for fantasy owners, because he still has the talent to be a fantasy star but has a penchant for taking himself out of the mix. When things went south with the Raiders and he landed with Tom Brady in New England, fantasy owners were ecstatic that he could recreate his Pittsburgh Steelers numbers. But, he forced his way out the door by upsetting management and was quickly dismissed. At Brady’s urging, the Buccaneers gave him a chance, and Brown once again showed his talent. However, the NFL suspended him three games for misrepresenting his vaccination status, and Brown opted not to fight it while rehabbing his ankle injury. He maintains his innocence but may have played his last game as a Buc.

WR Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts

Pittman was putting together Pro Bowl-style numbers for the Colts in September and October – pushing him into starting lineups and making him a darling with the daily fantasy crowd. However, November hasn’t been kind for a player who was being viewed as an every-week must-start in most leagues. In his last four games, he has caught just 17 passes for 224 yards and no touchdowns – the kind of numbers that get fantasy owners looking elsewhere, especially with wins being more important now as seasons are nearing an end.

RB Adrian Peterson, Seattle Seahawks (for now)

This one bothers me because I spent years covering Peterson when he was with the Vikings and building his Hall of Fame resume. However, since leaving Minnesota five seasons ago, he has played with a whopping six teams – the Saints, Cardinals, Redskins, Lions, Titans and Seahawks. At some point, each team has made no effort to bring him back. In his first nine seasons, it can be argued there was no greater running back in the game and he should remain a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Peterson’s best bet is as a goal-line plunger, because his best days have long since passed, and all he has to hang his hat on now as a fantasy player is name recognition.

TE Evan Engram, New York Giants

It might seem strange that Engram is included on this list immediately following his most productive yardage game of the season, but the fact that his best yardage game is just 61 yards in 10 games is a testament to just how pedestrian he has become. He is averaging just 33 yards a game and has just two touchdowns on the season. Like Pitts, he’s another tight end who possesses insane physical gifts. However, he has teased at being one of the best at his position during his career only to have long stretches of little to no production and hurting a fantasy roster along the way and has fantasy owners scratching their heads as to how so much talent can have so little to show for it.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 13

Fantasy football risers and fallers as we enter the penultimate playoff push.

Injuries are always a part of any NFL season, but when you look at the running backs who were ranked highest heading into auctions and drafts prior to the start of the season, it just goes to show why RBs maintain their fantasy value – they’re an endangered species.

The list is impressive and growing with those who will be out in coming weeks. It’s staggering.

Derrick Henry has missed four games and counting. Christian McCaffrey has missed five games and left Sunday’s game, only to be placed on season-ending IR. Dalvin Cook has missed two games and left Sunday’s game. He’s out at least two more. Alvin Kamara has missed three games. Saquon Barkley has missed four games. Nick Chubb has missed three games. Josh Jacobs has missed two games. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has missed five games. Aaron Jones has missed one game and parts of three. Chris Carson has missed six games. J.K. Dobbins has missed the entire season. Miles Sanders has missed three games. David Montgomery has missed four games. James Robinson has missed one game and parts of two others. Raheem Mostert has missed 10 games. Darrell Henderson has missed one game. Kareem Hunt has missed five games.

Considering fantasy owners get heartburn when their star players are on their bye weeks, missing time at this rate for a critical position has likely broken a lot of teams – both fantasy owners and NFL franchises.

Here is the Week 13 Fantasy Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

WR Kendrick Bourne, New England Patriots

While his numbers don’t jump off the page as a receiver, when you split them out between home and road production, the contrast is stark. He has scored five touchdowns – all at home. He has five games with 60 or more receiving yards – all at home. While he has just one game with more than five receptions, he has showed that he can be a valuable fantasy contributor when playing at Gillette Stadium, and his numbers all year have borne that out.

TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Many fantasy owners will forget that two weeks into the 2021 season, Gronk stood alone as the leading scorer in the NFL with four touchdown catches. That was good Gronk. Then came bad Gronk. Late in the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Rams, he went down with an injury and didn’t have a reception in the next six games. In his two games since returning, he has reestablished himself as Tom Brady’s go-to target. He has been targeted 18 times, catching 13 passes for 194 yards and putting himself back into the discussion of the top fantasy tight ends in the game – just in time for a postseason run in defense of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl championship.

RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

For those who didn’t have Mattison as a handcuff for Dalvin Cook, these could be heady days. Cook has a history of injury because of his punishing running style. In the last three games Cook has missed due to injury, Mattison has rushed 72 times for 320 yards, has caught 16 passes for 149 yards and scored three touchdowns. With Cook sidelined with a shoulder injury and free-falling Detroit and Pittsburgh next up on Minnesota’s schedule, Mattison could be one of the most valued running backs in the fantasy game.

TE Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

At a time when game-changing tight ends are in short supply, fantasy owners scramble in hopes of tight ends that are used considerably in the red zone. Everyone is looking for the 2021 version of what Green Bay’s Robert Tonyan accomplished last year. That is becoming Freiermuth this season. While he only has one game with more than 45 receiving yards, in his last five games, he has caught five touchdown passes and has four or more receptions in each game. While not earth-shattering numbers, at a time when the tight end pool is relatively dry, these are numbers sent from heaven.

RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Typically, we don’t put weekly fantasy starters on the risers list, but for most of his career, Mixon was a premium pick in fantasy drafts that was most likely to be benched for a better matchup due to long stretches without consistent production. In his first four seasons, he missed time due to injury in three of them and scored just 20 rushing touchdowns in 40 games. This season, he has scored 13 touchdowns (11 rushing, two receiving) and has scored two TDs in each of his last four games. With the Bengals staring down a trip to the playoffs, over his last two games against wild-card contenders (the Raiders and Steelers), he has rushed 58 times for 288 yards and four touchdowns. He’s lining up with Jonathan Taylor for fantasy MVP consideration.

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Fantasy Football Fallers

WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

The Broncos have been snake-bitten when it has come to pairing up Jeudy and Sutton. Last year, it was Sutton, who played just one game before going down for the season. This year it was Jeudy, who was injured in Week 1 and missed the next seven games. The two have been playing together for the last month, and, in those four games, Jeudy has caught 18 passes for 181 yards and no touchdowns. In that same span, Sutton has caught seven passes for 95 yards and no TDs. Both players have a high ceiling to their talent, but neither is worth putting in a lineup as things currently stand, much less when the stakes are higher in December.

RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Similar to McCaffrey, Barkley has been battling injuries the last two seasons and the results have been numbingly bad. Prior going down in Week 5, Barkley never had more than 57 rush yards in a 2021 game. While he managed to score three TDs in that span, he wasn’t putting together the type of huge numbers that were expected. He’s back and has taken over the lead back role, but he has just 19 carries for 65 yards, 10 receptions for just 44 yards and no touchdowns in those two games. At this point, it’s difficult for those who made a big investment in him to bench him out of fear he will be the Barkley of past vintage. In the end, most owners who invested in Barkley will have to sink or swim with him and, at the moment, they’re drowning.

WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

I’ve never been a huge Hilton guy but had to respect the numbers he put up with Andrew Luck at the wheel. However, this season has been a disaster. He missed the first five games and has been inactive in two more. At least under those circumstances, he doesn’t hurt fantasy players. In the last four games he has played, he has caught just nine passes for 75 yards and one touchdowns. At a time where Michael Pittman has established himself as the No. 1 guy and four others have more receptions than Hilton in the games in which he has played, it seems about time to stick a fork in Hilton as fantasy commodity and move on.

RB Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders

It was curious on two fronts when Drake hit free agency last year – one that the Arizona Cardinals made no effort to re-sign him and second that the Raiders did. In 23 games with the Cards, Drake was close to dominant from the fantasy perspective, rushing for almost 1,600 yards and scoring 18 rushing touchdowns. His role with the Raiders has never been defined. He has played in every game and has more than eight carries just once and averaging less than six. He has more than 34 rush yards in just one game and when Josh Jacobs was down with an injury, Peyton Barber was the primary back. He has talent, but it isn’t being utilized in Las Vegas.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 11

Fantasy football risers and fallers entering Week 11.

In fantasy circles, running backs are a premium because so few consistently carry 15 times or more in games. That’s what made Derrick Henry such a joy to watch (and have on your roster. In the eight games before injury, Henry had 219 carries for 937 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. After having 17 carries in Week 1, he had 20 or more in all of the subsequent seven games, including 28 or more carries in six of those.

So, with him gone, who picks up the mantle for the workhorse running backs? Hint: There aren’t many. By my count, there are currently just four.

Dalvin Cook has 15 or more carries six of seven games played. In the two games he has missed, backup Alexander Mattison has rushed 51 times for 225 yards. Jonathan Taylor has come into his own, with 15-plus carries in eight of 10 games. Najee Harris has hit that number in seven of nine games, including five straight games with 22 or more carries (the Steelers are 4-0-1 in those games). Alvin Kamara has 15 or more carries in six of eight games played.

A case can be made that the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears backfields fit in that category, but injuries of kept them down. If you ever wonder why elite running backs remain the most expensive fantasy investments, that should answer your question. So few are dominant that it makes them more precious, and King Henry was the gold standard.

Here is the Week 11 Fantasy Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

It’s rare when you have the opportunity to acquire a quarterback off the waiver wire who has the potential to have the kind of games Newton is capable of having. He isn’t the star he was when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl, but when you have Christian McCaffrey as an ultimate weapon and a strong pair of veteran receivers, Newton has the ability to be a fantasy starter with the right matchups. He’s not an every-week starter, but he can bolster a roster and be a pick-and-choose type that can be plugged in as needed.

RB A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers

When the Packers drafted Dillon, they did so because they understand the conditions in which Green Bay plays – often a combination of cold, wind and snow. Dillon is a hammer whose value goes up as it comes to be later in the year. That is even more pronounced now that the regular season stretches into mid-January. Aaron Jones made the Fallers list due earlier this month due to not having more than 15 carries in any game since Week 3, and much of that was due to Dillon’s presence and his ability to be a banger between the tackles when they need it. Since Week 3, Green Bay has had two games with a runner with more than 15 carries – Dillon at Arizona Oct. 28 and Dillon Sunday against Seattle. He will likely be a 1b option when Jones returns after spraining a knee ligament, but he has two weeks to make his case to be in a time share, if not the lead dog as weather in the Great White North deteriorates.

WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

Consistency has been an issue with the Eagles offense all season, and it’s always an issue when dealing with rookie wide receivers. However, Smith has topped 60 yards in five of the last seven games. In the last two, he has been the big-play threat in the Philly offense, catching nine passes for 182 yards (more than 20 a catch) and has scored three touchdowns. For much of the season, he was showing promise, but it wasn’t translating into consistent big plays or touchdowns. Now it is starting to show, and his value is gaining steam.

RB Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

Ingram was the leading rusher in Houston, but nobody felt confident that he could produce the kind of numbers needed to be in a fantasy lineup. When he was in New Orleans to start his career, once Alvin Kamara arrived, his role changed, but his ability to have big weeks continued. Running backs are the most difficult commodities to obtain in fantasy leagues. Ingram is the No. 2 guy, but Sean Payton is still the head coach and still calls the plays. He knows better than anyone what Ingram can do in his offense. He’s not a handcuff for Kamara, who happens to be out with a knee sprain of his own. He can post numbers as a rusher and receiver on his own. Playing alongside Kamara limits some of those opportunities, but look back at his first run in New Orleans. He will have his share of fantasy moments.

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RB Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos

The funny thing about Gordon is that those who have him on their roster get frustrated because he’s clearly in a time share in Denver’s backfield. In his last seven games, he has rushed more than 10 times just once. But, his bottom line is that he has scored a touchdown in five of his last six games. I wouldn’t want to have my fantasy season hinging on Gordon having a huge game, but, if you need someone who has consistently been putting up consistent weekly numbers as a runner, receiver and scorer, Gordon checks a lot of boxes in that regard.

Fantasy Football Fallers

WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

In the first two games of the season, Lockett was on fire, catching 12 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. In the seven games since? 31 catches for 324 yards and no touchdowns. That works out to four catches for 46 yards a game. You can’t blame his lack of production on Russell Wilson missing time. In that same seven-game span, DK Metcalf has caught 32 passes for 493 yards and seven touchdowns. Lockett is still a talent who fantasy owners will have a hard time miring on their benches, but it seems like it is time to make Lockett a matchup-only type of play.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

The best thing that happened to Roethlisberger owners is that he didn’t play last week due to COVID protocol against the Detroit Lions, because there may have been the temptation. At a time when quarterbacks routinely throw for 300 yards, Big Ben has done it just once – and that was in Week 3. More troubling is that he has 10 touchdowns in eight games – two games with two TD passes and six with one TD. Given that he is a glacier in the backfield and hasn’t earned a single point for rushing if you go on the point-for-10-yards standard. He has six yards rushing all season. I would rather take a chance with a QB left on the waiver wire gut pile than go with Roethlisberger with the expectations of having a big fantasy day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight ends

In the first two games of the season, Rob Gronkowski scored four touchdowns. In his first three games, he caught 16 passes. He hasn’t caught a pass in the last six games due to injury, yet he leads Tampa Bay tight ends in receptions. Cameron Brate has played in all nine games for the Bucs and has caught 14 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. O.J. Howard has played in all nine games and has caught 13 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Given how the Tampa Bay offense (and the Tom Brady offense) has routinely included a heavy dose of tight ends, it’s shocking that neither Brate nor Howard has filled in the void left by Gronk’s injury. They’re posting the kind of numbers glorified offensive linemen put up and have reached the point of not being able to live up to their talent or their past histories.

WR Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

With all the upside the Browns came into season with, Landry may be the next disgruntled receiver looking to work his way out of town. He has missed four of the Browns’ 10 games due to injury and, in the six he has played, he has caught just 23 passes for 219 yards no touchdowns. That works out to an average of four catches for 37 yards and no scores. Futility like that is difficult to maintain over a long stretch, but he has managed.

RB Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

Coming off a season in which he emerged as a fantasy threat with 11 rushing touchdowns, Gibson was taken in fantasy leagues to be a starter most if not all weeks. In his last seven games, he hasn’t rushed for 65 yards in any of them and, aside from a 73-yard screen-turned-touchdown as a receiver, he has caught 18 passes for just 85 yards in the other eight games. Instead of being a weekly must-start, Gibson is player who is in lineups more by force than choice. Granted, he has scored six touchdowns, but fantasy football is played on a weekly basis and, many more weeks than not, he has come up empty.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 10

Assessing fantasy outlooks for the hot and cold.

There are a lot of changes in the 2021 NFL season, top among them being the decision to add a 17th game, which brings a new dynamic in that the regular season is going to stretch into the middle of January and teams are looking at games now with injured players differently than they have in the past.

Thanks to COVID, the rules for placing a player on Injured Reserve have changed. If an injury is expected to last more than a couple of weeks, players are put on IR with the ability to bring them back instead of making it season-ending.

This has been a death blow for a lot of fantasy leagues. To go along with the ability to put players on IR without the ability for fantasy owners to do the same, teams at the top are making business decisions based on potentially losing a game in October or November with an eye to February.

We’ve seen this play out with two of the top teams in the NFC in the last two weeks. In Week 8, Dak Prescott came out for warmups to play the Minnesota Vikings and looked ready to go – completing his warmup routine without any seeming discomfort. Less than 30 minutes later, he was made inactive. Last weekend, the Arizona Cardinals were outwardly optimistic that QB Kyler Murray would play. Ninety minutes before game time, he was ruled out. Both teams won, briefly ushering in the Cooper Rush Era and Colt McCoy Era, respectively.

The NFL is copycat league, so this may become more the norm than the exception as teams look to the long-term prospect of winning a Super Bowl than the short-term damage benching a star player to buy an extra week of healing time can have. Welcome the new world of the NFL and fantasy football.

Here is the Week 10 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

RB James Connor, Arizona Cardinals

He made this list a month ago, because he was scoring touchdowns and seemed like the Cardinals best choice at the goal line for a bellyflop touchdown. He was averaging 3.5 yards a carry, so his primary value was that of a touchdown prospect. However, after scoring five touchdowns in his first five games, not only has he scored six more in his last five, in that span he has rushed 52 times for 253 yards (almost five yards a carry). What he is doing is amazing considering the other weapons around him in the Arizona offense. He’s a must-start or trade candidate for a bounty in return, especially with Chase Edmonds out for a month with an ankle injury.

TE Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Back in late September, both Henry and Jonnu Smith were on the Fantasy Football Fallers list as both were drains in weekly fantasy rosters. Smith remains a fantasy dud, but, while Henry is still a reception and yardage disappointment from his Los Angeles Chargers numbers, the reality is that he has scored a touchdown in five of his last six games. Keep in mind, he has 33 or fewer receiving yards in five of those six games, but, at a time when tight ends beyond the Big Three (of Four) are just looking to cash in on touchdowns, Henry is checking all the boxes. He’s making it look easy in the red zone, and five TDs in six games in outstanding for anyone.

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RB Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles

There’s something to be said about Howard’s career track. He was a bell cow in Chicago who had a nose for the end zone. The same was true early in his first run with the Eagles. Then he got supplanted and moved to Miami, where he was mired doing nothing. He has been back with the Eagles for two weeks. In that time, Howard has 29 carries for 128 yards (a 4.4-yard average) and three short touchdowns. Granted, he’s a one-trick pony – he brings nothing as a receiver – but it’s still a pretty good trick. He’s not a long-term answer, but he’s nice to have in your arsenal if you need him.

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns

While there are some who are filled with heartburn that Odell Beckham Jr. was unceremoniously released Monday, one who isn’t is DPJ. After catching four passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6 against Arizona, Peoples-Jones was active but didn’t play in Week 7 and Week 8, due to a groin strain. With OBJ gone, he had his chance to make plays and do what he does. He only caught two passes, but they went for 26 yards and a 60-yard touchdown, moving Peoples-Jones into the undisputed team lead for receiving touchdowns with three. It’s clear he and Baker Mayfield have a rapport and, with the complaining in-house competition gone, he has deep sleeper potential.

RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

It hasn’t translated into touchdowns yet, but the competition in the Denver backfield is getting closer to a dead heat all the time and time isn’t on Melvin Gordon’s side. Gordon had a 70-yard touchdown run in Week 1, but hasn’t had a run of more than 14 yards since. In the last six games, Williams has had a run of at least 30 yards in four of them and is averaging a half-yard more per carry this season. Right now, this looks like a time share that favors Gordon – at least in terms of touchdowns and carries – but Williams keeps making his case for playing time, and pretty soon the Broncos’ coaching staff is going to listen.

Fantasy Football Fallers

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Nobody who has Elliott would ever consider benching him if he’s healthy, but this Cowboys offense is built more to throw and use the run game as a change of pace than the other way around. Over his last three games, Elliott hasn’t hit 70 yards rushing in any of them, is averaging 57 yards a game rushing and 33 receiving and hasn’t scored a touchdown. Few players have the pure athleticism and talent that Elliott possesses, but this has to be concerning for those who have seen his returns diminishing against three teams (New England, Minnesota and Denver) that had records of .500 or less when they met.

WR D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

Moore got off to a great start to the season. In his first four games, he caught 30 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns, making him a “must-start” in any format. However, as Sam Darnold has returned to Earth with a thud, so have Moore’s numbers. In his last five games, he has caught 23 passes for 279 yards and no touchdowns. You don’t always have to score touchdowns to make a fantasy splash, but five catches for 56 yards and no TDs, on average, for five games starts getting players benched.

RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

If you look at Jones’ season numbers, you may be asking, “Where’s the problem?” However, take out the first three weeks. In that span, Jones wasn’t setting the world on fire, but he scored five touchdowns to make up for it. Over his last six games, he has fewer than 60 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards in four of them and has scored just two touchdowns. Even more troubling is that A.J. Dillon has been seeing an increase in his share of the rushing workload that could continue to hurt Jones as the weather starts getting colder and the Packers look to win through the power-run game. Nobody will bench Jones, but it has to be a concern with diminished returns from what has come to be expected.

QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants

I’ve been on record from the beginning as not being a “Daniel Jones guy.” I thought the Giants were foolish to take him with the sixth pick in the draft when they could have traded down and still got him, and little has changed my opinion in the two-and-a-half years since. Through nine games, he has eight TD passes – one TD in four games, none in three and two TDs in two. He has thrown for less than 250 yards in six games, including each of the last five. He has two rushing touchdowns, but those came in the first two weeks of the season. Jones is still on a lot of fantasy rosters, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why, because the weekly production has been hot garbage for the most of the season.

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 9

Which players are on the rise and who’s taking a midseason tumble?

In many sports, the arrival of the trade deadline is something that is looked forward to as the also-rans in any given season are given the opportunity to build for the future by unloading talented veterans to a contending team.

It typically isn’t that way in the NFL, where there are always rumors of big names trading places, but it rarely happens. The trade deadline is 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Nov. 2, and there will be a flurry of rumors of players moving to new teams, but too often the rumors don’t become reality.

For fantasy owners, this can be an important time if you have any of the players on the trade block. Owners of Zach Ertz are elated that he finally got out of Philly after months of contention and goes to Arizona – a high-octane offense in need of a playmaking tight end.

Some players have been disappointments, mired on fantasy benches or a “silk hat on a pig” type (see Brandin Cooks). The deadline will come and go as it always does, but will this year be the year where things are different and there are a flurry of moves? Don’t hold your breath.

Here is the Week 9 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets

It’s difficult to overly excited about anyone from the Jets, but Carter has started making a case for himself to be considered. He is the Jets’ leading rusher and has more than twice as many carries as anyone on the team. He has double-digit attempts in each of the last four games and has scored three touchdowns in that span. He is also the team’s leading receiver with 26 receptions – 17 of those (and 162 of his 226 receiving yards) coming in the last two games. He has emerged as a strong daily fantasy player and is making it more difficult to keep out of league lineups.

Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts

It has taken a while for Pittman and Carson Wentz to get on the same page, but Indy started winning when Pittman became the primary focus of the passing offense. In his last four games, Pittman has scored four touchdowns and posted yardage of 86, 89 and 105. He has 594 receiving yards and nobody else on the team has more than 265. He has quietly asserted himself as the go-to receiver in this offense and is still being viewed as a fantasy bargain who has to prove it. That won’t last much longer. He’s already proved it.

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers

From the day Christian McCaffrey went down in Week 3, the majority of the rushing workload has fallen on Hubbard. In his last four games, he has had a pair of games with 24 rushing attempts (gaining 101 and 82 yards, respectively) and has scored two touchdowns in the last three games. With McCaffrey expected to return, Hubbard’s value may plummet, but he has earned the opportunity to be more than just a McCaffrey handcuff. If CMC goes down again (he missed time due to three injuries last year), you could have a fantasy starter on your hands.

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Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

This may be a little more projecting that anything based on a breakout performance, but what has always held Goedert down was sharing time with Zach Ertz. When Ertz was injured in the past is when Goedert posted his most impressive numbers. In the five games he played prior to the Ertz trade, he was averaging three catches and 43 yards. In the two games since the trade, he has nine catches for 142 yards, including his biggest yardage games of the season (70 and 72 yards). While he isn’t a lock to be a fantasy stud suddenly, his trajectory is pointing strongly up with his primary competition out of the picture.

D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

Browns fans didn’t know what to make of their run game when both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were out in Week 7 against Denver. The only person who seemed unfazed was head coach Kevin Stefanski, who said Johnson could get the job done. All he did in his first start was rush 22 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. Chubb came back last week and Johnson’s production took a dip. He rushed just four times for 22 yards in Cleveland’s loss to Pittsburgh, but he scored another touchdown. With Hunt expected to be out four to six weeks, Johnson is going to have the opportunity to fill his role in the offense, which could mean double-digit carries and chances in the screen game. He’s a reach, but one that could be dividends for a team in need if he does fill Hunt’s role in the offense.

Fantasy Football Fallers

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions

Early in the season, it looked as though the Matthew Stafford might not be as lopsided as it appeared. In his first two games (against San Francisco and Green Bay), Goff threw for 584 yards and five touchdowns. It’s been all downhill in the six games since. He has thrown for less than 225 yards (with his team behind in most if not all of them for considerable stretches of time) four times and has just three TD passes in those six games – including just one in his last four games. He brings nothing as a rusher and has brought next to nothing as a passer. The Lions are in line for the No. 1 overall pick as the lone winless team in the league and that player will likely be Goff’s replacement.

Jonnu Smith, TE, New England Patriots

The Patriots made a big splash in free agency by signing the two hottest tight ends – Smith and Hunter Henry. Both got off to brutal starts, but Henry has turned his fantasy season around, scoring four touchdowns in his last five games. The same can’t be said for Smith. Through eight games, he is averaging less than 24 receiving yards a game and has just one touchdown catch. For a guy who blew up for the Titans last year just in time to make millions, he has been unqualified bust for the Patriots and has rendered himself almost unplayable.

Buffalo Bills running backs

This one has been frustrating for owners of both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Mos has scattered four touchdowns in the first half of the season, but is averaging just 3.7 yards a carries with his worst two weekly averages coming in the last two weeks against teams that have struggled to stop the run (Tennessee and Miami). Singletary is averaging 5.1 yards a carry but hasn’t had more rushes than Moss since Week 2 and has a total of 18 carries in the last three games. With neither being a threat as receivers, it has become impossible to play either of them and expect production.

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Allen is one of the rare players who historically has himself on both the Risers and Fallers list in the same season. The problem with Allen is consistency from a fantasy perspective. In seven games, he has scored just two touchdowns (one on Sunday), but after hitting 100 yards in each of his first two games, he hasn’t topped 77 yards in the five games since and has three games with 50 or fewer receiving yards in three of those. It’s impossible to recommend benching Allen, because he came to fantasy rosters to start every week and you get the feeling he’s going to have another one of his three- or four-game streaks where he plays lights out and scores a handful of touchdowns. It’s what Allen does.

Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

The best thing that happened to fantasy owners with Ebron is that he was inactive Sunday with a hamstring injury and couldn’t be played. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a player who has posted some monster weeks over the years is a complete afterthought in this offense. Fellow Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth had as many receptions (seven) in Pittsburgh’s Week 7 game with Seattle than Ebron has had in the six games he has played. The numbers are staggeringly bad – seven catches for 47 yards and no touchdowns. The Steelers may try to move him at the trade deadline, but with those numbers who wants him?

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 8

Fantasy football risers and fallers entering Week 8.

There was a time that if a quarterback threw 400 passes, there was something wrong with the offense – either it had no run game or the defense was awful and required the offense to throw to try to stay in games they were losing.

Those days are over. Now 500 is the new benchmark and is the reason why fantasy football quarterbacks tend to be devalued – because so many can put up big numbers. This is a growing phenomenon. In 2018, 15 quarterbacks threw 500 or more passes, including four throwing more than 600. In 2019, 15 threw 500 times or more with four topping 600. Last season, 15 threw 500 or more passes with three throwing more than 600 times and both of the Super Bowl quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes) were in the top five for pass attempts.

Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow has thrown 212 passes, which, based on the historical 16-game schedule, would have him on pace to throw 485 times – and he ranks 24th in pass attempts. Brady leads the league with 303 pass attempts, which, if the pace continues, would see him finish the season (based on 16 games, not 17) throwing 693 passes.

While the 17-game schedule will change team and league records with the additional game to pile up stats, we’re at a strange time in the league where numbers created by quarterbacks and receivers continue to grow, and there’s no reason to think they will ever come back down.

You still have to be able to run effectively to win in the postseason, but it doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much in the regular season.

Here is the Week 8 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

At a time when tight end owners are feeling the pinch with George Kittle on IR, Darren Waller missing time, and just about everyone not named Travis Kelce struggling to put up consistent numbers, Uzomah had been s pleasant surprise. Over his last four games, he has posted more than 90 yards twice and scored five touchdowns. The majority of fantasy tight ends are played in hopes of picking up 40 or 50 yards and scoring a touchdown. Uzomah is making it harder to keep him out of lineups, and his price for daily players is going up as he becomes a bigger part of the Bengals offense.

RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

It’s been a common refrain among fantasy owners for years that running backs in Bill Belichick’s offense don’t get the ball consistently enough and they’re all role players. Not this season. Harris has 95 carries – almost three times the number of carries for the other Patriots running backs combined (37) – has three 100-yard rushing games, and has scored five touchdowns. In his last two games, he has rushed 32 times for 207 yards and three TDs. He may not seem like a “must play,” but those numbers speak for themselves.

WR A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

Green went undrafted in most leagues, and there has been good reason for that – he’s fourth on his team in receptions. However, he has been targeted six or more times in five of seven games and, over his last four games, has 66 or more receiving yards in three of them. He is Kyler Murray’s go-to deep threat, averaging almost 17 yards per reception – three yards more per catch than Christian Kirk and four more than DeAndre Hopkins. He isn’t a guy you want to play every week, but he has a role in a high-powered offense, which brings value with it.

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

All the talk around Miami is the potential that Deshaun Watson will be coming to town. Apparently Tua has heard those words. After missing three games due to injury, he’s had the most prolific two-week passing stretch of career, throwing for 620 yards and six touchdowns. There’s no telling if there is truth to the Watson rumors of whether Tagovailoa will be part of that trade or not, but he’s playing like a man who fears his job is on the line. While it isn’t translating into wins, it’s making fantasy owners giddy with excitement.

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RB Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

When Cam Akers went down with an Achilles injury in July and Sony Michel was later acquired, the thought was they would be sharing the workload. That hasn’t been the case. Of the six games he has played, Henderson has never had fewer than 13 carries, is averaging 16 carries, and has scored five touchdowns. In the four games since missing Week 3 game against the Buccaneers, Henderson has 66 rushing attempts, while Michel has just 25. For what he has shown in Akers’ absence, he has earned his opportunity to stake his claim to playing time.

Fantasy Football Fallers

WR Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Lack of production for Robinson has been a problem all season. He has played in all seven games and has caught just 23 passes. His high-water mark for receiving yardage in a game is just 63, he has five games with 35 or fewer receiving yards, and has scored just one touchdown. For a guy who came to rosters with the expectation of being an every-week starter, only the desperate are still playing A-Rob on weekly basis – and are getting burned consistently for doing it.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

For a guy who, by all accounts, is playing for his football life as a starter. He can’t help but be looking over his shoulder at Trey Lance, and it sure doesn’t look like it he’s doing anything but paving the road for the transition. In the five games he has started, he has three games with 190 or fewer pass yards and, in his last two starts since the open competition with Lance began, he has thrown for just 346 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Everyone knows the job will eventually go to Lance, but Jimmy G is doing his best to speed up that process.

WR Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

People are still treating Jones like the first-ballot Hall of Famer he is, but the numbers don’t lie and speak the truth that Jones is at the tail end of his career. He has missed two of the seven games the Titans have played and, of the five he has played in, he has more than three receptions in just one of them. He has only one game with 60 or more receiving yards, and his next touchdown as a Titan will be his first touchdown as a Titan. Playing him in fantasy lineups now is being done much more on reputation and recollection than his current production.

RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Up until Tampa Bay got to the playoffs last season, Jones was the main man in the Bucs backfield and Leonard Fournette was the No. 2 option. Fournette took over in the postseason and hasn’t looked back. Through seven games, Jones has just 41 carries for 181 yards and one touchdown with just one appearance with more than 27 rushing yards, which came in a blowout Sunday as Fournette was being rested. He isn’t used as a receiving back, because he has brought nothing to the table this season (three catches, 33 yards, no TDs). At this point, the only way Jones retains any fantasy value is if Fournette gets hurt. Until then, he’s little more than a handcuff – and not a productive one. Nobody likes to leave the defending Super Bowl champ, but a trade might be the best thing his career.

WR Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers

In his first season with the Panthers, Anderson was a bargain find in PPR leagues, catching 95 passes for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns. He was touted as having chic fantasy star potential as an upside guy heading into this season. The results so far? 18 catches (on 49 targets!) for just 204 yards and two touchdowns. Things have gotten worse as the season has gone along. In his last three games, despite being targeted 25 times, he has caught just eight passes for 55 yards and one TD. Unless dropped passes becomes a way to score points in fantasy leagues, Anderson does more harm than good to an owner.