Fantasy Football Stock Watch: NFL Week 15
Howard Bender takes a look at the rising and falling value of a number of NFL players you'll want to keep tabs on heading into Week 15 of the fantasy football season.
After two of the most tumultuous weeks in fantasy football, it’s time to pick up the pieces and assess what we have moving forward. If you were just knocked out of the playoffs, don’t worry, as we’ll be doing plenty of NFL playoff coverage, including playoff leagues, pools and all the wagering info you need to keep you happy. If you’re still in it, then here’s a look at whose value is rising and falling as we head into Week 15.
Justin Jackson , RB LAC – He was a complete bust for fantasy owners in Week 14, but you can’t let that affect your decisions here. Melvin Gordon (knee) is unlikely to play and neither is Austin Ekeler after dealing with the stinger he suffered, as well as an apparent concussion. That points towards Jackson as the lead back against a soft Kansas City run defense. He only saw seven carries and two catches during Sunday’s game against the Bengals so he should be good and rested for this one.
Elijah McGuire , RB NYJ – Isaiah Crowell came off the field Sunday with a foot injury and both he and Trenton Cannon (hamstring) missed practice Tuesday. With a Saturday game, the Jets lose a day of practice and these guys lose a day to heal. That puts the ball primarily into the hands of McGuire. He’ll take care of the work between the tackles as well as handle the pass-catching duties if neither Crowell nor Cannon can play. The downside, however, is the match-up as the Jets take on the Houston Texans who rank No. 2 against the run according to DVOA numbers.
Kenneth Dixon , RB BAL – This is an interesting one as trusting anyone in the Ravens backfield is a tough thing to do. Alex Collins was a huge bust, Javorius Allen is on a milk carton and Gus Edwards emerged briefly, but with Lamar Jackson poaching all the red zone rushes, the TD upside is gone. Or is it? While I’ve never been a big Dixon fan, you can’t argue against him being the best back for the current offensive system. With Jackson under center, we’re seeing a lot more RPO (run pass option) scheming and Dixon, as a pass-catching, mobile back, fits better than Edwards right now. We even saw it in Week 14 as Dixon grabbed a 32-percent share of the offensive snaps, sometimes at the expense of Edwards’ playing time.
Damien Williams , RB KC – With Spencer Ware hobbled by a hamstring injury, Williams saw a 50-percent share of snaps and found the end zone twice, once as a runner and once as a receiver. Ware did not practice Tuesday and the Chiefs play Thursday, so if this trend continues, Williams should see a strong share of the snaps again. Don’t sleep on Charcandrick West or Daryl Williams , but don’t expect them to carry too heavy a load either. Williams is capable of taking it between the tackles as well, but he’s much more pass-friendly than anything else. Oh look. His QB is Patrick Mahomes ! Phew!
Randall Cobb , WR GB – With a clean bill of health and Aaron Rodgers getting his way, Cobb gets a nice boost in value this week and moving forward. We saw him grab six targets Sunday, second-most on the team, and turned them into five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers doesn’t like to throw to the tight end, he’s been ghosting Marquez Valdes-Scantling for weeks and none of the other young wideouts have had a chance to build an on-field rapport with the future Hall of Famer. That leaves Cobb as the only legitimate target after Davante Adams . There’s a really strong chance he’s just sitting there on your waiver wire.
DaeSean Hamilton , WR DEN – In the wake of the Great Courtland Sutton Bust of Week 14, fantasy owners should note the target distribution. Sutton saw six targets while Tim Patrick saw a team-high 10 and Hamilton finished second with nine. You should be able to chalk up Sutton’s down game to strong coverage by Richard Sherman which threw Case Keenum ’s attention over to Patrick on the other side, but Hamilton works out of the slot and while Sutton and Patrick may see some fluctuation based on the opponent’s cover corners, Hamilton should always see consistent work out of the slot. If Keenum is going to pretend he’s Aaron Rodgers and ignore his tight end, then the slot receiver is going to pick up plenty of extra targets.
Dante Pettis , WR SF – He’s seen seven targets in each of his last three games and is averaging 85 yards per game with four touchdowns over that span. Marquise Goodwin returned to action this past week, but the lion’s share of the targets went to Pettis and tight end George Kittle . Pettis has the rapport with Nick Mullens and should continue to work well with him on the field moving forward. The Niners take on the Seahawks this week, the team Pettis burned for 129 yards and two touchdowns in Week 13.
Vernon Davis , TE WAS – When Redskins head coach Jay Gruden announced Monday that Jordan Reed , who suffered a sprained toe Sunday, may not play again this season, the fantasy community ran faster to the waiver wire than a fat kid running to an all-you-can-eat buffet to grab Davis. There’s no question that Davis is the next man up and probably has more value than any of the Redskins wide receivers, but let’s not forget about the fact that his quarterback will be either Josh Johnson or Mark Sanchez . If the short-passing game is in full-effect, Davis should see a strong share of the targets.
Leonard Fournette , RB JAC – This guy’s really working our last nerve here. First, it’s the hamstring issue. Then he comes back and plays well for three games. Then he goes out and gets suspended for fighting in Week 12 and misses the final week of the fantasy regular season (Week 13). And to bring it all current, he plays in Week 14 and throws up a dud against the Titans. Now, the Jaguars host the Redskins in Week 15 and Washington is allowing 167.7 rushing yards per game over their last three games, so you’re going to have to grin and bear it with Fournette this week.
Dion Lewis , RB TEN – The big question now is whether or not Derrick Henry ’s 235-yard, four-touchdown performance is going to get him an increase in snaps and carries out of the backfield this week and beyond. In truth, whether it does or it doesn’t, Lewis has been a massive bust since coming over to Tennessee and given that it’s the playoffs, you just can’t put your trust into him. The Titans face the Giants this week, a team that has struggled against the run since trading Damon Harrison , but Lewis has burned us so often, we just can’t take it anymore.
Josh Adams , RB PHI – After back-to-back games with 20-plus carries, Adams was the victim of abandonment last week as the Eagles fell behind the Cowboys and stopped running the ball. Now sure, that’s game flow so how can you be down on Adams here? Easy. The Eagles travel across country to face the Rams in Week 15. If you don’t think the Eagles fall behind early, you’re crazy. Have you seen their defense? Sorry, Josh. You gone….for another week.
Golden Tate , WR PHI – There are two things wrong with Tate this week. Number one is that the Rams pass defense is vastly improved with the return of Aqib Talib . Yes, even covering the slot. The return of Talib has taken a lot of pressure off the safeties and they’re going to be able to help over the middle a lot more. Number two is obviously the lack of consistent targets. We thought the issue was taken care of as Tate went three games with a total of 23 targets, but four targets in this match-up against Dallas and now an upcoming game against the Rams and it just doesn’t look like he can be trusted. Not with your playoff life, that’s for sure.
Kenny Golladay , WR DET – I’ll give Golladay this…he’s got a loyal fanbase. Win or lose, people seem to love him. He hasn’t scored in three weeks and now draws the opposition’s top cover-corner, as evidenced by the Patrick Peterson shadow this past week. It doesn’t get any easier traveling up to Buffalo who owns the third-best pass defense in the league and then he gets Xavier Rhodes of Minnesota the week after. Buh-bye.
Antonio Callaway , WR CLE – Two weeks ago he was inches away from racking up 140-plus yards and two touchdowns and this past week he sees one target. Punishment for fumbling at the one-yard line? Not tucking the ball away? Probably. So now the question is, will Baker Mayfield throw to him consistently or is he now persona-non-grata? Since it the playoffs, you can’t take that chance. He gone!
Chris Godwin , WR TB – Did you see how bad he looked on Sunday? Maybe the weather had an effect. Maybe Jameis Winston was less-than-stellar in his delivery. Whatever the case may be, 10 targets and one catch do not a receiver make. Even with DeSean Jackson out, he simply cannot be trusted on a regular basis anymore.