Buying On Vick Ballard
The Stock Watch
It’s true…it’s damn true. Two weeks of October and two Stock Watch columns. We might as well just call this Susstober. Yes, I’m blatantly ripping CM Punk’s Punktober, but let’s just acknowledge it as me showing the Voice of the Voiceless the respect he deserves. And as we are now through Week 5 of the NFL season, I think it’s about time we show certain players a bit of respect. The excuse of a small sample size or it’s too early, for me, no longer applies. At this point, I don’t want to hear that’s too early for Chris Johnson. How many excuses are we going to collectively give this guy? It’s his line, it’s the defense and he’s banged up. Enough. On the contrary, you have professional plodder Michael Turner. Every expert, including me, killed this guy in the preseason. We called him washed up and finished and just plain bad. But if you look at his numbers and compare it to his draft stock, what else can you ask for from a low end RB2/high end RB3? He has 324 yards rushing and 3 TDs, including one 100 yard game. He isn’t going to win you a week or have a true breakout game, but he’s going to get the ball in the red zone and he has as good of a shot at a touchdown as any other running back. He is what he is and I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
The fact is we can make decisions on our players now. There is no more waiting for one of our sleepers to break out (peace Titus Young) or waiting for the old guy to fall of the deep end (keep it up Tony Gonzalez). What we can do is try to find those unknown guys whose stocks are continuously rising and some known commodities whose stocks are plummeting. That is why you’re here right? Let’s get to it.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT
The new thinking in NFL circles is that the running back position has become devalued. With the emergence of guys like Ahmad Bradshaw and Arian Foster, there is no reason for an NFL team to waste a first round draft choice on a running back, since they are a dime a dozen. The Pittsburgh Steelers would very much beg to differ with this philosophy. After three games of struggling with the likes of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, Mendenhall returned with a vengeance from his torn ACL. Just like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles before him, Mendenhall looked fresher than ever, returning to the tune of 81 yards rushing and a touchdown. It was a welcome site for the Steelers and for Fantasy owners in what has been the year of the return from ACL injuries. Despite what the Steelers are claiming, the end is here for both Dwyer and Redman. Mendenhall will soon enough again be the workhorse and simply the man behind the Steelers mediocre offensive line. Mendenhall’s stock is on the slow climb back to where it was last year. I don’t think Redman or Dwyer’s stock exist any longer.
Alex Green, RB, GB
I can sum the rise of Alex Green’s stock in three words: Next Man Up. It’s not like Green is overly impressive or overly skilled, but in a world where Shonn Greene is considered valuable, there is no reason Green can’t be valuable as well. With Cedric Benson likely done for a significant portion of the rest of the year, Green becomes the man in the Packers backfield. While he has some value in between the 20s and has shown the ability to be able to catch the ball, Green’s upside is limited with the presence of John Kuhn (Kuuuuuuhn). Kuhn will remain the touchdown vulture in Green Bay, but his value is also limited since he’s just a fullback. The Packers offense is going to get rolling soon enough, so consider the stocks for both Kuhn and Green rising. Also, let’s not forget to mention James Starks, who has yet to be active for a game in 2012 due to turf toe and being bad. Last year’s starter can also steal some carries from both Green and Kuhn. Plus, the Packers don’t really run the ball anyway so the stock prices are slowing increasing, rather than shooting up here.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="390" caption="The Colts New Starter"][/caption]
Vick Ballard, RB, IND
What were those three words again? Ah yes…next man up. And that’s what Vick Ballard is for the Indianapolis Colts and Donald Brown owners. Coming off two consecutive quality games, Brown hurt his knee and is now out for the next couple of weeks. Step in semi-heralded Vick Ballard. Many pundits and fans expected Ballard to be the man by now in this Colts backfield and moving forward he will have an opportunity to run with it, literally. While he has done literally nothing on the year (21 carries for 42 yards), he certainly has a little burst as a downhill runner. In a rapidly improving offense, where Andrew Luck is thriving, the run game needs to get going. Despite his excellent play as of late, the Colts will still rely on the running game to make Ballard more than relevant. Ballard’s stock is higher than it’s been all season. Let’s see in the coming week if it can continue to climb.
James Jones, WR, GB
Yep, here we go again. This guy. I’m pretty confident that we can have James Jones on this list every week for the rest of the season and he would flip flop between the stock up and down side each and every time. But here we are again, watching Jones’ stock rise and hoping we have him in the lineup when he booms and not busts. The last two weeks have seen the very best of James Jones. With Greg Jennings limited and ultimately out, the last two weeks have seen Jones catch a combined nine passes for 102 yards and most importantly FOUR touchdowns. Now he may not always run the right routes and he may consistently tick Aaron Rodgers off, but Jones is producing. Today his stock is up; next week I’m sure it will be in the basement.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, NYJ
I know my normal rule of never ever recommend a Jets player. And maybe I’ve lost my mind but the fact is Kerley’s stock is rising. SOMEONE has to catch a pass from Mark Sanchez. With Santonio Holmes out for the year, Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller still banged up, Jason Hill and Chaz Schilens both being really not good, Kerley has emerged as a viable flyer in Fantasy leagues. The former TCU standout at least possesses some playmaking ability on a Jets team void of any. Last week, Kerley caught five passes for 94 yards and was targeted six times. This was against stud Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph, no slouch. The Jets will try to get the ball in Kerley’s hands as much as possible so the stock is inching up for this J-E-T.
Andre Brown, RB, NYG
So that was fun while it lasted right? Hopefully you didn’t spend your entire budget on a guy that will probably end up only significantly contribute to your team for one week. Brown, who left the game vs. the Browns with a concussion, has been rendered pretty useless with the return of Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw rushed for 200 yards while Brown hardly saw any game action before his concussion. While Brown was in the locker room tweeting, David Wilson finally was able to get out of the dog house. Showing that lightening quick speed, Wilson flew to a 40 yard touchdown causing the Andre Brown era to possibly be over before you could even say “I got a ring.” Brown stock is plummeting; time to sell.
Doug Martin, RB, TB
After Week 1, Doug Martin was everyone’s darling. Since then, Martin has seen his number of carries drop every week. He went from 24 carries in the opening game, to just eight in Week 4 against the Redskins. Martin has been relatively ineffective as of late, leading to the return of LeGarrette Blount to the fantasy conscience. I loved Martin as a real breakout candidate and possible Rookie of the Year contender, but right now he just isn’t getting it done. This isn’t a guy whose stock you are totally selling and getting rid of; he’s just somebody who is no longer an every week starter. Blount’s stock is seeing a slight increase, but you don’t want him in your lineup. He’s even worse than Shonn Greene.
Danny Amendola, WR, STL
Just a few weeks ago Amendola was the apple of everyone’s eyes. The mini Wes Welker, proving that he could really flourish in St. Louis as Sam Bradford’s favorite target. Unfortunately, the injury bug hit Amendola again and now he’s back on the sidelines again nursing a shoulder injury. Amendola returned faster than expected last year and I’m sure once he’s back, he will regain his favorite receiver status, but for now he can’t help you. Brandon Gibson and Brian Quick aren’t exactly enticing options for you to replace Amendola with. Along with Amendola’s stock falling, the entire St. Louis Rams offense takes a stock hit. That includes you Steven Jackson owners. Defenses are going to force Bradford to pass to these mediocre guys, thus Jackson will be forced to go all Marshawn Lynch beast mode to get any significant yardage. Sell on the Rams for Fantasy purposes; besides Legatron of course.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, WSH
This WR product out of The U was all the rage after Week 4. But since Alfred Morris is flourishing, the Shanahans need something to screw with Fantasy players minds/lineups. That’s why since Hankerson had a pretty solid Week 4, he went immediately back to the bench in Week 5, falling behind perennial underachiever Josh Morgan. Hankerson finished the game vs. the Falcons with just one catch for three yards. That’s not going to get it done and he cannot be in your starting lineup moving forward. Hankerson’s stock was already falling, but combined with Robert Griffin III’s possible concussion, the stock is reaching the very floor. Sell on Hankerson and don’t look back.
Dennis Pitta, TE, BAL
I was/am a really big fan of Pitta this season, but unfortunately, his stock has taken a clear hit. In Week 4 he was completely shut out and in Week 5, he only managed three catches for 22 yards. A focal point of an explosive Ravens offense (you read that right…the Ravens offense somehow was kind of explosive) in the early going, Pitta has been forced to stay on the line and block a bit more in recent weeks. While this may be a success for the 4-1 Ravens, this is not a recipe for success in your fantasy lineups. Both Pitta and Martellus Bennett were cheap tight ends that everybody loved and went all in on. Both are regressing a bit to the mean and slowly losing their must-start status. The stock for both men has gone down just a bit, but I can see it rising at any moment.
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