As election season comes to a close, the final debate takes place Monday the 21st before Election Day, the first Tuesday in November. Obama vs. Romney. This is the Main Event at Hell In A Cell. (Wait, that’s not the main event? Instead we have to deal with Ryback? Feed Me More)! You’ll hear all about the economy, tax plans, foreign policy and how much each candidate deserves your precious vote. But the slogans that will constantly ring true throughout are without question, Yes We Can and Change. Can we change the status quo? YES WE CAN! Can we be better? YES WE CAN! Can we improve our Fantasy Football lineups by reading Sussman’s Stock Watch every week? YES WE CAN!
And this is what we have come to in Week 7 of the NFL season. It’s time to make a change, to buy stock on some guys that you may not have believed in initially and then sell on guys that are underperforming. As owners, we can continually do a better job by making a good pick up or trade. Can we win this week? YES WE CAN!
Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
Coming into the season, there were any more questions in the Lions backfield than there were answers. Kevin Smith started, Mikel Leshoure was due back in two weeks, Jahvid Best was going to be coming back midseason, and then you had Keiland Williams and Joique Bell to deal with. Seven weeks later the smoke has cleared, and it’s all about Leshoure. Best is done for the year again after failing to gain medical clearance after the concussion, Kevin Smith has been relegated to hanging out with Alex Rodriguez on the end of the bench, and Keiland Williams no longer is employed by the Lions. Joique Bell is nothing but Leshoure’s backup, so this is the time to absolutely buy stock in Leshoure. He will be the workhorse, get all goal line carries and he’s legitimately talented. Although the window may have closed to buy Leshoure’s stock low, I would still at least try to make some money here. He’s much better than the alternatives and despite what Jim Schwartz may think, the Lions do have to run the ball some of the time. This is the second time in three weeks Leshoure is appearing in this exact space, so clearly I like him. You should too.
Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch, RB, PIT
Consider this one week of buying stock and then sell as fast as you humanly can. Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redman have both been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Bengals. This leaves both Dwyer and Batch to handle the load for Pittsburgh and in a week with six teams on bye, they may be attractive options for you. Batch will handle the carries in between the 20s and in the passing game. He showed a nice burst of speed last week and gained a bit of Mike Tomlin’s trust after the semi-impressive performance. Meanwhile, Jonathan Dwyer was a healthy scratch last week for the Steelers and a guy who was in the stock down section of this column just two weeks ago. However, he’ll play on Sunday night and probably start and lead the team in carries. Remember, Dwyer was a guy many pegged as a sleeper before the year and maybe this will be his breakout game. If nothing else, their stocks are climbing for one week only and if you are desperate than feel free to make the move. But, I can’t stress enough to get off the ship before one or both are inactive next week.
Brandon Gibson, WR, STL
As we (I) like to say in Fantasy Fooball; someone has to catch the ball. I said it with Brian Hartline in Miami, for Michael Crabtree in San Francisco, and now I’ll say it with Gibson in St. Louis. With Danny Amendola out for the next several weeks, someone needs to step up for the Rams. If week 6 is any indication, that guy is going to be Brandon Gibson. The Rams de facto number 1 WR, led the way for St. Louis against the Dolphins hauling in seven passes for 91 yards. It’s always seemed that Gibson was due to become the lead guy for the Rams and now he finally has his opportunity. Sam Bradford has to throw the ball and when he throws deep it may be Chris Givens, but the rest of the time it will be Gibson. The stock is clearly soaring for Gibson, who has always had the tools but has simply had trouble putting it all together. Over the next few weeks as the bye weeks continue to decimate your squad, buy some stock in Gibson and maybe a little in Givens. You won’t regret it, but also don’t invest too much where it hurts when they stink; odds are it’s only a matter of time.
Josh Gordon, WR, CLE
So that whole thing I was saying a paragraph ago about getting the ball to SOMEONE…well that still applies here. The supplemental second round draft pick has really come on as of late. Although some may seem him as a boom or bust play, surprisingly, Brandon Weeden hasn’t looked as atrocious as expected. Although this weekend we will probably see the returns of Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Gordon has done too much to get taken out of the lineup altogether, simply because he is the most explosive Browns player not named Trent Richardson. Gordon can make plays happen and really lengthen the field, which leads to him being worth a buy this week. His stock is slowly inching upward at a fair market price, but don’t expect it to get high or to completely bottom out.
Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
After a week 1 explosion, many expected Pierre Garcon to be a true WR1 or at least WR2 for the Redskins. But a foot injury and perhaps turf toe has limited Garcon and now will keep him out again for week 7. Garcon’s stock is falling not due so much to his lack of talent level, but just his inability to play. I love his rapport with Robert Griffin III and as the main playmaker if he ever gets healthy, he will be as dynamic as we all expected. Unfortunately, the stock market doesn’t care how good you could be. For that reason, Garcon drops. I would love to recommend picking up Josh Morgan or Leonard Hankerson, but nobody is picking up Garcon’s slack. It’s all RG3 all the time. In a 10 team league, Garcon’s stock has dropped enough where you could consider dropping him; in a 12 team league there is nothing you can do but simply hold on.
Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
We talked last week how players essentially are what they are at this point in the season. How many times and how many dollars have you spent on Jermichael Finley’s potential? Enough is enough and it’s time to sell off. He may be the most “physically gifted TE in the NFL” but it means absolutely nothing if he can’t catch the ball. He has openly admitted to having no chemistry with Aaron Rodgers and if you can’t get the job done with the reigning MVP throwing you the ball; it’s safe to wonder if you will ever be able to flourish. The injury to Greg Jennings gave Finley the perfect opportunity to step up, instead he’s been the same old waste of potential. James Jones and Randall Cobb are thriving, while Jermichael Finley’s stock is barely above the floor. If you have any stock left in this guy sell; he will never be worth it.
Steven Jackson, RB, STL
It’s not new news that Steven Jackson looks old or that he has been mostly ineffective at 29 years old. What is startling is that Steven Jackson is officially no longer “the man” in St. Louis. In Week 6, Jackson essentially split carries with seventh round rookie Daryl Richardson and Richardson clearly has the explosion that at this point in his career Jackson lacks. He’s quick out of the backfield, helps out in the passing game and is a good enough pass blocker that the Rams have no reason to force Jackson on the field. While he’s still the emotional team leader and plods his way to yards for St. Louis, that doesn’t mean all that much for our purposes. Jackson is nothing more than a flex play at this point and that includes in Week 7 where six teams are on bye. As someone who was very high on Jackson coming into the season, it’s a frustrating but true fact; Jackson’s stock is completely collapsing.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
This is a case where it is not at all the talent level or someone getting old. Bowe is a product of a terrible Chiefs passing game and if Brady Quinn really is the guy going forward, this is absolutely horrible for Bowe’s value. He is one of the most physically gifted WRs in the NFL, but if he doesn’t have a capable QB throwing him the ball, then what good is he for Fantasy purposes? If you can man make a deal getting an equal talented player back for Bowe, you make the move. You obviously don’t sell him off, but also realize his stock is dropping. The Chiefs passing game will continue to fall into the abyss and really the only reason Bowe has had any success this season is thanks to garbage time. Without garbage time, Bowe would be useless. With Brady Quinn; it IS useless. Matt Cassel may obviously still get the reps, but he isn’t leading the Chiefs where they want to go. It’s a brutal situation in Kansas City and hopefully a situation that you can get yourself out of.
Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
For a long time, Andre Johnson was unquestionably the best WR in football. He was matchup proof, a must play, and someone you could consistently count on. Now with the Texans built as a run first team and Arian Foster being Arian Foster, Andre Johnson’s role s severely diminished. Gary Kubiak knows he needs to get the ball to his best WR, but so far just has not been able to do so. Owen Danielsis having his best season in years and has been the main beneficiary of the change to really a play action attack. Johnson is nothing more than an overrated decoy. Johnson is a case where all of the talent is there, but the scheme just works against him. He is not someone you can probably afford to take out of your lineup, but just realize that he is not going to put up the points you expected him to coming into the year. Now the natural question would be whose stock is higher, Andre Johnson or Dwayne Bowe? At this point, it’s Bowe. Johnson’s stock is falling rapidly.