Throughout the season, we identified trends for players – both good and bad. With those trends, we looked to see if their stock was rising, going down, and whether you should sell them, buy them or hold to see more. That’s all out the window now. In Week 14, if you’re going to pick someone up and put them in your lineup, you need them to produce.
For this week’s Stock Report, let’s focus on Weeks 14-16 for those with good production and good matchups to take advantage of.
We never know when we can trust coaches. We hear that “so and so is in the best shape of his life,” or “we are impressed with what we see.” That’s why when word out of Steelers’ camp was that the team wanted to get Ladarius Green more involved, we were cautious.
Sure, if it was between Green or Dwayne Allen, I said to start Green because he had more upside (LOL at Fantasy Football sometimes), but it turns out the Steelers were telling the truth. Green played 35 snaps, had 11 targets, six receptions, one touchdown and recorded his first career 100-yard game with 110 against the Giants.
Can you trust Green in the playoffs? Well, he’s a tight end, can you really trust any of them? With his upside and involvement, he’s a must-own tight end, who is currently owned in just 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues. His Week 15 matchup is especially enticing, as the Cincinnati Bengals are terrible against opposing tight ends.
So much for John Fox hating rookies or for Kadeem Carey becoming a thing. Jordan Howard, since taking over as the starting running back, has done little to upset his owners aside from his Week 7 stinker against the Packers. After that week, there was talk about not starting him or even cutting him if you had to because Carey was getting touches and there was a brutal schedule ahead. All he did was torch the Vikings the next week and produce solid numbers since. Yes, his big game last week was against San Francisco, who will probably make Todd Gurley look good again in Week 16. Detroit is in the top one-third against running backs for Fantasy purposes, but with his involvement and a lack of other weapons in the Chicago offense, Howard’s stock continues to trend up into the playoffs.
Philip Rivers always seems to tail off in the second half of the season, but if you own him, you need to consider using him throughout the playoffs. It’s the schedule that we’ve been waiting for with him, as he has Carolina, Oakland and Cleveland in Weeks 14-16, respectively. While there was, and still is concern about Tyrell Williams’ labrum injury, he continues to produce each week for Rivers and will help carry him to around 25 Fantasy points in each matchup. If you have an elite option at the position, you aren’t starting Rivers, but if you’ve been streaming all season long, you can keep Rivers plugged in to carry you as far as he can take you. If he’s available on your waiver wire, pick him up and play keep-away from your opponent.
Golden Tate has very quietly put together a solid season, especially considering the lack of production that he gave his Fantasy owners in the first five weeks of the season. In PPR leagues, his lowest output from Week 6 on was 3.10 points against Jacksonville, but he has been in double-digits in every other contest. Up next, he has Chicago indoors, the New York Giants in New York, who are good against No. 1 wide receivers but can be had in the slot, and Dallas in Week 16. Look at the lack of success that Dallas has had against opposing slot receivers. Fire Tate up in PPR leagues as a WR2 and a WR3/Flex option in standard leagues.
The weather really doesn’t have much of an impact when it comes to quarterbacks or the offense unless there are high winds. The stats back this up. However, for those who worry about it, Colin Kaepernick gave them an example to use going forward. Look, last week we touched upon how he isn’t a good real-life quarterback, but he’s been a great option for Fantasy. Usually one game doesn’t change that, but considering how quickly he was benched, I’d be quite nervous to start him in the Fantasy playoffs. If he’s your only option, your waiver priority should be used on a quarterback. His schedule is beautiful over the next two weeks, but we saw Fantasy Kaepernick translate into real-life Kaepernick last week.
The way I feel about Rishard Matthews is how I feel about Marcus Mariota. Thank you so much for your performance and for getting me to this point, but I have to let you go. Best of luck in your future endeavors. Not only was it asinine to have the Titans on bye in Week 13, but DeMarco Murray and Delanie Walker are the only Titans you can start for the next three weeks, as they have the Broncos, Chiefs and Jaguars. The Chiefs you may be able to use Matthews against, but I think Marcus Peters is one of the more underrated corners in the league. First thing is getting through Week 14 and the Broncos. You can name me just about any wide receiver on waivers, and the chances are I’d take them over Matthews this week.
No one is a bigger Dion Lewis fan than I am – from Pittsburgh, to Cleveland, to Philadelphia, to his breakout season last year in New England. I wanted him to be great this year when he returned, but we just can’t trust his usage. Really, this goes for James White, too. Since returning, Lewis has played 22, 23 and 20 snaps. He had five, six and five carries and caught three, four and four passes in each of his three games, respectively. I’m in on him next year, but for now, especially in the playoffs, LeGarrette Blount is the only Patriots running back you can trust.