Jeremy Maclin's Fantasy Stock On The Rise; Montee Ball's Is Not
With the bye weeks kicking off this weekend, there promises to be increased activity around your league. You must stay aggressive on the waiver wire, constantly looking to improve your starting lineup and your bench depth. Another way to take advantage of owners scrambling to fill slots on bye weeks is through the trade market.
As injuries pile up and early round picks underperform, it is time to make some offers. Before you do, it is always good to have a pulse on player values.
Andrew Luck, Colts QB
With over 900 yards and 10 total TDs through his first three games, Andrew Luck looks poised to take a big step forward this season. He was a popular breakthrough candidate, which makes sense considering he is one of the most gifted QBs in the league. The 25-year-old most recently carved up the Jaguars to the tune of four TDs and 370 yards. While the Colts will mix in heavy doses of Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson on the ground, Luck is going to have ample opportunity to rack up Top 5 statistics. Plus, he brings added value with his own rushing ability. Luck gets another appealing matchup this week against a struggling Tennessee Titans unit.
Lamar Miller, Dolphins RB
Last season, Lamar Miller was supposed to take the Dolphins RB job and run with it. Unfortunately, he tried to bounce it to the outside and ended up splitting touches with the sluggish Daniel Thomas. The totals at the end of the season were not bad, but he was inconsistent game to game and struggled to run between the tackles with any force. Miami brought in veteran Knowshon Moreno this offseason and after Week 1, it looked like a timeshare situation between the two. Moreno dislocated his elbow the following week and now Miller gets another opportunity to grab hold of the job. He responded with one of the best games of his career, rushing for 108 yards and adding four receptions for 24 yards. View Miller as a RB2 until Moreno comes back, with the potential to stay at that level if he has solidified himself as the lead ball carrier.
Jeremy Maclin, Eagles WR
This is the Jeremy Maclin we were all excited about when he was drafted six years ago out of Missouri. He has a TD in each of the first three games and looks to have a strong rapport with Nick Foles that should prove lucrative for Fantasy owners. Despite a number of other options in the Eagles arsenal, Maclin has already established himself as the main focal point of the offense. He is rewarding the Eagles and Fantasy owners’ patience in him coming back from an ACL tear. Maclin has always had talent and with that being realized in a big way, he should be viewed as a WR2 moving forward.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs TE
The people are demanding more Travis Kelce and slowly but surely they are getting it. He is a big, strong receiving option for Alex Smith with the ability to make plays downfield. Of course, Smith usually takes the safe throws and that means expectations should be tempered for Kelce in the short-term. His upside as a potential TE1 is a reason to hang onto him. He does have back-to-back weeks of double-digit points in a PPR, so momentum is building. With bye weeks and the injuries to Kyle Rudolph and Dennis Pitta, there is a chance that Kelce finds his way into a number of lineups in the coming weeks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans QB
The Genius Gunslinger is what he is at this point in his career. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have a few nice Fantasy days here and there, but is for the most part unreliable. Last week, when the Texans got down big to the Giants, Fitzpatrick responded with 289 yards and a TD (not bad) and three INTs (bad). With a healthy Arian Foster and an emerging DeAndre Hopkins, there is plenty to like on the Texans offense, but Fitzpatrick is at best a low-end QB2 in deep leagues. There is more upside in rostering Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater at this point.
Montee Ball, Broncos RB
It has not been an easy road so far in 2014 for Montee Ball. He faced three very tough run defenses and has not produced anywhere close to the numbers that match his draft position. All is not doom and gloom, however, as Ball’s schedule gets easier and there is an opportunity for him to rebound in a big way. If his owner in your league is down on him and looking to sell, this is the week to buy low. Do not wait too long because it only takes one strong performance for his stock to shoot right back up.
Torrey Smith, Ravens WR
Like many in the industry, I expected rock solid WR2/3 numbers from Torrey Smith this season. Right last name, wrong first apparently. It’s 35-year-old Steve Smith Sr. that is getting all the love from Joe Flacco early in the season, leaving Torrey Smith owners looking for WR help. The addition of the elder Smith was supposed to help the younger one, but instead it has just taken food from his mouth. Through three games, he has just six catches for 85 yards. That is on the heels of a solid 2013 in which he racked up 65 receptions for over 1,100 yards. It is not time to drop him because there is too much talent and upside here, but he should find a nice spot on your bench until he shows some signs of life.
Charles Clay, Dolphins TE
Last year, Charles Clay was a revelation for the Dolphins passing attack. He piled up 69 receptions for 759 yards and six TDs seemingly out of nowhere. So far this season, he has managed just 79 yards. All hope is not lost for Clay as a low-end TE1 this year, but the Dolphins passing game is in shambles and that is not doing anyone any favors. That has Clay’s arrow pointing down at the moment. He is still getting roughly the same number of targets that he did during last year’s breakthrough and any overall improvement by Ryan Tannehill is going to help. For now, though, you cannot count on him in your starting lineup until his situation improves.
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