Players whose stocks are rising and falling after Week Three
It was another strong week for QB performances, but only one was the talk of the NFL. While it was great to see Carson Wentz return and do his best to get a banged-up Eagles offense back on track, it wasn’t him. The Matt Ryan-Drew Brees shootout was good for a ton of Fantasy points, but that was pretty much expected.
No, it was Baker Mayfield’s impressive debut on Thursday Night Football to orchestrate the comeback that the Browns needed rejuvenate an entire city that was the main story of the week. More importantly, he brought life back into the Fantasy value of Browns players. Mayfield stands as an intriguing QB2 option right now, thanks to the quality weaponry at his disposal. David Njoku stands to benefit from the switch in QB as well.
Dak Prescott does not have the passing game options necessary to elevate his Fantasy game. His legs provide added value and even that’s barely enough to keep him on the QB2 radar. He’s had one 300-yard passing game in his last 19 starts and has failed to top 200 in 11 games during that span, including all three this year. Ezekiel Elliott is the only Cowboys player worth investing in right now and everyone else belongs on the waiver wire or at the very least your bench. If Dallas doesn’t get things moving in a positive direction soon, changes will be coming in Jerry World.
Christian McCaffrey is averaging more than 22 touches per game, which is exactly what the Panthers said they would do this summer. C.J. Anderson, initially thought to be filling the Jonathan Stewart role, has just 13 touches in three games. McCaffrey had a career-high 28 carries in Week Three, which was the only the fifth time in his career that he’s had double-digits. While he hasn’t found the end zone yet, positive TD regression is headed his way. He will always have Cam Newton stealing goal-line looks, but right now he’s the next best threat in the offense. While he was a workhorse in college, the only concern with McCaffrey is how well he will hold up as the season goes on. He’s an RB1 option, particularly in any format that rewards you for receptions.
Rashaad Penny was billed as the every-down back the Seahawks and Fantasy owners alike were desperately seeking. So far, he’s been a disappointment in every way. He was outplayed in a major way by Chris Carson in the preseason and then he got hurt. He shared time with Carson during the first two weeks, but then got out-touched 34 to three last week. Penny still has enticing upside in dynasty formats, but he clearly needs time to adjust to the pro game. Chris Carson is nothing special talent-wise, but he’s getting it done for the Seahawks right now and deserves RB2 consideration against the Cardinals. Carson is a potential sell high candidate as Penny could emerge later in the season.
Larry Fitzgerald has been a Fantasy stalwart for more than a decade, and much of that time has been with questionable QBs. Unfortunately, in 2018, his value has been torpedoed by the mediocre play of Sam Bradford. He was only targeted twice last week, catching both for nine yards. The switch to Josh Rosen gives hope for Fitzgerald owners and other Cardinals skill position players. There’s a buy-low opportunity here, but also no guarantee that he’s anything more than an inconsistent WR3 moving forward.
A week after scoring his first NFL TD, Calvin Ridley came back for the hat trick and his first 100-yard game. Ridley failed to catch a pass on two targets in his debut, but he now has 11 catches, 210 yards and four TDs in his last two. He has the talent to take advantage of the attention Julio Jones commands. Mohamed Sanu is a solid receiver, but not one that is Fantasy relevant with Ridley’s emergence. He’s still more of a WR4, but there’s certainly upside for more and you have to be tempted to put him in your lineup after last week’s performance.
Antonio Gates is 38-years-old and he has run like it for the last five years. He’s still a massive target in the red zone, but all we can expect at this point is the occasional touchdown. Unless there is a dramatic change, Gates is waiver wire fodder and nothing more than a desperation streaming option. Virgil Green is out-snapping him, but there’s no Fantasy intrigue there, either. The good news is that it’s opened up targets for Mike Williams, who has emerged as a bye week fill-in and potential FLEX play if he can get more consistency.
Another former Fantasy favorite, Tyler Eifert, turned in his best game since 2016, with six catches for 74 yards. After missing 14 games last year, the Bengals TE looks healthy and poised to get more involved in the offense once again. He’ll have to compete with another emerging player on his own team, Tyler Boyd. Eifert offers tremendous TD potential, even if his target share might be inconsistent given all of the other options for Andy Dalton to choose from. He’s working his way back to TE1 territory. Boyd is a WR4 whose playmaking ability has been on display the last couple weeks. If A.J. Green misses any time, Boyd’s stock and opportunities will go way up.