The Stock Report: Alvin Kamara, James Conner and more
Since his disastrous Week One, Matthew Stafford has bounced back nicely with the type of production we have expected from him. He’s had multiple TDs in each of his last four games, only one INT and two 300-yard passing games. The emergence of Kenny Golladay as a legitimate force to be reckoned with gives the Lions a trio of reliable receivers. Kerryon Johnson is showing versatility as a runner and receiver, he just needs more carries to have a larger impact. Expect Stafford to finish in the QB1 mix when the season is over.
The talent around Russell Wilson is sub-par right now and his Fantasy prospects are suffering. Hopefully Doug Baldwin will round into form, but Brandon Marshall looks washed up and the tight end position is mediocre. Tyler Lockett has been a lone bright spot with 347 yards and four scores. Wilson has failed to surpass 300 yards passing and hasn’t registered above 200 since Week Two. The passing volume is simply not there for Wilson at the moment, despite multiple TD passes in four of five games. He’s still a QB1, but it is on the lower end of the ladder because of his capped ceiling.
Much will be made of Alvin Kamara’s lack of touches on Monday Night Football, where he took a clear back seat to the returning Mark Ingram. Kamara had a season-low nine touches, after no less than 17 in the previous four games. If you look back at last season, Kamara never had more than 12 carries in a game or 19 total touches. Ingram hadn’t played in four weeks, so the Saints wanted to get him up to speed and with as much work as possible. The game was also out of hand pretty early, so there was no need to press Kamara into more unnecessary work. The Saints have wisely been very careful with Kamara’s workload in order to preserve their explosive playmaker. He’s still an RB1 with huge upside but Mark Ingram is definitely going to be a big factor as well.
Is there anyone whose value is more in flux than James Conner? The 23-year-old is basically a RB1 for one more week before dropping to a high upside handcuff, possibly FLEX play when Le’Veon Bell returns. Nothing is set in stone with Bell’s return but it doesn’t sound like he will be traded. In redraft leagues, you either hold Conner or try to sell him off to the Bell owner for a startable player or positional upgrade in return. In dynasty leagues, Conner is in the driver’s seat for a huge 2019 season with Bell’s impending free agency.
Even coming off an eye-opening 2017 campaign, Adam Thielen did not seem to get as much love as he should have. Perhaps that was in part to a very talented wideout named Stefon Diggs that has appeared on the verge of a major breakout. Diggs is having a fine season, but Thielen is stealing the show with five straight 100-yard games. He’s received double-digit targets in every game and already has 47 grabs on the season. Thielen is a definite WR1 option and Diggs is not far behind him.
The yardage hasn’t quite been there yet, but Antonio Brown is going to be just fine, folks. He just turned in his first 100-yard performance of the season and is already up to five TDs on the year. By his standards, he’s off to a slow start and while he may not finish as the top overall receiver, he’ll be within striking distance. JuJu Smith-Schuster is quickly ascending and there could absolutely be games where he is going to take target share away from Brown this season. The young stud only received four targets last week (which he turned into just 34 yards) but saved his day with a score. He’s a no-doubt WR2 option.
With two more scores on Sunday, Eric Ebron has already tied his career high in TDs with five. He also notched his first career 100-yard receiving performance. Is Ebron blossoming in a classic change of scenery scenario? Yes and no. He’s still making some of the mental and physical mistakes that plagued him in Detroit. He is also playing with a QB that relies heavily on the TE position. The Colts are without possession receiving TE Jack Doyle due to injury, which further elevates Ebron’s status. Add in the injuries across the receiving landscape and it’s no wonder why Ebron was a target monster in Week 5 (15 targets). Will this production keep up? Using history as our guide, I think a drop-off can certainly be expected but it would not surprise me to see him set career highs in receptions and yards. If you can convince someone in your league that he is a locked-in stud, sell high. Otherwise, ride the wave, because tight end is a Fantasy wasteland.
We haven’t seen any monster performances from Jimmy Graham yet, but owners have to be happy with the attention he is receiving from Aaron Rodgers. He’s averaging over seven targets per game, which has led to a modest 22 receptions for 245 yards and a score. Graham has three targets inside the 20 but only one inside the five-yard line. That is where he can provide a boost for Fantasy owners moving forward, with his size and strength around the goal line. Given the landscape of the position, Graham remains a Top Five option, but he’s more TD dependent.