The former Maryland Terp (you best Fear the Turtle) dealt with major hardship two weeks ago after the passing of his brother. In spite of the tough times for Smith, he has vaulted his game in a gigantic way. Against the Patriots, Smith had six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Proving this was no fluke, Smith caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Browns on Thursday. Coming into the season, Smith was a popular break-out candidate. You can officially say Torrey Smith has broken out. Joe Flacco legitimately looks for Smith every single time he drops back to pass and it’s never on a short slant. Smith goes deep every play and the numbers will continue to be there. Smith’s stock is scorching and he quickly becoming an automatic WR2 play.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA
We have said all year long how Ryan Tannehill has to throw the ball to somebody. Many thought that guy would be Davone Bess or the man formerly known as Ocho Cinco. Then during Hard Knocks we were all privy to the Clyde Gates debacle. But through four games, it’s very clear that the Miami Dolphins receiver whose stock is rising is Brian Hartline. After a breakout game in week two, Hartline proved to be no fluke against the Cardinals. This is not a Danny Amendola type either. Hartline is a pure outside receiver, who racked up 12 catches and an absurd 253 yards in week 4. Now it seems like his 1 catch, 41 yard performance against the Jets was the aberration, considering he spent most of the game on the now closed Revis Island. Hartline’s stock could not be any higher, but I’m also not sure it’s going to drop any time soon either.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
Please tell me you don’t still own Kevin Smith. Tell me that you weren’t the idiot that traded away Lance Moore for Kevin Smith last week. Oh, that was me? Well good for you. Smith went from being the starting running back in Detroit to receiving ZERO touches the last two Sundays. Leshoure on the other hand returned from his suspension and in the first game of his career had 30 touches for the Lions. Detroit doesn’t run the ball nearly enough for Leshoure to be a RB1, but there is no reason he can’t be a solid RB2 the rest of the way. He looked very fresh coming off that Achilles injury as well. Leshoure was drafted in the second round by the Lions for a reason; hopefully you reap the benefits as well and bought this stock when it was low. Smith is useless now and can safely be stashed on benches and perhaps dropped if you need the roster spot..
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
Not every Fantasy owner is blessed to own Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Some were stuck drafting middling quarterbacks in the middle round. They wanted to have the strategy of finding average quarterbacks and plugging them in when their stock gets high. Well, if you are one of those players that are in the business of taking quarterback flyers, why not take a look at the Red Rocket. He quietly has very good numbers on the year, throwing for eight touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has also thrown for over 200 yards in every game this season and the completion percentage is also pretty solid. He’s never going to be a QB1 for you, but he is also probably better than sticking in a Carson Palmer type every week. Dalton isn’t going to win you a week, but I’m willing to bet he’s not going to lose you a week either.
Brandon LaFell, WR, CAR
Anyone and everyone were all over LaFell coming into this year. He had a nice training camp with the Panthers and with Cam Newton’s continued development, LaFell was poised to break out. Well, along with other sleeper busts like Titus Young and Isaiah Pead, LaFell’s stock has come crashing down. In week 4, LaFell did not record a catch in a 30-28 loss to the Falcons. It’s probably a bad thing when your team puts up 28 points and you do not have a single touch. This is coming off a 1-catch, 27-yard performance against the Giants. LaFell has just 10 catches on the year, for 182 yards and a touchdown. There are better streaming options out there, so sell on LaFell.
Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
This is one of the cases that you have to understand where I am coming from. McFadden is not someone you are going to drop or trade for peanuts. But he is someone who is seeing his stock dropping. Much like Chris Johnson (before week 4), McFadden has been a first round disappointment. Under new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s zone blocking scheme, McFadden is just not having the success he’s had in the past. Yes, this glass house is staying healthy, but most of his owners probably wish he was hurt rather than putting up these disappointing stats. He has only gone over 100 yards once, in week 3 vs. Pittsburgh. In the other three games, Run DMC has had 39 carries for just 78 yards. Even the receiving yards aren’t there for this all-purpose back. Excluding Week 1, McFadden has just 5 catches for 25 yards. McFadden was someone that had number one overall player capabilities as he is perhaps the most talented back in football. Until he turns it around, or the Raiders line adapts to their best player’s skillset, McFadden’s stock is slowly dropping.
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, PIT
He had his chance. We knew Issac Redman stunk. In his first extended action as a pro, this was going to be Jonathan Dwyer’s true opportunity. Well, what we found out is that Jonathan Dwyer also stinks. He has managed just 70 yards on 24 carries, with no touchdowns. He is useless in the receiving game as well and looks headed back to the bench with the return of Rashard Mendenhall looming this week. Early in the year, Dwyer’s stock was gaining nice momentum. Now it has plenty of momentum…headed down.
Peyton Hillis, RB, KC
When the Chiefs signed Peyton Hillis in the offseason, many expected a Thomas Jones like year from the Rhino. Unfortunately, injuries along with the reemergence of a superstar have changed the outlook for Hillis. Jamaal Charles is back to being Jamaal Charles and Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has stated he is going to give Charles the rock as much as he can handle. This means Hillis is going to have a hard time coming back into Fantasy relevance. He can and should probably be dropped at this point, even for Shaun Draughn, the long lost younger brother of former Broncos/Giants great Reuben Droughns. Hillis’ stock is a sinking ship, so sell it unless you are a Charles owner; at that point you have no choice but to lose money with this handcuff.
Tony Romo, QB, DAL
This is not about a Giants fan needling the Cowboys. Okay, maybe it is a little. Tony Romo was brutal on Monday Night Football, throwing a career high five interceptions in the big loss to the Bears. Romo was not in sync with his receivers all night and Dez Bryant dropped more passes Monday night than Brian Hartline caught all season long. Romo is a quarterback whose stock for me is falling. He came into 2012 as a clear QB1 and I’m just not sure I can say that anymore. On the year, Romo has thrown just five touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. This is a recipe for disaster. The pressure will only mount for Romo, which is not always a great thing. Romo and Philip Rivers are in the same category of having to carry their teams, under immense scrutiny. Both have fallen short, so it may be time to play the matchups as their stocks suffer. Andy Dalton anyone?