Week 8 Stock Report
Each week I will highlight players and teams who have seen their value rise or fall during the previous week. I will also try to highlight players that have favorable schedules coming up that could give them a boost in value. Remember that you always want to sell high and buy low!
Their gain in fantasy value comes at a huge cost for the Colts as they lost Reggie Wayne for the season with an ACL injury. Hilton was playing mostly in three wide receiver sets, but he is now thrust into the starting lineup. While he has done most of his damage this season going deep on the outside, I see the Colts using him more in the slot, as they did with Wayne. Hilton should see an increase in playing time and targets, which will lead to more receptions and yards. He isn’t a very big receiver, so he will have to show that he can stay healthy with an increased role in the offense. Fleener has been inconsistent this year as the starting tight end for the Colts. He should see an increase in production to help fill the void left by Wayne. He is a player that Luck has shown trust in the past few weeks (averaging almost 6 targets per game).
Despite playing on a horrible team, Jackson has been putting up WR1 stats the past 2 weeks. He has had double digit targets in 5 of the last 6 games. That includes a staggering 22 targets last week against the Falcons. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has really depended on Jackson in the two weeks that he has been the starter for the Buccaneers. Jackson specialty is going deep and using his height to out-jump the defender. Glennon is not afraid to throw the deep ball, which has benefited Jackson. He is the main option in Tampa Bay, and should be started with confidence as a WR1 going forward. With a huge question mark at running back, look for the Bucs to throw the ball even more as they try to get their first win of the season.
Jarrett Boykin-He looked much more comfortable against the Browns than he did against Ravens in week 6. He had 10 targets last week and produced a quality line of 8/103/1td. Boykin should get extensive playing time for the Packers as they continue to deal with a rash of injuries.
Jordan Reed-He had his breakout performance against the Bears last week. Reed had over 50 yards receiving in two games prior to his explosion last week. Fred Davis is not getting much playing time, and Reed has become a favorite target in Washington. He has the ability to put up low-end TE1 stats for the rest of the year.
Jeff Cumberland- In the past four weeks, he has at least one catch of over 25 yards. His number of targets has increased each of the last four games, and he is a favorite target in the red zone. He would make for a quality fill-in at tight end if you are dealing with injuries or a bye week.
Roy Helu-He is starting to get more playing time (not just the 3rd down back). When the Washington franchise goes into their hurry up offense, Helu is the back they have on the field. They were very effective with the quick offense against the Bears. Look for them to use that package more often, which will increase Helu’s opportunities.
Seattle’s Defense- They have been dominate all year (#2 defense) and have an extremely easy schedule the rest of the season. I don’t normally advocate trading for a defense, but this is an exception. If you have depth at a skill position, especially quarterback or receivers, try to swing a deal for Seattle’s defense.
Sam Bradford- The loss of Bradford makes a weak offense even weaker. None of the Rams wide receivers or tight ends were worthy of starting before the injury to their starting quarterback. Bradford had put up decent stats to start the season (14 touchdowns with 4 interceptions), but he didn’t really have a go to receiver that put up consistent stats during the first 7 weeks of the season. This team is a mess; I would avoid using players from this team if at all possible. Plus the Rams have a very difficult schedule the rest of the way (including 2 games against Seattle).
Arian Foster- Talk about a bad situation getting worse for the Texans. The injuries and losses keep piling up for the Texans, who are facing a lost season after starting the year as the favorite to win their division. Luckily, Foster’s hamstring injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and he could be back after the Texans bye week to face the Colts in week 9. The previous 3 weeks, Foster was averaging over 130 total yards from scrimmage. The lack of a serious passing game, and a possible lingering hamstring injury, could bring down his potential for the rest of the year. If the Texans fall out of the playoff hunt, they could limit Foster’s workload, who has been averaging over 350 touches the past 3 seasons.
Doug Martin- Martin is another player who is on a team that is in the midst of a lost season. Nothing has gone right for the Buccaneers this season, and they just lost their stud running back to a shoulder injury. Reports say that Martin could be out for the rest of the season, but nothing has been made official in terms of the length of time he will miss. He was having a disappointing season, but it is still a major loss for fantasy teams that used a first round pick on him. Even if he comes back this season, he can’t be relied upon as an every week starter.
Jay Cutler- Another season, another Cutler injury to de-rail the Bears chances to make it far in the playoffs. If he didn’t have the injury-prone label yet, he needs it now. He can’t be counted on to make it through a full season, which is disappointing because he was putting up solid stats this year. While the Bears offense looked decent after Cutler got hurt, they won’t be facing the Washington defense every week. I would expect a drop in production from Bear receivers while Cutler is out.
Jermichael Finley- Just when it seemed like Finley would get his chance to be a focal point for the Packer’s passing game; he suffers a severe spinal injury against the Browns. Thankfully, he has movement in his arms and legs, but he may be out for the rest of the season. His injury is the third major loss for the Packers passing game. The Packers don’t have a quality replacement on their roster, so don’t count on Finley’s replacement to put up roster worthy stats.
Nick Foles- Foles and Michael Vick both have struggled to stay healthy this year. When they have played, for the most part, they have been productive fantasy quarterbacks. They were also helping DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy put up solid statistics through the first 7 weeks of the season. If the Eagles have to rely on Matt Barkley to be their starting quarterback, the fantasy value of all skill position players on the Eagles goes down significantly. I would stay away from relying on any quarterback from the Eagles as a starter. And if you own Jackson or McCoy, hope that Vick can stay healthy.
2. First Round Running Backs
What a disappointing season for a majority of running backs taken in the first round of fantasy drafts this year. Some players have suffered injuries, while others have struggled to be productive when on the field. CJ Spiller, Trent Richardson, and Ray Rice have been particularly frustrating for fantasy owners. They have been playing, which has caused most fantasy teams to use them in their starting lineup, but have not produced quality stats. It is difficult to try and trade them because you won’t get much in return. It wouldn’t hurt to throw them out in some trade offers to see what you can get. You may find an owner who bases their trade decisions on name value/draft position and doesn’t really look into the production of the players involved. Don’t give them away for nothing, no matter how frustrated you are with their performance so far this year. They were a first round pick for a reason, so the talent and opportunity is there for them to be successful. You just need to adjust your expectations and use them when they have a favorable matchup.
3. Bye weeks
Your team’s depth is going to be tested over the next two weeks due to the amount of teams with a bye. Apparently the NFL doesn’t care about fantasy football, as a total of 12 teams will have their bye in weeks 8 and 9 (six each week). Some of the top fantasy producing teams will be out during these next two weeks, so your team will probably be forced to start a few guys you don’t normally use. On the bright side, with so many players out, your opponent is probably going to have to start some bench players as well. Don’t overreact to these next two weeks and make a panic trade to fill a starter spot for one week. I am also against the strategy of cutting your kicker to pick up an emergency fill-in for quarterback or receiver, and going the week without a starting kicker.
Hakeem Nicks-He has been the third option for the Giants the past few weeks. Nicks can’t seem to get on the same page as Eli. He is nothing more than a WR4 going forward.
Miles Austin- I truly believe his hamstrings are made of paper. Even when he comes back from his latest injury, he will be the fourth option for the Cowboys. He can be safely dropped in leagues of 12 or more teams.