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!
-Brown had his big breakout game last week against the Titans. He had his first career two touchdown game with 80 yards rushing on 14 carries. He also added one reception for 14 yards. The 14 carries were a season high, and Brown has only had double-digit carries in two games so far this year. in fact, on the season, he only has a total of 55 rushing attempts. Brown has been the best running back on the Colts this season, but he is a liability in pass protection, which has limited his playing time. Over his last 4 games, Brown has had his best stretch of the season, going over 50 total yards in 3 of 4 games. The Colts offense was more productive when Brown was on the field against the Titans, and the team may look to get him more playing time as they battle for playoff position. He has been a much more decisive runner than Richardson and could continue to get double-digit carries going forward. Brown is definitely the running back you want to own for the Colts as you head into the fantasy playoffs. As long as he continues to a majority of the playing time, he should be able to put up flex spot worthy stats.
Rainey burst onto the scene on a Monday night game against the Dolphins in week 10. He came in for an injured Mike James and gained 45 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown. Most people doubted that he would be able to produce quality fantasy numbers with the Buccaneers. Against the horrible Falcons defense, Rainey ran for 163 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who was cut by the Browns earlier in the year. The two major factors that go into a players fantasy value are opportunity and talent. With the top two running backs for Tampa Bay out for the year, Rainey should have the backfield to himself. Brian Leonard started last week, but as usual, didn’t stay on the field long because he doesn’t have any talent. If the Buccaneers can sustain drives, Rainey should be able to get at least 20 total touches a game. The other factor, a player’s talent, is hard to measure right now. Rainey looked great against the Falcons, but they have been shredded all year. He did lead the NCAA in rushing attempts in 2010, so he obviously has talent. Rainey should be on all rosters and viewed as a RB2/RB3 for the remainder of the season. Many people will talk about his size as a reason that he can’t sustain success in the NFL, but he is listed as the exact same size as Ray Rice. Now I know that Rice has been horrible this year, but he has been a productive back for several years, despite his lack of ideal NFL size. Don’t sleep on Rainey, make sure you pick him up as he has solid matchups in weeks 14 and 16.
Walker has posted his two best games of the season since Jake Locker went down for the season. He has scored in two straight games and has averaged 9 targets with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The Titans have a very limited receiving core, so Fitzpatrick has shown that he will rely on Walker to help get the passing game going. Walker should continue to see plenty of dump-off passes from a team that doesn’t like to throw the ball deep very often. The Titans have a favorable schedule the remainder of the season, so Walker should continue to post borderline TE1 stats and should be on a roster in 10 team leagues. He is always a threat to score because he is a popular target in the red zone. If you don’t have a top 5 TE on your roster, look to plug-in Walker as your starter when he has a good matchup.
If you take out his games against the Titans and Jaguars, Kaepernick has scored over 15 fantasy points since week 1. While Kaepernick has all the physical tools to be a top-end fantasy quarterback, he doesn’t have the experience or receiving talent around him to be successful. His stats this year are pretty depressing. Only two games over 200 yards passing, which in the year 2013, is unbelievably bad. He only has 11 touchdown passes with 12 total turnovers. His calling card for fantasy success was supposed to be his ability to get rushing yards to pad this passing stats. Outside the Jaguars and Titans game, he only has one game over 25 yards rushing and has scored zero rushing touchdowns. He is barely a matchup worthy fantasy quarterback. The only silver lining for Kaepernick is that Michael Crabtree is coming back soon and Mario Manningham is getting back into game shape. But both of these receivers may not get back to full health before the season is over, which offers zero help to fantasy teams. Keep him on your roster, but hopefully you aren’t relying on him as your quarterback in the playoffs.
Rvers has come back to earth since week 4 against the Cowboys. He hasn’t gone over 2o fantasy points since the Cowboys game and he has only gone over 300 yards passing twice. The Chargers have started to rely on their running game more and that has had a negative effect on Rivers passing numbers. They also lack veteran talent at receiver, so teams have been able to slow their young receivers. He hasn’t had a terrible game in the past six weeks, but he hasn’t put up the type of numbers that win you a week in your league. Although the Chargers play four of their last six games at home, Rivers isn’t a must for fantasy owners. Rivers is definitely worthy of starting for fantasy teams, but if you have another quarterback on your roster who has a better matchup and possible upside make sure you get them in your lineup over Rivers.
Jackson has three straight single-digit games and has really come back to earth since his solid start to the season. C.J. Spiller is slowly, and I mean slowly, coming back from his injury and has continued to take away from Jackson’s workload. He is still getting double-digit carries, but he has only gone over 60 yards rushing once in the last seven games. Jackson has also become less involved in the passing game, with less than four receptions in each of the last four games. If Jackson doesn’t score touchdowns, his value is very limited. It is always difficult to predict touchdown production, which makes it tough to evaluate Jackson’s value going forward. I think Spiller will be as healthy as he has been all season when the Bills come back from their bye in week 12. They have a very favorable schedule during the fantasy playoffs, but I see Jackson’s role decreasing and Spiller getting more work towards the end of the season. Jackson is a flex player who has RB2 upside against weaker defenses.