Fantasy players' values rise and fall like the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. No one can avoid it. If you're lucky enough to have a competent coaching staff and quality players around you, while avoiding injury, you can be one of those lucky few who is not affected by the fantasy football ebb and flow. Below are several players who I have noticed have been going up in value and down in value. Keep in mind that the rising and falling of these players doesn't reflect what we have on our rankings page. If a player is slipping in value, whether we see it through mock drafts or drafts that are currently active, but we still feel he is a top 5-10 fantasy option at his position, he won't budge. These guys are based on drafts alone. To check out what WE think of these players, make sure to check out our Rankings Section.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford
It's no surprise to see Stafford moving up. When you have a receiver like Calvin Johnson, even I could throw at least one touchdown a game. But after Stafford threw for two scores, one to Megatron, Stafford's value has been going up. A healthy Stafford will put up QB1 numbers, which he has been going as in most leagues.
Chargers RB Mike Tolbert
After an injury-plagued 2010, Ryan Mathews was expected to take the reigns as the Chargers' featured-back. But after dealing with a sore toe early in training camp, that paved the way for Tolbert to get more first-string reps. It also helped Tolbert that the team opted to start him, and not Mathews, in last week's game against the Seahawks. Tolbert didn't do much on the ground, but he was clearly the team's favorite near the goal line, catching an eight-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. While Mathews still figures to get more touches, Tolbert's knack for being able to run, catch and block will earn him a late-round fantasy pick. His name has been popping up more and more in recent drafts
Raiders rookie WR Denarius Moore
Moore's stock has been blowing up the last few days. He looked strong in the Raiders' preseason game against the Cardinals, catching three passes for 37 yards. The Raiders offense took a huge hit when TE Zach Miller headed up North to Seattle. And while his replacement Kevin Boss is no slouch, he's nearly not as talented a receiver like Miller is. Besides tight end, let's face it, this receiving unit is lackluster at best outside of JAcoby Ford, who is dealing with a hand injury. Chaz Schilens (knee) can't stay healthy, Louis Murphy (hamstring) has already been ruled out for Week One and Darrius Heyward-Bey flat out stinks. This gives Moore an advantage to create some chemistry with QB Jason Campbell. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times says Moore not only is the best wide receiver on the field, oftentimes he is the best player, period. That's good enough for me. Moore has been going as a late-round flier, but could outplay his current value.
Titans TE Jared Cook
Cook has been chomping at the bit for a couple years now to make a name for himself. And now that Bo Scaife is in Cincinnati and the team brought in an oldy-but-goody in Matt Hasselbeck, Cook might finally see that breakout season we have been waiting for. Cook has been going as a TE2 so far, but he can easily crack TE1 status sooner than later. The team has been lining him up as receiver in practice. That could mean a lot of targets thrown Cook's way.
Colts QB Peyton Manning
Yep you read that right. Not Eli, Peyton. Manning's value has been going down slowly due to his recent neck surgery and the revelation that there is the possibility he could miss Week One. Many owners are also scared to take Manning even if he is ready to start the season because they think he will show rust for the first couple weeks. Dudes, and dudettes, this is PEYTON MANNING we're talking about. The guy could play with one arm and still throw for 25 touchdowns. I took Manning in our first expert league as my QB1 and didn't even blink.
Titans RB Chris Johnson
Everyone and their mother is scared to touch Johnson as a top-5 running back and they have good reason. Johnson has yet to show up to training camp. And with news that this guy wants to be paid like a top player, not just a top running back, the Titans have yet to budge on his demands. There is now belief that Johnson's holdout could spill over into the regular season. There is some hope, however.
Here is what National Football Post's Andrew Brandt wrote about the Titans/Johnson saga:
My best guesstimate on Johnson: he has a new contract a week before the season opener – that is enough time for him to be ready – that zooms past the rate for top running backs ($9 million average per year, $21 million guaranteed) yet does not reach the $12-$13 million average per year and $35 million guarantee that he is seeking. I would look for a five-year deal with 25-30% increases off of the top of the running back market: thus, a total value of $56-58 million and guarantees in the $26-28 million range.
While Brandt's outcome is more optimistic than others, Johnson signing just a week for Week One won't help those owners who are drafting NOW.
Seahawks TE Zach Miller/WR Sidney Rice
I'll kill two birds with one stone, literally. Miller, Rice and the entire Seahawks offense has been falling fast in all leagues and this was before the team took to the field last week. After we saw how disastrous Tarvaris Jackson looked, these guys have fallen even further. Owners were hoping a quarterback competition would take place after Charlie Whitehurst outplayed Jackson against the Chargers, but HC Pete Carroll put the kibosh on that notion quickly after the game. Heck, most owners have been avoiding this bunch entirely.