In the second half of my Week 3 Risers and Fallers series, we will look at players who’s value is falling throughout the league and whether you should Buy, Sell or Hold them at their current value.
Colin Kaepernick, SF:
I feel like the only one that isn’t head over heels for Colin Kaepernick’s potential. Sure, he has electric dual-threat ability, but he really is not all what he’s hyped to be as a passer. Yes, he has a rocket for an arm, but mentally, he has a long way to go before he can truly be considered a true threat both running and passing. Yes, the rushing stats are nice (66 yards on Sunday night), but with three picks and a fumble lost, those rushing stats are essentially null and void, leaving him value dependent on his passing ability. In 25 career starts, Kaepernick has only topped 300 yards TWICE. That is not a passing profile I would like to rely on week to week. He will certainly have those games where he puts up top-5 numbers thanks to his legs and outstanding weapons, but his consistency is an issue and he could have just as many (or more) weeks where he’s a sub top-15 as he has those huge games. With six games still remaining in divisional play, including a visit to the desert against Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals’ secondary in Week 3, consistency will be very hard to come by. SELL
Jake Locker, TEN:
At home against a putrid Dallas defense, Locker was expected to put up high-end QB1 numbers on Sunday utilizing both his big arm against a weak secondary and his legs for free points on the ground. Well, he didn’t. Apart from Delanie Walker, Locker could not get it going with any of his receivers, totaling just 83 yards on seven receptions to his four wide receivers. If not for Walker’s ten catches for 142 yards and a long score (which was mostly Walker), Locker could’ve had the worst Week 2 by any quarterback in the NFL, and that includes both Austin Davis and Drew Stanton. The upside is tantalizing, but with a scary matchup against the Bengals in Week 3, it may be awhile before we can trust Locker again. SELL
Nick Foles, PHI:
Foles may have finished as borderline QB1 in Week 2 (thanks in large part to Darren Sproles), but he looked nothing like the Nick Foles fantasy owners fell in love with last year. If you take away Sproles’ seven catches for 152 yards, which were all on dump offs and have nothing to do with Nick Foles’ effectiveness as a passer, Foles is left with a stat line of 14-30 for 179 yards and a short TD to Jeremy Maclin. That has to be a huge concern going forward. Foles missed his targets all night long, consistently underthrowing, overthrowing or downright missing his receivers altogether. The scary thing is that if he actualy did make the throws he should have, he could have had 3-4 more TDs easily. Because of the offense he plays in, Foles is still a QB1 even when he plays as poorly as he did Monday night, but if he could fix this accuracy issue and get his playmakers the ball, mainly Jeremy Maclin and Zach Ertz, he could easily join the elite tier of quarterbacks on the back of the system he plays in and the weapons surrounding him. HOLD but his value could go in either direction very quickly.
CJ Spiller, BUF:
From a talent standpoint, both Spiller and Fred Jackson have the ability to be starting fantasy running backs if given a full workload. The issue is that neither can get consistent touches in an offense that uses their weaknesses more so than their strengths. There is no reason Jackson should have more catches than Spiller in a game EVER. Spiller is electrifying in space and can turn a dump off into a homerun at any given moment, but Doug Marrone either doesn’t understand that or just downright refuses to try. Spiller is head and shoulders the more talented back in Buffalo and he should be given opportunities to take advantage of his strengths, not forced into being a pure running back. Its like asking Shane Vereen to be only a between the tackles runner, its just not an effective strategy. Until Marrone shows a willingness to get him into space or Jackson goes down with an injury, Spiller’s upside is capped as an RB2/Flex that will rely on scoring TDs. I can make the case to BUY him on his talent alone, HOLD his value and hope Jackson goes down and Marrone is forced to feed him the ball, or SELL him because Doug Marrone has no idea what he has in Spiller. If I had to pick, I’m going with BUY because the talent will lead him to big games in spite of the way he is utilized and is a huge BUY in dynasty leagues if he takes his talents elsewhere after this season.
Eddie Lacy, GB:
Lacy has 77 yards on 25 carries through the first two weeks of the season. That is not the type of production fantasy owners expect from a first round selection in drafts. Fortunately, there is plenty of reason for hope for the remainder of the year. First of all, Lacy went up against two very stout defensive fronts in the Seahawks and the Jets who almost no running backs find success against. Second, in both games, the Packers were forced to throw more in the second half because they were trailing (they were down by 18 or more points at one point in each game). Lastly, the Packers schedule gets exponentially easier in terms of the front 7s they face (with the exception of the Panthers in Week 7). BUY low, hell get rolling soon as long as he stays healthy.
Toby Gerhart, JAX:
This is about as bad as it gets for a workhorse back. In 25 carries, Gerhart has only accumulated 50 yards on the ground adding only four catches for 24 yards. His two week total is barely playable for one week. Opponents are stacking the box against a useless Chad Henne allowing little space for Gerhart to run. In addition, Gerhart’s ankle issue has limited his burst and running ability, making Gerhart unstartable for the foreseeable future. Until the ankle is close to full strength and the Jags finally pull the plug on Henne, Gerhart is nothing more than bench fodder. SELL
Jeremy Maclin, PHI:
Maclin’s value dropping has nothing to do with talent level or injury risk (which were the primary concerns in the preseason), it is because of his quarterback, Nick Foles. In two games, Foles has targeted Maclin 21 times (10 in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2), yet he has only connected with his number 1 wideout eight times (four in each game). It would be one thing if Maclin were dropping passes or giving up on routes as the reasons behind these two not connecting on an abundance of targets; however Foles has been consistently inaccurate when throwing the ball Maclin’s way so far this season. If Foles can start to throw accurately to his top wideout, Maclin would consistently put up 100+ yards and 1+ TD per game and flirt with WR1 status. Until Foles gets his act together, Maclin is a borderline WR2/3 that relies heavily on catching a TD to raise his value. If you think Foles will improve, he’s a BUY low candidate capable of winning you a championship. I’m placing him at a HOLD for now and hoping Foles figures it out quickly.
Marques Colston, NO:
Games like Sunday are the reason Colston slipped so far in fantasy drafts this offseason. There will be days where he is Brees’ favorite target and puts up WR1/2 numbers, but there will also be days like Sunday where you wish you didn’t play him. With the abundance of weapons at Brees’ disposal, as well as a new emphasis on the run game, Colston’s bad days look like they will outweigh the good ones. And even if he does have more good games than bad, good luck figuring out which days those are. SELL, ideally after he has a big game.
Rookie Wide Receivers:
The 2014 draft class boasted the deepest and most talented group of wide receivers in recent memory. I have no doubt that the four rookies I list below will go on to have outstanding careers; however it is interesting to note how they have faired in the first two weeks (Week 1/Week 2): -Sammy Watkins, BUF: 4 targets, 3 catches, 34 yards/11 targets, 8 catches, 117 yards, TD -Mike Evans, TB: 9 targets, 5 catches, 39 yards/4 targets, 4 catches, 49 yards -Brandin Cooks, NO: 8 targets, 7 catches, 77 yards, TD, 18 rush yards/6 targets, 3 catches, 17 yards, 31 rush yards -Kelvin Benjamin, CAR: 8 targets, 6 catches, 92 yards, TD/8 targets, 2 catches, 46 yards The issue with this group is going to be consistency. Will they have monster weeks? Absolutely, they are supreme talents in a pass happy league. Will have they have dud weeks? Definitely, they have each had at least one already. If you have these guys as a WR4/5 on your team, they are worth hanging onto as ideal bye week fill-ins and injury insurance. If you are expecting them to be full time starters, you will probably be pulling your hair out from week to week. SELL high when given the opportunity, consistency is king.
Tight EndBANANA HANDS
Kyle Rudolph, MIN:
Rudolph is one of the best red zone threats in the game with his massive frame and banana hands, but is he a TE1? Through four seasons in the NFL, Rudolph has only topped 67 yards ONCE. A lot of this has to do with shotty quarterback play, but he is still plagued by that in Matt Cassel. Many predicted that Rudolph would score double-digit touchdowns this season en route to a high-end TE1 season in 2014. I think they were only half right. He very well could haul in 10+ TDs this season, but he wont accumulate the yardage necessary to be a consistent TE1 with Cassel under center. Cassel’s ineptitude paired with the Adrian Peterson mess has this offense trending way down. Until Bridgewater is installed into the offense and Jerick McKinnon out touches Matt Asiata in Peterson’s stead (if he misses significant time), Rudolph is a TD dependent play on an offense that doesn’t look like it will score very much. SELL
Heath Miller, PIT:
Miller gained a lot of late hype during draft season as people remembered that he has been one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets, especially in 2012. A lot was made of the 2012 season where Miller totaled 816 yards on 71 receptions and 8 TDs. To this point, Miller has not done much with his 11 targets, catching seven of them for a pedestrian 61 yards. Big Ben has also showed more favoritism towards second year wideout Markus Wheaton, who has hauled in 11 of his 15 targets for 135 yards. Other than that big year in 2012, Miller only caught 5 TDs in 2010, 2011 and 2013 combined. With his athleticism deteriorating and an improving receiving core, Miller is another TE dependent on TDs to establish value. SELL