In the first half of my Week 3 Risers and Fallers series, we will look at players who’s value is rising throughout the league and whether you should Buy, Sell or Hold them at their current value.
Kirk Cousins, WSH:
If you read my article last week, you would know that I had suggested that the Redskins would be much better off with Cousins starting over RG3. Well, RG3 got hurt, and Cousins stepped in and looked fantastic. Though he doesn’t have the same arm strength or athleticism as RG3, Cousins is a much better fit for Jay Gruden’s offense. RG3 is expected to miss significant time, giving Cousins an opportunity to take over as the Redskins’ starter once and for all. If he continues to play like he did on Sunday, don’t expect to see RG3 wearing burgundy and gold next season. BUY
Philip Rivers, SD:
Well I certainly did not see that coming. Rivers was outstanding on Sunday at executing the Chargers’ gameplan to beat the defending champs. The Chargers possessed the ball for over 42 minutes and Rivers took advantage of the only conceivable mismatch on the field with Antonio Gates dominating the middle of the field and the redzone. Unlike their upsets last season, the Chargers failed to run the ball effectively; however, Rivers was the one keeping the drives alive this time by going 9-12 with 2 TDs on 3rd downs. BUY, his schedule only gets easier now that he’s done with the Cardinals and Seahawks.
Geno Smith, NYJ:
Though he was not even close to throwing as well as he did in Week 1, Geno was still effective by limiting mistakes and getting two touchdowns, one by land and one by air. If not for the Jets’ sideline having the worst “C’mon Man” moment of the week, Geno would’ve had an additional TD strike to Jeremy Kerley in the 4th quarter as well. The biggest thing out of his Week 2 performance was that he only had one turnover, which was on an interception where he got hit when he threw the ball. No quarterback is immune to those types of turnovers and it is very encouraging that he was not making costly mistakes on his own accord. As the “worst” quarterback in the league last season, Geno looks to have grown by leaps and bounds. BUY as your QB2, the back end of his schedule is significantly easier than the next few weeks.
Knile Davis, KC:
With Alex Smith still not throwing the ball as effectively as last season, the Chiefs are forced to rely on the run to hide Smith’s misgivings as a quarterback. When Jamaal Charles left with a high ankle sprain, conventional wisdom would lead to the thought that Smith would have to raise his play to make up for the downgrade at the running back position. Knile Davis didn’t get that memo. Davis came in and rushed for 79 yards and two scores on 22 carries while also converting six receptions for 26 additional yards on nine targets. Is he Jamaal Charles? No. Is he an RB1 as long as JC is on the shelf? Yes he is. If you’re lucky enough to have him on your team right now, plug him into your startling lineup and enjoy the ride. BUY
Giovani Bernard, CIN:
All the talk of Jeremy Hill diminishing Bernard’s value was for not as both Hill and Bernard looked great in Week 2. Though Bernard (3.3 YPC) wasn’t quite as efficient as Hill (4.9 YPC) running the ball, Bernard still had 32 total touches while displaying his elite ability to catch short passes for big yards. Bernard’s value has always hinged more upon his receiving ability than his rushing ability, but yards are yards and Bernard will get plenty this year along with solid TD production. Don’t be surprised if Bernard finishes as a top-5 RB this year, with top-3 potential in PPR leagues. BUY
Ahmad Bradshaw, IND:
Though Trent Richardson actually looked like he could contribute running the football on Monday night, Ahmad Bradshaw outshined Richardson by a large margin for the second week in a row. Bradshaw was on the field for all the Colts passing downs as well as dominating the redzone snaps, catching two short touchdowns from Andrew Luck. Bradshaw’s upside is still capped as long as the Colts’ coaching staff insists upon continuing the Trent Richardson experiment, but Bradshaw will continue to be effective even if he continues to get under 20 touches a game. BUY
Wide ReceiverBFFs for life
Jordy Nelson, GB:
Having to watch Jordy torch Dee Milliner and then sidestep Calvin Pryor on that 80-yard TD broke my heart on so many levels Sunday, but I’ll save my Jets secondary rant for another day. Jordy looked every bit like a guy who will have no problem finishing as a top-5 receiver. He caught EVERYTHING he had a chance to and made a bunch of his highlight reel catches look like child’s play. With Aaron Rodgers already targeting him 30 times in the first two weeks, Nelson will continue to torch opposing cornerbacks week after week and has a very real shot at finishing as the top WR in 2014 if things continue. BUY
Brandon Marshall, CHI:
Even on a gimpy ankle, Marshall looked like an absolute monster against the Niners on Sunday night. With his massive frame boxing out would-be defenders, Marshall converted three of his five receptions for touchdowns. Though he was clearly limited on that ankle, Marshall displayed his ability to still be a gamebreaker even when not 100%, an attribute not many other superstars display. He may not be at full health for another week or two, but he will still be effective mainly because Cutler will force-feed him the football in any situation. Just wait until he’s healthy, the sky is the limit. BUY
Mohamed Sanu, CIN:
Sanu’s rising value, for Week 3 in particular, is solely due to AJ Green likely being unable to suit up. Andy Dalton will have to throw the ball to someone not named Giovani Bernard if they want to stay undefeated. Sanu will be a serviceable option as a WR3 with upside for more this week going up against a Titans defense that got shredded by Dez Bryant on Sunday. BUY now and SELL before both AJ Green and Marvin Jones return to the Bengals’ lineup and make Sanu waiver wire fodder.
Travis Kelce, KC:
It looks like Andy Reid is starting to figure out ways to get Kelce involved. On just four catches, Kelce accounted for nearly one-third of Alex Smith’s passing yardage while still only seeing less than 40% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps. Granted, going from 18 snaps in Week 1 to 32 in Week 2 is a large improvement, Reid would be wise to utilize his most talented pass-catcher on a much higher percentage of snaps going forward. BUY, you’ll wish you did when he starts being used properly.
Niles Paul, WSH:
Not much was expected of Paul entering the year, but with Jordan Reed on the sideline, he has put his receiving abilities on display. As a former wide receiver, Paul has an intriguing athletic profile that should continue to pay dividends, even when Reed returns. With Cousins taking over in Washington, Paul should continue to dominate the intermediate passing game. BUY