Week 1 Risers and Fallers, ya that's right we got risers, fallers and even trade targets before the first real snap of the season takes place. That my friend is what you call bold, or stupid. Nevertheless, you'll probably learn a thing or two that will help you in week 1, or at least peak your interest such as Cody Parkey winning the kicker job in Philly.
Top 5 Risers
- Cody Latimer, WR, Denver Broncos – If you saw my Watch List article, you know how I feel about Latimer and the opportunity he could have in Denver. Well, now he has it. With Wes Welker out for the first 4 games due to suspension, Latimer should be given every opportunity to produce on the outside in a Peyton led passing attack. Yes Sanders is going to be the guy at first, but Latimer could be the one to shine.
- Cody Parkey, K, Philadelphia Eagles – Parkey beat out Alex Henery this week for the kicking job in Philly. Scoring will be aplenty for the Eagles this year, which makes Parkey a good option if you don’t have a top tier kicker.
- Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City – Another member from my Watch List article, Kelce has been rising up rankings throughout the preseason. According to ESPN’s Adam Teicher, Kelce’s ability to make big plays was a big reason why the Chiefs did not pursue a new wide receiver aggressively this offseason. “Gronk-Lite” could easily become a TE1 soon.
- Philadelphia Defense – If you don’t like your Defense’s matchup this week, it doesn’t get much better than the Eagles taking on Henne and the Jaguars. Barring Bortles being announced as the surprise starter, the Eagles should feast on the lackluster Jaguars offense. Don’t expect much from this unit after Week 1 considering they are on the field a lot due to Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense.
- Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders – If you only start one QB, move along, nothing to see here. However, if you play in a 2 QB league, he might be the only QB on your waiver wire worth a look this week. He wont be the best quarterback in the league, but he has a good arm and some intriguing weapons to throw the ball to. You can do much worse (Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne and Brian Hoyer are ringing some bells) as your QB3.
Other Risers of Note:
- Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons
- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins
- Andre Caldwell, WR, Denver Broncos
- New York Jets Defense
- Tim Wright, TE, New England Patriots
Top 5: Fallers
- Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns – With the news that Pettine is disappointed with West’s preseason and his glowing reviews for Ben Tate, fantasy owners are giving up on West already. West’s value was always predicated on being Tate’s handcuff because of Tate’s injury history. West is still an extremely talented runner who will get his opportunity at some point when (not if) Tate goes down for some amount of time.
- Matt Prater, K, Denver Broncos – He’s suspended for the first 4 weeks and having a kicker score 0 points for that long is just not an option (until we get rid of kickers in fantasy). May be worth a stash in Week 4/5 if you don’t like your kicker because he is still the preferred kicker on the best offense in the NFL.
- Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos – Welker joins Matt Prater as the epidemic of Broncos players being suspended for 4 games continues. I understand letting him fall down your draft board, but cutting him altogether is a questionable decision at best. If an owner was dumb enough to drop him in your league, he’s a great stash candidate, especially with the extra time he gets to recover from his third concussion in nine months.
- Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers – With Antonio Gates still seeing the majority of the targets at tight end in San Diego, Green’s upside is limited. He has the potential to be a top-6 tight end in the league when Gates retires or gets cut, but he’s no more than a TE2 with Gates still eating up most of his targets.
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns – In one quarterback leagues, Manziel isn’t relevant as even a bench stash until he takes over the starting gig.
Other Fallers of Note:
- Jay Feely, K, Free Agent – Cut by the Cardinals
- Alex Henery, K, Free Agent – Cut by the Eagles
- Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
- Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
Cutler has the potential to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback this season in Marc Trestman’s offense, provided he stays healthy. He has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the game (Julio Jones and Roddy White in Atlanta are the only duo that's even close) and one of the best dual-threat running backs in the game. Add in Trestman’s prolific offense, there is a recipe for a fantasy goldmine. Those health concerns are one of the reasons he’s not being drafted like a QB1 (which he should be) this season. Despite health concerns, the likes of DeMarco Murray, Percy Harvin, Ben Tate and even Darren McFadden are still being drafted highly. This is fantasy football, you have to take risks if you want to win it all and Cutler is a risk worth taking.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
When Lovie Smith took over in Tampa, he emphasized that he wanted a running-back-by-committee approach on his team. The Bucs drafted Charles Sims to be the pass catching back of the committee and to spell Martin throughout the year. About two weeks ago, Sims went down with an ankle injury that required surgery and the team announced that he won’t be back until Week 10 at the earliest, ending any semblance of an RBBC. In addition, the Bucs coaching staff has changed their tune on how they view Martin’s ability to catch the ball, drawing rave reviews as recently as Monday. Martin is now shaping up as a high volume three down back, with added value in PPR leagues. With the redwood trees the Bucs have as wide receivers, there should be plenty of space for the Douggernaut to run freely all year.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals:
With his best days behind him, the time is now for Larry Fitzgerald to pass the torch as the premier receiver in the desert to the next generation. This is not a slight at Fitz, who is still one of the best possession receivers the game has ever seen, but rather a ringing endorsement of the physical freak that is Michael Floyd and the receiver he has grown to be. With Bruce Arians at the helm, Floyd will see more than his fair share of Carson Palmer deep balls while Fitz does his damage in the short to intermediate passing game. With his speed/size combo, Floyd has the potential to join the elite receivers in the game, but the window to get him for cheaper is almost closed. 1300 yards and 10 touchdowns is not all that farfetched for Floyd in this high octane offense.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles’ tight end coach Ted Williams was quoted as saying Ertz is “one of the best route-runners I’ve ever seen”. The Patriots defense was raving about Ertz and his ability to get open in their joint practices…and they see Rob Gronkowski in practice. Foles has gone a step further and compared Ertz to Gronk for his ability to “stretch the defense,” “make tough catches,” and “thrive on athleticism”. Do I really need to continue? Stop reading and try to steal Ertz from an owner that doesn’t appreciate him like you will. He’ll be a lot more expensive after he plays against the lowly Jaguars in Week 1.