Welcome to Risers and Fallers, a Top Fantasy Football featured article where we discuss how player values are changing around the league. Please keep in mind there are two types of value in fantasy sports. General value and trade value. If I list a player as a Riser, this means his general value has increased. A riser has increased value from where he was originally drafted. I will also talk about a player’s trade value though, which can be deceptive. If a player who is consistently average breaks out for a great game, his trade value might have increased because people might think he’s better than he actually is.
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Ronnie Brown RB MIA
Alright, before you get at me for telling you to sell on Ronnie Brown, read what I have to say. I feel like Ronnie Brown is going to be a fine RB2 option for the rest of the year but after his performance against the Colts on Monday you might be able to package him in a trade as a #1 guy. The Wildcat offense turned the Colts' defense inside out and gave the Miami offense more than 45 minutes of play time (more than 3/4 of the game!). Brown saw 24 carries but Sticky-Icky-Ricky Williams saw 19. I hate to say it but this looks like a 55/45 timeshare, somewhat like what the Colts are doing with Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. When the Dolphins play teams with stronger run blocking defensive lineman, they won't be running the Wildcat so much and they won't have the ball so much, which means less carries for Brown. Try to sell him as a #1 while you can but if you can't sell him, you can enjoy around 10-14 fantasy points a week from him going forward.
Eli Manning QB NYG
Eli got a lot of flak from the media in his first few years as a QB in the NFL. He turns the ball over too much! He never makes the big play! He is hiding behind that great running attack! Well it's time to give major props to Peyton's little brah. Eli has some swagger this season that I've never really seen from him before. Was it that fat contract he signed, or does he finally have some dependable receivers? Who cares, because I'm ready to crown Manning as a top 10 QB from here on out, right behind guys like Peyton, Brady, Brees, Romo, Rivers, Rodgers, Warner, Ryan and Flacco. He might be a free agent in your league...if that is the case you should pick him up. If he is owned, try to send a low-ball offer for him since he's probably the backup QB for that owner anyways. Manning is going to throw about 20 more TDs the rest of the year and flirt with 4000 passing yards.
Mario Manningham WR NYG
While we are on the topic of New York's passing game, might as well mention Mario Manningham. I don't know why Manning has looked to pass to Manningham more than any of his other receivers but fantasy owners all over should take advantage. Manningham has not only shown some dependable hands, but he is getting open an obscene amount of the time. Maybe defenses will start to take notice of Manningham and actually give him the proper coverage he demands, but until then you should start Manningham in all leagues as a WR3 or flex and reap the benefits.
|Cedric Benson RB CIN
Alright. Time for me to take a deep breathe, grit my teeth and talk about how successful Cedric Benson has been thus far. The Bengals are not scared to give him thirty touches a game which amazes me. I might be giving him his due praise right now but I'm going to stick with my initial gut feeling about him and say that he won't be great later on. Something just has to give...I don't know what it will be yet but I'm convinced Benson is not a great running back in the NFL. Maybe he will prove me wrong, but I trust my gut feelings and this is one of the strongest gut feelings I've had in fantasy in a long time.
|Matt Schaub QB HOU
The Texas got back on track last Sunday against...the Titans? I thought the Titans had a lock-down defense? Alright, so what gives? I watched the game and I know exactly why it was a shootout. Miscues: too many open men and terrible defensive playcalling. I think this might be the best game Schaub has all year, so try and deal him for a floundering stud like Brady or if he's your backup trade him for depth at RB or WR. Remember, there is no guarantee he will play the entire year. It's not like he ever has as the starter, ya know.
LeSean McCoy RB PHI
That didn't take long did it? The general consensus on McCoy during drafts was "...if only Brian Westbrook would get hurt, then McCoy would be a stud!" Well now Westbrook is in fact hurt, and it might be worse than Reid is letting on. Westbrook just had surgery on his ankle, the same one that is swollen right now. Even if Westbrook is cleared to play, there is no way in hell Philly that Westbrook is going to be conducive to a winning environment. After all, Reid likes to refer to Westbrook as a "fine wine", only worth "opening" when under certain situations. Enter the rookie: LeSean McCoy. I feel like McCoy will break out this next game and become a new fantasy sweetheart. This might be the last chance you get to buy low on McCoy, so do it while you still can. If you can manage to make up a deal before the weekend, you will be able to take advantage of his match up against KC. After that things look even better though, playing vs. TB and @OAK.
| Matt Forte RB CHI
Remember last year when Forte was the only guy for Chicago worth mentioning for fantasy? Remember how he'd get around 20 carries a game and 6 receptions per game? Those days are sadly over. Now, you may say I'm premature in predicting the fall of Forte. Actually, I'm not saying he is going to really fall too much, but enough to make him more of a RB2 instead of top five RB. Look, Jay Cutler is not Kyle Orton. Kyle Orton doesn't have a cannon arm and will check down to his running backs when given the chance. Jay Cutler will throw a bomb whenever he gets the chance and unfortunately Forte will be blocking for him instead of receiving that bomb. I'm expecting only around 45 receptions total for Forte for the entire season and around 1200 rushing yards. If you can deal him for an under-performing stud not named LaDainian Tomlinson, I'd take that trade. There has to be a Bears fan in your league who will buy on him, right? If not, just hold on tight. The Lions and the Seahawks are coming up.
Brandon Marshall WR DEN
|Moderate Buy ( 12+ team leauges )
Moderate Sell ( 8-10 team leagues )
Alright, so it's obvious that Marshall's stock have fallen the last two weeks. But what isn't obvious is if he will rebound or not. I'm still under the impression that he is one of the best receivers talent-wise in the NFL, but he is in a different situation than last year. Take a look at what Earl Bennet and Devin Hester have become in Chicago. That is no coincidence people, those two guys are now fantasy relevant because of Jay Cutler. Orton might have been a decent option later in the season last year but there really weren't any wide receivers in Chicago last year to write home about. So this year I think Marshall might drop out of the top wide receivers because he now has Orton throwing to him. Listen, you can have all the talent in the world but you can't score touchdowns if no one throws it to you. I'm listing Marshall as a potential "buy" candidate because of his talent alone, but that is only if the owner of Marshall in your league is ready to abandon ship. Don't go out and pay a premium to get Marshall for your team.
|Darren McFadden RB OAK
Sooner or later, the Raiders are going to have to realize that throwing the ball just doesn't fit well into their offensive scheme. Sure, JaMarcus Russell has one of the biggest cannons in the league but who on the team is ready to step up as WR on their team? McFadden didn't get many carries last weekend but you can attribute that to the many missed passes of Russell. Once the Raiders figure out that running the ball is their forte, look for McFadden to get 20 carries a game and be a fantasy force. Unfortunately, the Raiders may never figure that out with Al Davis stuck in the 1980's. You might be able to get McFadden at a discount right now if you talk about his negatives with his owner. McFadden should be a great RB2 for the rest of the season though.
|Tom Brady QB NE
|Strong Sell ( 8-10 team leagues )
There are just so many things going on with the New England offense that baffle me. First of all, their running game is almost non-existent. Their backfield is filled with either over-the-hill bums or young busts. So how can the Patriots continue to throw the ball 50 times a game and get away with it? Oh wait, they didn't get away with it last weekend. Actually, the Jets defense dismantled the legendary New England offense. Sure, Wes Welker was missing from the equation but that isn't any excuse for the pitiful performance they put on last weekend. You could hear it all game from the announcers if you watched it: "Tom Brady just doesn't look like Tom Brady!" I couldn't have said it better myself. Tom was making poor reads, getting delay of game penalties and missing passes he should make. Some people may buy into his 50 TD season and give you a mountain of gold for him but I feel like Brady won't even eclipse 30 TDs this year. If you have a good backup for Brady try and trade him for a stud RB or WR.
Larry Johnson RB KC
Abandon ship! Abandon ship! I think it's safe to say that Grandma Ma is all washed up. He was very underwhelming all last year and he is continuing the same trend this year. I wouldn't drop Johnson for a few more games but I would be aggressively trying to shop Johnson for anything if I owned him in any league.
Pierre Garcon WR IND
|Strong Sell (all leagues)
Pierre Garcon might look like the new Anthony Gonzalez on the Colts offense, but I'm here to tell you he is nothing but an impostor. At the beginning of the season Garcon was nothing but an afterthought to fantasy owners but now that Gonzalez is out for a prolonged period of time people are trying to get a piece of that Colts offense through Garcon. I listened to Manning's post-game interview and did not like what I heard from Manning concerning Garcon. Sure, he gives him praise which he rightfully deserves, but Garcon is not going to be even close to a reliable fantasy player going forward. First of all, he'll only be relevant for the next six weeks. Second of all, Manning mentioned that Garcon usually only comes in to be a third receiver in third down packages. Looks like Manning will be looking to Clark and Wayne on most passing plays. Garcon's long TD catch was just a product of amazing blocking on Jeff Satuday's part. If you can find someone in your league who thinks highly of Garcon, try to trade him for an ailing DeSean Jackson or an up-and-coming guy like Mario Manningham
|Steve Slaton RB HOU
|Strong Buy ( all leagues )
Remember what I said last week? Steve Slaton continued to struggle liked predicted, but who can blame him? The Texans and Titans game played out like a 20 minute game of Madden 10. Guy were open all day for ridiculous touchdown passes. When defenses start to wake up and smell the coffee, the Texans will need to establish some type of running game to set up the play action. Be patient with Slaton if you have him...he has some favorable match ups coming up. If you don't have him in your league, press hard to try and aquire him. Some of my favorite lines to throw out during a trade is "I'm not going to offer you anything next week when he gets 30 yards again!"...create some type of urgency with your league's Slaton owner. He may break under the pressure and deal him for some pocket change.