In the second half of my Week 5 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.
Cam Newton, CAR:
A perennial top-5 quarterback since entering the league, Cam has struggled mightily while dealing with both a recovering ankle and injured ribs this season. In the three games that Cam has been healthy enough to suit up, he has yet to eclipse 300 yards, has failed to get more than one touchdown in any game and has only attempted a grand total of eight rushes. Cam’s value is predicated on not only being a threat through the air, but to tack on extra yardage and scores on the ground. While not fully healthy, Cam is confined to the pocket, allowing opposing defenses to focus on Cam the passer, not Cam the dual-threat monster, and his numbers have suffered greatly. Until Cam’s health improves and Rivera feels comfortable “unleashing” his star quarterback, Cam will continue to struggle with his limited options in the passing game and a running back situation that is a complete mess. I would recommend for fantasy owners to HOLD Cam Newton as his output should greatly improve as he gets healthier, but it will take a few weeks so make sure you have another serviceable option to play for the time being.
Geno Smith, NYJ:
This one hurts to type about, but he has struggled so much that my fellow Jets fans have begun to beg for Rex to sit him on the pine in favor of Michael Vick. As I have stated in the past, if Geno can take care of the football and limit turnovers, he could be a very nice QB2 with mounds of upside as a dual-threat. Unfortunately, Geno has been careless with the football, accounting for two turnovers in each of the last two contests and his play has steadily declined. The running game is not helping matters, as Chris Johnson has not been able to consistently find space to run apart from a big run here and there. Chris Ivory has been far and away the better back, but the presence of CJ2K has limited his touches and his ability to improve the running game. Worst of all is the defense, where the secondary has been abysmal all season, allowing teams to throw at will. This has forced the Jets offense to veer from the game plan of ground and pound, with Geno playing off play-action and stacked boxes to find throwing lanes, to Geno being forced to throw more often. Until either the secondary or the rushing attack improves (hopefully both for my sanity’s sake), Geno will continue to struggle and the Vick chants will continue to get louder. HOLD, the defense should improve, allowing the Jets offense to play within its means, but unfortunately, like the Cam Newton situation, this could take a few weeks.
Donald Brown, SD:
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of fantasy owners’ hearts breaking in unison across the globe. Donald Brown was placed into one of the most appealing situations in recent memory as the workhorse back on a team that loves to run the ball against a horrid Jacksonville team. Opportunities DO NOT appear like this very often and everything was set up for Brown to have a monster day on Sunday. And what did Brown do? He ran ten times for 19 yards for a whopping 1.9 YPC that even Matt Asiata would be allowed to scoff at. Though he added four catches for an additional 35 yards, Brown’s output goes down as one of the largest disappointments by a player in recent memory. I will not recommend playing Donald Brown ever again under any circumstance. I’m sure someone will remind me of this article years down the line when Donald Brown actually does something good, but apart from turning into Barry Sanders, I will never be able to trust him ever again. SELL if anyone wants him, you shouldn’t.
Pierre Thomas, NO:
When Mark Ingram went down with his hand injury, Thomas was expected to take on a larger role both rushing and in the passing game with the extra snaps available to both he and Khiry Robinson. Well, so far not so good. Apart from his goal line touchdown against the Vikings in Week 3, Thomas has failed to impress and has only seen 15 touches in those two games, including just four total touches against the Cowboys on Sunday night. To make matters worse, Travis Cadet was Sean Payton’s preferred option as the passing down back against the Cowboys, hauling in six passes for 59 yards, touches that normally would go to Thomas. With Mark Ingram set to return after the Saints’ Week 6 bye, Thomas could find himself expendable and soon. SELL, his age is beginning to show and the Saints’ offense is too volatile to trust him from week to week.
Justin Hunter, TEN:
Coming into the year, big things were expected from the explosive Hunter. A dynamite preseason had prospective fantasy owners drooling over his potential as he looked to become more involved in a seemingly improving Titans offense. Though he has been targeted a good amount so far this year, Hunter has not been showing a consistent effort, has dropped multiple passes and has failed to catch more than three passes in any game this year. It has gotten to the point where Coach Whisenhunt has called out his polarizing wideout as “a player that has let the team down”. Though he possesses a rare blend of size, speed and athleticism, Hunter is just not someone to trust until he shows the desire to come to work and play hard on every single down. SELL
Hakeem Nicks, IND:
Though he has scored twice this season, Nicks simply isn’t making enough plays to warrant consistent usage on fantasy teams this season. In Week 4, Nicks only converted two of his six targets for 12 yards and blew a chance for his third touchdown in the redzone. Nicks has yet to hit the 100-yard mark on the season total. His history suggests he is worth keeping on your roster, but he simply isn’t the receiver he was in New York. Donte Moncrief is a better bet to succeed in this offense and has gradually seen his role increase. SELL
Greg Olsen, CAR:
As I talked about earlier in this article, Cam Newton is struggling while being confined to the pocket. Apart from last week, Olsen has actually been quite good this year; however his best game came with Derek Anderson under center and his yardage, receptions and targets have all decreased in every game this season. Olsen will go as far as Cam will take him, and for the time being, that upside is extremely limited. With the running game a mess, the offense will struggle mightily and will keep Olsen from finding time and space to be as effective as we have come to appreciate. SELL if you can get a nice piece in return, but HOLD if you don't find an appealing deal. His play will improve, it will just take some time.
Charles Clay, MIA:
Expected to be a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 entering 2014, Clay has yet to accumulate more than 32 yards in a game this season or find his way into the endzone. With the uncertainty still surrounding Tannehill’s grip of the starting job (whipping the Raiders doesn’t count for much these days), Clay’s role will continue to stay muddled. With Mike Wallace running a more complete route tree this year, there are not as many opportunities for Clay to make plays in the short-to-intermediate passing game to make him worthy of a roster spot on your team. SELL, there are plenty of better options with much higher upside to put on your roster.