Quick PSA before I get to the Week 7 Risers. Please check out the Fantasy Knuckleheads podcast on daily fantasy every Tuesday and Thursday at 10pm EST. You can watch live if you subscribe to Mark Milano on Youtube or you can follow me on Twitter (@AlexHanowitz) for the link when each show starts. Now on to Week 7 Risers!
Derek Carr, OAK:
After four uninspiring performances to start his career, Derek Carr lit up the Chargers’ secondary to the tune of 282 yards and four scores on Sunday in a game that was much closer than anticipated. The most encouraging sign of this breakout was that Carr was able to accumulate the majority of his stats with the Raiders being tied or ahead in the game as opposed to just getting chunk points playing catchup. Though he looked vastly improved from his form earlier in the season, the underlying circumstances of this performance have me doubting that this is more than just a season outlier. Carr only completed 18 of 34 passes on the day (just under 53%) and got a lot of that yardage on chunk plays including two long touchdowns of 77 yards and 47 yards. He threw deep balls all day long and I do not believe that will be the trend going forward, rather the specific gameplan against the Chargers. The most concerning facet of Carr’s day to me was that when the game was on the line, Carr struggled and threw a game-deciding pick instead of getting his team into field goal range to force overtime. SELL, Carr will have some solid games when the deep balls work, but he is too inconsistent to count on. In two-QB leagues, definitely SELL high if you can get an upgrade.
Tom Brady, NE:
The Jets’ fan in me hates that I’m writing anything positive about Brady, but his last two weeks have been a polar opposite of how he started in the first four weeks of this season. In Week 6 alone, Brady matched his TD output in a single game than his first four weeks and shredded an impressive Bills’ defense for 361 yards. With Gronk’s health improving and both Tim Wright and Brandon LaFell emerging as legitimate weapons, Brady should be able to build on his last two performances and keep rolling. BUY as a fringe QB1/2 with upside for more in the right matchups.
Ben Tate, CLE:
Finally healthy, Ben Tate is showing everyone why the Browns wanted Tate to remain as their starting running back even after West and Crowell impressed while he was out with a knee injury. After rushing for 124 yards on 22 carries in Week 5, Tate followed up that performance with 78 yards on 25 carries and two scores. Though the drop in yardage is a bit concerning, the usage in terms of both touches and the redzone have Tate’s arrow trending up in a big way. On a Browns team that is clearly focused on pounding the rock, Tate profiles as an ideal RB2 going forward with both a high floor and high ceiling. BUY, Tate will get the ball and do a lot with it, but make sure you handcuff him with Crowell (and also West if you’re set at RB1) and lock down a slot in your starting roster for the remainder of the year.
Ronnie Hillman, DEN:
The Broncos FINALLY had a back with 100 yards on the ground on Sunday and it was not Montee Ball. Ronnie Hillman filled in for an injured Ball and looked SO much better than Ball has all year long. Going against a stout Jets run defense, Hillman did exactly what Peyton needs from his running back: run well enough to make the defense respect you to open up the passing game and pass protect when asked. BUY, John Fox and Peyton should continue to rely on Hillman as long as Ball is out and he could push Ball for touches if Ball continues to be ineffective when he returns. He also is an intriguing stash for when Ball does come back considering how essential it is for Peyton to have trust in his running back to help him be effective.
Andre Holmes, OAK:
After struggling to get snaps through the first three games of the year, Holmes has come on in a big way the past two games. As the preferred deep threat of Derek Carr, Holmes has gone for three touchdowns in the last two weeks including a huge 77-yard TD on the opening drive against the Chargers, setting the tone for a Week 6 stat-line of four catches for 121 yards and two scores (sidenote: McGloin connected with Holmes for his TD in Week 4, but Carr was looking his way vertically before he got hurt). Like I mentioned with Carr, there are some underlying details that concern me with Holmes going forward. In the last two weeks, Holmes has been targeted a healthy 20 times, yet he has only been able to haul in nine of those for receptions. Although Holmes seems to be the most likely to break off a big play in this offense, the presence of James Jones mixed with Carr’s limited weekly upside make Holmes more boom-or-bust than a consistent threat on your fantasy team. BUY for your roster as a bye-week replacement/injury fill-in, but SELL if you’re expecting/need consistent WR3 production.
Brandon LaFell, NE:
Like Holmes, LaFell was able to turn four receptions into two scores on Sunday and has become the guy that Brady looks to on deep balls. LaFell has been dominating snaps in two-wide sets with Julian Edelman and has become a legitimate weapon for Brady to throw to. Edelman and Vereen will dominate the short passing game, Gronk and Wright (on limited snaps) will take care of the intermediate passing game, but LaFell has the deep balls seemingly all to himself. Yes, Brian Tyms came out of nowhere and joined the deep ball party, but that will happen when Brady goes for close to 400 yards in a game. LaFell has clearly established himself as the #3 weapon in this Pats passing attack and we’ve seen even the #4 or #5 weapon in Brady led passing games be very valuable fantasy options. Again, just like Holmes, BUY for you roster, especially if you have byes on Week 9 (he plays the Broncos and Brady will find him in that game), but SELL high if you’re expecting consistent WR3 production.
Jace Amaro, NYJ:
Playing on a season high 55.5% percent of snaps, Amaro made the most of it by catching 10 of 12 targets for 68 yards and a redzone score to finally breathe some life into the Jets passing attack. In his 35 snaps, Amaro ran 30 routes which is outstanding news for fantasy going forward. He is not someone the Jets will expect to stay in-line and block, rather he’s being set-up as a giant wide receiver. Routes mean more targets and more targets usually equate to fantasy points and if this trend continues, Amaro has tremendous upside going forward. BUY, Geno NEEDS Amaro to have games like this if he is going to succeed and help the Jets win games this year. He could be a fringe TE1/2 for the rest of the year with upside for more, especially in PPR leagues.
Scott Chandler, BUF:
After virtually being ignored with Manuel under center, Chandler has found new life on Sunday with Kyle Orton leading the Bills’ attack. Chandler hauled in six of his nine targets for 105 yards and made a lot of big catches on third downs to keep drives alive. The bad news for Chandler is that Sammy Watkins only saw three targets, catching two of those a pedestrian 21 yards while being matched up against the traitor that is Darrelle Revis. Side note: Idzik, couldn’t you have just called him and told him we wanted him back? Oh that’s right, we were set at cornerback. That seems to be working great this season. Jets rant aside, Chandler really is not all that good and Chandler has done this is the past. He has a huge game or two, gets owners excited, and then duds for three weeks in a row. Then you drop him and he goes off again. SELL, Chandler is as inconsistent as they come, save yourself the heartache.