Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Who's up, who's down
Fantasy Football values shift throughout training camp and preseason. CSNmidatlantic.com's Ben Standig looks at 10 players who are either rising or falling heading into the fantasy drafts.
STOCK UP: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
The wait-before-drafting-a-QB fantasy plan isn't just about focusing on other positions first while taking advantage of the natural passer depth. It's also about believing that a QBBC can, with a little bit of week-to-week luck, produce at levels near the more starry options. With Winston in that mix, that's a real possibility. The combination with playmaking WR Mike Evans is real and spectacular. Winston has plenty of other targets and very nice matchups in the NFC South. Good bet he'll have some monster performances. Pick the right weeks and look out.
STOCK DOWN: John Brown, WR, Cardinals
Concussion woes have kept the speedster off the field throughout the preseason. Though now cleared to practice, the risk for owners thinking of drafting Brown is on the rise. That's in large part to potential for a reoccurrence, but also because Arizona has so many other potent pass-catching threats in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and David Johnson. Brown makes for a risk-reward WR3 option, but the idea he could be more faded until further notice.
STOCK UP: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
Rookie receivers are a tricky bunch or those tasked with early projections. The forecast for Cincinnati's second round projection? Busy. The Bengals intend on using Boyd in the slot. A.J. Green is the main man while Brandon LaFell is the other starter and, based on history, an inconsistent one at that. Boyd's highlight should have a Sade soundtrack because the impressive route runner is indeed a smooth operator. No need to rush this pick, but start targeting Boyd when it's time for flyers or if your WR unit needs upside.
STOCK DOWN: Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
This list presented even 48 hours prior could have had the ex-Maryland Terrapin on the other side after an impressive training camp and preseason revealed real growth to an already impressive skill set. Instead, the brutal injury to Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater casts doubt on the consistency of Minnesota's passing attack. Diggs can make plays with the ball in his hands. Whether Shaun Hill can make that happen enough is the question and one that's probably not worth answering in the eighth round.
STOCK UP: Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
This slight uptick is more circumstantial than anything. Forsett is an uninteresting fantasy option, but one who is losing competition by the minute. Impressive rookie Kenneth Dixon (knee) is out at least one month and Lorenzo Taliaferro landed on the PUP list. Buck Allen and Terrence West remain, but this group collectively is unimpressive. However, opportunity is everything in fantasy football and the Ravens are likely to stick with the runner who has been their leading man in recent years, at least for the start.
STOCK UP: Robert Kelley, RB, Redskins
If you don't know who is Robert Kelley, you're not alone outside of the Redskins media contingent and hard-core fans. That is at least until last week when the undrafted rookie started Washington's third preseason game as Matt Jones (sprained shoulder) and Chris Thompson sat. Those two will lead the backfield into the season opener, but Kelley's made a move already. Forget just making the roster. The rookie's mature game and pass protection skills, the kind that Kirk Cousins noticed in real time, could earn him real snaps in this high-scoring offense. At the very least, Jones owners should grab Kelley for handcuff purposes. Jones owners should also fear the rookie is coming in a little too hot.
STOCK DOWN: Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
This is a good example of ranking versus interest. Bryant remains a top 10 overall player, but not one to target. The Tony Romo injury is an obvious reason. Bryant now will receive throws from untested rookie Dak Prescott. Look for Dallas to lean heavily on its offensive line and running game, which means fewer throws. Bryant will help fantasy owners, but there's concern he'll do enough to justify his first round status.
STOCK UP: James White, RB, Patriots
Dion Lewis became one of the more efficient PPR options out of the backfield last season before a knee injury wrecked the feel good story. That tale remains on hold and will or several weeks. White stepped in last year and showed pop. He'll get the same chance again to start 2016. Yes, it's never wise trusting the Patriots backfield. Seeing as the only other option, we think, is the boring LeGarrette Blount, take a shot on White starting in the 10th round of PPR formats and only as a deep option in standard. With Tom Brady out the first month, the backfield likely receives more work than normal.
STOCK DOWN: Jay Ajayi , RB, Dolphins
It's not just that Miami signed Arian Foster this summer, though adding a runner with his résumé cannot be dismissed as anything less than a significant development. The 229-pound Ajayi simply hasn't looked the part of a lead back, a status many hoped he'd achieve in his sophomore campaign and with Lamar Miller leaving South Beach for Houston. At this point owners should draft Foster if seeking an RB2/3 and consider Ajayi his handcuff. That distinction is key considering Foster's injury history. Ajayi's performance just doesn't lend much credence to the idea he'd rock if moved into the lineup.
STOCK UP: Josh Gordon, WR, Browns
The one thing Robert Griffin III can do for sure in the NFL is throw the deep ball. In his return from a long suspension, Gordon showed he can still run under whatever his former Baylor teammate can deliver. There's the matter of a four-game suspension, but that's not a bad thing considering it will drop Gordon's draft or auction cost. Having seen his current shape, there is less fear over using a 7th/8th round pick on him for a third WR/Flex role when he returns. The risk that he doesn't finish the season, that remains, but what's life without risk.