Fantasy Football Stock Market Week 11: Who Do You Need To Watch This Weekend?
Value Changes as the Season Progresses
When it comes to setting your fantasy lineup each week, rarely are your roster decisions cut and dry. Each week comes with different challenges and decisions due to who is on bye that week, what sorts of injuries have occurred and most importantly, who has been playing well and who hasn't.
Many fantasy owners, myself included, have been guilty of the following: we leave our struggling, high priced, early round draft picks in our lineups for too long and we're too reluctant to put in the guy who has emerged out of nowhere even though he's putting up points.
Take Trent Richardson for example who is still in 83.3 percent of lineups in ESPN leagues. Richardson is in more lineups than Eddie Lacy, Giovani Bernard, Danny Woodhead, Andre Ellington and many other running backs who have all scored significantly more fantasy points than Richardson this season. Richardson has 24 total fantasy points in his last six games and he should have been relegated to fantasy benches weeks ago.
If you are one of the owners out there holding on to Richardson because he was your first round pick then it's time to let go and send him to your bench. The following slideshow is going to highlight some players who I believe can either play their way into your lineup for future weeks with big games in Week 11 along with some players who can play their way out of your lineup with another disappointing performance.
Case Keenum, QB Houston Texans
Case Keenum has been one of the most surprising stories this season; he has thrown for at least 200 yards in all three of his games, he's thrown seven touchdowns with zero interceptions, and he's scored at least 13 fantasy points in each contest. Keenum has a very nice schedule for the rest of the season starting with the Oakland Raiders who have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. If Keenum has another strong performance this week then he may very well be a top 15 quarterback entering Week 12 when the Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ray Rice, RB Baltimore Ravens
I don't own him Ray Rice on any fantasy teams, but if I did he wouldn't be in my lineup this week -- and frankly he probably wouldn't have been in it last week either. Rice is still being started in 80 percent of ESPN leagues, and this week he's going against a Chicago Bears defense that has allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Rice has been held to under six fantasy points in six out of eight games this season, and Pro Football Focus has him graded as the worst running back in the NFL this season. If he doesn't produce this weekend against the Bears then there is no way he should be in your lineup for Week 12.
C.J. Spiller, RB Buffalo Bills
Spiller received 12 carries in Week 9, but it was the first time he had received double digit carries since Week 6 which he followed up with an eight carry performance in Week 10. If Spiller can have a solid game against the New York Jets this weekend then fantasy owners should be encouraged going in to Week 13 (especially when you look at their rest of season schedule), but if Spiller struggles his situation going forward will continue to be surrounded by a cloud of mystery.
Shane Vereen, RB New England Patriots
I wouldn't rush to get Vereen back in my lineup this week; he will likely play limited snaps in his first game back since he broke his wrist in Week 1. If Vereen is still available in your league though -- he's still out there in almost 30 percent of ESPN leagues and in 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues -- go snatch him up before it's too late because he could provide a huge boost for owners down the stretch.
Lamar Miller, RB Miami Dolphins
In Weeks 8 and 9, Lamar Miller ran the ball 34 times for 194 yards while adding on seven catches for another 47 yards, and fantasy owners finally thought that he was about to burst out. Then he proceeded to take seven carries for two yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Monday which left owners scratching their heads wondering what to do with the rookie. Miller needs to prove that he can contribute on a week to week basis before he can be a trusted fantasy back.
Steven Jackson, RB Atlanta Falcons
Over the course of his career Steven Jackson has averaged 4.2 yards per carry. That number is down to 3.2 yards per carry this season, and in three games since his return from a hamstring injury he's averaged just 2.2 yards per carry on 33 attempts. Jackson needs a big game against a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense this weekend to be worthy of starting in Week 12.
Rishard Matthews, WR Miami Dolphins
Matthews went off last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, catching 11-of-14 targets for 120 yards and two touchdowns for 24 fantasy points (non ppr scoring). Ryan Tannehill is 4th among all quarterbacks with 80 pass attempts to slot receivers, and with Brandon Gibson spending the rest of the season on injured reserve it looks as if those targets will primarily be going to Matthews. If he has a big game against the San Diego Chargers this weekend then he should be a guy you strongly consider for your fantasy team.
Marvin Jones, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Marvin Jones has scored just six fantasy points in two games since his 36-point performance in Week 8. I expect Joe Haden to be all over A.J. Green which means Andy Dalton will likely be looking for his secondary receivers -- like Jones -- to step up and make some plays. I'm a believer in Jones' talent, but we need to see it on the field this week or he's not a fantasy option moving forward.
Aaron Dobson, WR New England Patriots
In his last two games Dobson has nine catches for 190 yards, three touchdowns and it looks as if he is going to be the main deep threat for the Patriots. Dobson is a talented player who is really good at getting open, but he has been plagued by drops this season: he has dropped 22.5 percent of catchable balls thrown to him this season which is the worst rate in the NFL. If Dobson can limit his drops a bit going forward then he could be a top 30 receiver for the rest of the season.
Carolina Panthers Defense
Carolina Panthers Defense/Special Teams
The Carolina Panthers are second in total fantasy points with 105, second in yards per game allowed with just 283.3, second in points per game allowed with 12.8 and they're fourth in takeaways. The Panthers' defense has benefited greatly by facing a slew of poor offenses this season: they are yet to face an offense that is top ten in the NFL in yards per game (in fact six of their nine opponents so far have been 22nd or worse) and they have only faced one offense who is in the top ten in points per game (again they have faced five offenses that are 22nd or worse). The New England Patriots are coming off of their bye week, and before that they posted one of the most impressive offensive performances in the 2013 season; they should be as healthy as they have been all season so I expect them to be a true test for Carolina's defense. If the Panthers are able to shut down Tom Brady and the Patriots then they will have converted me into a true believer.