Fantasy risers and fallers from Week 14 of the season
In our weekly fantasy stock market report, we examine some players on the rise, some sliding down and a couple to keep on the radar as the fantasy postseason continues. The fantasy playoffs are off and running. For those who were fortunate enough to advance, there is no time left for mistakes.
There are going to be some players that push teams over the top and some that could flame out at precisely the wrong time.
Rivers continued his hot play by registering 319 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-31 passing in Week 14. It marked the third straight game in which he has eclipsed 300 yards passing and he’s averaged 365.7 yards per contest through the air during that span.
He has now thrown for multiple scores in four of his last five outings and eight times in 13 starts this season. Rivers is now tied for fifth in the league with 23 touchdown passes on the season. The veteran is also taking care of the football at much better rate. After throwing a career-high 21 interceptions last season, he’s only been picked off seven times in 2017.
The Chargers have won four straight and their offense is averaging 32.75 points per game during the streak. Look for Rivers to continue his success down the stretch with contests on tap with the Chiefs, Jets, and Raiders to close out the year.
It was another banner day for Williams in Sunday’s overtime win at Cleveland. He carried the ball 15 times for 49 yards and a touchdown while also pulling in all seven of his targets for 69 yards receiving and an additional score.
He had 22 touches in the game compared to just four for Aaron Jones and out-snapped his fellow rookie by 50-to-8 margin. Williams held a 48-to-2 edge a week earlier in Jones’ first game back from injury. At this point he appears to have a firm grip in his spot atop the depth chart.
After a slow start to Williams’ 2017 campaign, only Le’Veon Bell has mounted more fantasy points over the last three weeks at the position than Williams. He has netted 376 total yards and five touchdowns on 70 touches during the stretch. With Aaron Rodgers expected to return in Week 15, look for the entire Packers’ offense to get a boost to close out the season.
The magical 2017 season continued for Hopkins on Sunday he produced his best fantasy output of the campaign. He pulled in a season-high 11 catches on 15 targets for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The wideout was targeted on four deep-ball throws and was the recipient of both of T.J. Yates’ end-zone targets.
With three games to play this season Hopkins has now tied his career high for touchdowns (11) and is 288 yards, 23 catches, and 39 targets shy of setting new season-best marks across the board. When you compare his 0.49 PPR fantasy points per opportunity from 2015 to this year’s 0.53 PPO mark you’ll see this season is second to none.
Only Antonio Brown has put up more fantasy points since Deshaun Watson went down for the season in Week 9 than Hopkins among wide receivers. He’ll be in the mix as a top-six pick heading into 2018 fantasy drafts.
Just when it seemed it couldn’t get much worse for Mariota, it did on Sunday as he finished with just 3.5 fantasy points in a loss at Arizona. He completed just 16-of-31 passes for 159 yards with 0 TDs and two interceptions while rushing for 11 yards on two carries.
It was the lowest fantasy output in a game he finished in his career. As bad as things have been, Mariota still ranks as QB18 in fantasy scoring. That is mostly because of he’s tied for the league lead with five rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
From a passing perspective it’s been pretty dismal for the third-year signal-caller as he falls outside the top 20 in passing yards (2,582), attempts (360), and touchdowns (10). That’s pretty remarkable when you consider he’s only missed one game. Despite a juicy Week 15 matchup versus the 49ers, he can’t be trusted in any meaningful fantasy lineups.
The Vikings running game hit a tough spot in Sunday’s matchup at Carolina and game flow led to the team abandoning its running game as evident by the fact they only ran on 22.2 percent of their overall snaps. That left McKinnon as mostly a non-factor as he finished with just nine touches and 7.5 fantasy points.
After posting 24 or more points in three of the first four games following Dalvin Cook’s injury, McKinnon has scored just 48 PPR points in the five games since. Over the last five weeks he’s only RB30 compared to Latavius Murray’s rank as RB9 during that span.
Murray has out-touched his running back teammate by an 83-to-68 margin during that stretch and has scored four touchdowns compared to just one for McKinnon. Despite the struggles, McKinnon still offers big-play ability and should be on the flex radar in Week 15 against the Bengals’ banged up defense.
Rob Gronkowski was suspended in Week 14, but he still managed to score just as many fantasy points as Olsen did – zero. The Panthers’ tight end played on 59-of-64 snaps (92 percent), but he received just one target and went without a catch.
He limped awkwardly to the sidelines during Sunday’s win over the Vikings, but only missed a handful of plays before returning. Olsen clearly is not 100 percent though and is not passing the eyeball test at this point.
Since returning from a broken foot in Week 12 he has played in two games and has one catch for 10 yards on five targets. There is simply no way he can be trusted over the next two weeks with fantasy championships on the line. Owners are better off dropping him and picking up a healthier option off the waiver wire.
On the radar
With Ameer Abdullah (neck) sidelined for a second straight week, Riddick continued to offer some fantasy production out of the Detroit backfield. He turned 15 touches in Sunday’s win at Tampa Bay in to nine carries for 28 yards and two scores and also caught six of 10 targets for 64 additional yards.
Riddick’s two rushing touchdowns were a bit of a fluke when you consider in his 66 career games prior to Sunday he had only three rushing touchdowns total. While he remains useful in PPR leagues and worthy of flex consideration he’s not taking over the early-down work exclusively any time soon so owners should temper their expectations.
Smith had a coming out party on Sunday in the Cowboys’ win over the Giants as he rushed the ball six times for 47 yards and touchdown and reeled in all five of his targets for another 113 yards and a score. That equaled 33 fantasy points on just 11 touches.
Alfred Morris still got double the touches (22) of Smith and the lone carry inside the 5-yard line. Smith’s numbers were clearly inflated by a couple of big plays. He’s worth considering in Week 15 against the Raiders, but with Ezekiel Elliott due back in Week 16 it remains to be seen how big of a role Smith might have over the season’s final few weeks.