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Stock Watch: Week 16
If you’re still reading fantasy football articles at this juncture of the season, you’re undoubtedly searching for any last-second nugget that can propel your team over the top in your league’s championship. Since I doubt a rundown of last week’s top displays and disappointments fits your fancy, let’s switch gears and present available entities whose performances could correlate to fantasy glory.
Stock rising for Week 16
Matt Schaub, Texans
Concededly, this cat is not the paragon of consistency. Since his record-setting day versus Jacksonville on November 18, Schaub’s production has been subpar, coming in at No. 22 at his position with his four touchdowns, two interceptions and 1,015 yards in that span. Luckily for Schaub and his proprietors, the Houston signal caller has a shot to end the rotisserie campaign on a high note, as the Vikings are surrendering the sixth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Moreover, don’t be surprised if the Texans pump the breaks on the work allotment of Arian Foster in order to keep their backfield beast fresh for the playoffs, correlating to extended action for the air attack.
Nick Foles, Eagles
This endorsement certainly doesn’t derive from his last appearance, as Cincinnati put a stranglehold on the rookie under center, forcing Foles into two turnovers and only 182 passing yards. However, the Bengals have quietly become an upper echelon unit on the defensive end, hence Foles’ so-so spectacle should not be perceived in such a negative light. I’m sure there’s a sentiment that the Eagles will roll in a contest that means the world to Washington, yet rarely in the NFL does a team no-show to that extent. As the Redskins are ranked in the bottom third of the league in pass resistance, the platform exists for the Arizona product to shine. Though Foles doesn’t warrant starting in standard formats, in deeper leagues or two-quarterback divisions, give the Philly field general the nod.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
I try to keep my personal investment in players at bay. Unfortunately, I’m composing this section in melancholy as, after going back-and-forth between Williams and Danario Alexander all week in my big-money keeper league, I went with my gut and rolled with Alexander. Meaning for the rest of my life, I am pulling a George Costanza and doing the exact opposite of every instinct I possess.
Anyway, Williams submitted his third consecutive solid showing as Carolina starter, racking up 93 yards on the ground while adding two receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game to reward his owners. It doesn’t sound like Jonathan Stewart is close to returning from a high ankle sprain, bestowing additional opportunities for Williams the rest of the way home. Available in nearly 30 percent of FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues, Williams is a must-start this weekend facing an Oakland front seven that has struggled to stop opposing terrain attacks.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Sorry, I know he’s been the glue that’s kept Indianapolis together in Chuck Pagano’s absence, but can’t give Bruce Arians’ candidacy for Coach of the Year merit for his continual and irrational disregard of Ballard in goal-line situations. I mean really, Mewelde Moore, fresh off the streets, gets the call in a must-win game over the sound and powerful Ballard? Calling shenanigans.
Ballard is doing his part, as his 105 rushing yards versus the Texans was his second straight conquest, following up his 94 yards on the Titans in Week 14. Look for that trend to continue in Arrowhead this Sunday against a Chiefs squad that’s ranked 24th in points allowed to running backs.
Danny Amendola, Rams
Understand that Amendola has missed most of the season, yet it’s astonishing that the PPR god is owned in just 41 percent of leagues. That figure should inflate after the Rams wideout’s harvest (six catches, 58 yards, touchdowns) last weekend against the Vikings. Though his value in standard formats is slightly diminished, we are still discussing a receiver that has been targeted 35 times in the last three full-length outings (we are overlooking his injury-abbreviated appearance in Week 12), prospects that are rarely attainable at this stage of the calendar. That Amendola will oppose a feeble Tampa secondary is icing on the cake.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
A concussion that sidelined him for Week 14 and the fact that, you know, he plays in Jacksonville, briefly set Shorts on the fantasy backburner, evidenced by his 58.7 ownership figure, a ridiculously low rate considering the second-year man out of Mount Union is just 75 yards away from crossing the 1,000-yard plateau. The New England matchup looks better on paper than it will be on the field, but it’s not an ominous outlook, either, giving Shorts good value as a No. 2 WR this week. As the aforementioned Alexander has proven, recent success does not dictate future results; nevertheless, Shorts’ triumphs in his last five games validate a starting spot in your lineup.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
Finley has found himself in somewhat of an off-the-field predicament, as rumors of the Packers releasing the tight end after the year are rampant. While his season on the whole has been a letdown, Finley has redeemed some of his worth in recent weeks, hauling in 50 yards or more in four of his past five contests. Better yet, the Titans have been abysmal guarding adversarial tight ends, relinquishing the third-most points to the position in 2012. Aaron Rodgers likes to spread the rock around, and Finley’s two touchdowns don’t convey the aura of a red-zone bull’s-eye, but managers could do a lot worse than the 25-year-old in the TE slot.
We’ve been ragging on the Arizona offense the past few weeks, and rightfully so, but the Chiefs haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard, either. The stats don’t necessarily back this claim, yet the Colts defense has vastly improved over the last month, making them a decent start against this shabby Kansas City squad.
Stock declining for Week 16
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
A wonderful October and November has been wiped out by a disastrous December, as Freeman failed to capitalize on an exploitable Eagles defense in Week 14 followed by a forgettable foray versus the Saints yesterday, featuring five turnovers and zero scores. The New Orleans fiasco was especially disconcerting, as the Tampa Bay QB was viewed as a top-10 quarterback thanks to the matchup, potential he left unfulfilled. Keeping the recent stumbles in mind, it’s hard to place your faith in Freeman against a better-than-believed Rams defense this week. Only start in two-QB formats.
Andy Dalton, Bengals
Give the man credit: with only two weeks remaining on the regular-season slate, Dalton remains inside the top-10 scores at the quarterback position, above the ranks of Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer. (Don’t laugh on the inclusion of Palmer, who has put together one of the all-time garbage-point campaigns. He needs only 13 yards to reach the 4,000-yard club and has 23 end-zone excursions. Not bad for someone who went undrafted in the majority of leagues.) Can’t say too many of us in the fantasy community had the Red Rifle pegged for such a preeminent standing.
Unfortunately, Dalton was extremely shaky versus a susceptible Eagles secondary last Thursday night, with a touchdown scramble on the soil saving his fantasy day from calamity. Envision further troubles against the top-ranked Steelers defense, holding opposing arms to the lowest output in the AFC. Juice is not worth the squeeze on this one, folks. Speaking of Steelers…
Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
Early deficits the past two games have taken the ball out of Dwyer’s hands and into the passing game, but a meager 17 carries in the last two weeks? That ain’t getting it done, son. The Bengals are more formidable against the flight assault than the ground, and it’s worth noting that Dwyer amassed over 120 yards in their first meeting in late October. Alas, can’t say I’m crazy over the Steel City’s offense at the moment, putting the kibosh on his advocacy.
Montell Owens, Jaguars
I’m viewing the Montell Owens Experience like meeting a girl on vacation. The time you had together was fantastic and unexpected (i.e. Owens’ 102 total yards and touchdown last week), but, deep down, you know the moment is fleeting and the chances of making a long-term relationship are slim (Owens’ 11 carries for 47 yards yesterday). And yes, I will never forget about our rendezvous down by the beach in the summer of ‘05, Rebecca from Denver. I will never forget.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
BOOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Every Alexander Fantasy Owner
Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Anyone like to take a shot in the dark on the last time Nicks finished with over 80 receiving yards? Anyone? If you said, “Week 2” well, sorry. I mean, you’re right, but the only people that would know that are Nicks owners, and given his frustrating play and high draft standing, can’t imagine many managers have been satisfied with this selection.
There is hope on the horizon, as the Ravens are a depleted and destitute company on defense at the moment, but Nicks has done little to instill conviction of blowing up the box score.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
Don’t get too excited over Gates’ first trip to the Promised Land since Week 10. The venerable tight end only finished with 31 yards on the afternoon, marking the fifth time in the past eight games Gates finished with less than 35 yards receiving. And it’s not like the other three contests were fantasy bonanzas, either, with outputs of 43 yards, 57 yards and 49 yards, respectively.
There are too many viable tight ends to continue to push Gates into service. Throw in a tough matchup against a stout Jets LB corps, and Gates is best suited for your bench.
Thirty-eight points to an offense orchestrated by Ryan Lindley. That is all.
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