The NFL regular season is more volatile on a week-to-week basis than the Stock Market. One team that lost by several touchdowns the week before can follow up with a blowout victory. Players who are responsible for the blame one week could be responsible for a game-winning play the next.
With Week 9 of the regular season in the books, let’s take a look at three AFC North players who saw their stock rise, and three others from the division who saw it fall as we head into Week 10.
Williams already has as many 100-yard games with Pittsburgh as he had the previous three seasons combined in Carolina — two. Williams looked lighter on his feet while putting up 225 total yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over Oakland and has made the Steelers look like geniuses for bringing him in as an insurance policy for Le’Veon Bell.
Chris Givens, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Givens is starting to show a rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco, as evidenced by his four catches and 57 yards in Baltimore’s Week 8 win over the Chargers. He saw three more snaps than Marlon Brown in the victory, and with an extra week of preparation during the bye, Givens looks primed to slide into the No. 2 role alongside Kamar Aiken with Steve Smith now lost for the season.
Isaiah Crowell, running back, Cleveland Browns
After losing half his snaps to Robert Turbin in Week 8, Crowell got the bulk of the carries in Thursday’s loss to the Bengals. Crowell only had 38 yards on 10 carries as the Browns abandoned the run game in the second half, but he seemed to run with more authority. Now that Turbin has been released, Crowell should get more carries and a better chance to get in a rhythm for what has been a dismal rushing attack in Cleveland.
Jeremy Hill, running back, Cincinnati Bengals
If there was a game for Hill to get back on track this season, it was last Thursday night against the Browns’ league-worst run defense. Instead, Hill mustered just 52 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, Giovani Bernard managed 72 yards on 13 rushes, averaging a full two yards more per carry. The Bengals have insisted that they’ll continue to ride Hill, but at some point, production has to take precedent.
Taylor Gabriel, receiver, Cleveland Browns
Gabriel’s impact over the last three games has been of the negative variety. His fumble on the first drive in St. Louis was returned for a touchdown, and his three drops in Thursday’s loss to the Bengals didn’t help his cause. Gabriel finished with just one catch for three yards and his diminutive size isn’t going to keep him in the lineup. Dwayne Bowe’s leap over Gabriel on the depth chart should be imminent.
Antwon Blake, cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Blake made news last week by saying the Steelers could win the rest of their games this season, but his team’s victory over Oakland on Sunday came in spite of him. Blake was targeted 15 times by the Raiders, allowing nine receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus. Blake’s day would have been even worse if not for a few inaccurate throws by Derek Carr. If the Browns receivers give Blake trouble next week, his spot on the depth chart may be in jeopardy.