Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 6

by Nick Zychowicz
Oct 10, 2017

35-year-old Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a week where he threw a career-high five INTs with two pick-sixes

We’ve got no Watt, no D.J. …our receivers’ ankles are falling off! We even saw an Achilles snap in slow-mo high definition this weekend.

I have to say, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish fantasy football from minesweeper. Still, we must march on, through the byes and the bombs, one foot after the other, one waiver period at a time.

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STOCK UP

Cam Newton (QB – CAR)
In a mere 14 days, Newton has rediscovered his accuracy, his gargantuan receivers, and his respect for women. What a rollercoaster. This redemption story is as old as time: a hero dies and is discarded, only to rise from the dead after a social crucifixion better, faster, stronger, slinging touchdowns, and saving his believers from certain death. Our Superman is back.

As it turns out, you can’t just miss all of the preseason and come right back looking like your old self. Apparently, it takes a little time. Hopefully, you didn’t follow the advice of any fantasy experts who advised you to drop him (ahem).

Carson Wentz (QB – PHI)
This was perhaps Wentz’s best game of his career: 70% completion rate for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the overall QB6 through five weeks, despite his QB17 draft-day price tag. He’s got good feet, good pocket presence, great size, a cannon arm.

Swap jerseys and he’s looking like (a healthy) Andrew Luck. Add that he’s playing behind one of the best lines in football, and there’s nothing not to love moving forward.

Melvin Gordon (RB – LAC)
He was teetering on the edge there, for a minute. His health was in question, and so was his usage. The coaches were not happy with him.

How did he respond to adversity? With season highs in snap percentage (83%), scrimmage yards (163), and targets (eight).

He’s getting bell cow volume, and he’s looking good with it. So breathe. Just…breathe.

Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
Jones is the best running back on Green Bay’s roster, whether Ty Montgomery is healthy or not. Montgomery is perhaps a better all-around weapon, but this SPARQ-freak has carved out a role for himself moving forward.

All that said, I’m treating Jones as a sell-high candidate. Montgomery, when he returns, will at least have a significant role, or at most take the bell cow volume back for himself.

I’d try to trade for someone with a more reliable season-long outlook. Montgomery isn’t getting any further away from returning.

Duke Johnson (RB – CLE)
He’s exceeded 12 standard fantasy points in each of the last three weeks, and he’s the most dynamic weapon on the Cleveland Browns. Though I understand this is roughly the same as being the fastest kid at fat camp, talent and opportunity mean everything in this game, and Duke Johnson’s got both. Value him as a solid RB2 for now.

Will Fuller (WR – HOU)
Fuller has four touchdowns on six receptions through two games. There’s some magic going on in Houston, and Fuller’s a major benefactor. You have to value him as a high-end WR2 for the time being.

I would try to sell him as such for players who aren’t as touchdown dependent, have a bigger sample size, etc. I won’t be disappointed if I can’t work anything out though. He is a special talent in a special situation.

Devin Funchess (WR – CAR)
Since Greg Olsen went down, Funchess has at least eight targets in every game, and he leads his team in red zone targets. His target share now exceeds Kelvin Benjamin’s. This is what a breakout looks like.

STOCK DOWN

Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
“Maybe I don’t have it anymore.” What the hell does that mean? Who says that?

He’s like that girlfriend who starts dropping hints that she’s losing interest. It’s just a girls’ night out.

Maybe I’ll go on that trip to Greece I’ve always talked about. You didn’t even notice my new haircut!

Yes, sometimes, you can just tell when someone’s not fully engaged. With Big Ben, it started in the summer, when he was mulling retirement. “It’s just, it’s 14 years. That’s a long time.” “I think it’s just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason, I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time.”

Roethlisberger’s heart is not in it right now. 19 targets to a well-covered Antonio Brown has “phoning it in” written all over it. Even if he still has all his physical tools, he doesn’t look right mentally.

I will say this for owners holding out hope: the schedule has been brutal to start the year. Four of the first six games are on the road. The only two home games were against top-five defensive units in Minnesota and Jacksonville.

On top of that, the play calling has been awful, but Todd Haley has been able to make adjustments in the past. At the very least, the schedule starts to open up. At best, the offensive game planning gets right too, and Roethlisberger finds the motivation to give his teammates 100% effort for the next three months.

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
This one is baffling. How is it that the Titans were so effective last year, and so abysmal this year? Mariota or not, the offensive line is not playing up to their potential, and the coaching staff is getting a little too exotic and not enough smash mouth.

Just two weeks ago we were looking at the start of a takeover. Now? Sixteen yards in two weeks on 10 total carries.

I’m confused because not only are the players not playing well, but the coaches refuse to adjust their plans at all. Derrick Henry is not a change of pace back. He’s the kind of back who wears down defenders.

He needs to be fed. At this point in their careers, Murray would be much better suited in the change of pace role.

Let Henry wear down the defense and use Murray’s three-down skillset to clean up and take advantage of tired defenders. Head coach Mike Mularkey has it exactly backward.

Until further notice, Henry is nothing more than a lottery ticket stash to hold onto in case Murray gets hurt. He’s not startable unless the regime changes their ways, or gets changed out for someone more competent. I’m not holding my breath.

Sammy Watkins (WR – LAR)
How does such a talented player get such little attention? How has head coach Sean McVay not found a way to integrate Watkins into the game plan?

With 17 yards against a putrid Dallas defense and zero yards on two targets against the Seahawks, Watkins has a complete non-factor and likely droppable. Hey, it could be worse: you could’ve spent a second-round pick on Amari Cooper who’s providing the same dismal production.

Houston Texans D/ST
This was a really special unit, thanks to their elite front seven. They just lost the generation’s best defensive end, and their best linebacker, for the year. Jadeveon Clowney will continue to make plays, but this unit is not an elite fantasy asset anymore.


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Nick Zychowicz is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, follow himĀ @NJZychowicz.

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