Dynasty Risers & Fallers: Cam Akers, Chigoziem Okonkwo, Cordarrelle Patterson (2022)
As we near the fantasy football playoffs, it’s necessary to stay on top of trends and rising or falling players. If your league doesn’t have a trade deadline, it’s an excellent time to go buy some risers for next season.
Even if your trade deadline has passed, a key part of a rebuild is going into the offseason, fully aware of which players are trending up. Some may even be available on the waiver wire, so don’t forget to stay active there.
Let’s look at who is rising and falling after week 13.
Admittedly, I was dropping Cam Akers down my rankings a few weeks ago, but who wasn’t? He was away from the Rams for what the team called “personal reasons,” but it was no secret they were looking to trade him. After failing to do so, Akers slowly began working back into the rotation.
On Sunday, Akers rushed 17 times, a season-high, for 60 yards and two touchdowns. His 19 fantasy points are his highest total of the season, and his two scores doubled his season total coming into the week. He averaged only 3.5 yards per carry and wasn’t overly effective outside of the touchdowns, so let’s not get carried away, but the usage and fantasy production are encouraging. This is especially true,, considering the Rams appeared ready to give up on him earlier in the season. With Darrell Henderson out, the backfield belongs to Akers with Kyren Williams in a complimentary role.
Alec Pierce has struggled to find consistency with the Colts’ ups and mostly downs this season. Coming into Sunday, he totaled just 51 yards in the last four weeks, including two games with zero receptions. He bounced back in week 13 against the Cowboys, catching four passes and recording a season-high 86 yards with a touchdown. He played 51 snaps and ran 30 routes, still running behind Parris Campbell. This type of performance can lead to more playing time. However, the Colts meet their bye in week 14. With a friendly matchup against the Vikings on the other side, we may see a strong bump coming out of the bye for the rookie.
The rookie tight end led the team in receiving yards with 68 on four grabs. The best news for Chigoziem Okonkwo is that he played 33 snaps and ran 21 routes, both of which were more than Austin Hooper. His 2.75 yards per route run leads all tight ends and seems to be leading to more playing time, which he is making good on. He’s now topped 30 yards in five straight games, and after a streak of one-catch games, he’s tallied three and four in the last two games, respectively. After recording five targets in each of the last two weeks, it would be wise for the Titans to make that the norm for the big-play threat.
Christian Watson was a riser last week, but he continues his scorching hot streak and ascent up the ranks. Many rookie wide receivers are balling lately, but Watson was the forgotten man early in the season, especially with Romeo Doubs soaking up loads of hype. Watson tallied three receptions on Sunday for 48 yards and a touchdown, adding a 46-yard run for another score. The rookie out of North Dakota State has now found the endzone eight times in the last four weeks. During that span, Watson stands as the WR1 in standard scoring and the WR3 in PPR scoring.
Although Isaiah Hodgins isn’t taking the NFL by storm like a few of the names that have graced this column in the past, he’s getting a second chance in New York after being let go by Buffalo. I began adding him in all my deeper dynasty leagues with the thinned-out Giants wide receiver group, and he’s soared up to the No. 2 spot on the wide receiver pecking order. On Sunday, he caught five passes for 44 yards and a touchdown for 15.4 fantasy points. He’s nothing more than a name to watch, but an interesting one nonetheless.
This may be an obvious name to include, but Russell Wilson has yet to be featured in this column as he has floated around in the QB2 range. As we held out hope that things would develop in Denver, it’s somehow gotten worse as the season has gone along. After posting 8.48 fantasy points against the Panthers last week, Wilson followed it up with 9.66 points this week against Baltimore. In the last four weeks, the Broncos have faced the Titans (second-best matchup for QBs), the Raiders (fourth-best matchup for QBs), the Panthers (middle of the road) and the Ravens (11th-best matchup for QBs). During that span, Wilson has totaled 43.06 fantasy points for an abysmal average of 10.8 per game. Even with more favorable matchups slated for the rest of the season, it’s impossible to envision Wilson taking advantage of any of them.
Since returning from his four-game absence, Cordarrelle Patterson’s usage and effectiveness has not been the same. With Tyler Allgier stepping up in his place, the team has continued to utilize his skill set in conjunction with Patterson. Allgier played 28 snaps compared to 25 for Patterson, while they each ran 12 routes and Patterson carried 11 times compared to Allgier’s 10. In other words, it’s a nearly even split between the two, but the routes especially stand out even though neither was targeted. Patterson has always been an asset in the passing game, so without that advantage, it dampens his upside as he nears 32 years old.
James Cook was featured as a riser a few weeks ago, and he continues to impress. Much of his success has come at the expense of Nyheim Hines, who the Bills traded for at the trade deadline. Naturally, after the Bills struck out on their attempted addition of J.D. Mckissic, it was assumed that Hines would step into a heavy receiving workload instantly. Instead, Hines has recorded just two catches in five games with his new club while rushing for negative eight yards. Yes, you read that right. He played 23 snaps on Thursday, nine fewer than Cook and 10 fewer than Devin Singletary. He ran fewer routes and carried the ball less than both of the other two, making him a distant third in the backfield.
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
Chad Workman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from him, check out his Twitter at @tweetsbychad.