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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks, David Montgomery


Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 8 of the NFL season.

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Week 8 Risers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

One week does not a QB1 make, but Aaron Rodgers vaulted himself back into the top five with one massive performance. Rodgers threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for a sixth. After posting QB2 numbers for five out of six years to start the season, Rodgers reminded everyone that he still has this in his range of outcomes. Rodgers was legitimately trending towards not being a must hold in favor of streaming options. Streamers can't do what Rodgers just did. Rodgers is back as a locked in QB1 and has a really favorable matchup at Kansas City this week before the schedule turns on him.

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

It seems strange that Michael Thomas would be included here because he's an obvious elite WR1, but I wanted to talk about him. Thomas is not just an elite WR1, he is the only elite WR1. Thomas is to wide receiver what Christian McCaffrey is to running back. For someone who had such a low floor last season, Thomas has done his best 2018 Davante Adams impression, scoring 16 ppr points in every game this season. He is the only wide receiver in all of football that you can truly rely on for high end production every week. That makes him the most valuable asset at the position; the far and away WR1. Treat him accordingly.

Kenny Stills (WR, HOU)

This one is part player, part situation. Being in an offense with Deshaun Watson obviously helps, but the team has a crowded receiving corps. It got a little less crowded last week with always hurt Will Fuller getting hurt. Fuller has a hamstring strain that will likely cost him a couple of weeks minimum. Kenny Stills stepped in and played 94% of the snaps, the second most behind DeAndre Hopkins. He was a splash play specialist with 105 receiving yards on just four receptions. Stills is the unquestioned WR2 for the Texans and setup to be fantasy WR3 for as long as Fuller is out.

Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

The overall RB1 from Week 7 was none other than Cardinals' backup running back, Chase Edmonds. One of the biggest criticisms of drafting handcuffs is that even in the rare instance where we definitively know who the backup is, it is unlikely the backup can replicate the production of the starter. Edmonds is a true handcuff in the sense that without David Johnson, Edmonds will handle 90% of the work and Edmonds is talented to the point where he is 95% of Johnson. Edmonds proved that last week in his 126 yard, three touchdown evisceration of the Giants. The Cardinals have been working out some running backs and you get the idea that DJ isn't coming back anytime soon. Edmonds is a locked in RB1 every time DJ sits. Two of the next four are against the 49ers, which isn't ideal, but Edmonds' volume and the Cardinals' high paced offense make Edmonds a must start.

 

Week 8 Fallers

The Entire Kansas City Chiefs Offense

I won't belabor this too long. Patrick Mahomes dislocated his kneecap and will likely be out through the Chiefs' Week 12 bye, returning in Week 13. With Mahomes all but done until the fantasy playoffs, it's an obvious downgrade for all of the players relying on him and the prolific nature of this offense to produce. Tyreek Hill goes from elite WR1 to high WR2. Travis Kelce remains as a middling, non-difference making TE1. LeSean McCoy's touchdown upside decreases as he becomes a middling RB3. Every other Chief is droppable.

Brandin Cooks (WR, LAR)

If you can't pop against Atlanta, it's over for you. Well, it's over for Brandin Cooks. He has just one touchdown on the season and has now scored single digit fantasy points in four of seven games. Jared Goff only plays well in good matchups, which limits the opportunities Cooks has to produce and even in good matchups, as we've seen, Cooks is far from a lock. He was drafted as a high WR2. He is nothing more than a random WR3 like so many other receivers.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

I am hesitant to knock a player for what he does in a game where his team only throws the ball 21 times, but Larry Fitzgerald is looking a bit slower out there and he just isn't producing. Fitz only saw three targets last week. He hasn't scored since Week 3. His ceiling is pretty much 6-70, which isn't terrible, but it's not making much of a difference. He does appear to be suffering from Christian Kirk's absence. Combine that with the schedule really turning on the Cardinals with a game at New Orleans and then two out of three against San Francisco coming up and Fitz is just another random WR3, like Cooks and so many other receivers.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

Fantasy owners weren't (or shouldn't have been) starting David Montgomery for a while now. If you still were, well, stop. Montgomery completely bottomed out last week, falling behind Tarik Cohen in snap share (55%-46%) and carrying the ball just two times. It is hard to blame Matt Nagy for moving away from the slow, ineffective plodder. Montgomery has barely reached double digit fantasy points three times this season and he fell into the end zone to get there in two of them. It would not surprise me to see Mike Davis active in the coming weeks as the Bears try and get a spark at running back from a player that has more NFL experience and has learned how to overcome his athletic deficiencies.

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