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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.

Below are my key risers and fallers heading into Week 14 of the NFL season. You can also check out our other articles throughout the week, discussing other fantasy football risers and fallers as well.

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Week 14 Risers

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

I never thought I'd see the day where Josh Allen became a legitimate fantasy option, but here we are. Allen still can't play quarterback mostly because he can't throw a football well, but from a fantasy perspective, who cares as long as he's rushing for over 100 yards a game. Allen still has more interceptions than touchdowns, but he rushed for 135 yards last week and that's enough for QB1 numbers. His remaining three games are against uninspiring foes from a defensive perspective (Jets, Lions, Patriots). He's a streaming option.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Here we go again. After spending the first half of the season mired in mediocrity, Keenan Allen is exploding in the second half as teams apparently elect to try and "cover" him with linebackers. Allen has at least 20 fantasy points in four of his last five games and has scored in four straight. He saw 19 targets last week. The Chargers have terrible pass defenses on the schedule in the Bengals and Chiefs the next two weeks. Allen should continue to be an elite WR1 until a Week 16 showdown with Baltimore where they will most definitely not cover him with linebackers.

Justin Jackson (RB, LAC)

Move aside Austin Ekeler; it's the Justin Jackson show now. Running backs are clearly super important in real football as evidenced by how much the Chargers struggled to move the ball without Melvin Gordon and while not really using Ekeler. But that's neither here nor there. Jackson is a must own right now and a must start this week as I can't imagine Gordon returning for an easily winnable game against the Bengals. Jackson is in line for a heavy workload and that means week-winning potential in the first round of the playoffs. That's enough for me.

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

Aside from the obvious fact that Tarik Cohen has clearly surpassed Jordan Howard as the Bears' lead back, Cohen is a must-start in a projected shootout with the Rams this week. We got a bit of a preview as to what he can do with volume with the Bears in comeback mode against the Giants last week. Cohen handled eight carries and saw a whopping 14 targets. The Rams will make the Bears score points, which means all systems go for Cohen.

 

Week 14 Fallers

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

The old man found himself on the cut list this week as well. The Cardinals may have somehow pulled off a road win over the Packers, but their offense still resembles that of a dumpster fire. Larry Fitzgerald has an incredibly low ceiling on a team that struggles to sustain drives, and his floor is also low due to their predictable play calling and offensive scheme. Fitz has just 12 targets over his past three games and, if not for touchdowns, would have just two double-digit outings on the season.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Just one week after being a riser, Austin Ekeler is headed back down. Justin Jackson has been more effective and seems to be the preferred option for Anthony Lynn. Ekeler did carry the ball 13 times and saw eight targets, but most of that occurred in the first half. When the Chargers needed an offensive boost, it was Jackson. Ekeler cannot be started anymore.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

Oh dear. Rex Burkhead's return is a serious problem. Burkhead only played 23% of the snaps, but that's 23% of the snaps that previously went to Michel. No Patriots RB cracked the 50% barrier. James White still dominates passing downs, but Michel no longer has the early downs to himself. He needs volume and goal line carries to produce, neither of which are guaranteed anymore.

Spencer Ware (RB, KC)

Don't mistake Spencer Ware's appearance here as an advocation that you bench him - he is still a very worth fantasy starter. I previously thought he would be an RB1 rest of season. It is clear after one week that is not the case. He's still very much an RB2 tethered to an elite offense, but the Chiefs aren't sticking him into Kareem Hunt's old role. Ware dominated snaps at RB, playing 69% of them, so there's no committee. The difference is his usage. The Chiefs ran the ball 19 total times compared to 38 passes, and that was in a game where they had positive game script the whole way through. Ware also saw just one target. Andy Reid does not care about run/pass splits. He will continue to run his modified version of the Air Raid offense, and Ware is just ancillary piece.

 

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