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Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers - Zach Ertz, Emmanuel Sanders, Robert Woods


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 15 of the NFL season.

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Week 15 Risers

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

With everything around him falling to pieces, Zach Ertz is emerging just in time to save his fantasy owners. 2018 Ertz is back with the Eagles down their starting running back and four (yes, FOUR) wide receivers. This is the same setup that led Ertz to 156 targets last season. Ertz's fantasy value lives and dies with volume and with everyone around him injured, the volume is going to be there over fantasy's final two weeks. With dates against the Redskins and Cowboys on tap, Ertz is poised to carry fantasy owners to the promised land.

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SF)

Often times when players have four straight useless games, it is because they are useless. With Emmanuel Sanders, it was easily explained away. Sanders was injured. Then he tried to play through his injury. Then he faced the Ravens. Finally back healthy, Sanders exploded to the overall WR1 finish last week and now gets a mouthwatering date with a Falcons Defense that is down Desmond Trufant.

Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

Over his last four games, which had his Sunday night absence due to personal reasons mixed in, Robert Woods has seen a total of 47 targets. 47! He is the unquestioned alpha WR1 for Jared Goff and is absolutely on fire right now. The Cowboys are fresh off surrendering two scores to Allen Robinson and a third to Anthony Miller. Woods is setup to carry fantasy lineups in the semi-final.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

It is unfortunate the way things went down in Seattle, but Chris Carson's fantasy value has shot back up due to Rashaad Penny's torn ACL. Penny had forced a timeshare with his improved play, but now out of action, Carson will handle as much work as he can. The Seahawks have two of the easiest possible opponents in Carolina and Arizona to close out the season and regardless of whether those teams are good against the run, we know they are just bad in general. Positive game script means Seattle will run as much as they possibly can. It would not surprise me if Russell Wilson attempts fewer than 40 passes over the next two games. Carson is in line for huge volume.

 

Week 15 Fallers

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

To his credit, Josh Allen has played much better this year and has been a reliable QB1 all season. With that being said, the run is over. Allen was no-go last week against the Ravens and closes out the season against the Steelers and Patriots. You can no longer start Allen.

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

From potential MVP candidate to unstartable. That's where we're at with Russell Wilson. He is absolutely not a QB1 this week or even next week against Arizona. Yes, the matchups are juicy, but as you just read re: Chris Carson, that means Seattle gets to run as much as they want. Wilson is always capable of throwing touchdowns on limited volume, but ideally we want him attempting 35+ passes. There is literally a 0% chance that happens in either of the next two games. Wilson has scored below 18 fantasy points in six of his last seven games. He's not a QB1 anymore and hasn't been for quite some time.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

As Robert Woods goes up, Cooper Kupp goes down. Well, that's not a direct correlation, but Kupp is most certainly an extremely difficult player to project going forward. Kupp played just 29% of the snaps last week, definitively behind Josh Reynolds, Brandin Cooks, and Johnny Mundt. Yes, the Rams' third string tight end played more than double the amount of snaps as their presumptive best receiver. Kupp still managed to score because he's incredibly good at football, but if Kupp isn't going to play, then he can't be trusted in fantasy. It's impossible to know if this was a one week thing or the beginning of a trend, but the notion that Sean McVay would even consider basically benching Kupp is quite disconcerting. It's hard to imagine fantasy owners with a better option on their roster, but, just like McVay did last week, you need to at least consider benching Kupp.

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

I will start by saying you cannot bench Alvin Kamara. With that being said, how do the Saints score 46 points and Kamara manage just 6.3 fantasy points? Kamara hasn't scored since Week 3 and in the most favorable environment possible, he was unable to produce. He will almost certainly bounce back some this week, but the guy that was a lock for 20+ fantasy points the previous two seasons is nowhere to be found.

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