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Week 3 Risers & Fallers for Fantasy Football

By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsWeek 2 was initially overshadowed by a handful of off-the-field issues, primarily the Ray Rice saga and the Adrian Peterson case. But once the games got underway, the injury bug hit many high-profile fantasy studs, forcing owners to take a step back and evaluate their rosters for the upcoming weeks.

Luckily, bye weeks are still a week away, so owners still have one week to take advantage of their roster depth.

This weekly column will take a look at ten players. Five guys that are on the up-and-up, or “risers,” and five guys that are struggling, or “fallers.” You shouldn’t necessarily take these as start/sit sleepers or waiver wire add/drop recommendations, as the analysis is meant to be more of a gauge for how a fantasy football player is currently trending.


Fantasy Football Risers - Stock Up

Knile Davis, RB - Kansas City

If you are a Jamaal Charles owner and did not have Davis as a handcuff, shame on you. After Charles left Sunday's game against the Broncos, Davis was highly effective, and should continue to be as long as Charles is out, and at this point it's unclear how long that'll be.

However, high ankle sprains, which is what Charles was diagnosed with, tend to linger for several weeks, so even if he plays, who knows how productive he will be? (Just ask C.J. Spiller how much his 2013 campaign was affected by his sprained ankle). Davis is not only a must-add, but should be a top-20 RB for the next few weeks, until Charles is fully healthy.


Danny Woodhead, RB - San Diego

Most people don't realize that Danny Woodhead was a top-15 RB in 2013 in PPR formats, and was even productive in standard leagues. With Ryan Matthews now sidelined for several weeks with a sprained MCL, Woodhead will once again see a lot opportunities coming out of the San Diego backfield, especially on passing downs.

Sure, the Chargers signed Donald Brown in the offseason, who will likely see some work as well, but Woodhead is the guy I am targeting. Philip Rivers has shown trust in Woodhead, and the Chargers have some favorable matchups over the next few weeks.


Ahmad Bradshaw, RB - Indianapolis

Despite going much later in fantasy drafts than fellow teammate Trent Richardson, Bradshaw looks like the more explosive and better overall RB for the Colts. Richardson was actually running pretty well on Monday night, until he was struck with the fumble bug.

Bradshaw looks more comfortable in the Colts' offense and is better in the passing game than Richardson is. I really like Bradshaw to continue to be the main guy in the Indianapolis backfield, until he inevitably gets hurt. But for now, enjoy his resurgence.


Jeremy Maclin, WR - Philadelphia

Maclin has started off the season with two straight games scoring a touchdown. While he hasn't blown the cover off the stat sheet, it's a very positive sign for the speedy wide receiver, especially since Nick Foles and the Eagles offense have yet to really click, despite a 2-0 record.

Maclin has asserted himself as Foles' top passing target, along with TE Zach Ertz, and should continue to see many opportunities in the high-speed Chip Kelly offense.


Matt Asiata, RB - Minnesota

As more facts come out regarding the Adrian Peterson situation, it's starting to feel like he might not be playing for a while. That means that Asiata will be the go-to running back for the Vikings for the foreseeable future. He had a pretty good game against the Patriots on Sunday, and was very involved in the passing game as well (five catches, 48 yards and a TD). Continue to monitor AP, but Asiata has a great opportunity if Peterson is in fact suspended.


Fantasy Football Fallers - Stock Down

Dennis Pitta, TE - Baltimore

I liked Pitta a lot coming into this season, but after seeing two games of the Ravens' offense, I am really unimpressed by Joe Flacco, and simply do not trust him to get the ball in the hands of his pass catchers consistently (Earth to Torrey Smith?).

In addition, if Owen Daniels continues to steal red-zone looks from Pitta, as he did on Thursday night catching two TD passes, then there is really no reason for Pitta to be in a starting fantasy lineup.

You're obviously not dropping him, but I need to see improvement from Flacco, as well as more involvement from Pitta in the end zone, to feel good about him moving forward.


Jason Witten, TE - Dallas

Witten still has name appeal, and because of that, will remain in lineups far longer than he should. But he looks old and slow, and Tony Romo has yet to really get it going offensively. The Cowboys also seem to finally be committed to DeMarco Murray and the run game.

Once a PPR monster and a lock at top-5 TE numbers, I would be surprised if you can't find a better option at tight end than Witten right now.


The Entire Giants Offense, minus Rashad Jennings

The New York Football Giants look atrocious. I am staying away from everybody on offense, unless I am in the deepest of leagues. Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle-- I don't want any of them right now.

Rashad Jennings is the exception, simply because he'll probably still get enough volume to be a viable RB2/FLEX play, but seriously, what about the Giants' offense gets you excited right now? There're certainly better options on your bench or waiver wire.


Emmanuel Sanders, WR - Denver

This has more to do with Sanders' surrounding circumstances than anything else. He has been very solid the first two weeks of the season, but word on the street is that Wes Welker will be eligible to return to game action on Sunday.

It also feels that Demaryius Thomas has yet to really get it going, and I sense Peyton Manning will make a concerted effort to feed him the ball more in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Broncos have an early Week 4 bye. This "stock down" has more to do with simply tempering expectations for Sanders once Welker returns to the lineup than anything else, but Sanders should still see plenty of opportunities in the high-powered Denver offense.


Colin Kaepernick, QB - San Francisco

I have never been a Kaepernick owner, but I can imagine that it would be incredibly frustrating. So much raw talent and speed, but also so many mistakes. Look, this is his third year in the league and in that offense. It's time for him to step up and quit making the same mistakes that he was making in 2012.

Coming off of a four turnover performance on Sunday night, I think the 49ers will try to get back to a power run/ball control type of approach, which will limit Kaepernick's upside.



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