News & Analysis

Fantasy risers and fallers from Week 12 of the season

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back James White #28 of the New England Patriots runs with the football against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Thanksgiving weekend came and went and another week of the fantasy football season is in the books. There were plenty of players that gave their owners reasons for thanks in Week 12 and others that disappointed.

However, regardless of the outcome it’s time to focus on Week 13 and what lies ahead. In most leagues the final week of the regular season has arrived and the fight is on for playoff positioning.

In our weekly fantasy stock market report, we examine some players on the rise, some sliding down and a couple to keep on the radar as we head down the stretch run.

Rising up

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Wentz continued to build his case to be the league MVP while remaining one of the most reliable fantasy football quarterbacks in 2017 by throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 23-of-36 passing in Sunday’s 31-3 defeat of Chicago.

The second-year signal-caller has now thrown for multiple TD passes in seven straight outings and has accomplished the feat in nine of his 11 games overall. Wentz has finished as a QB1 eight times this season, including four weeks where he was a top-five fantasy producer at the position.

His team’s success has limited his ceiling though and could be a factor in December if the Eagles start resting starters. Big leads have limited his yardage totals too. After throwing for 300 or more yards in three of his first five contests this year, Wentz is only averaging 215.8 passing yards per game since Week 6.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

After being a non-factor for most of the season, Lynch has finished as a RB1 in two of his last three games. He wasn’t very efficient (2.6 YPC/2.3 YAC) in Week 12’s win over the Broncos, but he did get plenty of volume with 26 carries and three targets.

Lynch has received 14 or more touches in four of his last six contests. He’s also finding the end zone more frequently. Beast Mode only scored two touchdowns in the season’s first eight weeks, but has registered three TDs over his last three outings.

The Raiders seem to be in a bit of disarray as the calendar turns December, but Lynch has some decent matchups ahead with the Giants, Chiefs and Cowboys on tap over the next three weeks. With Michael Crabtree facing a potential suspension and Amari Cooper dealing with an injury, expect Oakland to continue to lean on the running game.

Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets

Week 12 saw Anderson have a banner day. He stretched his scoring streak to five games and finished with a career-high 146 yards as he pulled in six of his 10 targets versus Carolina. The Jets’ wideout scored twice and now has seven touchdowns on the season. Only DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, and Marvin Jones have had more receiving touchdowns at the position this season.

Anderson clearly has developed a nice rapport with Josh McCown and has seen at least five targets in all but one game this season. He’s averaging 7.3 targets per contest since Week 6 and has been a top-six WR in fantasy points over that stretch.

At this point he’s a must-start, high-volume WR2 option for owners that scooped him up off of waivers earlier this year. However, the schedule ahead could limit his upside with tough matchups (@DEN, @NO, LAC) on tap for Weeks 14-16.

Sliding down

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Over the first seven weeks of the season, Smith outscored all but one fantasy quarterback. Since Week 8, the veteran ranks as QB24. The downward trend continued in Week 12 as Smith only passed for 199 yards and one touchdown on 23-of-36 passing.

He has now gone four straight contests without reaching 300 yards and thrown for one or fewer TDs in four of his past six outings. Given these facts, it comes as no surprise that Smith has only reached 20 fantasy points twice since Week 6.

Kansas City was the NFL’s last undefeated team at 5-0, but they’ve only managed one win since and Smith’s play has been a big factor. The last two weeks the Chiefs couldn’t take advantage of good matchups. They scored just 19 points total against the Giants and the Bills, who combined had ceded 40.2 points per game over their three games before facing the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith

James White, RB, New England Patriots

White continued to see his role diminish out of the Patriots’ backfield in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. He played on just 18 snaps, which is one more than he had a week ago and seven more than his Week 10 total. However, he averaged 36.4 snaps per contest during the first five weeks of the year.

Fewer snaps have translated into fewer opportunities. In his past three games he’s seen a total of six targets. He was able to pull four of those in for catches, including a TD in Week 10. Take away that touchdown though and he has 8.6 total PPR points since Week 10.

With Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead having a firm grip as the Patriots’ 1-2 punch out of the backfield, White has become a droppable asset as he’s simply too much of a risk to put into a lineup in this current environment.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

What do Jarius Wright, Trent Taylor, and Mack Hollins all have in common? They are among the 80 wide receivers who have outscored Nelson in PPR leagues since Aaron Rodgers got hurt in Week 6. In that span Nelson has registered just 13 catches on 24 targets for 103 yards and 0 TDs.

The veteran wideout saw his fantasy value hit rock bottom in Sunday night’s loss at Pittsburgh. Despite Brett Hundley throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns, Nelson saw just five of the 26 passing targets and finished with three catches for a season-low 11 yards.

The 32-year-old was showing some signs of decline even before Rodgers went down. However, he scored six times in his first four games. He’s now gone six games without a TD. The last time he did that came in Weeks 9-14 of the 2013 season — also when Rodgers was sidelined.

On the radar

J.D. McKissic, RB, Seattle Seahawks

With C.J. Prosise on injured reserve, McKissic has a grip on the passing-down role out of the Seattle backfield. However, he only played in 31 of the team’s snaps against the 49ers. The game flow didn’t support him like the previous week in the loss to Atlanta when he played on 50 of the team’s 74 snaps.

McKissic has caught four or more balls now in three straight games and over that stretch is RB23 in PPR leagues. The Seahawks still seem determined to keep him away from early-down work though and that makes him tough to endorse in standard formats.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Seals-Jones played one snap the first 10 weeks of the year, but over the past two games the Arizona tight end is opening some eyes. A week after scoring a pair of touchdowns against the Texans and catching three balls for 52 yards, he pulled in four of his six targets in Week 12 for 72 yards and another score versus the Jaguars.

He now has 11 targets in the past two games. Seals-Jones has only played on 25 snaps, but ran 19 routes. It remains to be seen if he can continue to keep up this production being on the field as little as he is, but given the fantasy landscape at tight end he could be worth a look in deeper leagues.

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