News & Analysis

Fantasy risers and fallers from Week 13 of the season

Nov 19, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi (36) runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar has turned December and the fantasy playoffs have arrived for most. For those that were fortunate enough to move on the margin for error is now slim.

Every fantasy team still standing is littered with some clutch performers, but also likely has some that has disappointed a bit too.

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 the fantasy postseason kicks off.

Rising up

Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots

The Patriots can beat you any way they want. Tom Brady can air it out or they can pound the rock. Regardless of what their game plan is it is becoming increasingly clear as the season wears on that Burkhead is going to be a big part of the equation.

He had 15 touches in Week 13’s win at Buffalo as he carried the ball 12 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns. He also pulled in three of his four targets for 25 yards. Burkhead received both of New England’s runs inside the 5-yard line and appears to be the primary goal-line back.

Over the last four weeks Burkhead is seeing 13 touches per game while ranking third in PPR points per opportunity (0.72) and is the RB5 during that span. He’s still being vastly underrated in fantasy circles. View him as a high-risk, high-upside top-15 RB.

Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

During his early-season rise to fantasy relevance Collins was getting touches and was productive with his yardage totals, but he failed to dent the end zone through the season’s first 10 weeks. In the time since, the Raven running back has scored four times in three games.

He scored 23.8 fantasy points in Sunday’s win over Detroit as he ran the ball 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. He added two catches for 23 yards on a pair of targets.

There was some concern his production could be impacted by the return of Danny Woodhead. However, in the three games since that happened Collins has averaged 19.67 touches. He’s tied for seventh in the NFL with 4.7 YPC and boasts a 2.8 YAC for the season. With 100 total yards or a score in four of his last he’s emerged as a weekly must-start RB2.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

With Jimmy Garoppolo taking over the reins of the San Francisco offense, there is reason for optimism for some of the surrounding pieces. Goodwin is certainly near the top of the list of options.

He ran routes on 92.5 percent of his snaps and owned 2.16 percent of the team’s target share in the team’s road upset of the Bears, finishing with eight catches for 99 yards on eight targets. After scoring on an 83-yard TD catch in Week 10, Goodwin has 12 catches for 177 yards and a 15.1-yard average depth of target over his last two games.

He definitely has shown the ability to make big plays and Garoppolo seems to be comfortable throwing him the football. Goodwin could make for a nice plug-in option over the next two weeks with the Texans and Titans on tap.

Sliding down

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

Playing without his top two targets — Amari Cooper (concussion) and Michael Crabtree (suspension) — Carr posted some modest numbers in the win over the Giants. He completed 22-of-36 for 287 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs.

It wasn’t a bad effort until you consider that New York has been getting shredded by opposing quarterbacks. They’ve allowed multiple TD passes in six of their last eight games and are ceding 270 yards per contest.

The problem in Carr’s case is his ceiling is too low to count on him as a starter in most cases. He offers no added value in rushing stats and has been held to one TD pass or fewer in seven of his last nine outings. He currently sits outside the top 12 in both passing yards (13th) and touchdowns (15th) and should be treated as a match-up play QB2 for fantasy purposes.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

When Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia it seemed his fantasy value was on the rise. Miami’s offense was sputtering. Despite landing with the high-flying Eagles, Ajayi’s stock has dropped due to his declining touches.

Game flow didn’t help matters in the Week 13 loss at Seattle and Ajayi did lead the backfield with 12 touches compared to LeGarette Blount’s eight touches and Corey Clement’s six. Ajayi only managed 35 yards on nine carries and turned his four targets into three catches for 11 yards.

For the season Ajayi is on the fringe of the top 30 at the position in fantasy points, but he’s failed to reach 15 PPR points in a single game in 2017. He averaged 21.7 touches per contest as a Dolphin, but is getting 8.5 touches per game with his new team. He’ll be hard to trust in any lineup with something meaningful on the line down the stretch.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans turned in his second-worst performance of the season in Sunday’s loss at Green Bay. He only had two catches on six targets for 33 yards and went a fifth straight game without a touchdown. Even with Jameis Winston returning under center, Evans disappointed.

He’s been disappointing owners more often than not this season. He’s only gone over six catches in three of his 10 games and hasn’t accomplished the feat since Week 7. Evans is still looking for his first 100-yard game of the year and hasn’t hit the century mark since Week 12 of last season.

Drafted in the first rounds of many drafts, Evans has only finished with WR1 numbers four times this year and the last time it happened came Oct. 22 vs. the Bills. He finished outside the top 40 just as many times (4) in 2017. Evans needs to be treated as a mid-range WR2 until further notice.

On the radar

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

It may be tough for Westbrook to live up to some of the hype that preceded his season debut in Week 11, but he has definitely had a positive impact on the Jaguars’ passing attack. Over the past three weeks he’s tied for 12th in the league with 25 targets.

The rookie has pulled 15 of those targets for catches. However, he only has netted 154 receiving yards and is still searching for his first TD as a pro. He’s definitely a nice bench piece down the stretch, yet outside of the deepest leagues he’s hard to endorse as a starting option.

Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brate definitely benefited from the return of Winston on Sunday with two touchdown catches and registered for 39 yards. They were his only receptions on six targets. He only managed one catch per game over his last four with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center.

Brate remains a TD-dependent fantasy option. With rookie O.J. Howard continuing to see an increased role and the inconsistencies of the offense as a whole it’s tough to see Brate getting back in the mix as a top-10 option anytime soon.

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