News & Analysis

Fantasy risers and fallers from Week 15 of the season

Nov 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) breaks up a pass to New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Redskins 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The championship matchups are set in most fantasy leagues across the land and now the pressure is on more than ever to make sure the right players are placed into lineups.

There are going to be some players who push teams over the top and some that could flame out at precisely the wrong time.

In our final weekly fantasy stock market report of the 2017 fantasy season we examine some players on the rise, some sliding down and a couple to keep on the radar as the fantasy postseason reaches its conclusion.

Rising up

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Owners who turned to Foles as a streaming option were rewarded big time. He threw four TD passes against the Giants to go along with 237 yards on 24-of-38 passing. That put him over 30 fantasy points and let him finish as a top-five quarterback in Week 15.

Foles made four deep-ball throws, but was able to connect on just one of them. When he was given time though, the veteran shredded the Giants as he completed all four of his touchdowns for 6.7 yards per attempt and a 67.9 percent completion rate when he had a clean pocket.

He will be the consideration as a back-end QB1 with the Raiders paying a visit to Philly on Christmas night in the final Monday game of the season. Oakland has allowed some big games through the air this season, but has only ceded one passing touchdown total over their past three contests.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

After going nine games without scoring, Hunt has three TDs over the past two weeks, including a pair of touchdowns in the Week 15 win over the Chargers. He finished with 155 yards on 24 carries and pulled in seven of his nine targets for an additional 51 yards.

Hunt has been on fire during the fantasy playoffs with a combined 344 yards on 59 touches. This past week’s output was his second-best fantasy performance of the season with only his monstrous NFL debut in the season opener vs. the Patriots delivering more production.

Any concerns of the rookie wearing down over the final stretch of the year have been laid to rest. Hunt has a great matchup at home against the Dolphins in Week 16. They’ve allowed eight TDs to running backs over their past six contests and the fourth-most fantasy points to the position on the season.

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Thomas posted 24.3 fantasy points against the Jets, but the day could’ve been much bigger as he had two different TDs taken away by replay. Still he tallied 93 yards and one touchdown as he pulled in nine receptions on 10 targets.

Thomas has delivered a high floor in all season, but hasn’t enjoyed many breakout games. Sunday could’ve been his best one yet. Still, he’s only failed to get to double-digit fantasy points twice all season.

He joined Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday as only the second wide receiver to register 90 catches in each of his first two seasons. Over the past two weeks Thomas has been targeted 23 times and caught 19 balls for 210 yards and two scores. He faces the Falcons next. In three career meetings vs. Atlanta he’s averaging 26.5 fantasy points per game.

Sliding down

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

Cousins disappointed once again, netting just 196 yards as he completed 18-of-26 passes in the win over the Cardinals. He did throw a pair of touchdowns to avoid falling outside the top 20. Owners who were riding with the Redskins’ signal-caller likely didn’t make it to championship weekend.

Arizona was a plus matchup, but perhaps the lack of weapons around him is finally just now catching up with Cousins. He hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards since Chris Thompson went down in Week 11. Since Week 12, Cousins is only QB17 and tossed just seven touchdowns in four games.

At this point with so few playmakers at his disposal there just doesn’t appear to be much upside in playing Cousins. Denver is on tap in Week 16 and outside of Tom Brady and Carson Wentz no quarterback this season has netted 25 or more fantasy points against the Broncos.

Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Not surprisingly, Miller struggled in Week 15 as Houston paid a visit to Jacksonville. He only mustered 32 yards on nine attempts and caught two of his four targets for one yard in the blowout loss. Game flow greatly impacted his opportunities.

Miller’s biggest fantasy asset has generally been tied to his volume as the Texans have little else behind him. However, since Week 9 he has only had one game with 20 or more touches. Miller had a season-low 11 touches versus the Jaguars.

Touchdowns and a lack of receptions have also been limiting factors. Miller has only scored in three games all season and he’s yet to have a game with five or more catches. Despite all of these issues to consider Miller is a RB12 on the season. Yet with Pittsburgh on tap in Week 16, game flow should be a concern for owners again.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have collapsed right in front of our eyes. The defense has been ravaged by injuries, the offensive line has performed badly and now speculation is growing around Marvin Lewis walking away as the head coach after 15 years on the job at season’s end.

All of it has trickled over to the offensive side of the ball where the Bengals have scored just seven points in each of their last two games. Xavier Rhodes shut down Green in Week 15, holding him to just two catches for 30 yards.

Green’s struggles have extended a bit longer though. He hasn’t hit 80 yards receiving in five straight games and has only scored in one of his last four contests. With Darius Slay and the Lions on tap don’t bet on a big turnaround coming in Week 16 for Green.

On the radar

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers

There’s no doubting the spark Garoppolo has brought to the 49ers during his three-game stretch as a starter. San Francisco is 3-0 in that span and their new quarterback ranks second in the league in passing yards and is PFF’s No. 5 passer over that stretch. He was 31-of-43 for 381 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs in Sunday’s win over the Titans.

The future is bright for Garoppolo, but owners should temper their expectations a bit before inserting him into their Week 16 lineups. He plays the Jaguars this week and at the Rams in Week 17. It’s best to look elsewhere than roll him out here, but how Garoppolo performs during this stretch could have a large impact on his early 2018 value.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Cole delivered in a big way in Week 15 against the Texans after Marqise Lee departed the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. He caught six of his eight targets for 144 yards and a touchdown.

The early reports suggest it is unlikely Lee returns this week to face the 49ers. That opens the door up for Cole and Dede Westbrook to see an increase in targets. Cole comes with some upside, but should still be viewed as a low-end WR3 at best if Lee sits.

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