Value Up-Value Down: Week 14

The time for lecturing is over. If you’re reading this article you have made your fantasy playoffs. Congratulations to you. Since you’ve advanced this far, I have to assume you know what you are doing. Maybe I should be listening to you (just kidding……….kind of).

By now, you know what it takes to put a winning team together. I am just here to be your consultant and give you that little added push you need to get over the hump. In the playoffs, anything can happen. All it takes is one bad week by you or one great week for an opponent and you are done.

With that being said, don’t start getting all cute. You know who your studs are. You rode them to where you are now. Don’t go benching them just because the match up doesn’t look great. Also, don’t over think things. Just because you are going against Andrew Luck doesn’t mean you should play Coby Fleener over Julius Thomas to try and cancel Luck out.  It doesn’t work like that so don’t hallucinate momentarily and believe it does. Just stand pat, don’t be crazy and keep doing what you’ve been doing. Obviously, you’ve done something right because you’re amongst the final few. It’s going to take a little luck, but a fantasy championship is well within sight!

Here are some players whose values have changed significantly since this time last week. Remember, as always, I try my best not to be so obvious with the players I choose……but at this point it’s difficult not to be.

Value Up:

Nick Foles – Four straight solid weeks has me convinced Nick Foles is an elite fantasy QB option going forward. With Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago left on the schedule, there isn’t much to fear. In fact, that has to be one of the best roads ahead of any QB. Aside from Manning and Brees, the argument can be made that Foles is the next most reliable option moving forward. Still interception free on the season, there isn’t much downside to throwing him out there. Nick Foles: elite QB1 throughout the playoffs.

Shane Vereen – As if Vereen’s hype wasn’t through the roof already, Ridley’s benching along with Blount’s fumble troubles have taken it to a whole new level. Yes, Shane Vereen has become the go-to back for New England. Along with his elite receiving skills, he will now see a significant portion of the carries. The state of the RB position for fantasy purposes is in shambles, so Vereen catapults up the rankings. In PPR formats, there are literally only a handful of players I’d rather own for the rest of the season (Charles, AP, Forte, McCoy and Lynch are really the only ones I’m sure about). If you bench Vereen in any of your final three match ups, you didn’t really want to win a championship anyways.

Joique Bell – Reggie Bush is really struggling to fight off a knee injury. He also fumbled last week, but unlike if he played for many other teams, he didn’t get benched for it. Still, running the ball down the Packers’ throat was clearly Jim Schwartz’s game plan: even though Bush had a monster game, Bell also had 19 carries for 94 yds and a TD himself (to go along with 3 REC for 34 YDS). Bell is a legitimate FLEX option this week even if the hobbled Bush plays. If by some chance Bush misses this or any other week, Joique Bell becomes a high-end RB2 at the very least. Great handcuff moving forward and sold FLEX play.

Andre Holmes – Somehow, someway Holmes emerged as the top pass catching option for the Raiders in week 13. He hauled in 7 catches for 136 yards. Unfortunately for his owners, Denarius Moore should be back this week. It’s hard to fully endorse Holmes for that reason, but in deeper leagues, it’s not the worst idea to ride the hot hand. McGloin found a receiver he likes so maybe he will continue to find him. That tends to happen with young quarterbacks; they find their go-to guy and immediately find chemistry with them that lasts. Take for example Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson when they first started. All the attention helped Stevie evolve into a good receiver. I’m not sure that will be the case here, but there is a chance, so keep Holmes on your radar. If he has another big week this week, I think we have to believe.

Value Down:

Carson Palmer – Five consecutive weeks with at least two touchdowns. Pretty awesome streak he’s on right now, so why would his value be down? The only reason is because he is currently dealing with an elbow injury. I do not want to rely on a QB with problems on his throwing arm in the fantasy playoffs. He was kind of a borderline starter in the first place, so despite this torrid pace the past few weeks, I can’t use him this week. The matchup is below average anyways (Rams allow the 12th least fantasy points to opposing QBs) so I’d just avoid if I could.

Frank Gore – RBBC. Absolutely the last thing a fantasy owner wants to hear in the same sentence with their fantasy RB. San Francisco’s RB carries have become like roulette; you never know who Harbaugh’s mind is going to land on to send into the game. Last week was the first time in four weeks that he found the end zone. Even so, he only totaled 49 total yards. Guess what? Things won’t get any easier for the 30 year old this week at home vs Seattle (7th ranked defense against opposing fantasy RBs). I doubt you can expect a TD from him this week, and if he scores, it probably won’t come with many yards. In fact, Gore combined for just 30 total yards in the first meeting. Avoid if at all possible.

Rob Housler – Seems like he may have been 2013’s flash in the pan. Housler was activated, had a nice stretch of 10+ PPR FP in 3/4 games and now is sinking by the week. As you read earlier, Palmer’s throwing hard is hurting. Now Housler is dealing with an ankle injury of his own. If you added him thinking he’d be your rest of season answer at tight end, well, think again. He’s listed as questionable for week 14 but fantasy owners should list him as “out” of their starting lineups. I’d much rather go with someone like Jordan Cameron or Jared Cook.

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