We’ve all heard the saying, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.” When I stop to analyze this, I think it’s like that statistic you always hear: if you lose one sense, it enhances all your others. The blind squirrel actually has somewhat of an upper hand because he can smell that nut much better than the rest of this squirrel brethren. As you all know, I am a hoops fanatic. My obsession has caused me to spend less of the week looking at football statistics and more time focusing on basketball. I have basically removed one of my fantasy football senses: the statistical analysis aspect. Lately, I have just been watching the games closely and relying on what my eyes tell me……..and you know what? It has worked.
Last week we nailed Rishard Matthew’s value going up, mostly from just watching trends during the game before. This week, we will once again be digging deep and giving you a few players to discover before the rest of your league. While this, of course, is value up-value down, some of the guys I give you may be sitting on waivers with no intention of being added. If you see something or someone in this article you feel strongly about, don’t be shy to add and start these players on a whim.
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.
Ryan Tannehill – I know what you are thinking: the guy just lost 2/5 of his offensive linemen to a ridiculous scandal. How can his value actually go up after that? Easy, the team abandons the run. Lamar Miller is a solid talent but the team can just not run block. For that reason, Tannehill will have no choice but to throw the ball 40+ times a game like he did last week. Tannehill actually has 2+ TD in 3 of the last 4 weeks. Rishard Matthews emerged as his go-to possession receiver last week. I think that trend continues which helps Tannehill sustain some consistency. For that reason, I like him as a solid QB2 and injury replacement if your main QB (Aaron Rodgers) went down due to injury.
Andre Brown – All it took was one carry……..one stinking carry………for Brown to take over as lead back. Peyton Hillis touched the ball once, fumbled and that was that. Despite a 3.8 YPC, Brown made the most of his opportunity by producing 115 yds rushing with a rushing TD on 30 carries. He even caught a pass for 4 yards. With David Wilson out for the season, Brown really doesn’t have any competition when healthy. He is a legitimate RB2 even in PPR from here on out because of sheer volume. Also, he is safely implanted as the goal line back. If you own him, there really isn’t much to worry about with him but the match up on a given week.
Bernard Pierce – Coach John Harbaugh announced this week that he will ride the hot hand in the running game. Ray Rice is averaging just 2.5 YPC this season. If the starter is averaging that small of a total, you’d think the backup should be able to run with the starting gig, right? Well, unfortunately, Pierce is only averaging 2.8 YPC himself. To be fair, the offensive line is terrible. I heard Greg Cosell talk today and he said that they’re playing about as bad as you can play. Even so, if Pierce somehow can get the hot hand (especially this week against the struggling Bears defense) he will be worth using. The Ravens badly need to establish the run, so maybe just maybe, Pierce can be the answer.
Marquise Goodwin – Steve Johnson and Robert Woods have already been declared inactive this week. Antonio Cromartie only shadows true #1 WRs. Marquise Goodwin is not scaring anyone, so he should see a variety of corners looking his way. With that being said, Goodwin has game changing speed and it only takes one play for him to make him a worthwhile fantasy play. I believe he gets one of those this week and will be worth flexing in all 12 team leagues.
Darius Johnson/Levine Toilolo – The Falcons list Harry Douglas as questionable this week. He actually returned to practice Friday which is a good sign. However, both he and Tony Gonzalez are clearly banged up. If they are playing at less than 100%, or especially if they don’t play, that will mean added opportunities for Johnson and Toilolo. Johnson has already been taking snaps away from Drew Davis (especially last week). Toilolo, if both happen to be out, should be a solid bet for a RZ target or two. They are shots in the dark, but Matt Ryan has to throw to someone besides Roddy White if the other two are inactive. These are your best bets in that hypothetical.
Rob Housler – A Regan Yant faovrite, Housler has been showing signs of life recently. In the past 4 games, Housler has seen less than 5 targets just once (1 in week 8). Palmer doesn’t get a whole lot of time from his offensive line and made Brandon Myers a fantasy stud last season. If Housler stays healthy, Palmer will continue to look for him. I think he could be a low end TE1 to high end TE2 in PPR for the rest of the season. Most importantly, he gets Jacksonville this week, so if you are iffy about your TE situation, he could be a great alternative.
Terrelle Pryor – Currently suffering from a knee injury, Pryor says he actually felt worse today (Friday) than he did yesterday. Already in a terrible slump, Pryor hasn’t thrown a TD pass in the past 3 weeks. He does have 2 rushing TD in that span, but 2 TD in 3 weeks just isn’t getting it done. If a pure rushing QB has a knee injury, well, he’s unstartable (I think I made that word up). Avoid at all costs this week even if he plays.
Eddie Lacy – The loss of Aaron Rodgers hasn’t just effected the WRs: Lacy tallied his lowest YPC in a game since week 1 last week. I don’t believe that was a coincidence. Without having the threat of Rodgers, teams are just going to stack the box and try and stop Lacy. Rodgers masked the offensive line woes that Scott Tolzien just doesn’t. The combination of a below average offensive line and a one trick pony type offense spells bad news for Lacy in the near future. Don’t trade him, but downgrade expectations.
Martellus Bennett – Cutler was the QB who made Bennett fantasy friendly. Bennett is now suffering from an ankle injury. It’s looking like a true game time decision which obviously is a fantasy owner’s worst nightmare. Marty B hasn’t tallied more than 36 yards since week 6. He’s trending downward so sell him while people can still see his nice start in their rear view mirror.