A look at fantasy values from around the league. Who’s up and who’s down based on Week 6 performances and Week 7 outlooks. Who you should go with and who you should avoid.
With the exception of Monday Night’s matchup between Indianapolis and Tennessee, another week is in the books. And also with a few exceptions, we saw more of the same around the league. With the incredible parity in the league, we aren’t seeing sheer dominance like we have in years past. We don’t see players running up the stats week in and week out. Much like our favorite teams, some have good weeks and some have bad. Let’s take a look at who makes our list for this week.
RISER OF THE WEEK:
Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona
The news regarding Peterson’s trade to the Cardinals broke too late for last week’s article. Add that in with his Week 6 performance against Tampa Bay and he easily makes the top of the list. Peterson scored on his first drive in a Cardinal uniform, a 27-yard run four minutes into the first quarter. Peterson went on to amass 134 yards on 26 carries, and added another touchdown in the fourth quarter. Fantasy owners who pulled the trigger early on and started Peterson were rewarded handsomely for their faith in the veteran running back. Peterson and the addition of a running game have bolstered a lackluster Cardinals’ offense and given the team a spark and fans and fantasy owners something to cheer about. Speaking of the Cardinals…
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona
Aside from David Johnson, no one suffered more from his early season injury than Carson Palmer. The loss of a bona fide stud put a huge amount of pressure on Palmer and the Cardinals’ passing game, and the struggles the team had were a direct result. Now, with Peterson in the fold and the Cards able to run the ball effectively, it opens things up for Palmer. Palmer looked like he had a renewed sense of energy on Sunday, completing 18 of 22 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns, giving fantasy owners a much needed boost. The Cardinals travel to Los Angeles for a Week 7 divisional battle against a Rams defense that has been up and down, much like the rest of the league.
Rams D/ST, Los Angeles Rams
As mentioned above, the Rams have been streaky to start the 2017 season, and Sunday against Jacksonville was no different. The Jaguars’ first play from scrimmage resulted in a 75-yard touchdown run for Leonard Fournette, but that came on the heels of a 103-yard opening kickoff return for the Rams. If that’s not indicative of the Rams’ season thus far, I don’t know what is. The defense added another score later in the second quarter off a blocked punt and gave fantasy owners a big payday. The Rams will be home next week against a renewed Cardinals offense and the opportunity to create turnovers will be there, it’s just a matter of if the defense can make things happen.
Saints D/ST, New Orleans
While we’re on the subject of turnovers and defensive touchdowns, we have to look no further than New Orleans’ incredible Week 6 performance against the Lions. The Saints intercepted Matthew Stafford three times and sacked him five times on Sunday. New Orleans forced two more fumbles totaling five turnovers on the day and scored on three of them. The Saints defense has been much maligned at the beginning of the season and didn’t do much from a yardage standpoint, but the three scores were huge for owners who went with the New Orleans defense. New Orleans is the beneficiary of incredible timing as they head to Green Bay to face a Packers offense that will be without Aaron Rodgers, possibly for the rest of the season after an injury on Sunday.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh
For much of the first half in Sunday’s matchup, Bell was running with purpose and didn’t find much resistance from the Kansas City defense. The remainder of the game went much the same way for Bell as he finished with a monster performance for fantasy owners waiting for a breakout from him. Bell carried 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown pushing him over the 20-point mark for the day. The most surprising aspect is the fact that he did it against one of the league’s toughest defenses and the previously undefeated Chiefs. Bell and the Steelers are home next week to face a Bengals’ defense that has a hard time stopping the run so far this season. Next week could provide another big week for Bell’s owners.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans
Lost in the shuffle with all the news about the aforementioned Adrian Peterson trade was the fantasy impact it would have on the Saints as well. Ingram looks to be nearly as beneficial as the Cardinals’ offense as it will open up that many more touches in the Saints’ offense. Ingram made the most of his chances on Sunday as he was the recipient of 25 carries to Alvin Kamara’s ten. Ingram went on to compile 114 yards on said carries and scored twice to provide fantasy owners a huge scoring day. Going forward, it appears as though Ingram will see more carries than Kamara and a two way split definitely is preferable to a three way split for all involved. New Orleans faces Green Bay next week and a Packers defense that’s 22nd in the league against the run.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota
After Dalvin Cook went down with an injury earlier in the season, McKinnon was tasked with picking up the slack. On Sunday against the above mentioned Packers defense, McKinnon didn’t have as big of a day as some of the other backs mentioned but was productive nonetheless. McKinnon split carries almost right down the middle with Latavius Murray carrying 16 times to Murray’s 15. McKinnon made a bigger impact, however, as he amassed 69 yards and a touchdown to provide a double digit fantasy performance on the day. Going forward, if the Vikings continue to split carries between the two backs it will be a matter of who has the hot hand for that day. Minnesota faces a Baltimore defense in Week 7 that has faced the same ups and downs that many teams have had to put up with this season.
Evan Engram/Orleans Darkwa, TE/RB, New York Giants
With the loss of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall for the season, Giants fans were left wondering who would be left for Eli Manning to throw the ball to heading in to Sunday night’s matchup against one of the top defenses in the league against Denver. It was apparent early on who would fill the void as Engram had a terrific game. Engram was targeted more than anyone on the team and hauled in five of his seven targets for 82 yards and a first half touchdown that added on to a lead that the Giants would never relinquish. Engram was the lone bright spot in the Giants’ passing game as Darkwa took the game over in the second half. Against a Broncos’ defense that was allowing just over 50 yards rushing per game, Darkwa carried 21 times for 117 yards and killed off the game for the Giants. The Giants face another tough test next week against Seattle, but coming off this level of a performance against one of the league’s best defenses, things could be on the rise for the Giants
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland
Coming off an injury of his own, Crabtree benefited greatly from the return of Derek Carr to Oakland’s starting lineup on Sunday. Crabtree was targeted the most on Sunday and hauled in six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Considering Carr only threw for 171 total yards, the fact that Crabtree accounted for nearly a third of them bodes well for fantasy owners. The relative disappearance of Amari Cooper makes for an easy choice between the two receivers for fantasy owners. Oakland is home next week against a Kansas City team that was just beat up by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, and the pattern is there for success.
FALLER OF THE WEEK:
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay
It’s hard to tell whether the louder cries came from Packers’ fans or fantasy owners who took Rodgers in the top few rounds of their draft. Considering where he sat atop preseason rankings and heading into the week, no one had further to fall than Rodgers. Rodgers left the game early in the first quarter after only completing two of four passes after a nasty hit from Anthony Barr. Rodgers didn’t return to the game and early reports indicated that Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone and may miss the remainder of the season. This is a huge blow for not only fantasy owners but also creates a ripple effect for the rest of the Packers’ offense.
Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb/Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay
As mentioned, Rodgers being out for the season not only impacts his owners but also that of Nelson, Cobb, and Adams. While Brett Hundley is not the worst quarterback in the league, the Packers’ offense will undoubtedly find the going tough without its star quarterback. Of the three, none accumulated more than 60 yards on the day, although Adams did catch a touchdown pass in the second quarter. Green Bay faces a New Orleans defense that created five turnovers on Sunday and may have a renewed sense of purpose going forward.
Broncos D/ST, Denver
As mentioned above, the Broncos headed into Week 6 with the league’s best rushing defense and one of the best overall defenses. Combine that with the loss of New York’s top two receivers and fantasy owners have a prime candidate for a top performer of the week. Fast forward to Sunday night, when such was absolutely not the case. The Giants’ Orleans Darkwa torched the Broncos D for 117 yards, and Evan Engram was way too much for Denver to handle in the 23-10 loss. Not only did the Giants manhandle the Broncos all night long, Denver’s star linebacker Von Miller was held to one tackle, although it was a sack of Eli Manning. Denver heads to Southern California next week to take on a revamped Chargers’ offense that came within a blocked field goal of beating the Broncos in Week 1.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver
Along with the Broncos defensive struggles Sunday night, it only got worse from there as Sanders left in the second half with a leg injury. Sanders was carted off the field and did not return. Early reports indicate an ankle injury and owners will be well advised to monitor his status going forward. Sanders has easily been Denver’s most productive receiver this far into the season and a long term absence will be devastating.
Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver
While Siemian’s stat line was somewhat impressive on Sunday night, his value takes a hit because of a number of factors. Siemian never seemed to be comfortable against the Giants Sunday and wasn’t able to establish any kind of offensive rhythm. Siemian had a pass intercepted and taken to the house by Janoris Jenkins late in the first half and injured his shoulder on the play. Siemian left the field to be replaced by Brock Osweiler, but did return in the second half. Siemian finished with a respectable 376 yards and a touchdown, but the two interceptions combined with the injury makes him a question mark going forward.
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore
With Collins looking like a respectable option as a bye week replacement, many owners turned to him over the last few weeks, hoping for some decent production. While many of the struggles aren’t Collins’ fault, he has to make the list simply because Baltimore is struggling to move the ball period. While Collins did amass 74 yards on only 15 carries, the run game was rendered largely irrelevant because of the Ravens’ late deficit on the scoreboard. Collins has yet to find the end zone this season and that may not improve next week as Baltimore travels to Minnesota to take on a tough Vikings defense. Fantasy owners may want to look elsewhere for help at the running back position next week.
Chiefs D/ST, Kansas City
Another of the league’s most dominant defenses found the going rough on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell ran the ball at will against the Chiefs’ defense, especially in the first half, and Kansas City could never get going after that. Of course there’s no shame in being beaten by such a potent offense, but the concern is growing for Kansas City, including what the Texans’ offense was able to do late in Week 5’s matchup. Kansas City faces a short week against a Raiders team that is in desperate need of a win and some kind of offensive production and could find themselves in a tight spot.
Kerwynn Williams/Chris Johnson, RB, Arizona
The addition of Adrian Peterson not only helps the Cardinals’ offense tremendously, it severely hinders the value of Arizona’s other running backs in Williams and Johnson. In fact, Johnson was released by the team shortly after the trade was completed on Tuesday. To be released by the same team twice in one season is absolutely brutal. Williams will see his touches drop drastically as he only carried the ball three times in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. Williams carries almost no fantasy value going forward as it appears Peterson will see the majority of the touches.
Stefan Diggs, WR, Minnesota
Going into Week 6, Diggs has been a pleasant surprise on most occasions for fantasy owners. The number one target in Minnesota, Diggs suffered a groin injury in Week 5’s matchup against Chicago and was a scratch for Sunday’s game against Green Bay, leaving fantasy owners scrambling to find a replacement. Diggs’ status going forward is worth watching as if healthy, he is a definite start against Green Bay.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay
Winston was the latest victim of the NFL’s rampant injury bug in 2017. Winston left during the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to Arizona with a shoulder injury (throwing shoulder,) and did not return. Initial x-rays were negative but it has been reported that Winston will undergo an MRI on Monday. Winston has developed into a very reliable fantasy option at quarterback and a lasting injury will definitely be a blow to owners.