Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 14
If you’ve made it this far into the fantasy season, you know what has worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you.
Still, though, as the season winds down, you may need a couple of under-the-radar guys to help you get over the top.
That’s where risers and fallers come in. On to week 14.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan hasn’t overwhelmed in terms of fantasy numbers in the past couple of weeks, but look at his upcoming matchups: at Carolina and at Seattle.
Those teams aren’t lighting anyone up defending the pass, so I like Ryan as a possible under-the-radar starter for you in the playoffs.
Obviously, you don’t bench guys like Brady, Rivers or Vick in favor of Ryan, but if you’ve been rolling with some of the lesser guys at quarterback, Ryan would be a nice guy to slide into your lineup.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Lynch awoke from his fantasy hibernation in a big way in the win over Carolina, rushing for 83 yards and three touchdowns.
It would obviously be ludicrous to expect a performance similar to that going forward, but he’s still receiving the majority of the carries over Justin Forsett.
I like Lynch as a flex starter this week against the 49ers, but I’d be more comfortable projecting his long-term impact on a week-to-week basis.
In other words, he isn’t consistent enough for you to rely heavily on him.
Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona Cardinals
We thought that Beanie Wells would be the primary back once healthy, but then Hightower carried 15 times for 81 yards against the Rams, while Wells got just three carries.
So, if this is how it’s going to be out there in the desert, then you have to consider Hightower as a solid flex play, as well.
Denver and Carolina can be run on, and with the Cardinals’ mess at quarterback, Hightower should see plenty of looks.
Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Cleveland Browns
Massaquoi’s numbers on paper may not be all that impressive, but he does have exactly four catches in four of his last five games.
He’s not a huge TD threat with just two to this point, but Jake Delhomme is looking his way often (6.7 targets per game in Delhomme starts, to be exact).
Looking to Massaquoi if you’re desperate could pay off, but keep expectations reasonable, for sure.
Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
With Dez Bryant out for the season with an ankle injury, Williams’ fantasy value once again rises.
However, considering how up-and-down Roy’s season has been, don’t expect him to duplicate numbers similar to those of Bryant from earlier in the season.
Jon Kitna isn’t looking in Williams’ direction nearly as often as was Tony Romo before he went down, but he’s worth a look, especially if you owned Bryant.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Davis hit a bit of a lull in the middle of the season once Troy Smith was inserted as the starter, but we finally saw a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing Sunday, catching four passes for 126 yards and a touchdown against the Packers.
We know Alex Smith was fond of throwing to Davis before he was benched, so, now that he’s the starter once again, Davis becomes a must-start in my opinion.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington Redskins
If you’ve made it to the playoffs, I’m going to venture a guess that McNabb was not the guy to lead you there.
Regardless, McNabb is having the worst season of his career, and he’s thrown at least one interception in every game since week two.
His 15 picks on the season is already a new career-high (or low, depending on how you want to look at it), and I wouldn’t look to him to be a sleeper down the stretch.
Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Obviously, with the random rise of Tim Hightower, Wells is the loser here.
Arizona’s offensive philosophy has been unpredictable all season long, so, for all I know, Wells will get 30 carries and Hightower will get four Sunday.
However, until we see it, Wells is fantasy useless.
Brian Westbrook, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Westbrook and Anthony Dixon each carried the ball nine times last week, but, in all fairness, it isn’t easy to run on Green Bay.
With Seattle coming up Westbrook could improve again, but again, I’m in wait-and-see mode with a guy like Westbrook with tons of mileage on those legs.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe was completely shutout by Champ Bailey and the Broncos last week, and now, with Matt Cassel likely sidelined after having his appendix out, I’m not too thrilled with the idea of Brodie Croyle reviving Bowe’s fantasy supremacy right away.
With the Chargers being more vulnerable against the run than they are against the pass, I’d be surprised to see the Chiefs come out throwing with a guy like Croyle and backs like Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.
I’d still be hesitant to bench Bowe, but I’ll be more comfortable with him once Cassel is back in the fold.
Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
The Bills looked totally out-of-sync in their blowout loss to the Vikings last week, and Johnson was a part of that, catching just two passes for 36 yards.
With Johnson likely shadowed by Joe Haden against the Browns this week, I’m worried about another down-game from him.
The Bills could surprise me and rebound, but I’d look to somebody else this week.
Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets
Keller still hasn’t scored since week four, which is extremely disappointing considering the guy’s talent.
I think he’d be one of the top fantasy TEs if he were able to get the consistent looks, but since that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon, he’s not worth the risk.
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