Week 4 Fantasy Football Stock Watch
After a disastrous Week 3 for fantasy managers across the nation, Bryan Armetta breaks down the biggest losers and the few bright spots that are on the rise.
No, it wasn’t just your imagination: Week 3 in the NFL was painful to watch for most fantasy managers. Numerous stars, including D'Andre Swift, Michael Thomas, David Montgomery and Dalvin Cook, suffered injuries. On the field, things were likely worse. Just consider some of the players to score under ten fantasy points in PPR leagues: Justin Jefferson, Brandin Cooks, Tyreek Hill, James Conner, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones and Alvin Kamara. None of those names will be making an appearance as a “faller” on today’s list; there’s simply too much underperformance to go around. Following Sunday's chaos, here's the stock watch entering Week 4:
Fantasy Football Stock Watch Week 4
Stock Down: WR DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers
If you’ve been reading the stock report weekly, your reaction to Moore’s placement is probably a combination of “deserved” and “what took you so long?” Maybe it was an example of wish-casting; With Baker Mayfield in Carolina, things should have been better for a guy that was forced to catch passes from the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and (checks notes) PJ Walker for his entire career. Alas, that simply hasn’t been the case for Moore, who seems to be falling further and further into fantasy oblivion with each passing week. The Panthers wideout had a single catch for two yards on Sunday against the Saints.
We’re long past the point where Moore’s six targets can bring solace to fantasy owners; his season-long total of 88 yards trails superstars like Greg Dortch and Tyler Conklin. This seems to be an offensive-wide issue, which can be reassuring or terrifying depending on how you look at it. The optimist would say that if the Panthers can get to even mediocre levels of proficiency on that side of the ball (30th in total yardage), they'll need to rely on their best receiver. The pessimist would say that even the great Christian McCaffrey is struggling to get receptions from Mayfield, whose play encouraged Odell Beckham Jr. to request a release from the Browns last year. Baker has a history of failing to get the ball into the hands of his best weapons, and Moore could be his latest victim.
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Stock Up: RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
Did you have Khalil Herbert as the highest-scoring player in all of fantasy this week? The backup running back on one of the league’s worst offenses had a day to remember against the Texans, kick-started by an early injury that sidelined starter David Montgomery. Herbert rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. While it’s difficult to start the second-year running back again this weekend (assuming Montgomery is back), there is reason to believe he can continue to earn more snaps and a larger role in the Bears’ offense going forward.
Chicago’s new front office has little loyalty to someone drafted by the previous regime, so they may be willing to see what they have in Herbert instead. While Monty isn’t a slouch, Herbert has looked more explosive this season, with a massive 7.3 yards per carry. If that level of rushing excellence continues, the Bears will have no choice but to give him the majority of snaps going forward. Even the Bears’ anemic passing game could help; in order to prevent Justin Fields from getting obliterated due to a porous offensive line, Chicago may lighten the load via their two running backs. Herbert is a flex option for now, but he’s good enough to overcome a less-than-ideal surrounding cast.
Stock Down: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
Edwards-Helaire is one of the strangest stock-downs of the entire season. The RB1 in a powerful Kansas City offense, Clyde has scored more than 10 fantasy points in all three games this season. However, looks can be deceiving; CEH's value has been almost entirely dependent on his ability to find the end zone. While Clyde's pass-catching has been a valuable part of the offense, he has less than 45% of snaps in every game this season, with Jerrick McKinnon taking the field more often in each contest.
Unless you have clueless leaguemates, CEH's zero-rushing yard performance last Sunday will halt any attempts to sell high. For now, managers will have to wait it out and hope that the quality of Clyde's touches remains high. There is a chance he earns more work on the ground as the season goes on, given his overall improvement since entering the league three years ago. Still, it's difficult to trust Edwards-Helaire this weekend despite the strong start. A date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, arguably football's stingiest run defense, looms large. The clock is ticking on Clyde's days as an elite fantasy option.
Stock Up: QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Turns out that not playing for a lunatic head coach can do wonders for a quarterback. The try-hard buffoonery of the Urban Meyer era is gone; new head coach Doug Pederson has done wonders transforming the Jaguars from a laughing stock to legitimate AFC South contenders. Most notably, Pederson has brought the best out of Trevor Lawrence, who is finally displaying the generational talent that he showed us in college. The sophomore quarterback has already thrown six touchdowns this year, three of which came on the road against the Chargers last Sunday.
Currently the fantasy QB10, the time to buy into Lawrence is now. A tough matchup against the Eagles should cool down any hype before a soft stretch from Weeks 5 to 7. We've seen young quarterbacks go from scrubs to stars before; there's no reason to think that Lawrence can't keep the momentum going all season. Jacksonville's offseason additions offer encouragement; Christian Kirk and Zay Jones are quality receivers, while Evan Engram can act as a safety blanket at tight end. With an offensively savvy head coach in Pederson calling the shots, it's hard to think of a better situation for Lawrence following the train wreck that was 2021. Buy low while you still can on this future star.