NFL Stock Watch: Christine Michael rising, Randall Cobb falling

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/26685/" data-ylk="slk:Christine Michael">Christine Michael</a> highlights this week’s look at recent risers and fallers in fantasy football (Getty Images)
Christine Michael highlights this week’s look at recent risers and fallers in fantasy football (Getty Images)

STOCK UP

Christine Michael: He ran for 106 yards and scored the first two touchdowns of his career in Week 3, and impressed while doing so even if it was a favorable matchup. Thomas Rawls is going to miss multiple weeks with a fibula injury, so there’s a big opportunity for Michael to take full control of Seattle’s backfield. The Seahawks’ immediate upcoming schedule isn’t ideal (@NYJ, bye), but it really eases up after that. Michael should be treated as an RB1 right now, and if a draft were held today, he’d be gone within the first three rounds, if not sooner.

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Terrelle Pryor: The triple-threat turned 14 targets into eight catches and 144 yards while adding 21 rushing yards (and a score) to go along with 35 passing yards Sunday. Pryor is going to continue to dominate targets with Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon out (he has the second-most targets of 15+ yards downfield in the NFL this season), and even when they return, he’s likely to continue seeing snaps under center, making him a WR2 for fantasy purposes, at minimum. Pryor is available in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues and is worth an aggressive bid, as his upside is immense given his usage at quarterback.

Jordan Howard: He was on the verge of taking Jeremy Langford’s job even before the latter suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him 4-6 weeks, and while Chicago’s offense limits his upside, Howard should still settle in as an RB2 moving forward. He’s gotten 5.6 YPC on the year and has already secured 6-of-8 targets in limited work, so Howard appears plenty capable of being a three-down back. At home against the Lions and at a cheap price, he’s pretty much a must start in DFS in Week 4.

Carson Wentz: It’s taken the raw rookie coming from North Dakota State who missed most of the preseason with an injury all of three games to be in the QB1 discussion, as Wentz has been one of the biggest surprises so far in 2016. He’s the real deal.

Jimmy Graham: He underwhelmed during his first year in Seattle and is coming off what’s generally considered the most serious injury a football player can suffer, but Graham has quickly put himself back in the TE1 mix, turning nine targets into 100 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. All the reports about him improving his rapport with Russell Wilson in practice appear to be legit. Graham feels like he’s been around forever, but he’s still just 30 years old. He’s back.

Hunter Henry: The tight end position has been in major flux this year, but there are more emerging options other than Graham, including the rookie Henry, who’s going to be a fantasy option as long as Antonio Gates is sidelined. Henry lost a crucial fumble to end last week’s game, but he secured all five of his targets for 76 yards beforehand and gets a highly favorable home matchup versus the Saints this week. Cameron Brate, Kyle Rudolph and Coby Fleener are three other tight ends who’ve recently seen their fantasy value increase as well.

Jeremy Hill: Few if any backs had a tougher schedule to start the year (@NYJ, @Pit, Den), yet Hill managed three rushing touchdowns, is halfway to last year’s receiving yards total and hasn’t fumbled. The Bengals’ schedule really eases up now, so Hill owners are looking at a major asset moving forward.

STOCK DOWN

Randall Cobb: He has just 12 catches for 132 yards without a TD through three games and wasn’t able to join the fun when the rest of Green Bay’s offense got back on track during the team’s first home game last week. Last year’s underwhelming season was blamed on a shoulder injury that prevented him from working out as well as the loss of Jordy Nelson, but there’s little to blame for Cobb’s slow start to 2016. He hasn’t reached 100 receiving yards in any of his past 18 games, averaging just 32.8 yards over the past eight contests. Cobb is just 26 years old and in his prime with an inner circle Hall of Famer throwing to him, and Green Bay’s schedule looks favorable moving forward, so there’s reason for optimism, but this slump is alarming.

[Week 4 rankings: Overall | FLEX | QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF | K]

Golden Tate: He somehow has just 94 receiving yards with zero touchdowns on the year despite Calvin Johnson retiring and Matthew Stafford on pace to throw for 5,253 yards. Tate has a respectable 22 targets, and he’s sure to improve, but it’s been a discouraging start to the year to say the least. Marvin Jones, Theo Riddick and even Eric Ebron all appear to be ahead of Tate in Detroit’s pecking order through the air.

Ryan Mathews: He’s predictably already banged up and even if he returns at full strength after the team’s bye, Mathews is going to be in a full-blown committee in Philadelphia’s backfield. It’s too bad, as there’s far more upside in this offense than originally expected with the emergence of Carson Wentz, but even a rare healthy Mathews now looks like an RB3 at best.

Latavius Murray: He’s getting 4.8 YPC and already has three touchdowns on the year, but Murray is on pace to finish with 171 rushing attempts after getting 266 last season. He’s not being treated as a workhorse, as Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are going to continue to get carries in Oakland’s backfield.

Tyler Lockett: Seattle is a run-heavy team, and Doug Baldwin remains Russell Wilson’s clear No. 1 target with Jimmy Graham fast emerging as his preferred second target. Jermaine Kearse also remains in the mix, relegating Lockett to just four targets over the past two games, including zero last week. It looks like it’s going to take an injury for Lockett to enter the WR3 discussion.

Marcus Mariota: He had three turnovers without a touchdown in Week 3 at home against an Oakland defense that entered having allowed back-to-back 500-yard performances. Mariota has gotten just 6.8 YPA and has actually run even less than he did as a rookie so far, as he’s taken a step back rather than forward during his sophomore campaign. In fairness, he doesn’t have a true No. 1 WR to throw to and suffers from poor coaching, but Mariota is off the fantasy radar in all non-2QB leagues until further notice. Tajae Sharpe’s once rising fantasy stock has taken a hit as well.

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