NFL Stock Watch: Melvin Gordon rising, Eddie Lacy falling

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STOCK UP

Melvin Gordon: He looks like a completely different back this year compared to his rookie campaign, as Gordon has improved his YPC, has yet to fumble and has already scored three touchdowns after failing to reach the end zone last season. Moreover, he secured all three of his targets in Week 2, and he should be a much bigger part of San Diego’s passing offense with Danny Woodhead (ACL) out for the year (although it’s worth noting the team signed Dexter McCluster, who will help out some in that capacity). Gordon is second in the NFL in first down runs and is going to be treated as a true workhorse now, and with a highly favorable upcoming schedule (@Ind, N.O., @Oak), he’s locked in as an obvious RB1. There’s a real argument fantasy owners should prefer Gordon over Todd Gurley at this point.

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Melvin Gordon highlights this week’s look at recent risers and fallers in fantasy football (Getty Images)
Melvin Gordon highlights this week’s look at recent risers and fallers in fantasy football (Getty Images)

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Tyrell Williams: With Woodhead joining Keenan Allen on the shelf for the rest of the season, Travis Benjamin and Williams are two other Chargers who’ve seen their values get a major boost. Williams is 6-4, 205 with 4.43 speed, and he’s going to be given a major opportunity given the sudden lack of alternatives in San Diego’s passing tree (Antonio Gates is also injury prone and looks every bit his age of 36 years old). Benjamin should be treated as a WR2, and the impressive Williams looks like a WR3 at minimum.

DeVante Parker: He saw 13 targets during his first action of the season in Week 2, producing 106 yards while getting open at will. Parker claims he’s still not fully recovered from the hamstring woes he’s dealt with all preseason, which reveals even more upside once he gets there. The window to buy the former top-15 pick low is gone, but he should be viewed as a top-25 WR moving forward.

Jerick McKinnon: Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus that will likely keep him sidelined for multiple weeks, and while Matt Asiata will get work (and likely the goal-line carries), McKinnon is now firmly on the fantasy radar. He’s an explosive back, and Minnesota’s offense looks plenty competent with Stefon Diggs emerging as an elite wide receiver. The Vikings’ offensive line has struggled run blocking this season, but McKinnon is a dangerous receiver out of the backfield.

Dennis Pitta: He secured 9-of-12 targets for 102 yards Sunday and was frequently Joe Flacco’s first read. Pitta remains an injury risk, but tight end continues to be an extremely thin position, so he’s already a TE1 for fantasy purposes and is well worth using your FAAB if he’s still available in your league.

LeGarrette Blount: He’s on pace for 408 carries, and while that will regress moving forward, expect another heavy workload in Week 3 with New England set to start either Jacoby Brissett or a hobbled Jimmy Garoppolo. Blount still offers zero as a receiver, but there’s 10-12 touchdown upside as the lead back in this offense, and his ADP didn’t come close to reflecting that.

Phillip Dorsett: If Donte Moncrief were to miss time with his shoulder injury, Dorsett becomes an immediate WR2 for fantasy purposes, especially in Week 3, as the Chargers/Colts over/under is 52 points. Dorsett is owned in just 42% of Yahoo leagues, and he could be a major difference maker should he enter Indy’s starting lineup.

STOCK DOWN

Eddie Lacy: Aaron Rodgers has somehow managed 7.0 YPA just once over his past 12 games, and the Green Bay offense looks nothing like it’s past dominant self. Maybe a Week 3 home matchup against the Lions cures what ails it, but Lacy currently looks like a back who gets 12-14 touches a game on a team that can’t run block. He hasn’t been given 15 carries in any of his last seven games, when he’s scored just one touchdown. Lacy has been a major disappointment to fantasy owners betting on a bounce back, and there’s little to suggest a big turnaround is soon to come.

T.J. Yeldon: The 12 catches have certainly helped in PPR formats, but Yeldon has gotten just 2.4 YPC and has totaled just 67 rushing yards despite Chris Ivory being inactive over the first two games of the season. He somehow got 10 yards on nine targets in Week 2, which is impressively awful, especially against a Chargers defense that allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season.

Gary Barnidge: Josh McCown gave the Browns’ offense a huge boost, as he helped produce a touchdown during each of the team’s first three drives Sunday. Unfortunately, McCown is looking at an extended absence with a shoulder injury, and Cleveland’s third QB of the year is rookie Cody Kessler, who doesn’t appear close to being ready. Downgrade all Browns players significantly.

Rashad Jennings: He managed just 40 total yards at home facing a Saints defense that ceded the second most fantasy points to opposing backs last season. Jennings saw fewer carries than Shane Vereen despite the latter losing an early fumble, and while a wrist injury may be partially to blame, don’t forget last season was the first in Jennings’ career in which he played all 16 games. He’s tough to start with any sort of confidence right now.

Julian Edelman: Better days are ahead, but the shaky Patriots QB situation has made Edelman a WR3 at best, especially with a tough matchup Thursday night against the Texans. Of course, he’d become the No. 2 QB in New England should Garoppolo be out, and the wide receiver would see a huge boost in value if disaster were to strike and he had to play quarterback.

Jeremy Langford: He’s turned 28 carries into 85 yards on the year and was benched after losing a fumble (the first of his career) Monday night. Langford posted ugly YPC after contact numbers during his rookie campaign, and among the 28 running backs who have more than 20 carries this season, he’s the only one who’s yet to force a single missed tackleJordan Howard already looks like the superior option in Chicago’s backfield and for fantasy teams, as Langford didn’t take long to reach the fears many had of him being a total bust.

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