NFL Stock Watch: Robinson and Rawls rising, Fitzgerald falling

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Allen Robinson highlights this week's look at recent fantasy risers and fallers (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Allen Robinson highlights this week’s look at recent fantasy risers and fallers (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

STOCK UP

Allen Robinson: While it’s safe to expect some TD regression after Robinson tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdown catches last year thanks to what appears to be an improved Jacksonville defense (and they simply have to record more scores on the ground in 2016), he’s really impressed in camp with glowing reports about his improved route running. Entering his third year in the league, Robinson is still just 22 years old, and he’s coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 31 catches of 20+ yards. Allen Hurns and especially Julius Thomas have shown the propensity to get injured, so another 150 targets seem safe to project for Robinson, who looked unguardable during the team’s preseason opener. Robinson is a top-five fantasy WR and a top-10 overall player on my board.

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Thomas Rawls: While Rawls will be held out of Seattle’s preseason opener Saturday, the big news is him being taken off the PUP list. He’ll be cautiously brought along, but this gives him plenty of time to be ready for Week 1. He gets knocked in PPR formats, but Rawls averaged 108.0 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns during seven starts last year as a rookie, when he averaged 5.6 YPC. Despite the Seattle offensive line generally considered poor, Pro Football Focus has graded the Seahawks’ rushing attack as the best in the NFL each of the past three seasons, so it sure seems like a nice situation to be in (obviously Marshawn Lynch deserves some credit there). Rawls easily has the upside to finish as a top-three fantasy back, and his current ADP has him typically going in the third round.

Jimmy Garoppolo: He looked plenty competent during his preseason debut, and Garoppolo is basically free in drafts right now. In New England’s system with those weapons, it wouldn’t exactly be shocking if he were a QB1 over the first four games of the season (when the Patriots play three home games). He should be given a strong look in 2-QB formats and makes a ton of sense for those who take Tom Brady in their drafts.

Marvin Jones: It’s tough to gauge what exactly to take seriously when it comes to camp reports by beat writers, but Jones’ praise has been effusive. He’s clearly a superior red-zone target to Golden Tate and on a team that struggles to run the ball now without Calvin Johnson and with a banged up Eric Ebron, Jones certainly is looking at the biggest opportunity of his career. He once scored 10 touchdowns on just 80 targets, so there’s a real chance he takes advantage of his new role in Detroit.

Travis Benjamin: His six catches of 40+ yards last season were tied for the fourth most in the NFL despite having poor quarterbacks throwing to him. Benjamin will take over for the retired Malcom Floyd as San Diego’s main deep threat, and while Philip Rivers struggles some throwing deep, he’s obviously a huge upgrade at QB from what Benjamin is used to. According to Fantasy Pros’ ADP, Benjamin isn’t being drafted as even a top-50 wide receiver, which makes him one of the best bargains out there.

STOCK DOWN

Larry Fitzgerald: He’s no doubt a Hall of Famer, but Fitzgerald will soon turn 33 years old, and he slowed down at the end of last season, when he recorded just 289 yards and two touchdowns over the final six games. His 11.1 yards-per-catch mark ranked No. 188 in the league. If John Brown and Michael Floyd can stay healthy to go along with possibly the most dangerous receiving back in football in David Johnson, Fitzgerald could be looking at far fewer targets in 2016 at this stage of his career (yet he’s still getting drafted as a borderline top-25 WR). I’d take Floyd and/or Brown ahead of him without hesitation.

Ladarius Green: While coach Mike Tomlin insists it’s his ankle injury that’s kept Green sidelined, there’s rumblings it’s recurring headaches instead, which is awful news for a player with an extensive concussion history. There’s even rumors it might result in early retirement. Green obviously has enticing talent, and it would be great to see what he could do as the clear No. 1 TE for once in his career, especially in an explosive Pittsburgh offense. But at this point, he has to be bumped way down tight end cheat sheets.

Laquon Treadwell: His future may be bright long term, but Treadwell is playing for a team that attempted the fewest passes in the NFL last season, and teammate Stefon Diggs has been getting relentless hype for his play so far in camp (Charles Johnson also looked good during Minnesota’s preseason opener). Especially if Diggs emerges as the team’s No. 1 option this year, there simply won’t be enough volume for Treadwell to make much of an immediate impact, yet he’s being drafted ahead of superior options like Travis Benjamin, Kamar Aiken and fellow rookie Michael Thomas.

Justin Forsett: He’s likely the current favorite to start on what should be a decent team, so Forsett’s ADP (RB34) could conceivably be viewed as something of a bargain. He’s 30 years old but has far less tread on his tires for a back typically his age, and he owns a career 4.9 YPC mark. Still, last year was just the second time he’s ever reached 150 carries (he went on IR after reaching 151), and Baltimore looks likely to implement the most shared backfield in the league. Terrance West has opened eyes throughout camp and scored twice during the Ravens’ preseason opener. Others are high on rookie Kenneth Dixon, and Buck Allen totaled the most yards among the team’s running backs last season. This looks like a full-blown committee.

Colin Kaepernick: No one is drafting Kaepernick but in the deepest of 2-QB leagues, but the news that it’s all but certain Blaine Gabbert is going to open the year as San Francisco’s starting quarterback is bad news for every member of the team’s offense. This includes Carlos Hyde and sleepers Bruce Ellington and Vance McDonald. At least Kaepernick offers some semblance of upside, something Gabbert does not, but SF’s ownership remains totally clueless. The 49ers scored the fewest ppg last season and have to play the defenses of Seattle, Arizona, Los Angeles and Carolina during 44% of their games in 2016. With an extremely shaky offensive line, and especially with Gabbert at the helm, fantasy owners would be best off avoiding all 49ers this year.

Follow Dalton Del Don on Twitter.