NFL Stock Watch: Spencer Ware rising, Allen Robinson falling

Dalton Del Don


Spencer Ware: He’s totaled 294 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns over the last two games, and Jamaal Charles has renewed knee issues making it increasingly unlikely he’ll contribute much over the rest of the season. Ware is on pace to finish with 2,075 yards and eight touchdowns this year, and he has another dream matchup in Week 8 against an Indy defense that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Ware should be considered a top-five fantasy RB down the stretch.

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Ty Montgomery: Putting his eligibility controversy aside, Montgomery is turning into a fantasy asset regardless of whether he’s labeled a running back or not. He’s racked up 20 catches on 25 targets (while adding a dozen carries) over the past two games, and yet he’s somehow still available in nearly 40% of Yahoo leagues. The Packers offense remains a work in progress, but Eddie Lacy is essentially out for the year, and the team is desperate for a playmaker to emerge out of the backfield, and Montgomery seems ready to take advantage. Teammate Davante Adams also deserves an upgrade, as he saw a whopping 16 targets last week and is owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues despite having five touchdowns over six games. Jordy Nelson simply isn’t the same player he once was, so there’s an opportunity for others to step up in Green Bay.

Devonta Freeman: He’s actually greatly improved his YPC this year (4.8) compared to last (4.0) when he finished as the No. 1 fantasy back, and Freeman’s touches are about to see a boost with Tevin Coleman out with a hamstring injury (the fact he was ruled out so early in the week suggests it might not be a minor problem). If you combined the two backs’ numbers so far through seven games, you’d get 1,241 yards and nine touchdowns. Freeman isn’t going to get all of those touches Coleman frees up, but the injury is no doubt big news for his value.

Michael Thomas: He didn’t score Sunday like he had the previous three games, but he countered that by securing 10-of-13 targets for 130 yards. Thomas has been a surprisingly good route-runner during his rookie campaign, and his value hasn’t taken nearly the hit many feared since Willie Snead has returned. It’s a near perfect setup being a wideout in New Orleans, as poor defense results in Drew Brees passing 45-50 times every game. Thomas is a WR2 right now and a gem in keeper leagues.

Jacquizz Rodgers: With Doug Martin suffering a setback during his recovery from his hamstring injury, Rodgers has totaled 292 yards over the past two games, a stretch in which he’s been given 56 carries. The schedule has helped, but both games have been on the road, and he gets another plus matchup at home against the Raiders this week. Rodgers isn’t a special talent, but he’s gotten 4.7 YPC on the year, and the team clearly wants to rely on the run with Jameis Winston so turnover prone. Martin may be out for a while, so Rodgers could make a major impact over the rest of the season, as workhorse backs are increasingly rare.

Jay Ajayi: It’s the second straight week Ajayi gets an upgrade, as it’s impossible not to acknowledge him becoming just the fourth back ever to record two straight 200-yard rushing games. He now gets a bye and then the Jets, so the immediate outlook isn’t ideal, but Arian Foster retired, and Ajayi is suddenly the centerpiece of Miami’s offense. He broke a ridiculous 10 tackles on 29 carries last week, averaging 4.4 yards after contact. He leads the NFL with 6.4 YPC. Ajayi is currently a top-15 fantasy asset.


Allen Robinson: He somehow managed just nine yards on eight targets last week against an Oakland secondary that’s been shredded by wide receivers this season. After recording 1,400 yards with 14 touchdowns as a 22-year-old, Robinson hasn’t had more than 72 yards in any game in 2016. The targets remain plenty healthy, so there’s reason for optimism, but his upside is no doubt hurt by Blake Bortles, who’s simply gone from bad to worse this year.

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LeSean McCoy: McCoy reinjuring his hamstring was one of the more predictable outcomes of Week 7, and it remains unclear why Buffalo would play its franchise back given his health (especially considering he’s coming off a year in which a hamstring issue badly hindered his production). As a result, his status is unclear moving forward. Fantasy owners (especially those who also own Mike Gillislee) should hope the Bills rest McCoy a week or two to get him fully healthy for the stretch run.

Jordan Howard: After losing snaps to Ka’Deem Carey in Week 6, Howard saw four fewer touches in Week 7. Howard looked like a potential RB1 for a while, but now he’s a part of a timeshare (Jeremy Langford may reenter the mix soon too) on a team that’s 1-6, so his value has quickly all but vanished.

Stefon Diggs: After erupting for 182 yards and a score in Week 2, he’s totaled 105 yards without a touchdown since. Diggs similarly had a big start only to fizzle last year, so hopefully this theme doesn’t continue. After seeing just 11 targets over the last three games, he’s tough to trust in fantasy lineups, although he gets a Bears defense Monday night that’s ceded the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

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Jeremy Maclin: He’s yet to reach 70 yards in a game and hasn’t scored since Week 1 despite coming off a two-game stretch in which he’s faced the Raiders and Saints. Maclin scored most of his touchdowns in the second half last year (six of his eight), but he might very well be on fantasy owners’ benches if that happens again this season.

DeSean Jackson: He’s on pace for 841 receiving yards (and two touchdowns) despite Kirk Cousins being on pace to throw for 4,562 yards. He’s been the recipient of off target throws while open deep, so bad luck is partly to blame, but Jackson is usually either productive or hurt, yet he’s played every game this season and has totaled just 130 yards over the past four contests, and his 13.6 yards-per-catch mark is easily a career low. Even the loss of Jordan Reed hasn’t helped Jackson’s sinking fantasy value.

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