Pre-Week 5 Stock Watch
BY: John Hansen
As I alluded to last week and have mentioned several times in the past, I don’t cover roster management and the like as I used to because managing my teams is low on my priority list, and in fact it’s last on my priority list. I’m sure that fact will aggravate some people, but I’m just being honest. The truth is, it’s very difficult in 2016 to simply stay up on the ever-shifting player roles and performances, as well as the matchups.
So when I get to this column each week, it’s after I’ve seen all the games, studied the snaps and the data, and when I have a good feel for matchups for the upcoming week. I’m going to change things up whenever I chime in here – which may not be every week – and I’ll approach my takes and thoughts in different ways.
This week, I thought it would be cool to write up a pre-emptive Stock Watch. In other words, some writeups on players whom I think we’ll be giving love to come Monday. Here’s my top-5:
1. Dwayne Washington (RB, Det) – I gave him love here last week and in the WW column, but he’s yet to score more than 7 points in a PPR. That changes Sunday, when Washington will break out and emerge as a hot fantasy commodity. So it’s last call on picking him up and/or trading for him. He’s probably going to be a guy who you’ll look at when the matchup is good or if you have bye week issues, but I’m really feeling this one. As usual, I thought I was doing something fairly profound by pumping him up this week, but it seems the sharps are all over this as well. But those in your league may still be clueless. Washington was only a 7th-round pick, but he’s a former receiver, so he has potential in the passing game that has gone untapped. He’s a big dude who can run, so there’s a little David Johnson in him. I don’t think he’s as elusive as Johnson, but things are looking wonderful for him this week against the hapless Bears, who won’t have NT Eddie Goldman, which is a massive loss. It’s all set up for Washington to be Week 4’s breakout player. Optimistic projection: 100-115 total yards, 1 TD.
2. Tyrell Williams (WR, SD) – My 10-year old daughter knows it’s a great matchup this week for Williams, but this guy is really standing out as one of the best break-out WRs in fantasy, even though he’s not going off. But his snaps and targets are really encouraging (Travis Benjamin is even behind him in snaps), as is his size and ability to run. He’s a good start, and if you’re ever going to target him in a trade, this is the time to do it, since he should go off this week.
3. Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, Car) – I thought CAP looked pretty good last week, and he had a nice 20-yard run called back in which he had to bounce it outside because there was nothing in the middle, and he showed some nice jets (for him) on the run. He looks a look like Jonathan Stewart circa 2010, meaning he’s a younger and fresher back, and he can basically handle the Stewart role. He’s game-flow dependent, but this week I think the game flow will be in his favor against the Falcons, who still don’t offer up much resistance on defense outside of stud corner Desmond Trufant.
4. Cole Beasley (WR, Dal) – Beasley got knocked into the 1930s and then into the Paleolithic Age this past weekend, but he’s a tough dude. He’s been a busy dude, and he will continue to be busy this week with corner Jimmy Ward (who has played the slot this year) out and with Dez out (not officially, but he’s out). Beasley shouldn’t be available in a PPR league, but if he’s available in any league, that won’t be the case next week. Dak can process information quickly, which is one of the reasons Beasley is doing so well, since he’s not usually the first read for Dak. As a general statement, Dak is throwing the ball 15 yards and in, which is Beasley territory.
5. Quincey Enunwa (WR, NYJ) – Even before it was announced that Eric Decker won’t play, I was hearing bad things about his shoulder, so he could miss more time. While Enunwa doesn’t run very well, he can make up for that with his size and ability to make contested catches, so I think Enunwa is good enough to take advantage of this opportunity, and I think he will this week, even against Seattle. Slot receivers can give that defense trouble.
I strongly considered him for this top-5 list, but Tavon Austin’s situation looks very good this week, so don’t be surprised if he has a breakout game.
Julius Thomas, who is a walking injury report, is a game-time decision in London Sunday, and regardless of his status, this is the week that Allen Hurns actually does something. This matchup has been obvious dating back to 2015, with top corner Vontae Davis on Allen Robinson more often than not (and Davis looks a step slow).
I’m fully expecting a “market correction” on Kelvin Benjamin after last week’s 1 target. In fact, since he probably won’t see top corner Desmond Trufant, I’m expecting Cam Newton to feed Benjamin the ball. In that same game, something similar will happen with Julio Jones, who’s in breaking routes can give the Panther defense problems.
I talked to a guy who covers the Bears this week, and the feeling I got is that the Bears are done with Jay Cutler. I’d be fairly surprised if they bailed completely, but it’s possible. Brian Hoyer is at least capable, and they do have some weapons. I think Hoyer will surprise with solid digits in Week 4.