Fantasy Football: Rashard Mendenhall Headlines Week 6 Stock Report

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 10, 2012

Fantasy Football: Rashard Mendenhall Headlines Week 6 Stock Report

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    The following countdown details The Fantasy Blog's stock report heading into NFL Week 6.

    Just like the American stock market, these 14 assets are prone to evolving (or devolving) value swings throughout the season.

    For example, Titans tailback Chris Johnson might have garnered a thumbs up after his Week 4 revival against the undefeated Texans (157 total yards) before falling back to earth in Week 5.

    And Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall certainly would have warranted a lukewarm endorsement prior to last week's clash with Philly. By all accounts, Mendenhall (101 total yards, one TD) should have struggled in his 2012 debut just nine months removed from major knee surgery.

    But alas, that's why the NFL schedules the games. Fantasy life, as we know it, undergoes substantial change every weekend.

    Enjoy the show!

Rising: QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    2012 Stats: 1,288 Yards Passing, 5 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. In his last four games, Brandon Weeden boasts per-outing averages of 293 yards passing and 1.25 touchdowns—rock-solid numbers for a rookie QB without a clear-cut No. 1 receiver.

    2. Weeden has attempted at least 35 passes in every game, with a high point of 52 against Baltimore in Week 4.

    3. The Browns quarterback, who turns 29 on Oct. 14, already has two 320-yard passing days.

    4. Cleveland's three biggest offensive playmakers—Weeden, RB Trent Richardson, WR Josh Gordon—are all rookies. Barring injury, they'll likely take sizable steps forward in the coming weeks.

Falling: QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    2012 Stats: 1,022 Yards Passing, 6 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Sam Bradford already has three games of under 200 yards passing.

    2. Against the Cardinals in Week 5, Bradford finished with a Tim Tebow-esque seven completions. Amazingly, his Rams walked away with a 14-point victory that night.

    3. With Danny Amendola out for a while due to injury, the Rams don't have a clear-cut No. 1 or No. 2 receiver. Brandon Gibson and Brian Quick could be the club's, ahem, greatest hopes.

    4. Bradford has three games of zero or one touchdown. It's early, but his 2012 campaign bears a strong resemblance to last season.

Rising: WR Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Stats: 20 Catches, 358 Yards, 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Malcom Floyd has reached the 100-yard threshold twice this season.

    2. Floyd has already collected eight or more targets in three games.

    3. Through five games, Chargers QB Philip Rivers has averaged only 33.6 passes and 250 yards passing. As the year progresses, that number will almost certainly go up.

    4. San Diego only has three consistent playmakers—Floyd, tailback Ryan Mathews and tight end Antonio Gates. Assuming full health, all three stars are solid bets for big numbers by season's end.

Falling: WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

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    2012 Stats: 17 Catches, 283 Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. After an elite-level effort of eight catches, 119 yards and one touchdown in Week 1, Johnson averaged only 2.25 catches and 41 yards in the next four games.

    2. For Weeks 2 through 5, Johnson didn't collect more than six targets in any game.

    3. Just five weeks into the season, Johnson is no longer a top-10 fantasy receiver. And with the continued domination of running back Arian Foster (592 total yards, six TD), he may not recapture that status anytime soon.

Rising: WR Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

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    2012 Stats: 28 Catches, 444 Yards, 4 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Marques Colston has totaled 18 catches, 31 targets, 284 yards and four touchdowns in his last two games.

    2. Colston racked up three TDs against the Chargers.

    3. The Saints star already has three games of double-digit targets.

    4. With Drew Brees in full-on passing mode, Colston is a healthy lock to finish top-10 in catches and targets, among receivers, by year's end.

Falling: WR Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans

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    2012 Stats: 13 Catches, 257 Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. For reasons unknown, Nate Washington has failed to catch four or more balls in any of his five games.

    2. By extension, Washington has only surpassed 60 yards receiving once (112 yards vs. Detroit in Week 3).

    3. In Washington's final six games last year, he averaged 10.5 targets with Matt Hasselbeck as Tennessee's starting quarterback.

    4. The Titans don't have the Lions on the remainder of their schedule.

Rising: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants

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    2012 Stats: 415 Total Yards (333 Rushing), 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Last week, Ahmad Bradshaw steamrolled the Browns for 229 total yards (200 rushing) and one touchdown. His 30 carries against Cleveland nearly matched his rushing chances from the previous three games (35).

    2. Despite a sluggish, injury-based start to the season, has reclaimed his August standing at the Giants' workhorse back.

    3. Thanks to the Giants' explosive passing game, Bradshaw likely won't see eight defenders in the proverbial "box" on standard down-and-distance situations.

    4. If healthy, Bradshaw has the capacity for 1,400 total yards and double-digit touchdowns.

Falling: RB Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints

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    2012 Stats: 326 Total Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Through five games, Darren Sproles has a deflating total of 91 rushing yards.

    2. Sproles didn't register one carry in his first two games.

    3. Take away his 13 catches for 128 yards vs. Carolina in Week 2 and Sproles has essentially been an afterthought in the Saints offense.

    4. He may be feeling the loss of suspended coach Sean Payton more than any other playmaker.

Rising: RB Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

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    2012 Stats: 507 Total Yards (491 Rushing), 4 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Alfred Morris has racked up 100 total yards or one touchdown in four of five games this season, and the one "clunker" of the bunch still yielded 89 rushing yards.

    2. In a short period of time, the rookie from Florida Atlantic (sixth-round pick) has transformed Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan into a workhorse-back advocate—an unconscionable notion just 12 months ago.

    3. In the last four weeks, Morris hasn't garnered more than 22 touches in a game; and yet, he's still a healthy lock for 95 total yards and one touchdown every Sunday, regardless of opponent.

    Bottom line: Morris may not maintain a top-five ranking, among rushers, for the entire 2012 campaign, but he's certainly a year-long candidate to stick with the next wave of high-end rushers.

Falling: RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

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    2012 Stats: 294 Total Yards (210 Rushing)

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Chris Johnson has yet to register a rushing or receiving touchdown this season.

    2. Of his five games, Johnson has collected 24 rushing yards or less four times.

    3. In his last four games, the Titans tailback has caught only six balls for 37 yards.

    4. A top-15 overall asset during the preseason, Johnson's trade-market value has plunged considerably in recent weeks. The current price might be 65 cents on the August dollar.

Rising: TE Owen Daniels, Houston Texans

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    2012 Stats: 23 Catches, 311 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Owen Daniels has collected five or more targets in every game this season. 

    2. Of Daniels' five games to date, he's accrued 87 receiving yards or one touchdown four times.

    3. In his last two outings, Daniels has averaged five catches, 76 yards and one touchdown.

    4. In most standard-scoring leagues, Daniels ranks No. 3 among tight ends heading into Week 6, ahead of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.

Falling: TE Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

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    2012 Stats: 22 Catches, 198 Yards, 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. After a strong Week 1 (seven catches, 47 yards, one TD), Jermichael Finley totaled only 15 catches and 151 yards in the next four games.

    2. For Weeks 2 through 5, Finley hasn't collected six or more targets in any game.

    3. The Packers' passing attack has been noticeably sluggish this season. Unfortunately, Finley may be a primary reason for that.

    UPDATE: Here's another reason to feel blue: Finley reportedly has a slightly dislocated AC joint in his shoulder—and while he hopes to play Sunday versus the Texans, that can't be a good sign.

Rising: RB Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2012 Stats: 101 Total Yards (81 Rushing), 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. In his 2012 debut against Philly, Rashard Mendenhall rolled for 101 total yards (81 rushing) and one touchdown—on just 16 touches.

    2. Just nine months removed from a torn ACL and subsequent major knee surgery, Mendenhall appears to be trimmer and more explosive than last season.

    3. In 2011, Mendenhall posted two games of 100-plus yards and nine touchdowns for the pass-first Steelers. He could be a threat for similar numbers this year.

Slipping: QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    2012 Stats: 1,321 Yards Passing, 7 Total TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. After a red-hot start to the fantasy season (687 total yards, four TD for Weeks 1 and 2), Michael Vick hasn't exceeded 241 passing yards in his last three games.

    2. From a real-world perspective, Vick has had problems with red-zone turnovers (interceptions/fumbles) all season.

    3. The Eagles coaches (imperceptibly) may be losing faith in Vick. He only boasts two games of 33-plus pass attempts in 2012.