Fantasy Football: Fred Jackson Headlines Week 8 Stock Report

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 24, 2012

Fantasy Football: Fred Jackson Headlines Week 8 Stock Report

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    The following countdown details The Fantasy Blog's stock report heading into NFL Week 8.

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

    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 Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

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    2012 Stats: 1,435 Yards Passing, 15 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Believe

    1. Through seven games, Ryan Fitzpatrick already has four outings of three or more touchdowns—eclipsing last year's total (three).

    2. For the season, Fitzpatrick has attempted 32 or more passes five times.

    3. Fitzpatrick only has per-game passing tallies of 205 yards this season, but the 15 touchdowns is way ahead of last year's pace.

    This is a prime indicator of Fitz's red-zone effectiveness, targeting Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Steve Johnson with regularity and accuracy.

Slipping: QB Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 Stats: 1,427 Yards Passing, 9 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Alex Smith has accounted for zero or one touchdown in four of his last five games.

    2. Through seven outings, Smith has failed to pass for 300-plus yards six times.

    3. For his next three games, Smith goes head-to-head with three quality defenses (Arizona, St. Louis, Chicago).

Rising: RB Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

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    2012 Stats: 331 Total Yards (197 Rushing), 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Fred Jackson has accounted for 100 total yards and/or one touchdown in his last two games.

    2. Last week against the Titans, Jackson registered career single-game highs of eight catches and 11 targets (for 49 yards). It was another telltale sign that Jackson has fully recovered from a Week 1 injury.

    3. A top-10 fantasy asset heading into the season, Jackson (137.6 total yards per game in 2011) has averaged 19 touches in the last two weeks.

    4. For my money, Jackson and C.J. Spiller are the NFL's best tailback combo.

Falling: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals

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    2012 Stats: 487 Total Yards (431 Rushing), 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has accounted for only 155 total yards in his last three games.

    2. Green-Ellis, who scored 24 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2010 and '11, hasn't found the end zone with Cincy since Week 3.

    3. With the Bengals on bye this week, fantasy owners have a clean shot at landing Green-Ellis for a reasonable trade price.

    Despite his recent struggles, you can never have enough quality rushers like Green-Ellis.

Ascending: RB Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions

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    2012 Stats: 374 Total Yards (259 Rushing), 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Mikel Leshoure has accounted for 83 total yards and/or one touchdown in three of four games this season. In his NFL debut (Week 3 vs. Tennessee), he rushed for 100 yards and one score.

    2. Leshoure has emerged into a Tier 2 asset with points-per-reception leagues. He's averaging 4.25 catches, five targets and 29 receiving yards per game.

    3. The second-year back, who missed the entire 2011 campaign with an Achilles injury, is quite possibly Detroit's best speed-power rusher since Billy Sims in the 1980s.

    4. Leshoure is a reasonable bet for 90 total yards and/or one touchdown for Weeks 8-12 (Seattle, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Green Bay, Houston).

Slumping: RB Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

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    2012 Stats: 193 Total Yards (142 Rushing), 1 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling (Carolina) Blue

    1. Through four games, Jonathan Stewart has yet to register 14 or more touches at any point.

    2. In his last three outings, Stewart has a subpar line of 125 total yards and zero touchdowns.

    3. Stewart has yet to catch four balls or collect five-plus targets this season.

    4. The Panthers offense, headlined by QB Cam Newton, has been a hot mess of late, averaging only 13 points for Weeks 5 and 7.

    This bout of mediocrity has significantly diminished the values of Stewart and running partner DeAngelo Williams (207 total yards, two TDs).

    On the plus side, their current trade-market prices are quite reasonable.

Rising: WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    2012 Stats: 27 Catches, 586 Yards, 5 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Last week, Vincent Jackson caught seven balls for 216 yards—the highest single-game total of any NFL receiver in 2012.

    2. Jackson could have—and probably should have—scored two touchdowns against the Saints, but Malcolm Jenkins miraculously thwarted the second scoring effort on the crazy 95-yard catch-and-run.

    3. In even-numbered games this season, Jackson boasts stellar averages of six catches, 148 yards and one touchdown.

    4. Through six games with the Bucs, Jackson already has four outings of double-digit targets.

    In the preceding four campaigns with the Chargers (2008-11), V-Jax reached double digits only six times.

Slipping: WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    2012 Stats: 38 Catches, 592 Yards, 1 TD

    Reasons To Be Feeling (Honolulu) Blue

    Please take this countdown mention with a grain of salt. With any scoring system, Calvin Johnson remains a top-three receiver in fantasy.

    However, I'm obligated to note the following downward trends:

    1. After six games last year, Johnson had nine touchdowns. In the same span for 2012, he has only one.

    2. Johnson already has two games of 60 or fewer receiving yards.

    3. In the last three weeks, Johnson has failed to notch a catch-per-target ratio above 50 percent.

Rising: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

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    2012 Stats: 37 Catches, 435 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. In standard-scoring leagues, Randall Cobb currently ranks as the No. 15 wide receiver (nearly 10 points per game). Not bad for the third, fourth or even fifth option on his own team, huh?

    2. For the season, Cobb has four outings of eight-plus targets. He also has four games of seven or more catches.

    3. In the last three games, Cobb has 19 catches, 22 targets, 273 yards and three touchdowns.

    4. Cobb has already crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown five times.

Slipping: WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

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    2012 Stats: 34 Catches, 427 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Dwayne Bowe has accounted for only 85 receiving yards in the last two games, despite collecting 17 targets. And for Week 6, he caught only three balls (for 25 yards) against the Buccaneers, the NFL's second-worst pass defense.

    2. For the most part, Bowe's seasonal numbers are fine. But that's immaterial for some fantasy owners who believe Bowe's numbers will plunge considerably—now that Brady Quinn is the Chiefs' QB du jour.

    The same Quinn who painfully passed for 180 yards and two interceptions against Tampa Bay in Week 6.

Rising: TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Stats: 19 Catches, 224 Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. It rings a little hollow to endorse a player off one stellar game, but Antonio Gates needed the six-catch, 81-yard, two-TD effort from Week 6 in the worst way.

    2. Through six games, Gates has collected seven-plus targets four times.

    3. Aside from Gates, Malcom Floyd and tailback Ryan Mathews, the Chargers aren't blessed with other high-quality—or even consistent—playmakers.

    4. When healthy, Gates remains an elite tight end in fantasy circles, especially with red-zone targets.

Falling: TE Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans

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    2012 Stats: 25 Catches, 328 Yards, 2 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    Jared Cook may be not be classified as a true "fantasy bust," but his slow start has been very disappointing.

    1. Through seven games, Cook has tallied 70-plus receiving yards only once.

    2. Cook collected 26 targets in his final three games last year. In 2012, his highest three-outing tally is 17.

    3. The athletic Cook hasn't caught six or more balls at any time this season.

Rising: QB Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    2012 Stats: 1,538 Yards Passing, 11 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Believe

    1. Josh Freeman is on pace for 29 touchdowns—well above last year's passing output (16 TDs).

    2. For three consecutive weekends, Freeman has racked up 300 total yards. Prior to Week 5, Freeman had never tallied 300 yards in back-to-back outings.

    3. Freeman had a monster game against the Saints in Week 7 (420 yards passing, three TDs). And with a little luck, it could have been easily been five scores.

    4. The Bucs may have their most explosive set of playmakers (Doug Martin, Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson) of the last 10, 15 or 30 years.

Slipping: QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Stats: 1,492 Yards Passing, 10 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling (Powder) Blue

    Philip Rivers' countdown inclusion reeks of unfairness, since he has six passing TDs in the last three games.


    1. Through six games, Rivers has failed to reach the QB-elite threshold of 275 total yards and/or three TDs four times.

    2. Rivers is well off the pace of last year's output in passing yards (4,624).