Fantasy Football: Michael Crabtree Headlines Week 16 Stock Report

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterDecember 19, 2012

Fantasy Football: Michael Crabtree Headlines Week 16 Stock Report

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    The following countdown details The Fantasy Blog's NFL stock report heading into championship Week 16.

    Just like the American stock market, these 12 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 Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    2012 Stats: 2,697 Yards Passing, 24 TD (3 Rush)

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Happy

    1. In standard-scoring leagues, Russell Wilson ranked as the No. 2 fantasy quarterback for Weeks 13-15 (behind only Cam Newton).

    2. Last week against the Bills, Wilson racked up 297 total yards and four touchdowns—including three rushing scores (setting a Seahawks franchise record among quarterbacks).

    3. Of his last nine outings, Wilson has accounted for 290-plus yards passing or multiple touchdowns seven times.

    4. With Wilson at the helm, Seattle has amassed 108 points in its last two games, and 234 in the last seven outings...for an average of 33.4 points.

Falling: QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    2012 Stats: 3,281 Yards Passing, 14 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Skeptical

    1. Brandon Weeden has accounted for zero or one touchdown in six of his last seven games.

    2. In that span, Weeden has tallied less than 220 yards passing five times.

    3. Last week, Weeden threw for only 244 yards and one touchdown against the Redskins—one of the NFL's weakest pass defenses.

    4. The Browns have only scored 22 or more points once in their last eight outings.

Rising: WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

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    2012 Stats: 66 Catches, 1,056 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Happy

    1. For Weeks 13-15, Steve Smith ranked as the No. 5 fantasy wideout (standard-scoring leagues).

    2. In that span, Smith collected 18 catches, 30 targets, 286 yards and two touchdowns.

    3. Since Week 5, Smith has enjoyed 10 straight outings of seven-plus targets.

    4. Through 14 games, Smith has crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one TD eight times.

Slipping: WR Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

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    2012 Stats: 68 Catches, 949 Yards, 8 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Skeptical

    1. Marques Colston hasn't scored a touchdown in three games, matching a similar slump for Weeks 1-3.

    2. Here's one bad news/good news proposition: Colston has caught only seven balls for 121 yards in the last two games. But to be fair, he was targeted only seven times in that span.

    3. Colston hasn't produced a 100-yard receiving game since Week 5, when he crushed the Chargers for nine catches, 131 yards and three TDs.

Rising: RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

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    2012 Stats: 737 Total Yards (547 Rushing), 4 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Happy

    1. DeMarco Murray has registered a touchdown in each of his last three games—all Dallas victories.

    2. In his last four outings, Murray has accounted for either 97 total yards or one TD each time.

    3. The Saints (Murray's Week 16 opponent) currently rate as the NFL's 31st-ranked rush defense, allowing 146 yards per game.

Slumping: RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

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    2012 Stats: 578 Total Yards (528 Rushing), 4 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Crestfallen

    1. As LeSean McCoy's injury replacement, Bryce Brown tallied only 57 combined yards (on 31 touches) for Weeks 14 and 15.

    2. As a stark contrast, Brown racked up 375 combined yards and four touchdowns in McCoy's stead for Weeks 12 and 13.

    3. Given the fluctuating results of the last few weeks, it's now fair to wonder if Brown has the goods to be a viable long-term rushing asset...or was he just experiencing his 15 minutes of fantasy fame against Carolina and Dallas?

Ascending: TE Jeff Cumberland, New York Jets

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    2012 Stats: 26 Catches, 323 Yards, 3 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Intrigued

    1. For Weeks 13-15, Jeff Cumberland ranked as the No. 8 fantasy tight end (standard-scoring leagues).

    2. Against the Titans last week, Cumberland notched a career-high nine targets.

    3. Cumberland has scored a touchdown in two of his last three games.

    4. As Dustin Keller's injury replacement, Cumberland might finish the season as the Jets' primary tight end.

    5. If that's the case, Cumberland should already have a scout-team rapport with QB Greg McElroy, who was promoted to New York's starter for the San Diego game.

Falling: TE Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    2012 Stats: 43 Catches, 402 Yards, 4 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Miffed

    1. Dallas Clark has accounted for only 82 receiving yards (with one touchdown) in his last three games.

    2. Against the Saints last week, Clark had a front-row seat for one of QB Josh Freeman's worst days as a pro—zero touchdowns and four red-zone interceptions.

    3. On a sad, personal note, I started Clark in two playoff matches for Week 15...and came up snake eyes on both fronts. Ugh!

Rising: WR Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 Stats: 73 Catches, 868 Yards, 7 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Ecstatic

    1. Michael Crabtree has already established new season highs with receptions (73) and touchdowns (seven). His personal-best output in receiving yards (874) could be trumped with the next positive- yardage catch.

    2. In standard-scoring leagues, Crabtree ranked as the No. 4 fantasy wideout for Weeks 13-15.

    3. In that span, Crabtree collected 23 catches, 34 targets, 301 yards and two touchdowns.

    4. Along those lines...Crabtree's current streak of double-digit targets (three games) stands as the longest of his four-year career.

    5. Crabtree has accounted for six touchdowns in his last seven outings.

    6. For the season, Crabtree already has 10 games of six catches, 95 yards and/or one score.

Dropping: WR Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Stats: 56 Catches, 814 Yards, 5 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Feeling Blue

    1. Malcom Floyd has accounted for only five catches and 49 yards in his last two games (with one touchdown against the Steelers).

    2. Floyd hasn't produced one outing of seven catches or double-digit targets all season.

    3. Since Week 6, spanning nine games, Floyd hasn't recorded 70 or more receiving yards.

Rising: QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 Stats: 1,289 Yards Passing, 12 TD (5 Rush)

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Thrilled

    1. Last week, Colin Kaepernick tossed four touchdowns in the 49ers' crazy win over the Patriots, eclipsing his seasonal tally of TD passes heading into Sunday (three).

    2. In his last five outings, Kaepernick has racked up 20-plus fantasy points four times (standard-scoring leagues).

Slipping: QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Stats: 3,290 Yards Passing, 22 TD

    Fantasy Reasons To Be Crestfallen

    1. Barring an epic finish, Philip Rivers will fall short of last year's output in yards passing (4,624) and touchdown passes (27).

    2. Rivers has thrown for only 321 yards in his last two games (with four TDs).

    3. Since Week 6, spanning nine outings, Rivers has recorded only one 300-yard passing day.

    4. Of the club's last five losses, the Rivers-led Chargers averaged a pedestrian 16 points.