Daily Fantasy Football December 24: DFS Stock Up, Stock Down

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2015

Dec 21, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) before the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There are always plenty of quality options throughout the weekend in daily fantasy football, but this might be a week you want to get an early start with Thursday and Saturday's matchups.

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers show off quality offenses Thursday, while the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins could allow some big plays Saturday night. Great values all over the board could give you an advantage before most of your competition even finishes their lineups. 

Of course, there are plenty of smart picks Sunday as well to go with some big names you might want to avoid. Here is a look at some players whose stock is rising and falling from throughout the weekend.

Stock Up

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins ($5,500)

Dec 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass the ball against Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. The Washington Redskins won 24-21.Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

If you are entering a contest that starts before Sunday, it might be worthwhile to grab Kirk Cousins. The Washington Redskins quarterback has been one of the hottest players in the league with four games in a row of a 100 or higher passer rating. 

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Week 14 was some of the best football we have seen from Cousins, as he finished with four passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson have played extremely well lately to help out their quarterback and are now elite options in fantasy themselves.

All of these players could have huge days against the Philadelphia Eagles, which have allowed at least 40 points in three of the last five games. The secondary has given up 30 passing touchdowns this year to tie for third-most in the NFL, and this likely isn't going to stop anytime soon.

In a rivalry game with the division on the line, look for Cousins to play as well as ever and put up big fantasy numbers Saturday night.

Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers ($4,400)

You obviously don't want to look at Danny Woodhead's four touchdowns from last game and assume he will do it again. In all likelihood, this won't happen again for the rest of his career. However, that doesn't mean he's not a great play this week.

With Melvin Gordon on injured reserve, Woodhead will spend more time in the backfield than usual and should get more rushing attempts to go with his usual collection of catches. The Oakland Raiders have been solid against the run this year, but nothing special for you to avoid the matchup.

Meanwhile, Woodhead's biggest role as a pass-catcher will be especially important in Week 16 against Khalil Mack and the Raiders pass rush. Philip Rivers will need his checkdown target often, and it could lead to a lot of catches.

When these two teams met in Week 7, Woodhead had a season-high 11 catches that he turned into 75 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The running back's ability to rack up receptions makes him a relatively safe play in points-per-reception scoring.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,100)

Don Wright/Associated Press

Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant have gotten most of the headlines, and rightfully so, but the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is good enough for three receivers to be fantasy relevant. Based on what he has done lately, Markus Wheaton is certainly worthy of a roster spot on your team.

Markus Wheaton Season Breakdown
Pro Football Reference

Much of this production came in one game when he finished with nine catches for 201 yards against the Seattle Seahawks, but he has been good otherwise with a touchdown in three of the last four games and at least 50 yards in each. Even as the third option, there is no reason to doubt him as long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and playing as well as he has lately.

Of course, facing a defense allowing the third-most points to opposing receivers on DraftKings certainly helps. The Baltimore Ravens have struggled in the secondary all year long and could create plenty of space for all three Pittsburgh targets. While Brown ($9,300) and Bryant ($5,600) are always good options, you can get some great value this week by drafting Wheaton.

Stock Down

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions ($7,400)

Anyone needing Calvin Johnson to help them in fantasy Monday night likely ended up with nothing more than disappointment and a permanent grudge. The star receiver caught just one pass for 19 yards against a terrible New Orleans Saints defense, which wasn't much improvement from his one-catch, 16-yard performance the week before.

As Evan Silva of Rotoworld notes, Johnson has become a smaller part of the offense in recent weeks as well:

Evan Silva @evansilva

Calvin Johnson's weekly targets in the last month: 14 > 8 > 5 > 1. Has 1 100-yard game this season. Got there on 57-yard catch in OT.

Although he has been dealing with an ankle injury, he still played most of the Week 15 game. In reality, whether the ankle is holding him back or not, his performance is holding back fantasy teams. Only a handful of times this year has he been worth the price on DraftKings, which remains one of the highest at the position despite his struggles.

Even with a seemingly great matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, there is no way you can risk a start until he proves something on the field.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals ($7,100)

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Few would argue Larry Fitzgerald has played poorly as of late. He continues to make big catches in big moments for one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.

The problem is the rest of his receivers have caught up to him. Michael Floyd and John Brown are now both healthy and taking away targets, while even J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown show up with big plays every so often. Carson Palmer is also good enough to spread the ball around and not rely on one receiver as much as a less experienced quarterback.

David Johnson's emergence has also brought even more balance to the team with the run game, reducing the need for so much passing.

As a result, Fitzgerald has been limited in recent weeks. He finished with just three catches for 43 yards against the Eagles after totaling just 41 yards on five catches the game before. He has now gone four weeks without reaching 70 receiving yards, and he hasn't caught a touchdown pass since Week 8.

Although he has as much upside as almost anyone in the league, limited opportunities make him not worthy of the current price.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($4,900)

Yes, Jeremy Hill did have two touchdowns last game, so he isn't necessarily trending all the way down, but he certainly didn't play well against a weak 49ers run defense.

Hill turned 19 carries into just 31 rushing yards, putting himself as Pro Football Focus' worst running back of the week. 

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Odell Beckham and Jeremy Hill headline our Worst Team of the Week — see who else made the list: https://t.co/Ua9Uvcl7mO

"He didn’t force a single missed tackle, and fumbled. To top it off, he had one target in the passing game, which he dropped," Bryson Vesnaver of PFF explained. 

That came against the No. 27 run defense in the NFL. In Week 16, he will face the Denver Broncos, who have the No. 1 run defense and are allowing just 3.2 yards per carry. Without being much of a threat in the passing game, this isn't a good bet for a big day for Hill. 

Note: All prices and fantasy score info courtesy of DraftKings. Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Enter the DraftKings $1M Play-Action contest this weekend. Use promo code BLEACHER REPORT when you sign up.

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