Week 9 Fantasy Risers and Fallers: Is Andy Dalton For Real?
We’re getting into the dog days of the fantasy football season. With injuries piling up and six-team bye weeks coming again, the fact that Jason Campbell is meriting any legitimate fantasy consideration says all you need to know about the state of fantasy football at this point in the year.
Time for your weekly installment of the risers and fallers.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton has been a pretty hit-or-miss fantasy consideration throughout his brief career, but he’s suddenly taken off. He’s topped 300 yards passing and has thrown at least three TD passes in each of the last three games, and threw a whopping five in the blowout win over the Jets this past week.
Having A.J. Green at his disposal has always made him halfway decent, but the emergence or Marvin Jones in the last few weeks has been huge, too. Jones has scored in each of the last three games, and establishing a weapon opposite Green makes Dalton all the more dangerous.
Unfortunately, Dalton and the Bengals are this week’s Thursday Night Football sacrificial lamb, so who knows what to expect on the short week. Typically, fantasy performers tend to underwhelm. The Dolphins are a good-but-not-great defense, so there’s surely some upside. May as well ride Dalton’s hot hand at this point if you can.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Ellington has been impressive in short stints so far during his rookie season, but hadn’t been able to surpass the underwhelming Rashard Mendenhall on the Cards’ depth chart. He broke out in a big way against Atlanta in Week Eight, carrying 15 times for 154 yards and a score. The TD was an 80-yarder, so the numbers are a bit skewed as a result, but he’s still averaging a tremendous 7.7 yards-per-carry.
Is he an every-down back? Probably not. He’s a bit small, so who knows if he can hold up to the physical beatdown a primary back typically takes. But he’s clearly asserted himself as a legitimate big-play threat in an offense sorely lacking big-play threats, so if Bruce Arians and co. are smart, they’ll find a way to get the ball into Ellington’s hands more often.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Jones scored four touchdowns in Week Eight, which launched him onto fantasy radars everywhere. But as mentioned above, he has scored in three straight games now, and has become the legitimate No. 2 option in the Bengals’ passing attack.
You’re obviously not expecting this kind of massive fantasy day every week, and he’s not even in the game on every snap for Cincinnati, but they’d be silly to ignore the numbers he’s been putting up of late. And so would you.
Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Any worries about whether or not Douglas was capable of handling the load as the Falcons’ default No. 1 receiver have been quelled by his solid performances in each of the last two weeks. He had 12 catches (18 targets!) in the loss to the Cardinals, and that’s against a solid Arizona secondary.
With Roddy White’s status for this week against the Panthers still uncertain, Douglas has reached must-own status, for sure. If White misses the game again this week, Douglas is a must-start, as well. Tony Gonzalez has been bottled-up by opposing defenses, leaving plenty of room for Douglas to roam.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Brady occupied this exact spot last week, and his stinker performance against the Dolphins brings him here again. He’s no longer a surefire fantasy starter, and that says quite a bit for a guy that’s arguably been fantasy’s most prolific performer over the last decade.
I still think he’ll round into form, of course. His primary weapons are just now starting to get back, and Shane Vereen is on tap to return in Week 11. The rookies have gotten better, but the more we see of Gronk and Amendola on the field, the better for Brady’s fantasy prospects.
This week’s matchup against the Steelers isn’t ideal, however, so there are several QBs I’d rather be starting. For now.
Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Randle did nothing of note last week against the Lions, and now with DeMarco Murray likely to return to the Cowboys’ backfield, Randle is back to fantasy irrelevance.
Murray is prone to getting injured, as we’ve seen several times in the past, so Randle’s usefulness isn’t completely kaput long-term, but you’re probably safe to dump him back to the waiver wire for the time being.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Since becoming the Jets’ primary back with a pair of impressive back-to-back performances in Weeks Two and Three, Powell has fallen off a cliff. He hasn’t topped 38 rushing yards since Week Four, and has lost carries to Chris Ivory over the past couple of weeks.
Unless Ivory gets hurt or something, Powell isn’t worthy of fantasy consideration right now. The Jets’ offense is one of the more inconsistent in the league, as we know, so who knows what to make of them on a weekly bassif moving forward.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots
Kenbrell has just two catches for 16 yards in his last two games combined, including a nice zero-catch effort last week against Miami.
He’s seeing fewer looks as the Pats’ other weapons continue to get healthier, so his involvement in the offense isn’t nearly as vital as it was earlier in the season. He’s still a solid talent that may make himself useful again sometime down-the-line, but he can be ignored.
Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams
Cook continues to be owned in tons of leagues with the hope that he can do something close to replicating his Week One performance in which he topped 140 yards receiving and scored a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, he’s done nothing at all like that since then, and hasn’t even scored one touchdown.
Now, the Rams’ QB situation is a bit shaky with Kellen Clemens taking over for the injured Sam Bradford, and there aren’t really any Ram weapons (other than Zac Stacy) that jump out at you in terms of being viable fantasy options.