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Week 12 Fantasy Football Stock Watch

Bryan breaks down rising and falling players in fantasy football as we head into Week 12.

Bryan breaks down rising and falling players in fantasy football as we head into Week 12.

It’s the season to be thankful for plenty, and that includes the stock watch. In a sport that changes on a week-to-week basis, the ups and downs of a player’s season can feel worse than undercooked. Sometimes underperformance is just a bump in the road (see David Montgomery), or it’s a sign of something bigger (see Clyde Edwards-Helaire). Regardless, here’s the market report on the NFL’s biggest risers and fallers.

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Stock Up: WR Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans

We like to turn fantasy football into a science, but sometimes it’s pretty simple. With Ryan Tannehill returning from injury to the Titans two weeks ago, somebody had to catch his passes. Who better than a first-round pick? Burks, who missed four games with foot and toe injuries, has made an immediate impact since returning in Week 10. He had his best performance of the year last Thursday against the Packers, grabbing seven catches on eight targets for 111 yards. 

How much faith should fantasy managers have in Burks? While he hadn’t recorded more than four catches in a game prior to the Packers game, Burks is the big-play threat Tennessee desperately needs on offense. With defenses stacking the box against Derrick Henry, it’s hard to envision any kind of double teams on Burks down the field. It also helps that Tannehill has shown he can support a field-stretching receiver; A.J. Brown thrived during his years as WR1 with the Titans. For now, Burks should be rostered in most ten and twelve-team leagues just off the chance he blossoms into a true number-one wideout.

Check out where Treylon Burks falls in our weekly rankings for PPR, Half-PPR and Standard rankings!! 

Stock Down: RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

While he’s always been a bit streaky, Sanders has delivered all year as the lead back in a high-powered Philadelphia offense. However, two straight uninspiring performances should raise some alarm bells. Prior to last Monday’s loss to Washington, the Eagles rarely played a single quarter without leading the game. It’s no coincidence that a run-heavy game script led to plenty of work for Sanders. It was so much work that fantasy managers, especially those in PPR leagues, were willing to look over a lack of work in the passing game (averaging 1.09 receptions per game).

Naturally, with the Eagles playing from behind the past two weeks, carries have been harder to come by for Sanders. And a combined one catch over two weeks is less than promising. Although there’s no doubt that Sanders is leading this backfield, his role appears to be dependent on the team leading the game, which may not be a guarantee. Tough run defenses like the Cowboys, Titans and Giants await Philadelphia after Thanksgiving, so the time might be now to sell Sanders as a high-end RB2.

Stock Up: RB Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos

A rare appearance in the stock up category for a Broncos player! In fitting Denver fashion, it’s difficult to say Murray earned this spot rather than he was given it. However, after Melvin Gordon was released and Chase Edmonds was placed on the IR this week, Murray has control of the Broncos backfield. While the veteran was a midseason acquisition, he’s averaged just under 13 carries since joining the team in Week 6. That number could go up with such limited competition.

Should managers buy Murray as a rest-of-season contributor? The opportunity is there, and the upcoming schedule has some easy matchups against the Panthers, Cardinals and Chiefs. However, Murray isn’t a part of Denver’s future, and the return of Mike Boone sometime this month could make this backfield a committee once again; managers should make an effort to roster both. Regardless, for the immediate playoff push, Murray is an RB2/Flex by default. 

Stock Down: WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

If you’ve rostered Diontae Johnson, you’ve been patient. Real patient. At this point, panic is an understatement. Traditionally, targets are the surest sign of a player’s role in an offense and, in many cases, how likely they are to see an uptick in production. Johnson, as he has for his entire career, has been a target monster; he has the eighth most targets of any wide receiver. That hasn’t translated to production: Johnson is the WR42 this season, as most of the passes thrown to him have been low-yardage looks.

While the “breakout” game many managers have been waiting on has seemed inevitable, there’s a real possibility that this is what Johnson is this year: a bye-week fill-in. Ever since rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett took command of the Steelers’ offense, Johnson’s contributions have been extremely limited. His season-highs with Pickett at the helm are five catches and sixty yards. With the emergence of George Pickens in recent weeks, there’s a real possibility that Johnson isn’t even Pittsburgh’s WR1; he’s seen an average of five targets over the past two weeks. Diontae’s reputation has taken precedence over his actual contributions all season; it’s time to come to terms with his disappointing play.