Now that a bye-week-heavy Week 9 is over, fantasy lineups should look more complete on a week-to-week basis. That shouldn’t mean an end to deal-making; if anything, now is the time to buy low and sell high before making a late-season playoff push. Here are some names to target or avoid as you look to improve your roster.
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Stock Up: RB Jeff Wilson, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins drew national headlines on trade deadline day when they made a move with the Broncos for Bradley Chubb. Lost in the shuffle was a smaller deal with the 49ers that netted Mike McDaniel a familiar face in running back Jeff Wilson. Wilson, who spent the past four years in San Francisco, said that learning the former 49ers offensive coordinator’s playbook was like “riding a bike.”
Wilson’s confidence translated to production on Sunday. Against the Bears, he had 72 total yards on nine rushes and three receptions, one of which was a touchdown. While Raheem Mostert commanded an equal amount of carries, Wilson’s involvement in the passing game points to him commanding most of the work in Miami’s backfield. Should the injury-prone Mostert miss any time this season, Wilson could even flirt with RB1 status. Make an offer now before it becomes clear that Wilson is “the guy” in South Beach.
Stock Down: WR Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts
We knew that the Colts’ decision to replace Matt Ryan with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback could lead to a decrease in passing attempts. Still, few could have seen Pittman’s abysmal three-catch, 22-yard performance last weekend. While the entire Colts’ offense predictably struggled against the Patriots, hopes for a Pittman top-ten finish at wide receiver seem unlikely at best.
Is there an upside for Pittman in an anemic Colts offense? It’s hard to say, even with Jeff Saturday replacing Frank Reich as the team’s head coach. He still led Indianapolis in targets with six, but that doesn’t look very impressive when two other pass-catchers had five. A promising matchup against the Raiders should be a boon to Pittman, but it’s hard to believe in Ehlinger to take advantage of a weak secondary. Should we see another sub-ten-point performance from Pittman, he might be destined for the bench.
Stock Up: WR Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been the walking wounded at wideout. Mike Williams is out this coming Sunday, and Keenan Allen‘s hamstring issues may prevent him from playing in yet another contest. That leaves Los Angeles with a limited group of pass-catchers heading into a crucial Sunday night matchup against the 49ers. Luckily for Justin Herbert and the Chargers, the cupboard isn’t completely bare.
While the Bolts barely survived on the road in Atlanta, Palmer shined as the team’s number one option. The second-year player caught eight passes on ten targets for a total of 106 receiving yards. The upgrade in competition from a feeble Falcons secondary to a ferocious San Francisco defense is significant, but it’s hard not to put Palmer into a flex spot this week. Even if Allen suits up, a high-volume Chargers passing attack (second-most attempts per game) should keep Palmer busy for the foreseeable future.
Stock Down: RB D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
It’s been eight weeks since D’Andre Swift had double-digit carries in a game. In the five games where they have taken the field together, “backup” Jamaal Williams has more than doubled Swift’s carries. While passing work has boosted his numbers, Swift has seen his stock fall dramatically since being taken at the first/second round turn in drafts this summer. We’re past the point where we can blame injuries alone for a mediocre start; Dan Campbell and his staff simply don’t want to give Swift the workload required to be an elite fantasy running back.
The most worrying part of the D’Andre Swift experience is that things keep getting worse. In spite of a run-heavy game script against the Packers last Sunday, he received just two carries to go along with four targets. In comparison, Williams ran the ball 24 times. While Campbell has preached optimism about Swift this week, it’s hard to see an increase in touches that would give fantasy managers the RB1 they hoped to draft. The Lions also have little to play for, with a 2-6 record. Since he’s an important part of their future, the front office may opt to take it easy on Swift for the entire year. Right now, it’s impossible to predict a midseason resurgence for Detroit’s talented young ‘back.