Hello again, and thanks for checking out the Risers and Fallers article again! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d give you a few more suggestions on your fantasy rosters, and hopefully, you’ll give me and the fine folks at the Fantasy Authority some thanks! The players I’m speaking about this week are a little under the radar. They’re not superstars, but they’re players to either grab from waivers or acquire through last-minute trades, or conversely, trade away. The playoffs are two weeks away for most of us, and as I’ve preached all year, staying on top of the trends gets more important each week for us bound for the playoffs. With that, let’s dive in!
Josh Adams – RB (PHI)
Since week 8 Josh Adams leads all Philadelphia running backs in targets (7) and rush attempts(23). He’s also the most effective runner, averaging 7 Y/C to Smallwood and Clement’s combined 2.45 Y/C, and Adams is the only one to rush for a score in that time. It’s clear to us, at least on the stat sheet, that he’s the superior runner. Just like Kerryon Johnson and Aaron Jones, it’s just a matter of time until his coach commits to him in the game script. Adams was left on the field late in the Saints game when a scat back was needed, which could signal their faith in Adams as a three-down back. Even still, the Eagles are 24th in rush attempts/game, so you need a broken play or touchdown for Adams to pay off at the rate they’re going.
Adams is the RB 40 since week 8, and the remaining schedule includes Washington, Dallas, the L.A. Rams, and Houston. All are currently 14th or better against points allowed to fantasy RBs. If Doug Pederson commits to Adams, which it appears he has and gives him the opportunity to run, he could pay off big. Philly averages the 8th most pass attempts per game but is just 24th in points per game. A balanced attack could yield great results for all involved in this offense.
Jack Doyle – TE (IND)
Since week 10 Jack Doyle has the eighth most receptions of all tight ends and the 12th most yards. He’s playing with the QB 8 behind an offensive line that looks better every week. In both weeks 10 and 11 Doyle has played the most snaps of any skill position for Indianapolis, and let’s not forget his TE 6 finish from last season. He’s a proven veteran and should be started every single week with this kind of workload. Being injured for five games has made some of us forget what Doyle brings to the table – he’s the TE 12 during weeks he’s been active and is finally playing more snaps than Eric Ebron at full health.
Doyle is 22-229-1 on the season, in just five games, averaging just over 10 PPG in PPR. A few weeks ago I wrote about Eric Ebron not getting the snaps, and since then Doyle has 7 targets to Ebron’s 3. Ebron has been extremely efficient, and that makes owners want to hold onto him. He burned those owners last week when he laid a goose egg while playing just 40% of the snaps to Doyle’s 82%. Similarly, in week 10, Ebron played 38% of snaps to Doyle’s 87%. Ebron has 67.5 points to Doyle’s 50.9 right now, and there is no reason to expect these workloads will change. By the end of the season, I firmly believe Doyle will surpass Ebron in fantasy production.
Devin Funchess – WR (CAR)
Currently the WR 33, Funchess has had a lot of competition from his own team that lands him on the weekly Faller’s list. Through week 8, both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel were averaging just 3.4 and 2 targets/game, respectively. They were quiet, but their abilities have started to speak for themselves. Since week 9 they have both averaged 5 targets/game, and have converted those in a combined three TDs. Funchess has been kept out of the end zone in that time, while he had three scores through week 8. Funchess also doesn’t have as many receptions as Moore or Samuel since week 9.
It’s similar to an RBBC, where you either know who will get the bulk of the snaps and pray your player scores on his limited workload, or you simply throw a dart in the dark. This is more of a ‘pray your player scores’ situation. Funchess still has 17 targets since week 9, but it’s hard to feel confident with the #1 rushing QB and third most targeted RB in the league all on the same team. Luckily, Carolina gets Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans twice left on the schedule. The Falcons and Buccaneers allow the 4th and the most points per game, so scoring should be abundant in the coming weeks. Hang on to that, and hope for Funchess to find the end zone.
Calvin Ridley – WR (ATL)
Since week 9 Calvin Ridley is the WR 29, posting 11 PPG in PPR formats. From weeks 2 through 4, he was the WR 2, behind only Adam Thielen, and scoring 26.23 PPG. He was playing hyper-efficient, and we couldn’t expect him and Jones to both be top 5 receivers. Julio hadn’t broken his scoring drought, and the Falcons were scoring 34.6 PPG. Since week 9 they’re scoring 24.3 PPG. So why dub him a faller so late in the season? The Falcons are struggling, even by their standards, Julio has scored in three straight games, and the toughest part of the season has now begun for Atlanta.
Ridley’s aDOT has dropped from 14.32 in weeks 2-4 to just 7.72 in weeks 9-11. Conversely, Julio Jones’ yards/target and yards/reception have moved less than 2 yards in those categories from either sample set. Ridley isn’t being used in the same way, and his fantasy production has plummeted. Early in the year, Ridley was a secret weapon nobody knew how to defend. They used him to counter Jones’ double teams, and since that time, he’s largely been shut down, while Julio finally returned on your draft investment. The Falcons travel to New Orleans, Green Bay, and Carolina and host the Baltimore Ravens. All will be tests for Atlanta, and I’d expect Ridley to continue his low-end WR2 production.