Risers & Fallers

Stock Up/Stock Down (July 28 - August 3)

4:54am EDT 8/4/12


by Jared Smola


Stock Up: the following guys have moved up our rankings over the past week.

Jake Locker, QB, Titans
Locker has outplayed Matt Hasselbeck so far, and insider Michael Lombardi hears that Locker is the favorite to start Week 1. It's still early, but we have a tough time seeing Hasselbeck recover. If Locker starts from the get-go, he'll have clear top-10 upside thanks to his big arm and dangerous legs.

Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings
The 2nd-year signal-caller has reportedly looked much more comfortable in the offense this summer than he did last. That's not surprising considering his lockout-shortened rookie-year offseason. Ponder also seems to be developing a nice rapport with TE Kyle Rudolph. With Minnesota likely to pass more due to Adrian Peterson's status, Ponder could be a sneaky QB2 option.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
Charles was ready for the start of training camp and seems confident in his surgically-repaired knee. "I feel comfortable out there and I'm ready to go," he said. "My legs feel fresh." If we see his trademark explosion in preseason action, J-Chaz will move even higher up our RB rankings.

Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots
Ridley has been one of the stars at Pats camp so far. He's improved his ball-security and displayed impressive decisiveness. Ridley appears to be distancing himself from Shane Vereen in the battle for lead back duties. He has double-digit TD potential.

Kevin Smith, RB, Lions
The fact that Smith's 2 backfield mates appear in the "Stock Down" list tells you all you need to know. He's easily the healthiest among the trio right now, and the Detroit media has dubbed him the favorite to start the season-opener. He's a bargain at his current 10th-round ADP.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars
Jennings continues to climb our rankings the longer Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout lasts. Jennings has been impressive early on in camp and has the size and skill-set to succeed as Jacksonville's feature back if MJD misses time. And even if Jones-Drew plays 16 games, Jennings is expected to play a significant role. He's one of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy football.

Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals
His rehab from last year's torn patellar tendon remains on track. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks was impressed by Williams' explosiveness, decisiveness, and change-of-direction skills in practice. With RB Beanie Wells still struggling with a bum knee, Williams is pushing hard for a significant role.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots
Lloyd created all sorts of buzz this spring, and that's continued into training camp. He's comfortable in OC Josh McDaniels' offense and already has QB Tom Brady's trust. We still think Lloyd will struggle for consistent targets, but he'll have big-time upside each and every week.

Austin Collie, WR, Colts
Collie's role is set to expand in 2012. He'll run a more diverse route tree and see snaps both in the slot and outside the numbers. Plus, Collie has reportedly been one of QB Andrew Luck's favorite targets in camp so far. He's being ignored in fantasy drafts right now, with an ADP in the 14th round.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
Cobb has been ripping up training camp so far. "He’s made more big plays and been used in a greater variety of ways than any of their other receivers," insider Pete Dougherty wrote this week. HC Mike McCarthy is scheming ways to get the ball into Cobb's hands. Don't expect consistency among Green Bay's crowded WR corps, but Cobb could be an explosive bye-week fill-in option.

Braylon Edwards, WR, Seahawks
Edwards signed a 1-year deal with Seattle earlier this week and reportedly hit the ground running. If healthy, he's plenty capable of beating out Golden Tate for the #2 WR job. We still don't consider Edwards anything more than a bench guy in fantasy though.

Chad Ochocinco, WR, Dolphins
Ochocinco has been Miami's best WR in camp so far. That says just as much about Miami's ugly WR corps as it does Ocho's ability. But it sounds like Ochocinco has a chance to be in the Dolphins' Week 1 starting lineup. That'd at least make him worth late-round consideration in fantasy drafts.

Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions
Broyles was activated from the PUP list this week -- just 9 months after tearing his ACL. The rookie figures to get off to a slow start, but he could eventually push Nate Burleson for snaps in the slot. That'd give him some appeal as a bye-week filler in PPR leagues.

Derek Hagan, WR, Bills
Hagan seems to be making a serious run at Buffalo's #2 WR job. "He's working his tail off and pushing hard to be a big part of this offense," HC Chan Gailey said this week. We still consider Donald Jones the favorite for the spot, but Hagan is worth monitoring.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Few players have generated more buzz through 1 week of camp. Rudolph has looked explosive while developing some serious chemistry with QB Christian Ponder. TE John Carlson's MCL sprain only helps Rudolph's outlook. We like him as a high-end TE2 with upside.

Ed Dickson, TE, Ravens
Dickson could pick up some extra snaps and targets early in the season after teammate Dennis Pitta went down with a broken hand on Monday. Pitta seems questionable for the season-opener.


Stock Down: the following guys have moved down our rankings over the past week.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Titans
Hasselbeck was always going to lose his starting spot to Jake Locker, but it seems to be happening sooner than expected. Hass has been outplayed by the youngster in camp so far and may have already been passed on the depth chart.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
MJD's holdout continues, and there's no end in sight. The two sides reportedly aren't even talking. The track record of RBs coming off extended holdouts is ugly. Jones-Drew was an injury-risk anyways after taking on 954 carries over the past 3 seasons. We'd look elsewhere in the 1st-round of fantasy drafts.

Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
Best has yet to be cleared for contact after last year's concussions. And HC Jim Schwartz admitted that he's still weeks away. Best is nowhere near a lock to be on the field for Week 1. There's at least as much risk as there is upside here.

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
Leshoure has been sidelined by a hamstring injury -- likely an offshoot of last summer's ruptured Achilles. HC Jim Schwartz admitted that the team has no idea whether Leshoure will ever regain pre-injury form. He's just a late-round flier at this point.

Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins
Hartline has been dealing with a leg injury since spring. He's in danger of losing his starting job to Chad Ochocinco or Legedu Naanee.

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks
Tate is off to a good start in camp, but maybe not good enough. The Seahawks signed WR Braylon Edwards, who will compete with Tate for a starting job opposite Sidney Rice. Seattle's passing game doesn't have the firepower to support more than a few guys.

Mike Thomas, WR, Jaguars
You know a guy is struggling when he's passed by Cecil Shorts. That's what reportedly happened to Thomas this week. The diminutive slot man is off the fantasy radar.

Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles
Cooper went down with a broken collarbone that's expected to cost him 6 weeks. He's questionable for Week 1. Cooper should retain #4 WR duties once healthy, but he would need an injury to Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson to find fantasy value.

John Carlson, TE, Vikings
Carlson suffered a sprained MCL and will miss the next 2-4 weeks of camp. Barring a setback, he'll be ready for the opener, but he'll be behind the curve in OC Bill Musgrave's offense. Carlson will play second-fiddle to TE Kyle Rudolph anyways.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens
Pitta broke his hand on Monday. The team is "hopeful" that he'll be ready for Week 1. Lacking upside to begin with, Pitta can now be ignored in fantasy drafts.

Evan Moore, TE, Browns
HC Pat Shurmur says TE Ben Watson remains the team's "undisputed" starter... and the air once again goes out of the Evan Moore balloon. You can do better for a late-round flier.

Billy Cundiff, K, Ravens
Cundiff's starting job is being threatened by undrafted rookie Justin Tucker. After shanking a game-tying attempt in last year's AFC Championship, Cundiff has connected on just 29 of his 35 kicks in camp so far. Avoid this situation in fantasy drafts.

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