Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of information out there on Sunday mornings. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have the personalized lineup advice for you on the premium content. Again, there are 100 places you can go for that, so no reason to repeat ourselves or others.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. One player will be picked from each team who has dynasty value tied to the game – players at a pivot point where their value could increase or decrease based on opportunity and performance.
As something new, I want to add some accountability to my calls that I make each week in this column. I don’t have a good way of defining whether a player’s value truly went up or down in a given week yet, so the results I am listing are based on my personal opinion. For example, Chester Rogers didn’t produce much, but he did get 93% of the snaps. I’m calling it a wash at value even.
Total hit percent for Week 14: 63.3%
|Team||Player||Value call||Reason||Player Pivot?||Actual Result|
|Colts||Chester Rogers||Value up||Increased opportunity, produces when given opportunity||No||Value even|
|Bills||Travaris Cadet||Value up||Getting lots of passing game opportunity, Shady is aging||Yes||Value down|
|Vikings||Case Keenum||Value up||Leading a playoff caliber team, each continued start is a value up||Yes||Value up|
|Panthers||Devin Funchess||Value up||Going against Xavier Rhodes and on a roll, good evaluation spot||No||Value even|
|Bears||Jordan Howard||True Pivot||Consistently inconsistent with a non-existent floor. Good matchup.||Yes||Value up|
|Bengals||Giovani Bernard||True Pivot||Likely to get a meaningful workload, how does he perform?||Yes||Value up|
|Packers||Jamaal Williams||Value up||Building consistency with two great games in a row||Yes||Value up|
|Browns||Corey Coleman||Value down||Role diminished with Josh Gordon back||Yes||Value up|
|Cowboys||Jason Witten||Value up||Building consistency, always good against Giants||No||Value even|
|Giants||Sterling Shepard||Value up||Rapport with Manning, role in offense||Yes||Value down|
|Lions||Tion Green||Value up||Looked solid in first opportunity, question marks around him||No||Value even|
|Buccaneers||Cameron Brate||True Pivot||Diminishing role, but productive when he gets opportunity||Yes||Value down|
|49ers||Trent Taylor||Value up||Increasing targets and yards per reception, rapport with Garoppolo||No||Value even|
|Texans||Andre Ellington||Value up||Receiving flex-worthy passing work||No||Value even|
|Raiders||Johnny Holton||Value up||Got lots of opportunity and did well with it. Role moving forward?||No||Value even|
|Chiefs||Alex Smith||True Pivot||Great at times, bad at times. Patrick Mahomes in waiting.||No||Value even|
|Titans||Derrick Henry||Value up||More efficient back in Tennessee, could see increased opportunity||No||Value even|
|Cardinals||Blaine Gabbert||True Pivot||Could earn 2018 starting role with his play||Yes||Value down|
|Jets||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Value up||Weak defense vs. tight end||Yes||Value down|
|Broncos||Trevor Siemian||Value down||Anemic passing offense, could be losing his future opportunity||Yes||Value down|
|Redskins||Semaje Perine||Value up||Appears to be locking up the starting running back role for 2018||No||Value even|
|Chargers||Hunter Henry||True Pivot||Exploding lately, but a down week would pause his value growth||Yes||Value up|
|Seahawks||Mike Davis||True Pivot||Opportunity breeds value, but how tenuous is it?||Yes||Value up|
|Jaguars||Leonard Fournette||True Pivot||Slumping efficiency, tough opponent||Yes||Value up|
|Eagles||Trey Burton||Value up||Produces well when Zach Ertz is out, rare backup TE that could have value||Yes||Value up|
|Rams||Cooper Kupp||Value up||Consistent production, very strong rapport with QB growing||Yes||Value up|
|Ravens||Alex Collins||Value up||Consistent production, now involved in both running and passing games||Yes||Value up|
|Steelers||Martavis Bryant||True Pivot||Opportunity increase with JJSM out, murky future with team||No||Value even|
|Patriots||Dwayne Allen||True Pivot||Chance to prove he fits in in New England||Yes||Value down|
|Dolphins||Kenny Stills||Value up||Consistent production, gets a chance to keep the production rolling||No||Value even|
ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON
With Adrian Peterson on injured reserve now, Kerywnn Williams will get extended play. While I question his dynasty value as a Cardinal, he is young enough to impress another team and latch on there eventually. So far so good, and he can turn the opportunity into more.
Josh Doctson has really been getting meaningful targets lately, and he’s converting a lot of them. The ones he doesn’t convert are often a difficult play to make, and that shows the building trust between him and Kirk Cousins. Regardless of who is quarterbacking next year, his value is on the rise.
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BALTIMORE AT CLEVELAND
How about this Alex Collins guy? The team simply looks different with him being featured, and in a good way. The more that happens, the more solidified his long term role and value will become. Cleveland isn’t a place where we expect him to suddenly slow down.
Isaiah Crowell just might be benefitting from Josh Gordon’s return. He exploded last week and it could well be a result of defenses fearing the receiving weapons for a change. Let’s see if that becomes a trend or if Crowell just busted out for one game.
MIAMI AT BUFFALO
A featured role for Kenyan Drake? No problem, this kid is electric. Now we just want to see the trend continue and his value will keep trending upward. Buffalo isn’t likely to slow him down, so it could be alarming if they manage to.
The Dolphins aren’t great against tight ends, and Charles Clay hasn’t done much since returning from injury. With Tyrod Taylor expected back, is this the week he becomes the featured receiver again and gets a value bump?
GREEN BAY AT CAROLINA
This is it! Jordy Nelson gets Aaron Rodgers back and it couldn’t happen too soon. Time to find out if his woes for this mid-season were related to him losing a step or if they can be tied to losing Aaron Rodgers to injury. I would bail quickly if you’ve been holding him and he doesn’t return to scoring form in a week or two.
This game has two playoff caliber teams, and big time players do well when they need to. That’s what Devin Funchess is looking at in this game. I want to see if he has the clutch factor after taking over the leading role this season. He has yet to have a defining moment on a big stage in the NFL.
CINCINNATI AT MINNESOTA
So far so good for Giovani Bernard through one week of a featured role. Now he gets to face a very tough Vikings front. Does he continue to roll or does he get bottled up? His value could move in either direction.
Latavius Murray was looking pretty good over the past month, until the Panthers swallowed him whole and destroyed his productivity. The Bengals are a much softer match up, so does he rebound? On a playoff team, being reliable is a big deal and could mean good things for him next year as Dalvin Cook tries to pre-injury form.
HOUSTON AT JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville is stout on the outside, and Stephen Anderson has 18 targets over the past two weeks. Ryan Griffin and CJ Fiedorowicz don’t appear to be paragons of health, so Anderson may be getting a long term look starting immediately. Can he show up in a game with a playoff team this week?
Extrapolate Dede Westbrook’s first four games as a pro across a full season, and we’re looking at an 80 catch, four touchdown monster on over 130 targets. Sign me up. That’s nuts considering he just put up stats against Seattle. It’s also nuts considering Blake Bortles is his quarterback and this team is leaning on the run and its defense.
NEW YORK JETS AT NEW ORLEANS
Despite getting zero targets, rookie Chad Hansen saw significant playing time last week. While I typically like my rookie receivers to be a little more productive throughout the season, I’m not above checking out guys who make a surge late in the season. What we want to see is him become actively involved in the game plan if he is to gain any value.
Heading into the final stretch of the 2017 season, Drew Brees’ statistical output has been less of a factor in his team’s success. This looks like a trend likely to continue through the rest of his career. The team around him has a solid defense and is dominating in the run game. This isn’t a bad thing for him as a quarterback, but it is a bad thing for him as your fantasy quarterback. Having said that, the Jets are great against the run. Maybe we get a glimpse of what Drew’s ceiling is this week.
PHILADELPHIA AT NEW YORK GIANTS
Jay Ajayi has been pretty successful as an Eagle, but less successful as your fantasy running back for most of those weeks. The Giants are a woeful football team this year, capable of helping superstar running backs like Rod Smith hit their ceiling. This is a ceiling opportunity heading into the playoffs for a team that just lost its star quarterback. It’s time to see how much the team is comfortable putting on him.
This week, will Wayne Gallman continue to look like the Giants running back to own? Does it matter? None of them are amassing much more than flex-worthy output. At the moment, though, he does look like the guy with the most theoretical value. The question is does he convince the team they don’t need to invest in the position again this off-season.
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT SEATTLE
Cooper Kupp exploded onto the scene with the Robert Woods injury. So much so, that now DraftKings even has Kupp listed as more expensive than Woods for this week. That’s a great indicator of the inflection point we are at for this young player. Does he take the reins and continue to look like the guy to own, or does Woods take that title back?
Something is a-changing in Seattle. I’ve written up Paul Richardson in the past due to his enormous weekly ceiling, and predicting it would lead to more involvement. I cooled off on him after his involvement waned. Now, though, he actually has that involvement. Over the past month, this dude has increased snap percentage each week, up to 93.5% in week 14. He is also getting nearly seven targets per game over that stretch. His production doesn’t match the involvement, and it might just catch up.
NEW ENGLAND AT PITTSBURGH
Five touchdowns in three weeks is kind of a lot. Rex Burkhead is getting consistent usage in premium field position and situations. My question is does that continue? If so his value still isn’t where it needs to be. This team looks poised to move to a more running back-heavy approach at Tom Brady plays out the twilight of his career.
Whoa, what? Jesse James just got 12 targets last week. While that is obviously a ceiling on a team with all-stars, we want to see if it increases his overall week to week involvement in the offense. Even a steady four or five targets per week would merit an increase for him.
TENNESSEE AT SAN FRANCISCO
Coming into this season, Marcus Mariota was a hot commodity in the dynasty quarterback market. He cooled off significantly since then, and really hit his non-injury driven floor last week with a 3.5 fantasy point performance. He is in danger of moving into the dynasty hellscape where Alex Smith used to reside: talented enough to own, but never be used. Let’s hope for a bounceback against the 49ers.
His value won’t scream up the charts or anything, but Garrett Celek is looking like the tight end to own in San Francisco with Jimmy G under center. George Kittle was a nice sleeper and presented some value earlier this season. It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition down the road, but for now it looks like Celek is our man.
DALLAS AT OAKLAND
All the mean things I said about Dak Prescott after he struggled without Ezekiel Elliot? Yeah, I still meant them. However, he has grown as a quarterback due to this adversity. He is starting to rally the team behind him and produce results despite his team’s holes. This growth will only be good for him in the long run, and he gets a soft Raiders defense this week to slice through like butter.
Derek Carr truly hasn’t done himself any favors this season as a fantasy asset. While other young quarterbacks are clearly ascending, he is moving in the opposite direction. This is concerning considering his defense is made of unpasteurized cheese. He really needs to step up on a big stage like Sunday Night Football to turn his perception around.
ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY
As of writing, Tevin Coleman looks extremely doubtful as he hasn’t cleared concussion protocol. Tampa Bay is giving up tons of fantasy production to opponents, and it couldn’t come at a better time of year for Devonta Freeman owners. Look for him to be the workhorse and carry the load in a game with huge playoff implications for the Falcons.
Cameron Brate keeps sliding, and OJ Howard keeps moving up. Both in terms of playing time and opportunity, it looks like the curtains are finally falling on Brate’s time as a fantasy starter while in a Buccaneer uniform. Jameis Winston has a penchant for throwing to tight ends throughout his football career, so the upside for Howard is immense and he will begin capitalizing on it quickly.
|Cardinals||Kerwynn Williams||Value up||Production and opportunity with AP on IR|
|Redskins||Josh Doctston||Value up||Improvement and involvement in the offense|
|Ravens||Alex Collins||Value up||Production, featured role|
|Browns||Isaiah Crowell||True pivot||Blew up last week, teams fear passing game with Gordon back?|
|Dolphins||Kenyan Drake||Value up||Elite production as workhorse, weak Buffalo run defense|
|Bills||Charles Clay||True pivot||Low production lately, but featured previously and Dolphin weak vs. TE|
|Packers||Jordy Nelson||True pivot||Aaron Rodgers returning, were the issues Jordy or the QB?|
|Panthers||Devin Funchess||Value up||GB weak vs. WR, playoff type game|
|Bengals||Giovani Bernard||True pivot||Good in one week as featured RB, but now Vikings defense|
|Vikings||Latavius Murray||True pivot||Good over past month, fell off last week. Bounce back could be big.|
|Texans||Stephen Anderson||Value up||Other TE can't stay healthy, insane target load lately|
|Jaguars||Dede Westbrook||Value up||Playing out of his mind for first four games as a rookie|
|Jets||Chad Hansen||Value up||Value can't go down, getting snaps now, does he get involved?|
|Saints||Drew Brees||True pivot||Ceiling opportunity, less central to team's success this year (& forward?)|
|Eagles||Jay Ajayi||Value up||Ceiling opportunity, will be more involved with Wentz injury|
|Giants||Wayne Gallman||True pivot||Looked like best Giants RB last week, but will team invest in off-season?|
|Rams||Cooper Kupp||True pivot||Stud with Robert Woods out, Woods is back. Who prevails?|
|Seahawks||Paul Richardson||Value up||Involvement vs production gap, involvement continuously increasing|
|Patriots||Rex Burkhead||Value up||Involvement in premium field position and situations, can it continue?|
|Steelers||Jesse James||Value up||Ceiling game last week, may increase opportunity moving forward|
|Titans||Marcus Mariota||True pivot||Awful fantasy season compared to expectation, bounceback week here?|
|49ers||Garrett Celek||Value up||Looks like the TE to own in San Fran|
|Cowboys||Dak Prescott||Value up||Putting team on his back despite adversity|
|Raiders||Derek Carr||True pivot||Rocky season, needs to turn it around on a big stage or lose more value|
|Falcons||Devonta Freeman||Value up||Workhorse role in a game with playoff implications|
|Buccaneers||OJ Howard||Value up||Effectively #1 and alone on TE depth chart, Jameis loves TE|