Fantasy football Risers, Sliders: Foles emerges as a fantasy starter
Compared to the past few weeks, this week was a slow one, fantasy-wise, in the NFL. No game featured almost 100 points. Only one quarterback threw for four touchdowns, one player scored three times (and it was a player not featured in many fantasy lineups) and just five players rushed for over 100 yards. As a whole, fantasy scores were down this week. Let's take a look at the stock of some players after Week 6.
• Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles -- In his first start of the season, Foles went 22 for 31 for 296 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay's defense had held opposing quarterbacks to under 15 fantasy points a game in standard leagues, until Foles exploded this week. Who knows if Foles will be the starter when Michael Vick returns from injury, but he's going to make it a tough decision for Chip Kelly. If Vick can't go next week, Foles is a solid fantasy starter against the Cowboys defense.
• Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins -- Griffin went 19 for 39 for 246 yards and tossed two turnovers against one of the weaker pass defenses in the league in Dallas. (They were giving up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks coming into the week, though some of that was due to playing Peyton Manning.) His 77 rushing yards mitigate his passing numbers, but RGIII hasn't put up the stellar fantasy numbers he did last year.
• Houston Texans quarterbacks -- A pick-six is happening no matter who's playing quarterback for the Texans, apparently.
• Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers -- Lacy rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries on the Ravens, who had given up the least fantasy points to opposing running backs coming into Sunday. Lacy's the starter in Green Bay as long as he's healthy; the Browns and Vikings the next two weeks are attractive matchups.
• Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots -- Ridley continued his up-and-down season, rushing 20 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. The Saints' run defense is weak, but his game was still encouraging: With the team unable to move the ball through the air much, Ridley got 20 carries while Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount received 12 carries combined.
• Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants -- Sure, the Giants are a mess, but Jacobs will continue to get the bulk of the carries with David Wilson out for the foreseeable future. He rushed 22 times for 106 yards on Thursday against the Bears.
• Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens -- Yikes. Rice rushed for just 34 yards on 14 carries. He's rushed for just 197 yards on 71 carries this year, averaging 2.77 yards per carry. Though he got most of the touches on Sunday -- Bernard Pierce ran six times for nine yards -- the Ravens haven't had the offensive line to sustain a good rushing attack so far this year.
• Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders -- McFadden returned to the Raiders lineup but rushed for just 52 yards on 16 carries. His only game with more rushing yards this year was a 129-yard performance against the Jaguars, who can't seem to stop anybody. The Raiders offense isn't exactly terrible, but McFadden isn't putting up starting-caliber numbers.
• DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys -- Murray can't seem to stay healthy. After scoring a touchdown on Dallas' first possession, he exited the Cowboys' game Sunday night with a left knee sprain.
• Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders -- Moore continues to lead the Raiders in targets: He was targeted 10 times on Sunday, catching five passes for 82 yards and a score. Even with the Raiders offense struggling, he still put up a solid stat line. He's been targeted 35 times the last four games.
• Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- The Eagles' pass defense is bad -- coming into Sunday it had allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers of any team -- but Jackson's nine catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets is a good sign. He had two weeks to work with Mike Glennon; this performance shows he still might be able to be productive with the new quarterback.
• Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers -- LaFell did most of his damage with a 79-yard touchdown catch, but he has five touchdowns in four weeks now, and has been targeted 23 times during that stretch. He caught four passes for 107 yards on Sunday.
• Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints -- Only three targets and one catch for Colston, who had just two catches on two targets the previous week. The Patriots' pass defense has been playing pretty well this season, but it's the abrupt decrease in targets that could be concerning. He hasn't scored since Week 1, either. Relief comes in the form of a good matchup against the Bills in Week 8.
• Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs -- Even though the Chiefs are 6-0, Bowe isn't making a great impact fantasy-wise this season -- in total, he has 20 catches for 229 yards and two scores. He hasn't caught more than four passes in a game and has only been targeted 31 times; these aren't fantasy first wide receiver numbers.
• Joseph Fauria, Detroit Lions -- It's always hard to judge guys who put up huge touchdown totals on low numbers of targets. Fauria now has seven catches and five touchdowns on the year, including three touchdowns (on just three targets) on Sunday. He's not always going to put up 20+ point fantasy games, but Fauria should at least be stashed. He might even be able to start in large leagues, though it's going to be boom or bust. The Lions next three opponents -- the Bengals, Cowboys and Bears -- haven't defended tight ends well this season.
• Fred Davis, Washington Redskins -- Nominally the starter in Washington, Davis wasn't even targeted in Sunday night's loss. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed caught four passes for 58 yards on six targets. He appears to be the tight end getting looks as long as he's healthy.
• Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles -- Nick Foles simply didn't look Celek's way on Sunday. Rookie Zach Ertz was targeted six times, while Celek caught his one target for 10 yards.
• Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Suisham kicked four field goals against a Jets team that hasn't given up a ton of points. Lots of kickers could be on the risers list: Kickers missed only three field goals this week.
• Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders -- Janikowski missed his only field goal attempt of the day, a 51-yarder. Oakland's in the lower third of the league in points.
• Kansas City Chiefs -- OK, maybe the Chiefs can't rise in fantasy value any more, but let's note their impressive game on Sunday against the Raiders: seven points allowed, 10 sacks, three takeaways and a pick-six. You probably still can't start the Chiefs defense against Denver in a few weeks, but the Chiefs face the Texans, Browns and Bills the next three weeks. This run is going to continue.
• Minnesota Vikings -- Minnesota's defense didn't play that bad against the Panthers in a 35-10 blowout loss to the Panthers, but the Vikings couldn't get off the field: Carolina went 7-for-12 on third down and 2-for-2 on fourth. Getting no help from the offense has really hurt the Vikings' fantasy value.
MORE WEEK 7 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- New faces in upper tier of WRs
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- Top running backs will explode
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- Quarterback may surprise owners
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Randle, Dobson worth a roster spot
BELLER, FLOOD: Weekly Roundtable -- Time to stash Brown, Crabtree?
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Nick Foles emerges as a fantasy starter
BELLER: Early Week 7 advice -- Martin, Jackson owners can breathe easier