The Market Report: Week 14

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The Market Report: Week 14

The Market Report is your one-stop Monday shop for all the movement from a big weekend of NFL football.

These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.

This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.

UPGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Kyler Murray (Ari) — The Cardinals played it extra cautious with Kyler by sitting him for more than five weeks with his ankle injury, so it was a bit shocking to see him running around like a mad man in sloppy conditions against the Bears in Week 13. He posted 10/59/2 rushing for 17.9 FP as a runner, which was more fantasy production than he had posted in his previous six games as a runner — he had 39/96/1 rushing for 15.6 FP in Weeks 3-8. He didn’t have to do much as a passer, completing 11/15 passes for 123 yards (8.2 YPA) and two TDs, but when combined with his rushing production it was good enough for his first 30+ FP performance since he did it twice to open the season. Murray must be feeling healthy after posting a season-best 10 carries — his previous best was seven rushing attempts in 2021 — and this passing game will get back to letting it rip in domed conditions this week. He previously posted 268/2 passing and 6/39 rushing against this week’s opponent, the Rams, back in Week 4. (Tom Brolley)

Running Backs

Devonta Freeman (Bal) — Freeman officially planted his flag as the undisputed top RB in Baltimore with a season-best performance against the Steelers in Week 13. He set new season-best marks in snap share (69%), scrimmage yards (97), targets (8), and FP (20.7), while #2 RB Latavius Murray posted season-lows in snap share (19%) and touches (4). Baltimore’s passing attack has been extremely uneven since they came out of their Week 8 bye with Lamar Jackson averaging just 6.0 YPA with eight INTs over his last four games since Week 9. Freeman has developed into one of the steadier pieces of the offense in that same span, averaging 17.2/75.7 scrimmage per game with three TDs over his last five games. Freeman has worked his way into reliable RB2 territory, including this week against the Browns, whom he managed a seven-game low of 7.0 FP (17/60 scrimmage) against back in Week 12. (TB)

Antonio Gibson (Was) — Well, it has certainly been a long and, at times, painful road to get here. But Antonio Gibson finally has arrived as a RB1. Despite playing through a shin injury for most of this season, Washington came out of their bye with one goal: Get Gibson the rock. Over his last four games, Gibson has handled a monster 26, 19, 36, and 28 touches that have culminated in him peaking at just the right time. Gibson posted 111 scrimmage yards and a score against the Raiders en route to 22.1 FP, marking the third time in 4 games that Gibson has scored over 20 FP. Obviously, JD McKissic (concussion) missing this week’s game helped solidify Gibson’s breakout, but at this point, there is no way Washington can go back to playing McKissic extensively. The Team is winning by playing ball-control offense with Gibson as the focal point. To close out this season, Gibson gets a run of four-straight games against either the Cowboys (Week 14 and 16) or Eagles (Week 15 and 17). (Graham Barfield)

Josh Jacobs (LVR) — In what ended up being a sloppy game overall for the Raiders offense, there was a bright spot (for fantasy, at least): Josh Jacobs. After Kenyan Drake (ankle) got injured early and with Jalen Richard (COVID) out, the Raiders had no other option but to put Jacobs on the field for nearly every single play. His 85% snap rate and nine receptions both marked career highs. Jacobs being more involved in the passing game isn’t a new trend – he was easily tracking a career-high 3.6 receptions per game after returning from injury in Week 4 – and he’ll certainly be relied way more heavily as a receiver with Drake out for the season. Richard should mix in for a few snaps here and there when he gets back, but this is Jacobs’ backfield now. The Raiders do close out their final month of the season with a pretty tough gauntlet, though: at Chiefs, at Browns, vs. Broncos, at Colts (Weeks 14-17). (GB)

Javonte Williams (Den) — Good things happen when you put the ball in the hands of your best players. It’s weird how that works! Look, both things can be true: 1) Melvin Gordon has played well enough to earn a significant role but 2) Javonte Williams is better. Much better. With Gordon sidelined thanks to a nagging hip injury, Williams showed everyone what could be in store for 2022 as the Broncos bell-cow. Williams rolled up a ridiculous 178 scrimmage yards and a score on 23 carries and 9 targets while playing on a season-high 78% of the snaps against the Chiefs. Williams’ arrow is ticked straight upwards right now because we saw some growth in his role even before Gordon missed Week 13 and now the pathway is clear for him to finish the year as an RB1 if Gordon’s hip nags him. The Broncos get the Lions at home in Week 14 and if Gordon sits again, Williams easily has top-3 upside. We will be talking about how high is too high for Javonte in 2022 drafts in the very near future. (GB)

Wide Receivers

Tee Higgins (Cin) — Higgins has had his two best games of the season in back-to-back weeks, hanging 6/114/1 on 8 targets against the Steelers last week, then torching the Chargers for 9/138/1 on 14 targets in Week 13. Meanwhile, stud rookie Ja’Marr Chase may have hit a bit of a rookie wall. It’s not like Chase has disappeared, but he hasn’t topped 52 yards in any of his last five games… after putting up at least 54 yards in each of his first seven games. And of course, Chase dropping what would have been a long touchdown that became an interception may well be the defining play of the Bengals’ loss, in a very strange game overall. QB Joe Burrow has been gravitating toward the hot hand, and that’s been Higgins the last two weeks. (JD)

DeAndre Hopkins (Ari) — Nuk, in his first action since Week 8, got his work done early with a 20-yard touchdown on Arizona’s first drive against the Bears before taking a little siesta the rest of the afternoon in Week 13. He caught his only other target to finish with 2/32/1 receiving on a day in which Kyler Murray attempted just 15 passes in ugly conditions in Chicago. The best sign is that Hopkins didn’t appear to be hindered by his nagging hamstring injury, and he actually paced the Cardinals’ WRs in snap share (74%) and routes (17). Hopkins should be back to a near full-time role in the comfy confines of State Farm Stadium this week. He posted 4/67 receiving on seven targets against Jalen Ramsey and company when the Cardinals first met the Rams back in Week 4. (TB)

Elijah Moore (NYJ) — The Jets’ offense got off to a hot start in Week 13 against the Eagles, as Moore scored on New York’s opening drive and finished with 6/77/1 receiving on a team-high 12 targets (in fact, all those totals were team-highs). As a matter of fact, Moore’s 12 targets marked a season-high for him. His 35 routes run also led the team, so whether it’s Zach Wilson at QB or not, Moore has elevated to the Jets’ #1 receiver. They’ve also started manufacturing touches for him in other ways, as he had a rush for 9 yards. While Wilson cooled off in the second half after a promising first half, it was overall a pretty good game for the youngster, and that’s just good news for those who want a volatile but upside oriented WR3 in Moore. (Joe Dolan)

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski (TB) — Gronk has been absolutely dominant in his six full contests this season, averaging peak-Gronk numbers with 18.8 FPG with three games with two touchdowns. He ripped the Falcons for 4/58/2 receiving on eight targets (16% share), which moved Gronk and Tom Brady into second place in career touchdowns by a QB-receiver combo. They scored their 89th and 90th touchdowns together to pass Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers, and they need 23 more scores to pass Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning for the record. Gronk has posted 8+ targets and 55+ yards in each of his three games since returning to the lineup in Week 11, which coincides with Antonio Brown being out of the lineup. Gronk is locked into a massive role for at least the next two weeks while AB serves a suspension for his fake vaccine card, and it’s not out of the question Brown will be released outright by the time his suspension is over. (TB)

George Kittle (SF) — Kittle definitively answered the question of who would step up in Deebo Samuel’s absence in Week 13 by posting the second-best fantasy performance by a tight end this season. He erupted for 9/181/2 receiving on 12 targets (40% share) in San Francisco’s loss to the Seahawks, rumbling for two touchdowns that came from outside the red zone. Outside of disappearing against the Vikings in Week 12, Kittle has hung 13+ FP and 4+ catches in four out of his five games since returning to the lineup in Week 9 with five touchdowns in that span. It’s a four-man race for the TE1 in terms of FPG between Rob Gronkowski (16.1), Travis Kelce (15.9), Kittle (15.0), and Mark Andrews (14.9), and he’ll be the top fantasy option this week against the Bengals if Deebo misses another contest. (TB)

Dallas Goedert (Phi) — Three tight ends scored 2 TD in Week 13 — Goedert, Rob Gronkowski, and George Kittle. Only two — Goedert and Kittle — did so as part of a 100-yard receiving performance. The point here is not that Goedert is a consistent, inscrutable stud. It’s just that those guys haven’t existed all year at the position. Kittle and Goedert were both coming off of 1-catch performances before their Week 13 blowups. Gronk and Darren Waller have missed time with injuries. And even Travis Kelce has underwhelmed. It’s that very few tight ends have the ceiling that Goedert has, and while he might be more consistent if Gardner Minshew were to be the starting QB, he has plenty of upside with the dynamic but more inconsistent Jalen Hurts. He’s just a really difficult guy to bench. (JD)

DOWNGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson (Bal) — Batlimore’s offense has scored just four touchdowns and they haven’t reached 20+ points in a game over its last three games with Jackson in the lineup. He struggled once again in a loss to the Steelers in Week 13, completing 23/37 passes for 253 yards (6.8 YPA), one TD, and one INT and he added 8/55 rushing for a respectable 18.6 FP. Jackson is averaging just 6.0 YPA with six TD passes to eight INTs over his last four games, which includes a missed contest in that span for an illness. Lamar has thrown for just one touchdown pass in nine of his 11 games this season, and he’s accounted for only two rushing TDs after scoring seven times in each of his last two seasons. Lamar still has one of the best floors in the league because of his 69.3 rushing yards per game, but he’s given us three straight floor performances over the last month with fewer than 19 FP in each of those contests. He posted 165/1 passing and 13.4 FP with four INTs against this week’s opponent, the Browns, back in Week 12. (TB)

Patrick Mahomes (KC) — After the Chiefs shredded the Raiders in Week 10 for 41 points, the sentiment among the mainstream talking heads was that “Kansas City is back!” Well, we have seen nothing but a continuation of their mid-season struggles here over their last two outings with the Cowboys and Broncos. Granted, both Dallas and Denver’s defenses are playing better, but one thing is clear: The 2018-20 Chiefs aren’t walking through that door. Everyone has been waiting for the Chiefs to just turn it on and hit that sixth gear that we’ve seen in each of the last three seasons, but right now, this offense is just stuck. Their offensive line is average at best, Mahomes is struggling through a few things, and they do not have a third receiver opposite Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce right now. Mecole Hardman has been demoted and is now running as their No. 5 receiver behind Byron Pringle and Josh Gordon for crying out loud. Once again, Mahomes disappointed in the stat sheet after a nice opening drive – going 15-of-29 for 184 scoreless yards and 1 INT against Denver. The good news for Kansas City fans is that their defense is playing like a brand new unit with Chris Jones playing out of his mind, but their offense has a few fatal flaws right now. Over his last six games, Mahomes is averaging 249.6 YPG, has a 7:4 TD-to-INT ratio, a 81.5 passer rating, and averaged 6.3 YPA. It’s a marked difference after his first six games where Mahomes shined (314.5 YPG, 18:8 TD-to-INT ratio, 103.1 rating, 7.8 YPA). Everything has changed since that Titans game back in Week 7. The Chiefs get another crack at the Raiders at home in Week 14, but we can’t trust Mahomes as anything more than a low-end QB1 for the rest of the year. (GB)

Running Backs

Jamaal Williams (Det) — Williams looked primed to step directly into D’Andre Swift’s old role after playing 63% of the snaps after Swift went down with his shoulder injury early on Thanksgiving Day. HC Dan Campbell had other plans with a week to prepare for their showdown with the Vikings in Week 13. Godwin Igwebuike stepped into the passing-back role with Swift out of the lineup, running nearly three times the routes (25 to 9) that Williams did against Minnesota. Williams still turned in 17/71 rushing but he caught his only target for nine yards for a disappointing 9.0 FP on a 47% snap share in Week 13. Williams was noticeably absent late in the game with the Lions chasing points, which is a major concern moving forward with the Lions entering this week as eight-point road underdogs to the Broncos. Campbell has certainly shown he’ll force feed carries to his top backs no matter the score, but Williams has the chance to be wiped out if the Lions fall behind by multiple scores this week. It sounds like Swift will miss at least one more game with his shoulder injury, but Williams is setting up to be a risky low-end RB2 with his disappointing role as a lead-runner only. (TB)

Saquon Barkley (NYG) — Watching this Giants offense against the Dolphins was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. You know what’s coming and you want to stop what’s about to happen… but you’re powerless. With Daniel Jones (neck) out, the Giants offense predictably cratered with Mike Glennon under center against Miami as New York mustered just three field goals in their losing effort and went three-and-out on three of their 7 second-half possessions. Unfortunately, everything's coming up bad for Saquon Barkley this season. A few weeks ago, Barkley said his ankle will likely “nag” him all year – which isn’t great to begin with. But, then we factor in how bad this Giants offensive line is and the fact that we might see Jake Fromm in the near future and it’s just… yikes. Barkley has turned in weekly finishes of RB19 (11.6 FP), RB30 (9.3 FP), and RB19 (13.4 FP) since returning in Week 11 and will be nothing more than a low-end RB2 if Fromm indeed starts in Week 14 despite a dream matchup against a bad Charger run defense. (GB)

James Robinson (Jax) — A dinged-up JRob — heel, knee — just hit rock bottom in Week 13. In a loss to the Rams, Robinson managed just 8/24 rushing and 1/11 receiving on 4 targets, while playing just 44% of the offensive snaps. An early lost fumble came into play with Urban Meyer choosing to work in Carlos Hyde (who also ended up losing a fumble), but it’s clear Robinson just isn’t 100%. His 44% snap share in Week 13 was the lowest share of his career in a single game in which he didn’t leave early with an injury, and the 52% share he had in Week 12 was the fourth-lowest share. Meanwhile, the Jags can’t do anything offensively. Robinson is just a FLEX option given his injury and the status of this team as a whole. (JD)

Wide Receivers

Adam Thielen (Min) — Thielen suffered a high-ankle injury on Minnesota’s opening drive of Week 13, which knocked him out for the rest of the game and potentially for the fantasy playoffs. Thielen will miss at least this week with the Vikings playing on Thursday Night Football against the Steelers, and he could miss additional time if he lands on the injured reserve for his injury. Thielen entered Week 13 tied with Mike Evans and Cooper Kupp for the league lead in receiving touchdowns after scoring twice against the 49ers in Week 12. K.J. Osborn (4/47/1 receiving) and Tyler Conklin (7/56) stepped up behind Justin Jefferson in this passing attack with Thielen out of the lineup, and they are priority adds on an otherwise barren waiver wire this week. (TB)

Antonio Brown (TB) — Brown has been mostly laying low since he arrived in Tampa Bay last season, but the circus is back in town since he decided to be cheap with a former employee. Brown’s former chef blew the whistle on him for a fake vaccine card after Brown wouldn’t pay him wages of $10,000, and the NFL looked into the incident and suspended him for three games for violating COVID-19 protocols by misrepresenting his vaccination status. HC Bruce Arians said late last week that Brown’s future with the organization hasn’t been decided, and Arians previously stated last season that AB would be gone if he screwed up one time. We’ll see if that approach has been altered since Brown helped the Buccaneers to a Lombardi Trophy last season but, at this point, fantasy owners can move on from AB if they can’t afford to carry his deadweight any longer. He’ll be first eligible to return in Week 16 and he’s not guaranteed to jump back into a prominent role since he last played back on Oct. 14. (TB)

Brandin Cooks (Hou) — Cooks had just 3 catches for 38 yards on 6 targets against the Colts in Week 13, meaning he’s now gone under 50 yards receiving in three consecutive games, and in four of his last six. Meanwhile, QB Tyrod Taylor was benched and suffered a wrist injury (which they never disclosed in game), giving way to Davis Mills, who didn’t perform much better in the Texans’ shutout loss — Taylor went 5/13 for 45 yards and a pick, while Mills went 6/14 for 49 yards. Coach David Culley is not going to officially name a starter at QB until later this week, and we’re just not even sure it matters. It’s Week 14 — wasting brain power and potentially inviting anxiety by starting any Texan is not the business we want to be in. (JD)

Courtland Sutton (Den) — Sutton has to be extremely frustrated with how his season has gone to this point. After popping for some big games early in the year when Jerry Jeudy was out, Sutton is an absolute non-factor in this Broncos passing offense right now. Over the last month of action, Sutton has caught 7 balls for 70 yards… total. In four games. That’s pathetic for a player of Sutton’s caliber and the fact that he just got a fat contract extension a few weeks back tells you everything you need to know about how Denver feels about him. It isn’t Sutton’s fault that Teddy Bridgewater is a backup posing as a starter. Hopefully, we’ll be talking about Sutton and these Broncos pass catchers in a much more positive light here soon with a new QB under center in 2022. (GB)

Tight Ends

Logan Thomas (Was) — Injuries are the worst. After missing Weeks 5-11 with a bad hamstring, Thomas just got back to the field and was looking great against the Raiders with 3/48/1 but, unfortunately, he badly injured his knee early in the 4th quarter. Thomas was the pull blocker on a run play and got cut down low at the knees by a lineman. The play wasn’t dirty, but it was unnecessary and an absolute terrible way for Thomas to end his season. We don’t know the full extent of Thomas’ injury at press-time, but it sounds like he received some good initial news that his ACL is intact on Monday morning. Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) missed another game in Week 13, but he would fit right back in as a full-time player if he can suit up in place of Thomas in Week 14. John Bates would be Washington’s every-down TE if RSJ still isn’t healthy. (GB)

WATCH LIST

Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts (Phi) — Gardner Minshew performed well for the injured Hurts (ankle) in Week 13 against the Jets, going 20/25 for 242 yards and 2 TD, while the Eagles’ run game continued to maul people up front. But while Minshew’s performance was strong, it wasn’t an “oh wow!!!” performance that Philly sports radio was likely hoping for, the one that could fuel a manufactured QB controversy over the Eagles’ Week 14 bye. No doubt they will try, but coach Nick Sirianni left no room open for debate: when Hurts is healthy — and he’s likely to be in Week 15 — he’s the Eagles’ starter. Just monitor that ankle injury. (JD)

Joe Burrow (Cin) — Burrow hasn’t exactly been great for fantasy of late. Despite running in a touchdown in each of his last two games, he hasn’t thrown for multiple scores since Week 8, a span over which he’s ranked as the QB26 with 14.1 FPG. But Burrow had an excuse for any inaccurate throws in the second half of the Bengals’ loss to the Chargers in Week 13, as he dislocated the pinky finger on his throwing hand, and played through it with tape, a splint, and other paraphernalia designed to keep him on the field, before deciding to go bare knuckle. Burrow played through pain and said after the game he doesn’t expect it to cost him any time, but this is a situation that bears monitoring. (JD)

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard (Dal) — It’s been painfully obvious that Pollard is the more dynamic playmaker over Zeke in recent weeks, and he showed it once again in their TNF victory over the Saints. Pollard gave the Cowboys a chance to win on Thanksgiving Day with a kick-return TD in Week 12, and he put the Cowboys in position to win with a game-breaking 58-yard touchdown run in Week 13. He finished with 9/74/1 scrimmage (8.2 YPT) on just 40% of the snaps while a clearly hobbled Zeke stumbled to 15/47 scrimmage (3.1 YPT) on 64% of the snaps. Zeke is averaging just 3.2 YPC on 45 carries and 4.5 YPR on 17 catches over his last four games, while Pollard is averaging 5.7 YPC on 35 carries and 7.9 YPR on 14 catches in that same span. To the detriment of this offense, Zeke and owner Jerry Jones have too much pride to sit Elliott down for a week or two to heal. He will get 10 days to rest after playing on TNF in Week 13, but he’s shaping up as an RB2 moving forward who will have to score and/or rack up catches to come through since he’s lacking in explosive plays. Pollard has RB1 potential if Zeke would ever sit for a game or two, but he’s stuck being a boom-or-bust RB2 with his opportunities capped each week playing next to Zeke. (TB)

Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel (LAR) — Henderson was active against the Jaguars in Week 13, but didn’t play a snap, as he was dealing with a quad injury and was active on only an emergency basis. Meanwhile, Michel played his ass off against a defense that’s been better than you think of late. Michel posted 24/121/1 rushing and 3/8 receiving on 4 targets. And while Henderson’s injury was the predominant reason that Michel played all but 2 snaps for the Rams (66 of 68) it’s possible that coach Sean McVay views Michel as a better fit for what he thinks his team needs to do offensively as it finally broke its three-game losing streak (see following Tweet). That means this could be a split going forward, and we’ll have to look for hints this week. (JD)

Alvin Kamara (NO) — Kamara’s situation has been an incredible buzzkill as his seemingly minor knee injury coming out of Week 9 has turned into a month-long absence. The length of Kamara’s absence even caught the Saints off guard since they never placed him on the injured reserve. At least it looks like he should finally return to the lineup this week in the best matchup in fantasy football against the Jets after he practiced on a limited basis before their Thursday Night contest last week — he’ll also hopefully get LT Terron Armstead (knee) and RT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) back, too. Kamara scored 20+ FP in four of his last six games with six touchdowns in that span, and he could give this offense a much-needed kick in the butt with their season hanging in the balance. (TB)

Joe Mixon (Cin) — While Mixon left briefly in Week 13 to be checked for a concussion amidst a neck injury, he returned to the action and managed to get in the end zone for the ninth consecutive game. That’s about where the positives end for Mixon’s performance against the Chargers, though — in a great matchup, he managed just 19/54/1 rushing. But he was held catchless for the third time in his last six games, and he had an awful fumble that was returned for a TD, a crippling turnover in a game in which the Bengals made multiple of them. It’s entirely likely that Mixon just had an overall weak game, and even still, he bailed out fantasy players with yet another touchdown. But keep an eye on his neck injury this week, because it’s possible it stiffens up. (JD)

Miles Sanders (Phi) — Aside from the fact that he appears to be completely allergic to touchdowns, Sanders had a hell of a game against the Jets in Week 13, putting up 142 yards from scrimmage as the Eagles continued to absolutely dominate at the line of scrimmage and in the run game, even with an injured Jalen Hurts giving way to Gardner Minshew. Of course, Sanders tweaked his bothersome ankle late in the game and didn’t return. Sanders has said he expects to be ready to go for the Eagles’ next game, which is in Week 15 coming out of their bye. But it’s a situation to be monitored. He will be on the RB2 radar if he goes, because the Eagles have really made a commitment to him — Sanders’ 24 carries were a career high. (JD)

Wide Receivers

None of note.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller (LVR) — Waller missed the Raiders Week 13 affair with back/knee injuries after not practicing all week. He was never close to playing against Washington and should be viewed as extremely questionable to suit up in Week 14 against the Chiefs, too. Foster Moreau got a chance to start in place of Waller, but he air-balled for fantasy. Moreau caught his lone pass for an explosive 35-yard gain, but failed to reel in his other 2 targets. If you streamed Moreau this past week, you’ll want to cycle through the waiver wire ahead of Week 14 and weigh out other options. (GB)

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