Taking a look at the player trends over the past few weeks can reveal some surprising things - it's important, though, to temper expectations in some cases and realize that some great (and some awful) performances can be the product of gameflow as much as the talent and/or rising production of a player. But since each player can only be owned by one team at a time in most standard fantasy leagues, you've got to scoop them up before anyone else and make smart decisions as far as when to play a rising (or falling) star. What do you think about these scenarios? Will the players listed below live up to expectations based on recent weeks? Make sure to check out the podcast to find out which side we take on each player.
Russell Wilson (SEA)
Week 2 @ LA - 22/35, 254 yds, 0 TD, 11.56pts
Week 3 vs SF - 15/23, 243 yds, 1 TD, 14.02pts
Week 4 @ NYJ - 23/32, 309 yds, 3 TD, 23.86pts
Perhaps Russell Wilson is inhuman, after all. Ankle injuries, a knee injury, and who cares, he's still trending upward. With zero interceptions over these three games, he's playing efficient football, which is exactly when he and his team are at its best. Wilson is on bye week 5, so we'll delay our prediction on him by one week. He has upcoming matchups against Atlanta, Arizona and New Orleans, so you should be able to confidently start him from now on. We'll set the line and predict next week.
Cam Newton (CAR)
Week 2 vs SF - 24/40, 353 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT, 30.82pts
Week 3 vs MIN - 21/35, 262 yds, 0 TD, 3 INT, 16.08 pts
Week 4 @ ATL - 14/25, 165 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT, 15.60pts
Cam Newton exited the week 4 game with a concussion and is currently in the concussion protocol. We know that if he's healthy, he will play. Newton has struggled in recent weeks, though against Minnesota we'd expect that. Last week against Atlanta was more alarming, as the Panthers fell behind and struggled to keep up. Coming up are matchups against Tampa and then New Orleans, a couple of defenses that are giving up lots of points to opposing QB's. We'll start Cam's line at 21 points.
John Brown (ARI)
Week 2 vs TB - 1/3, 14 yds, 1.40pts
Week 3 @ BUF - 6/11, 70 yds, 7.00pts
Week 4 vs LA - 10/16, 144 yds, 14.40pts
John Brown exploded back into the fantasy scene this week with an awesome 16 targets. Though he hasn't reached the end zone yet, his re-introduction to the Cardinals offense was a relief for fantasy owners. Coming up are some tougher defenses, but first he gets a crack at the 49ers. Will he be able to remain in Palmer's crosshairs? We'll start his line at 7.5 points.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
Week 2 vs KC - 7/11, 113 yds, 1 TD, 17.30pts
Week 3 @ NE - 4/8, 56 yds, 0 TD, 5.60pts
Week 4 vs TEN - 1/6, 4 yds, 0 TD, 0.40pts
Where oh where has our DeAndre Hopkins gone? Last week's 4 yard performance was really rough to take, especially against Will Fuller's 20 point performance. So, it's tough to tell right now, but is Osweiler favoring Fuller a lot more than anyone thought he might? Is Hopkins just going through a rough patch and will rebound? He has Minnesota and Denver in the next three weeks, so it's going to be tough to get back to where we expect him as a WR1. We'll start his line at 8 points.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI)
Week 2 vs PHI - 5/7, 96 yds, 9.60pts
Week 3 @ DAL - 5/7, 70 yds, 7.00pts
Week 4 vs DET - 3/5, 46yds, 4.60pts
With no touchdowns this season, Alshon Jeffery has his fantasy owners worried. He's declined in yardage each week this year, and it seems like he's not really a favorite target of Brian Hoyer, who seems like he may keep playing QB as long as he plays well. This week, the Bears play the receiver-friendly Colts, so he could be in good shape for a rebound week. We'll start our line for Jeffery at 7 points.
Jordan Howard (CHI)
Week 2 vs PHI - 3/22yds, 2/2 rec, 9 yds, 3.10pts
Week 3 @ DAL - 9/45yds, 6/4 rec, 47 yds, 9.20pts
Week 4 vs DET - 23/111yds, 4/3 rec, 21 yds, 13.20pts
Jordan Howard has confirmed that for now, he's the starting back for the Bears. While Langford is out, Howard is carrying the load all by himself. With Howard's 5.1 yards per carry, compared to Langford's 3.7 - they will be splitting carries once Langford comes back. This week, Howard faces the Colts, who have given up the second most points to opposing running backs. We'll start his line at 9 points.
Week 2 @ BUF - 30/100yds, 3 TD, 3/2 rec, 9 yds, 28.90pts
Week 3 @ KC - 15/65yds, 0 TD, 4/2 rec, -1 yds, 6.40pts
Week 4 vs SEA - 14/27yds, 0 TD, 3/2 rec, 16 yds, 4.30pts
Matt Forte is the victim of a terrible Jets offense, and his numbers show it. The Jets have totally fallen apart the last two weeks, with 9 picks from Ryan Fitzpatrick over that time. No backs are going to put up good numbers when their offense turns over the ball that often. The bad matchups continue for the Jets, this week against Pitt and next week against Arizona, both on the road. Forte is a sit consideration for me, until the Jets get their offense back on track. We'll start Forte's line out at 11 points.
Week 2 @ LA – 3/4, 42 yds, 0 TD, 4.20pts
Week 3 vs SF – 6/9, 100 yds, 1 TD, 14.00pts
Week 4 @ NYJ, 6/8, 113 yds, 0 TD, 11.30pts
Jimmy Graham finally looks like the guy who left New Orleans all those years ago (fantasy football years are much longer than regular human years). He’s finally gotten into a good rhythm with Russell Wilson, and 17 targets in the last two weeks is a great sign. The 12 receptions is even better, but the yardage totals going up and up are best yet. Graham should wind up being the best red zone threat on the team, and ought to look very good going forward. With Graham on bye, we’ll set our line on him next week.
Week 2 @ WAS – 3/4, 51 yds, 5.10pts
Week 3 vs CHI – 2/2, 25 yds, 2.50pts
Week 4 @ SF – 7/9, 47 yds, 4.70pts
To start the season, it looked like Jason Witten would have a huge role in the Cowboys’ offense, but as Dak Prescott has gotten more and more comfortable, he’s looked Witten’s way less. 14 targets in Week 1 have been followed up by just 15 targets across the last three games. Is Witten’s time of fantasy relevance at an end? Does he need Tony Romo to be worthy of starting? Witten plays the Bengals this week, we’ll start the line at 5 points.