While Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning can’t technically move higher than the consensus number one rank he already holds, out of respect for his latest milestone, he gets the Moving Up treatment. Photo: Icon Sportswire
Peyton Manning, Broncos
When you break the NFL record for most passing touchdowns in a career, you get the Moving Up treatment. After six games, Manning is on pace to throw for 4,928 yards with 51 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Experts claimed he couldn’t possibly repeat last season. Well…
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
While I’m not ready to anoint Tannehill as a fantasy starter at this point, he does have three straight multiple touchdown games and has 799 passing yards to go along with 132 yards on the ground in those games. Not bad if you’re looking for a bye week fill in. The Dolphins had theirs in Week 5.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins
Officially not the Redskins starting quarterback of the future. With nine interceptions in 204 passing attempts to go along with a pair of lost fumbles, Cousins’ ball protection issues may cause him to lose his starting gig to Colt McCoy in Week 8.
Matt Ryan, Falcons
After throwing for 1,263 yards and ten touchdowns in his first four games, Ryan has just three touchdowns and 815 passing yards in his last three managing just 40 points in those games. While Ryan’s fantasy owners were hoping for top five production this season, the Atlanta offense is clearly trending downward.
Bryce Brown, Bills
Although Brown has yet to garner a single carry in 2014, he figures to get plenty of them soon with both C.J. Spiller (broken collarbone) and Fred Jackson (groin) suffering injuries that will keep them out of the lineup in Week 8 and beyond. Brown put together some big games during his first two years in the league and rates as a RB2 until Jackson returns. With Spiller out for an extended period, Brown should emerge as a solid flex option even after Jackson is back.
Denard Robinson, Jaguars
In what was easily the best performance by a Jaguars running back this season, Robinson totalled 127 yards and a score on 22 carries in Jacksonville’s home win over the Browns. Let’s go ahead and make the assumption the Toby Gerhart era is over in Jacksonville.
Tre Mason, Rams
Tre Mason has big play ability. Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham do not. Mason owners who held tight figure to be rewarded in future weeks. While the Rams schedule isn’t pretty, Mason is looking like a solid flex play or RB3 the rest of the way.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
While he has yet to find the end zone this season, McKinnon is emerging as a solid duel threat out of the Vikings backfield with 309 yards on 60 carries and 93 yards on 16 receptions. Over the last two weeks, he has out touched Matt Asiata 38 to 10, solidifying his role as Minnesota’s starter over the balance of the season. He rates as a high-end RB3 with upside and a player with solid appeal in dynasty formats.
Zac Stacy, Rams
We told you last week that everything that Stacy accomplished as a rookie when he ran for nearly 1,000 yards was based on volume. The Rams apparently agreed with Stacy not seeing a single touch this week. He appears to be stuck behind rookie Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham on the depth chart.
Khiry Robinson, Saints
Although Robinson played well when Mark Ingram was out of the lineup, he was out touched by Ingram 12 to three this week. Not helping matters was that he also lost a fumble.
Percy Harvin, Jets
Moving Down last week as a Seahawk. Moving Up this week as a Jet. Hey, it was clear the Seahawks either didn’t know how to properly employ Harvin or they weren’t willing to make him a major component of their offense. That shouldn’t be a problem in New York where the Jets lack explosiveness at the skill positions. He rates as an intriguing upper tier WR3 with upside in 12 team leagues.
Golden Tate, Lions
Full disclosure. I am not a Golden Tate fan but I am warming up to him lately. With Calvin Johnson struggling with injuries, Tate has filled in nicely in the Detroit offense, topping 100 receiving yards in three of his last four games and scoring twice in those games. He is earning quarterback Mathew Stafford’s trust (completion to target percentage of 73.9%) and is now on pace to finish the season with 110 receptions for 1,483 yards and five touchdowns.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
Hey, it’s always a lukewarm endorsement when a Seahawks wide receiver gets the Moving Up treatment but with Harvin having left town, Baldwin is the team’s new number one wide receiver. While he just might be the worst top wide receiver on any team in the league, he should see plenty of targets the rest of the way as evidence by the 11 he received this week (catching seven for 123 yards and a score against the Rams).
Allen Robinson, Jaguars
The rookie 2nd round pick has been an absolute target machine over the past five weeks. With an assortment of injuries at wide receiver, Robinson has been targeted 50 times since Week 2. The Jaguars aren’t going to worry about high pass attempts for their rookie QB Blake Bortles while he learns on the job with a low emphasis on wins and losses this season, so expect the rookie-to-rookie connection to continue.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers
While San Francisco is making use of all of their wide receivers, Crabtree is still seeing a fair share of targets (7.3 per game) but just isn’t making many plays with 13 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his last four games. I am undecided if this is a buy low opportunity or whether Crabtree should be downgraded to a low end WR3 over the balance of the season. Tough call.
Brian Quick, Rams
After a hot start to the season (21 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns in four games), Quick has been targeted just six times in the Rams last two games, hauling in three passes for 43 yards. While this week’s dud can be explained away because he played the Seahawks, Quick owners shouldn’t be afraid to sit him when he is facing a team with a solid secondary. He just isn’t a true number one wide receiver.
Dwayne Allen, Colts
With his three reception, 52 yard, one touchdown performance this week, Allen now has 167 receiving yards in his last three games to go along with touchdowns in four of his last five games (five in total on the season). While he is clearly touchdown dependent, the Colts seem to be scoring quite a few of them this season and Allen is clearly an in vogue red zone target for quarterback Andrew Luck.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Sure, it was a fluke that Gavin Escobar was the leading point getter at tight end this week after he scored touchdowns on two of his three targets but Witten has become a bit player in the Cowboys offense in 2014. After being targeted just twice this week, Witten is now averaging five targets a game and has just 23 receptions for 266 yards and a touchdown.
Delanie Walker, Titans
After a hot start to the season with 317 receiving yards and three touchdowns in four games, Walker has cooled considerably with just nine receptions for 121 yards and no trips to the end zone in the last three weeks.
In the NOT CONVINCED JUST YET category, we present:
Kenny Stills, Saints – it helps that Jimmy Graham is playing hurt but Stills’ inconsistency makes it easy to discount his 100 yard, one touchdown performance this week.