Tony Romo, Cowboys
With multiple passing touchdowns in three straight games and averaging 23.2 PPG over that stretch, we can safely put to rest any notion that Romo wouldn’t make it back to full health in 2014. Between now and Week 15, the Cowboys face seven pass defenses ranked 22nd or lower.
Brian Hoyer, Browns
Looks like this Browns offense is legit. Hoyer has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season and has 582 passing yards and four touchdowns in Cleveland’s last two games. Between now and Week 16, the Browns face two pass defenses ranked 14th or higher. Bonus: Mentions of Johnny Manziel in the media are at an all time low this calendar year.
Kyle Orton, Bills
The Bills are clearly much more comfortable taking the leash off the quarterback position when Orton is under center. He threw for 308 yards and a score this week while completing 69.8% of his passes. E.J. Manuel has never thrown for over 300 yards.
Nick Foles, Eagles
The line can’t pass protect. Foles can’t get shots down the field. The explosiveness that we saw from the Eagles offense last season hasn’t been seen over the team’s last two games with Foles passing for 402 yards and averaging 8.9 yards per completion over that stretch.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
While Stafford still rates as a QB1 with Calvin Johnson hobbled, he no longer rates as a sure fire starter on a week to week basis. With Megatron nicked up, Stafford has thrown for less than 250 yards in two of his last three games with just three touchdown passes over that stretch.
Branden Oliver, Chargers
If you had the stones to start Oliver this week in a PPR or flex league, you would have been rewarded with the top fantasy performance by any running back in Week 5. With Donald Brown suffering a concussion, Oliver laid waste to the Jets, gaining 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and whipping in 68 yards and another score on four receptions. This dude looks like the real deal. Look for him to assume Danny Woodhead’s spot in the Chargers offense after Ryan Mathews returns to the lineup which will likely happen in Week 7 or 8.
Andre Williams, Giants
With Rashad Jennings likely out for a minimum of two weeks with a sprained knee, Williams will take over the lead role. Jennings was used as a workhorse back and while that probably won’t be the case with the rookie Williams, it’s not like the Giants are loaded with emerging talent at running back. In fact, at the moment, it is Peyton Hillis and nada behind Williams on the depth chart. The rookie 4th round pick has 195 total yards and a pair of scores in 58 touches this season.
Ben Tate, Browns
In his return to the lineup, Tate chalked up 24 touches for 121 yards, proving he is clearly the lead man in Cleveland’s backfield just as the Cleveland coaching staff told us last week.
Chris Ivory, Jets
Four weeks into the season, Ivory has taken over as the leader in the Jets backfield. He has out touched Chris Johnson 33-18 over the past two weeks, totalling 196 yards. While we expect this to remain a timeshare situation, Ivory is definitely now the top fantasy option in the Jets backfield.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Will Hillman fumble his opportunity with Montee Ball out of the lineup for up to three games with a groin injury? Well, it sure wouldn’t be a surprise. However, he does have an opportunity and he did look respectable this week against the Cardinals with 64 yards on 15 carries. While he won’t get the goal line work, Hillman rates as a low end RB2 and solid flex option until Ball returns to the lineup.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles
McCoy got the Moving Down treatment last week because I was a little bit worried about the state of the Eagles offensive line. However, after his 28 touch, 86 yard, zero touchdown performance against a struggling Rams run defense, I’m more than a little worried. Turns out that not having Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce is a bigger deal than expected.
Montee Ball, Broncos
Ball suffered a groin injury during the third quarter of this week’s Broncos win over the Cardinals but that’s only part of the reason he’s Moving Down. Before going out, he managed just seven yards on six carries bringing his season totals to 55 carries for 172 yards and just one touchdown. He’s also only chipped in 62 receiving yards in four games. While Ball’s production may eventually eclipse what Knowshon Moreno was able to accomplish last season, it certainly seems that his insertion into the starting lineup has been a downgrade for Denver. Consider Ball a RB2 the rest of the way.
Golden Tate, Lions
With Calvin Johnson hobbled, Tate has topped 100 receiving yards in consecutive games and totalled 250 yards and a score in those games. He rates as a high end WR2 until Johnson gets closer to full health.
Sammy Watkins, Bills
While Watkins has flashed enough big play ability to make it nearly impossible to snag him in a trade, it was encouraging to see Kyle Orton target him a season-high 12 times this week with Watkins hauling in seven of those passes for 87 yards. Look for his completion to target ratio to improve significantly with Orton under center.
Kenny Britt, Rams
After a slow start to the season, Britt has eight receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown during the Rams last two games. In case you haven’t noticed, the Rams have opened up the offense with Austin Davis under center.
Rueben Randle, Giants
While 1st round pick Odell Beckham made his season debut this week and caught a touchdown, his presence doesn’t figure to have a major impact on Randle’s usage. Randle leads the Giants in targets with 40. Call it a hunch but it won’t surprise if Randle strings together a few solid games with opposing defenses paying more attention to tight end Larry Donnell.
Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, Cardinals
Fitzgerald gets top billing for Moving Down since he appears to be in steep decline. Floyd is an ascending talent with the ability to emerge as one of the top wide receivers in the league, but that’s not going to happen with Drew Stanton or Logan Thomas under center. As for Fitz, with 13 receptions on 28 targets for 164 yards and no touchdowns in four games, he doesn’t even rate as a WR3.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
After posting 128 total yards and a touchdown in the Vikings Week 1 blowout win over the Rams, Patterson has just 156 total yards and no trips to the end zone during Minnesota’s last four games. Oddly enough, he has just one rushing attempt over that stretch to go along with 20 targets. So much for the Vikes plan to get him plenty of touches.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Unless I am mistaken, he looked much closer to the old Gronk this week than he did in Week 4. As in, MUCH CLOSER.
Dwayne Allen, Colts
While Allen is averaging just four targets per game, he does have four touchdowns on the season and one in each of his last three games to go along with double digit fantasy points in three of five games.
Jordan Cameron, Browns
While he has been dealing with a shoulder injury, Cameron is shaping up as the biggest bust of the season at tight end with just six receptions for 103 yards and no touchdowns in the three games he has appeared in. While his production could turn on a dime, I would be more than willing to sell him if a half decent offer comes in.
In the NOT CONVINCED JUST YET category, we present:
RB Benny Cunningham, Rams
Zac Stacy went down this week with a calf injury but even if he can’t go for a week or two, Cunningham isn’t a great option facing the division rival 49ers and Seahawks in that span.