Russell Wilson, Seahawks
It has been an inconsistent year for the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback but he seems to be clicking on all cylinders with the fantasy playoffs just around the corner. With his 287-yard, two-touchdown passing performance this week, Wilson has now thrown for 878 yards and nine touchdowns over his last four games. Did we mention help is on the way in the form of one Percy Harvin? A couple of caveats: Seattle has a Week 12 bye and the schedule shows some tough passing defenses between now and Week 16.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Anybody hoping to ride Kaepernick through the fantasy playoffs is asking for trouble. The 49ers’ signal caller has topped 200 passing yards just twice in nine games this season and he just lost tight end Vernon Davis to a concussion. Until Mario Manningham or Michael Crabtree get up to speed, the 49ers don’t have any receivers that gain much separation, at least until Davis returns.
Andre Brown, Giants
I reminded you last week that Brown was returning to the Giants lineup and would likely emerge as an RB2 over the balance of the season. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Sure enough, Brown was given a massive workload, carrying the ball 30 times for 115 yards and a score. The Giants face run defenses ranked 13th or lower over the next five weeks before they head to Detroit to face the Lions’ eighth-ranked run defense in Week 16.
Bobby Rainey and Brian Leonard, Bucs
Mike James is out indefinitely with a fractured ankle so these guys get the Moving Up treatment, but the truth is that I wouldn’t trust either of them. Leonard is a solid pass receiver out of the backfield but he is ill equipped to handle lead back duties. Rainey had a solid stat line this week with eight rushes for 45 yards and a score to go along with an 11-yard reception. However, he didn’t have the look of a true lead back and we have no way of knowing if the Bucs trust him in pass protection.
Shane Vereen, Patriots
It is a light week for RBs in the Moving Up category so let’s make note of the fact that Vereen is eligible to return to the Patriots’ lineup this week. He will assume the pass-catching role and eat into Stevan Ridley’s rushing attempts as soon as he is ready. Since he’s a Patriot, we have no idea when that will be.
Mark Ingram, Saints
A first-round pick in the 2011 draft, Ingram this week finally had his first 100-yard rushing performance, carrying the ball 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. Lo and behold, he also caught a pair of passes for 15 yards. Yeah, it all happened in a blowout win, but at least it happened. Maybe he will emerge as a flex play in larger leagues as the season winds down.
Steven Jackson, Falcons
Even though the Seahawks run defense was like a sieve for the last couple of weeks, SJax couldn’t take advantage of them this week, carrying the ball nine times for 11 yards. The truth is that he doesn’t appear to be fully recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him in Week 2.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Hey, Spiller could have a monster game this week against the Jets’ league-leading run defense. He’s here because you never know what the Bills coaches have in store for him. After a solid 14-touch, 155-yard game against the Chiefs solid defense, Spiller had just 11 touches this week for 34 yards, with Fred Jackson getting 15 touches.
Andre Ellington, Cardinals
Remarkably, after missing two games, Rashard Mendenhall had 14 touches this week to just 13 for Ellington. Mendenhall averages 3.4 yards a touch and Ellington averages 7.7. If this isn’t proof that the Cardinals view Ellington as nothing more than a change-of-pace, receiving back, then I don’t know what is.
Riley Cooper, Eagles
Cooper gets the Moving Up treatment for the consecutive weeks courtesy of his three-reception, 102-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Packers. That gives him six touchdowns in his last five games, during which he has recorded at least 88 yards four times. He’s a WR2 the rest of the way, folks.
Tavon Austin, Rams
Has Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer finally figured out how to use Austin? Or was Austin’s two-reception, 138-yard, two-touchdown performance this week just a fluke? No and no. Austin was targeted just three times on the same plays the Rams have been running for him all year, but his speed and elusiveness cannot be discounted. Sure, he’s Moving Up, but with just 14 targets over his last five games, you shouldn’t expect consistent production.
Alshon Jeffery, Bears
Just in case you haven’t noticed, Jeffery has been on fire of late with double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six games. He was targeted a whopping 18 times this week, hauling in nine receptions for 114 yards. Over his last six games, Jeffery has 34 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns.
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks
Kearse went three for 75 and a score this week while Baldwin had five receptions for 76 yards. Last week, both players had double-digit fantasy points. Unfortunately, some dude named Percy Harvin is expected to return to the Seahawks lineup in Week 11.
Rishard Matthews, Dolphins
Let’s face it, the Bucs did a poor job covering Matthews. But, hey, the kid looked good, hauling in 11 of his 14 targets for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sure, he had just ten receptions coming into the game, but Matthews showed that he has enough talent to succeed. With Brandon Gibson out for the year and Brian Hartline struggling to replicate his 2012 success, Matthews could be a solid flex play in larger leagues.
Vincent Jackson, Bucs
Jackson hasn’t found the end zone for three consecutive weeks and put up his second straight dud this week. He has just ten receptions for118 yards over the Bucs’ last three games despite being targeted 25 times.
James Jones, Packers
Since returning to the lineup in Week 9, James has five receptions for 61 yards, and the quarterback situation in Green Bay is a mess.
Greg Jennings, Vikings
Speaking of quarterback messes, how about the Vikings? Jennings just might be wishing he was still in Green Bay. He has ten receptions for 101 yards in his last three games. This guy is still capable of making big plays but he needs somebody who can get him the ball down the field.
Nate Washington, Titans
Washington seemed ready to emerge after a pair of solid games in Weeks 3 and 4 but it has been all downhill since then. He hasn’t scored since Week 4 and he has topped 60 receiving yards in just one of the Titans’ last five games. He put up an O-fer in Week 9 and followed that up with a three-reception, 29-yard performance this week against the Jaguars’ lowly pass defense.
John Carlson, Vikings
Back from the dead, we present John Carlson. With Kyle Rudolph out for four to six weeks with a broken foot, Carlson stepped up this week, catching all seven of his targets for 98 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted a healthy six times in Week 9. After the coming game against the Seahawks, the Vikings face four straight passing defenses ranked in the lower half of the league.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals
Eifert, one of the Bengals’ first-round picks in this year’s draft, has had a disappointing rookie season so far but may be on the verge of turning that around. Although he only hauled in three receptions for 55 yards this week, he was targeted ten times. He could emerge as a low-end TE1 with that kind of usage.
Vernon Davis, 49ers
Davis left this week’s game against the Panthers with a concussion and will need to go through the league’s concussion protocol before he can return to action. With the fantasy playoffs around the corner, Davis owners will need to add a quality backup.