We saw some interesting performances and some misfires this Sunday in the NFL. In dynasty, we’re in it for the long haul. That doesn’t mean we can ignore the day-to-day fluctuations. That’s what the Stock Watch is all about. Each week I look at one player whose stock is on the rise and one whose stock is on the decline at each of the key fantasy positions. Let’s look at some of the big swings from Week 16.
Stock Up: Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: Mayfield had a hard run in 2022. He saw the Browns acquire Deshaun Watson, making him superfluous. He ended up in Carolina, where the team hit rock bottom, fired the coach, and ended up cutting him. Mayfield ended the season with a decent showing for a beat-up Rams team but parlayed that into a simple one-year deal with the Buccaneers. Expectations were low from NFL pundits and fantasy players.
And yet, Mayfield has surpassed expectations in both areas. The Buccaneers are 8-7, surging at the right time and looking toward the playoffs. And Mayfield has been a solid addition to lineups. Given the landscape, he’s a guy who will get a shot in 2024, too, probably in Tampa Bay. If you grabbed him as the end of the roster insurance, you may have lucked into a durable starter.
Stock Down: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: It’s been a roller-coaster for Lawrence in the NFL. He was the No. 1 overall pick, a prospect that couldn’t miss. But in his rookie season, he floundered. In year two, under Doug Pederson, Lawrence seemed to find himself again. Now, in year three, it seems he’s hit his NFL and fantasy ceiling. His team has lost four straight and is on the cusp of falling out of the playoffs. Lawrence has been an uneven QB2, sometimes not even hitting that mark. That was the case Sunday, during a crucial week in the fantasy playoffs. For those that took him hoping to have a top end QB for years, it’s time to make other plans.
Stock Up: Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
About: It’s been a frustrating season for the Bears, especially for those trying to zero in on the right backfield option. On Sunday, Herbert finally looked like a solid lead back. He rushed 20 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. He added some clarity and firepower to the Bears’ backfield. Now finally healthy, Herbert is looking like the back some had hoped to see. If he finishes strong, it could be a great sign moving forward.
Stock Down: Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: I’m not trying to pick on the Jaguars, but when you lose four straight during a playoff push, it exposes some issues. While Lawrence seems to have hit his ceiling, it’s nothing compared to the fade for Etienne down the stretch. Through the first eight weeks of the season, leading into the Jaguars’ bye, Etienne was RB2. He looked like a dominant three-down threat. Since Week 10, he’s RB18. The final stretch of the season will tell the tale for Etienne and the Jaguars, and the young back needs to step it up.
Stock Up: Puca Nacua, Los Angeles Rams
About: Nacua is having a spectacular rookie season. In fact, he’s been good enough that he could be in the Rookie of the Year competition. He’s also likely the Fantasy Football MVP, given where you drafted him and his production this year. Nacua caught nine passes for 164 yards and a touchdown Thursday as the Rams moved to 8-7 and into position for the playoffs. Nacua looks like a steal and a player that fits beautifully in the Sean McVay offensive scheme.
Stock Down: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
About: In nine straight games, Diggs has been held below 100 yards. The Buffalo Bills are 9-6 and making strides toward the playoffs. And yet, Diggs has been relatively silent. In a win over the Chargers, he caught five passes for just 29 yards. While Diggs remains the top receiver on a good Bills team, that hasn’t translated into solid fantasy production. At this point, it’s more than a short-term trend and is something fantasy players need to keep an eye on in the playoffs.
Stock Up: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: Not all the Jaguars have struggled. While the receivers have been up and down, battling injuries, Engram has been a stalwart in the passing game. Engram came into the week as TE5 on the season, catching 10 passes for 95 yards on Sunday. Engram has been the most stable and dependable weapon in the Jaguars’ arsenal and one of the most reliable tight ends in the NFL. He’s a boon to those who roster him in fantasy.
Stock Down: Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos
About: If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Dulcich has had fine moments as a receiver in his two years for the Broncos, but he can’t stay on the field. He has struggled with hamstring injuries, which landed him on the IR in 2022 and landed him on IR twice this season. And just when he seemed ready to return, it was a foot injury that has held him out. So far, Dulcich has played in just two games this season after seeing only 10 as a rookie. He’s beginning to look like a sunk cost for those who snagged him high in rookie drafts.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.