Well, that was something. Week 7 of the NFL featured a number of surprising performances and heart-breaking injuries and we’re still in the midst of bye weeks. But that’s all part of the challenge of managing your fantasy team. If you play Dynasty, you’re in it for the long haul. Still, it’s a weekly game and you have to ride the ebbs-and-flows and see what it can mean for the trajectory of a player. That’s what the Stock Watch is all about. We watch the games, process the information, and try to forecast where players are headed. After all, getting ahead of the curve is the way to succeed. So, below you’ll find one player that improved their position and one that’s going the wrong way from each position. Use this as a guide as you’re trying to make moves and evaluate your team this week!

Quarterbacks

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Stock Up: P.J. Walker, Carolina Panthers

About: Was Christian McCaffrey the problem all along? Probably not. Matt Rhule was a big part of the issue for the Panthers, but so was the inability to solve the quarterback riddle. Going into Training Camp there were myriad options. Baker Mayfield won the job. Rookie Matt Corral was injured. And Sam Darnold ended up on short-term IR. Baker’s run didn’t go well, so it seemed conventional wisdom was waiting to see if Darnold could return and do better. Into the void stepped Walker. While his first start was just OK, he looked solid as the Panthers beat the Buccaneers 21-3. Better yet for fantasy players, he seemed to realize his top option was getting the ball to D.J. Moore. The Panthers are a team in flux, nowhere more so than the quarterback position. Walker is a player looking for a chance and he might have landed the perfect opportunity to finish out the 2022 season.

Stock Down: Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts

About: When the Colts acquired Ryan this off-season it seemed he might be the answer to their problem at quarterback. So far, that hasn’t proven true. The Colts are 3-3-1, not out of it but not looking like a strong contender. Ryan is QB15 on the season, thanks largely to playing in all seven games. He’s QB24 on a points-per-game basis, which isn’t great. He’s completing 68 percent of his passes, with 2,008 yards, nine touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Again, not incredible but not terrible. Ryan’s shoulder is banged up, so it makes sense he’d sit out a week. But Frank Reich announced that he’s moving to Sam Ehlinger for the rest of the season. That’s a grim sign for Ryan, an aging quarterback whose end appears to have come suddenly. If you were rolling with him as an option to compete this season it’s time to make alternate plans… like the Colts.

Running Backs

Stock Up: James Robinson, New York Jets

About: How quickly things change. In a 23-17 loss to the Giants Sunday, Robinson didn’t get a single carry or reception. It seems the Jaguars have moved on to Travis Etienne, mixing in JaMychal Hasty. Since Week 4, Robinson is just RB65 with 15.3 total points in four games. It looked like his fantasy relevance was done. Then came the trade. With Breece Hall done for the season, the 5-2 Jets sent a Sixth-Round pick that will likely become a Fifth-Round pick to the Jaguars for Robinson. And just like that, the player who was RB3 for the first three weeks of the season is back in your lineups!

Stock Down: Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

About: It’s hard when you lose value while not even playing. Such is the case for Mitchell, a Sixth-Round pick that exploded as a rookie. Heading into year two, it seemed he was in line for good things. But injury has kept him sidelined since Week 1. Now, the 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade for Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in football—a weapon in the running and passing game. He will likely get the ball a lot, and he should. All that is a poor sign for Mitchell, who barring a trade isn’t likely to see much in the way of volume when he’s finally ready to return.

Wide Receivers

Stock Up: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

About: With Tyreek Hill in Miami, it was clear there would be changes to the Chiefs’ pass offense. One of the biggest questions was who would be involved. Over the first few weeks, that seemed to be an evolving question. While Travis Kelce remained a steady focus it was hard to determine how the other pieces would fit. In the past three weeks, that’s changed. We’ve seen free agents Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling heavily involved, but we’ve also seen Hardman getting involved. In fact, Hardman is WR5 over the past three weeks, one spot behind Juju. He exploded huge on Sunday in a 44-23 win over the 49ers, too. He scored three touchdowns in the win, delivering on the potential and promise many saw when he was drafted. Will it continue? It might, but it’s hard to trust it. His value is currently exploding and for those out of the running—or tired of running on the hamster wheel of Chiefs’ receivers—now could be the time to sell.

Stock Down: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

About: I didn’t come to be a downer about the 49ers’ offense, but Samuel is another player whose value takes a hit due to the McCaffrey trade. Samuel is an explosive player—a weapon in the passing game but also in the running game. That’s what gives him WR1 appeal. So far through seven games, Samuel is WR11 on the season. However, as Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle have gotten more involved in the past few weeks, we’ve already seen Deebo’s opportunities take a hit. He’s just WR25 the past three weeks. Now, with a talented runner and receiver in the mix in McCaffrey, that further reduces the possible touches for Deebo. He’s still a valuable player, and should still be started, but it’s hard to escape the feeling his value is capped.

Tight Ends

Stock Up: Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos

Courtesy of USA Today

About: Tight End is a tough position. For most of the off-season and through the first few weeks of the regular season it seemed like the man for the Broncos would be Albert Okwuegbunam. That never really happened. But the Broncos spent a Third-Round draft pick on Dulcich out of UCLA in the draft, and he finally made his debut in Week 6. The Broncos’ offense has struggled but Dulcich has been red hot. He’s TE7 for the past two weeks, averaging nearly 12 points per game. It’s a small sample but one that has to leave fantasy players encouraged for the future.

Stock Down: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

About: Few tight end prospects were as hyped coming into the NFL as Pitts. A star at Florida, Pitts was viewed as a huge weapon for the Falcons. Though he didn’t find the end zone much, that proved true. This season, however, has been a different story. The Falcons’ offense with Marcus Mariota hasn’t been a high-volume pass offense. Even still, Pitts’ production leaves plenty to be desired. He’s TE22 on the season, a run-of-the-mill option. That isn’t what dynasty players thought they were getting when drafting him among the Top 5 picks in the 2021 rookie draft. If you were banking on Pitts, it might be time to look elsewhere for now.

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.

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