Week 9 of the NFL season didn’t go how we drew it up. There were surprise results, notable performances, and a few players fell short of our expectations. Such is the life of the avid fantasy player. While minor week-to-week shifts shouldn’t cause panic, each week’s performance tells the story of a player’s performance, role, and potential value. That’s what the Stock Watch is all about—taking that information gleaned from performances and trying to stay ahead of the curve of what’s coming. Dynasty is about the long game, so it’s crucial for savvy players to stay a step ahead if they want to compete.
As will be the case throughout the season, I’ll be taking stock of what we’ve learned each week. I’ll be offering one player per position—QB, RB, WR, and TE—who improved their stock and one who saw their stock slip. For those trying to win now and those playing the long game, it’s crucial to pounce at the right time. So, without further ado, here’s Week 3 of the Dynasty Stock Watch.
Stock Up: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
About: It’s fair to say no player has been dissected as much this season as Hurts. He took over for Carson Wentz to end the 2020 season and came into the 2021 season as the Eagles’ starter. But it was hard to tell what kind of endorsement he was getting from his head coach and organization. He’s been a star for fantasy purposes, but it hasn’t always been pretty on the field. We’ve seen it before—the quarterback that is a rock-solid fantasy starter that will soon be replaced by his NFL team. The fear was that it could be Hurts, who needed to show why he should keep the job on the field in 2021. I have been vocal on the Fantasy Football Roundtable about my skepticism regarding Hurts. I didn’t think he’d be the guy.
While I’m still not sold, I thought he impressed on Sunday in another game where the Eagles could stick with a good NFL team and nearly earn the victory. Hurts finished 11-for-17 for 162 yards and a touchdown, rushing ten times for 62 yards. He made some big plays, including a long touchdown strike to DeVonta Smith that helped tie the game for a time. Hurts is completing more than 60 percent of his passes, has rushed for nearly 500 yards, and thrown just four interceptions. He’s not why the Eagles have struggled, and if he keeps this up, he might have a future with the Eagles, raising his dynasty stock.
Stock Down: Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
About: This isn’t so much for what he did on the field as the fact he doesn’t seem to be getting the opportunity. Perhaps he becomes the Saints’ starter in Week 10 and this changes, but for now, it feels like Hill’s shot at meaningful snaps as a quarterback for a team is slipping away. He looked solid in a short stint in 2020 and entered 2021 in competition with Jameis Winston. Winston won the competition and was going well until a knee injury ended his season. Instead of turning to Hill in Week 9, the Saints stuck with journeyman Trevor Siemian. Siemian was fine, despite the Saints’ loss. It isn’t so much about him as the Saints seem to be moving away from the Hill experiment. For those that have rostered him for years holding out hope, this is a blow. It might be time to re-evaluate the stock’s potential long-term.
Stock Up: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
About: When Conner left the Steelers and found few takers on the market, it seemed a bad sign. He landed with the Cardinals and figured to be the battering ram in a platoon with Chase Edmonds. And yet, he’s having one heck of a season. Conner powered the Cardinals’ attack with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins out Sunday, and Edmonds was sent to the bench with an ankle injury. He scored three touchdowns—two on the ground and one through the air—as the team moved to 8-1, the best record in the NFL. Conner now has 11 touchdowns on the season and sits as RB11. He’s not piling up the yards, but he seems to have found a great fit and is reviving his career. He could also be a low-cost trade target to help a contending team take the last step toward a title in 2021.
Stock Down: Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
About: This isn’t about his injury, which appears to be relatively minor. It’s about the ceiling for his potential. In 2020 it was Kenyan Drake taking snaps. In 2021 it’s Conner. Either way, it seems as if the hopes that Edmonds would be a three-down back that never came off the field are not likely to yield fruit. Edmonds is a fine player, adding rushing performance and serving as a good pass catcher. He’s a solid RB2 option, and that seems to be about his ceiling. If you can find the last true believer that thinks he’s an RB1 in hiding, I’m making the deal.
Stock Up: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns
About: It was a tumultuous week for the Browns. The end result is receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., has played his last snap with the team. So, what now? Well, it opens a door for Peoples-Jones, who has shown flashes of what he can bring to the team earlier this season. He went for five receptions and 70 yards against the Chargers, following that up with four receptions for 101 yards and two TDs against the Cardinals. On Sunday, in a big win against the Bengals, he saw two for 86 yards and a touchdown. Beckham’s absence opens a door, and Peoples-Jones seems poised to walk through it. This could be a significant return on investment for someone who was a late-round rookie pick in 2020 drafts.
Stock Down: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
About: This isn’t about Moore’s talent; it’s about his situation. Last season his ceiling seemed to be limited by Teddy Bridgewater. This year, it’s the struggles of quarterback Sam Darnold. As Darnold’s performance has waned, Moore’s production has taken a hit. Since Week 5, Moore has been WR32, averaging 10.1 points per game during that time. Even the best receiver in the game will struggle if the quarterback can’t get him the ball, and right now, that’s the case in Carolina. Hopefully, they find an answer to the quarterback question soon, but as it is, Moore is a WR1 talent with a WR3 opportunity. That’s not the return-on-investment fantasy players are seeking.
Stock Up: Evan Engram, New York Giants
About: Could this FINALLY be the time for Engram? We’ve liked his talent for a while, but it could never quite come together. Early in his career, he struggled to stay on the field. In 2020 he was on the field but didn’t do much when he was there. Engram was the subject of plenty of buzz heading into the NFL Trade Deadline, but he didn’t move. Instead, he seems to be coming alive in the Giants’ offense. He’s only TE23 on the season, but he’s been heating up. Engram had his third straight game with ten or more PPR points and second straight game with a touchdown. While it could be fleeting, this provides those who roster him hope he might develop into the player we saw glimpses of early in his run.
Stock Down: Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans
About: I come today to write the fantasy obituary for Firkser, who was a trendy sleeper in the off-season. Through nine games, Firkser is TE53 on the season. He’s the third-highest scoring tight end on his team. Much like Fetch, Firkser isn’t going to happen. It’s time to cut our losses and move on.
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 co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.