QB Eli Manning, New York Giants
I'm listing Manning as a riser in this special Wild Card Round edition of The Fantasy Football Stock Market. This isn't necessarily because he's red hot or anything, nonetheless, he is my top choice this week for a DFS quarterback. I love the matchup against the Green Bay Packers, and his value is tremendous at his current price. Watch Odell Beckham running down the sideline just torching the Packs leaky secondary. He's a fantastic option this week.
Verdict: Buy Manning. You could probably tell I was going in this direction from the previous paragraph. I'm buying Manning this week as my top DFS QB, and I also think he's a sneaky good pick for playoff leagues. There is no reason to think the Giants can't make noise in the NFC playoffs.
RB Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
With Connor Cook going from third-string quarterback to the first rookie to every make his first start in the postseason over the past seven days, it’s hard not to see why Murray’s value is on the rise. Granted, this could backfire being that the Houston Texans have a stout defense and they will likely be stacking the box to stop the Tay Train. Still, he’s going to see an abundance of touches and to say he’s expected to be the focal point of the offense is an understatement. He’s going to be seeing the ball early and often. Likely both on the ground and through the air on check downs.
Verdict: Hold Murray. As I mentioned, this one could go either way. The loss of Derek Carr has both its pros and cons for him. I like him at his current price in DFS leagues. With that said, I have little faith in the Raiders going far at all in the AFC, so I don’t like him much in playoff leagues.
WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Nelson is on fire during the last stretch of the season. It's hard to say he's a riser based on his reputation, nevertheless, he's now on a level we haven't seen him since 2014. You can make a strong case he's every bit as valuable as guys like Odell Beckham Jr and Julio Jones heading into the playoffs. The Giants have a tough defense this year, but I expect it to impact Aaron Rodgers and Ty Montgomery's Fantasy value much more than Nelson's. At this point, you can almost consider him matchup proof.
Verdict: Buy Nelson. It's hard not to be impressed with his Fantasy production and ability to find the end zone down the stretch. He finished the season with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns including five TDs in his final four games. Get him in your lineups; he has as much Fantasy potential as anyone in the league. The Packers are another team that could make a deep run in the NFC as well. That conference is wide open.
QB Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins
Unless you're wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey to the bar on Sunday, you aren't giving them any chance of doing much in the AFC postseason. One of the big reasons why is the fact that they will be heading into Wild Card weekend with their backup quarterback. While he's a far better option than Connor Cook or Brock Osweiler, they are already too low to fall any further. With Miami heading into the Steel City, the perception is Jay Ajayi, and their opportunistic defense is their only hope. It remains to be seen if Moore can muster up another big game or if he'll remind everyone why he's a backup.
Verdict: Hold Moore. He's certainly not a great option. However, I don't hate him as a cheap contrarian DFS pickup. It's not like the Steelers' pass defense is scaring anyone nowadays. They are beatable. Still, Moore is a nightmarish pick in playoff leagues as the Dolphins are the longest shot in the playoffs to advance past any round. It's hard to imagine them going through Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City in the AFC.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Tom Savage replaced Osweiler and all of a sudden a bleak season finally had hope for Hopkins. His struggles this season were shocking, especially when you consider his quarterbacks of the past. How could Osweiler be as bad as the likes of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, and Tom Savage? It turns out he was significantly worse, particularly when it came to getting the ball into the hands of one of the league's best wideouts. Now Osweiler is back is back and Hopkins stock has gone back down the tubes.
Verdict: Sell Hopkins. It's way too difficult to trust him with Osweiler throwing him the ball. We now have too large of a sample size to trust him in this situation. I also have little faith in Houston doing much damage in the playoffs, which is almost always the case with this franchise.
WR Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
Cooper is another victim of his QB situation. It's unlikely anyone in Oakland will be more negatively impacted by the injuries than Cooper. Going with anything more than a conservative approach this week would be crazy. With Cooper being the big play threat, this diminishes his value significantly. It also kills all hopes of the Raiders making a deep playoff run. It's a shame that Carr went down; it would have been very interesting to see how deep this team could go in the AFC.
Verdict: Sell Cooper. There is no way I can roll with Cooper this week or for the playoffs with Cook at the helm. A rookie making his first career start on the road in the playoffs against a top defense is a brutal scenario. The only silver lining is Osweiler is under center for the other team.
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