If you're looking to make a fantasy football trade, it's time to figure out which quarterbacks to keep and which receivers to sell high for the stretch run. The NFL Week 9 Fantasy Stock Watch doles out forward-looking advice on how to manage your roster following the most explosive offensive week of the season.
QB Kyle Orton, Bills: The Bills' dangerous passing arsenal and decreasing reliance on the run game — 60-40 pass-run ratio over the past three games after a 51-49 split in 2013 — will continue to yield fantasy gold for Orton, making him worth consideration of holding through the bye week for savvy owners who streamed him against the Jets on Sunday. The emergence of Sammy Watkins is critical. He's a special player who can turn three catches into 157 yards and several shattered defensive backs.
Kyle Orton has led Bills to 3-1 record since taking over as starter. Orton: 1,128 Pass yds, 9 TD, 3 Int pic.twitter.com/5YhS0gCGXR— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 26, 2014
RB Mark Ingram, Saints: Sunday night showed that New Orleans will benefit greatly by ripping a page from the 2014 Cowboys and 2013 Chargers: keep a bad defense off the field by riding your bruiser.
Ingram's 172-yard icing of Green Bay leaves him atop the league in average yards after contact among backs with more than 50 attempts, tied at 3.2 with Arian Foster (via Pro Football Focus). Entering November with just 58 carries on the season's odometer, Ingram provides the missing piece in the Saints' resurgence and his workload shouldn't vanish when his backfield mates get healthy.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Texans: Foster's prolific goal-line presence will limit Hopkins' ceiling, but Andre Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick don't seem to be destroying his floor.
Since a two-target Week 6, Hopkins trails Johnson a mere 21-20 in targets and has rewarded the surprisingly decent Fitzpatrick with 101.5 receiving yards per game over the past two. The 22-year-old faded as the 2013 season progressed, but the sophomore is gaining steam this time around.
TE Larry Donnell, Giants: Donnell lost two fumbles against the Cowboys in Week 7, but that didn't guarantee placement in Coughlin's doghouse because the game-changing strip owing to great defense. His seven catches for 90 yards on seven targets that day are more predictive of future use, and Odell Beckham Jr.'s emergence should begin to draw away red-zone coverage.
Kevin M. Gilbride, TEs coach, said Larry Donnell couldn't have done much more to protect ball on critical fumble vs. Cowboys.— Ebenezer Samuel (@ebenezersamuel) October 21, 2014
QB Nick Foles, Eagles: Foles' brutal end-zone interception shows exactly why the Eagles will need to decrease their reliance on him after the 62-chuck afternoon in Arizona.
Foles mounted his best fantasy day since Week 3 thanks to 411 passing yards, but I'm expecting a dramatic uptick in Philly's run percentage once Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce return to the interior OL. Allowing defenses to pin back their ears and attack Foles is no recipe for success as he went 9-for-19 with a pick on 4.3 yards per attempt against the blitz, per PFF.
RB Isaiah Crowell, Browns: I've been waiving the Crowell flag quite often in my columns this year, but can't in good faith recommend him as an RB2 fill-in or flex after Mike Pettine abandoned him against Oakland.
I believe the undrafted rookie certainly warrants a roster spot in case #freecrowell does end up happening in 2014. Coach Mike Pettine can say they need to get Crowell more touches and that will be validated once Week 8's snap count — Ben Tate 31, Terrence West 24 and Crowell 3 — features Crowell closer to the front end of that split for consecutive weeks.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos: The Chargers were down their top two corners and this ballooned Sanders' trade value entering Week 9. With Sanders in single coverage Manning knew who to feed last week — not necessarily giving away Julius Thomas' red-zone work going forward. Manning raises the fantasy value of an offense but also produces dramatic peaks and valleys for his targets, making Sanders a prime sell-high for owners in need of a quality RB2.
TE Dwayne Allen, Colts: In Week 8's overrated/underrated column I lamented that Allen was basically splitting the TE target share with Coby Fleener, and then Allen still managed his weekly trip to the end zone Sunday.
I'm still terrified of starting Allen, who is no doubt a great asset to the Colts offense overall. His decent Week 8 came off just two targets and one catch despite the Colts trailing throughout. Reggie Wayne will return and Donte Moncrief has emerged, so there's just too many mouths to feed. Allen hasn't hit 60 yards since Week 1 and will remain entirely touchdown-dependent, even by tight end standards.