The fantasy football season is flying by. It’s already Week 12 and the fantasy playoffs are just over the horizon. For many, this week is the trade deadline and the last chance to add a star player to your roster for a championship run. For others, the push to the playoffs or a first-round bye has reached the desperation point. For everyone, it’s the last time you’ll have to deal with bye week headaches this season.
Which players are trending in the right and wrong directions? Let’s take a closer look at 10 of them in our Week 12 stock watch.
WR D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
Any worries about how the QB change in Jacksonville could negatively affect Chark’s fantasy value were assuaged on Sunday when Nick Foles targeted the talented wide receiver a season-high 15 times against the Colts. Chark caught eight of those 15 targets for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That means three of his eight receiving touchdowns this season have come in the five quarters of football he’s played with Foles this season. He still has a matchup against the Buccaneers on tap in two weeks and games against the Raiders and Falcons scheduled for the fantasy semifinal and championship rounds in Weeks 15 and 16. Chark is a mid-to-high end WR2 the rest of the way.
QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
It’s completely understandable if you cut bait on Mayfield earlier this season. Given his average draft position and inconsistent-at-best production through the first eight weeks of the season, it’s hard to argue that moving on from him wasn’t the right choice. (He may have headlined SI’s Week 9 Droppables column, even.) But if you were patient, or took advantage of someone who wasn’t, it’s time to start cashing in on the investment. Mayfield has now played three straight games without throwing an interception and is coming off his first 20-plus point performance of the season. He gets a home game against the Dolphins this week, then a re-match with the team he just put up 21.7 points against in Pittsburgh, followed by matchups with the Bengals and Cardinals. He has six total touchdowns in the last three weeks and should continue that multi-TD per game pace for the next month.
WR Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Ridley was being discussed in fantasy circles as “droppable” not that long ago and it was somewhat understandable. His inconsistency has been maddening, especially when his big games didn’t matchup with Matt Ryan’s, but you always bet on the talent. Those who did saw a big return in Week 11 with an 8/143/1 performance against the Panthers. A quick look ahead shows that the Falcons have the easiest remaining strength of schedule for fantasy wide receivers. That starts this week in a home game against the putrid Buccaneers secondary. The Falcons will continue to throw a ton down the stretch, so there should be more 20-point games in store for the second-year receiver.
RB Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
A truly valuable fantasy weapon last season, Cohen has been far from it for the most part in 2019. While he’s been OK in full-PPR formats, he didn’t have a fantasy day in the double figures in half-PPR formats until Week 10. Now he has back-to-back double-digit performances after scoring in each of the last two games. He’s been quite efficient as well, catching nine of his 10 targets over the last two weeks. His schedule is shaping up favorably too. Assuming your fantasy championship isn’t in Week 17, Cohen does not face a team ranked in the top half of the league when it comes to defending pass-catching running backs the rest of the season. He played his second-most snaps of the season against the Rams (45) in what fantasy managers hopes becomes a trend. He’s a solid flex play for the rest of the season.
TE Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
There are a number of tight ends who are worthy of this spot and I discussed a few of them in this week’s waiver wire article, so let’s look at someone not on that list. Very quietly Cook has four consecutive double-digit fantasy performances. He did miss some time in the middle of that streak so it’s flown under the radar, but given the state of the position overall, it’s time we start paying attention. Over the last four games, Cook is averaging 5.3 targets, 3.8 catches and 46.3 yards per game. But that’s not why his stock is rising. It’s his usage in the red zone. Cook caught a three-yard TD against the Bucs in Week 11, a four-yard TD against the Jaguars in Week 6 and a nine-yard TD against the Bucs in Week 5. He had six catches for 74 yards on 10 targets in the only game he didn’t catch a TD in that four-game stretch. The Saints face a handful of teams that have been unfriendly to tight ends the rest of the way, but if you’re touchdown hunting there’s no better player outside of the elite class at the position.
WR Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Put your pitchforks away. This is not an attack on Cooper’s talent. He’s hurt and doing his best to fight through the pain, but it’s something that’s going to affect his play moving forward. The star receiver has fought through various ailments this season (foot, ankle, etc.) but his knee appears to be the main issue now. He played just 55% of the snaps against the Lions on Sunday, a clear sign that he’s nowhere near 100%, despite not having an injury designation going into the game. He’ll likely keep playing through whatever is bothering him, but the schedule will not do him any favors. The Cowboys have the third-hardest remaining schedule for fantasy WRs. He has good matchups in Weeks 16 and 17, but has to get through the Patriots, Bills, Bears and Rams to get there. Good luck. He’ll still be productive, but it’s hard to envision him being a WR1 over the next month.
WR Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
This has everything to do with Matthew Stafford’s back injury and the news that he could be sidelined longer than originally expected. Golladay just doesn’t have the same chemistry with Jeff Driskel and it’s evidenced by his lack of target efficiency the last two weeks. Golladay has caught just four of his 14 targets over the last two weeks, finishing with just 91 combined yards. He did catch a touchdown to save his fantasy day in Week 10, but he had only one catch in Week 11. He’s still a WR2 going forward, but his days as a true WR1 are on hold until Stafford returns.
RB Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
The good news: Singletary significantly outsnapped Frank Gore for the fourth consecutive week in Week 1, averaged 5.0 yards per carry, and saw his volume return after getting only 11 touches in Week 10. The bad news: Singletary fumbled twice and Gore is still getting way more red zone work than he deserves. Singletary isn’t droppable or anything crazy like that, but his ascent into RB2 territory may be on hold until 2020 given his upcoming schedule. The Bills have the third-toughest remaining schedule for fantasy RBs and it starts this week versus a Broncos team that held Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook in check in their last two games. The schedule and inconsistent volume totals make Singletary more of a mid-level flex play for the rest of the season.
RB Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
Brandon Allen simply isn’t using his using his running backs as passing game weapons and that has completely sapped Freeman’s fantasy value. In Allen’s two games as a starter, he has targeted Freeman only twice in the passing game. The result is a one-catch, minus-1-yard and a one-catch, 14-yard performance. It’s not like Allen is targeting Phillip Lindsay more, either. Lindsay has the same two targets over the last two games, both coming in Week 11 against the Vikings. As a talented-but-still-backup running back to Lindsay, Freeman has been relying on a handful of catches each game to stay fantasy relevant. With that avenue of production gone, Freeman simply isn’t getting enough carries to warrant playing going forward.
TE O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
That was a fun one-week stretch, wasn’t it? The Cardinals proved to be a cure-all for Howard, but until the NFL lets the Buccaneers play them every single week he shouldn’t be rostered. The frustration toward the former first-round pick is picking up even more steam in Tampa. Howard dropped his only Week 11 target into the arms of Saints LB Demario Davis. After that it was the Cameron Brate show. Brate was targeted 14 times and caught 10 passes for 73 yards. Howard simply doesn’t fit in head coach Bruce Arians’ scheme and the tight end hasn’t done anything on the field to help. Any last shreds of hope are now gone. Brate is the only Buccaneers tight end you want to own.
More Advice From SI Fantasy
—Dr. Roto’s Week 12 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em to help with your toughest lineup decisions
—Frankie Taddeo’s top streaming options for the final week of byes
—Jaime Eisner’s stock watch tells you who’s trending up and down as the playoffs approach
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Randall Cobb, Jonathan Williams, Jacob Hollister and more
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Bill Enright’s injury report takes a look at who is out how long
—Mark Deming’s target and snap report dives into the data to make some fantasy conclusions