We are now halfway through the NFL season, and witnessed epic performances and soul-crushing losses in the past weekend. And, yes, there were more injuries. But the fantasy football marketplace never sleeps, and I’ve identified risers and fallers this week based on the weekend’s performances. Two elite receivers top the Risers list, and two running backs land on the Fallers. Let’s get started with a receiver that should have been listed as a Riser long ago!
A.J. Brown, WR — Philadelphia Eagles
I know, low-hanging fruit, but A.J. Brown had to make the list this week for his most recent performance. Brown broke the record for the longest streak of consecutive games with more than 125 receiving yards with six in a row. Calvin Johnson held the record previously. Brown started the season slow with a combined 108 yards over his first two games. But those performances are a distant memory now as he shreds opposing defensive backs. All offseason, we argued about Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson, but we have to consider that A.J. Brown could contend for WR1 overall this season. It’s happening right in front of our eyes.
A.J. Brown is on another level 🤯 pic.twitter.com/wbMR4Kvdad
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) October 29, 2023
Will Levis, QB — Tennessee Titans
Maybe the magic of those Houston Oiler throwback jerseys rubbed off on Will Levis. He had an impressive showing in the first start of his career. Just how good was Levis Sunday? Going into the Week 8 matchup, the Titans had only thrown three touchdown passes all season. Levis threw four in one start. Many saw Levis as the 4th QB in his class, and while it was rumored that NFL teams liked Levis as a prospect, he fell to the second round. Priors will need to be re-evaluated after Sunday’s performance. We will see more of the rookie this season.
Guys, Will Levis might be really good
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) October 29, 2023
CeeDee Lamb, WR — Dallas Cowboys
It has not been a smooth season for CeeDee Lamb, who’s had four games with just four receptions this season. But the receiver exploded on Sunday to the tune of 12 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns. It was only his second game this season with more than 10 targets. The talent was never in question, but the Cowboys offense has had strange game scripts, such as Week 1 when the defense did all the scoring against the Giants or when the offense couldn’t score against the 49ers. Maybe the team will continue to treat Lamb like the Alpha he is and feed him plenty of targets. The Cowboys should see more normal game scripts moving forward allowing for more opportunity for Lamb.
The CeeDee Lamb numbers here are crazy.
Not only does he have the highest catch percentage among all qualifyingh WRs, but he's also averaging nearly 14 yards per catch. https://t.co/rb4oh6cjMu
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 30, 2023
Trey McBride, TE — Arizona Cardinals
Earlier in the week, it was announced that Zach Ertz was going to be moved to injured reserve, paving the way for Trey McBride to take over as TE1. After posting 10 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown, I’d say McBride has a grip on the starting job. McBride was the winner of the John Mackey Award in 2021, but he has been stuck behind Ertz until now. With the genie out of the bottle, we could see more of McBride down the stretch. The Cardinals are projected to finish at the bottom, and there’s no rush to bring Ertz back from IR. The Cardinals will likely want to see what they have in their former second round selection as they look to the future.
Targets per route run for tight ends with 100+ routes in 2023:
31% Travis Kelce
27% Trey McBride 👀
24% TJ Hockenson
23% Sam LaPorta
23% Zach Ertz
McBride: Arizona's 2022 Round 2 pick & was excellent in his senior year at Colorado State.
Available in 80% of fantasy leagues.
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) October 30, 2023
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Even if you didn’t love Najee Harris‘ talent, it was hard to fade the workload that he was projected to have. The emergence of Jaylen Warren has shattered the workload projections we had for Harris. Harris has not had a Snap Share over 60-percent in any game this season.
Last week against the Jaguars, Harris rushed seven times for 13 yards, with an average of less than two yards per carry. We now have decreased snaps and a decrease in rushing efficiency for Harris. The entire Steelers offense is problematic, but I cannot imagine a scenario where Najee can turn this around and finish the season as a top-20 running back.
Elijah Moore, WR — Cleveland Browns
When Elijah Moore was traded to the Browns in the offseason, there was hope we could see his talent become production. Moore has yet to finish a week as a top-30 receiver in fantasy. He finished Sunday with two receptions for 30 yards. Moore is a key cog in the Browns offense, as he has finished with only two games with five targets or less, but it’s time he had some production to show for all the targets.
Moore has been held under 60 receiving yards every game this season. Perhaps a healthy Deshaun Watson could help, but we need to adjust our expectations for Moore moving forward. To add insult to injury, it was reported the Browns want to add a receiver before the trade deadline. If they can add a talented enough receiver, Moore could see a dip in his target numbers.
Dameon Pierce, RB — Houston Texans
Dameon Pierce had an incredibly fun rookie campaign for the Texans, controlling the entire backfield for the season. Just like Najee Harris, we were anticipating the same workload rolling into a new season, but the new coaching staff had different plans in mind. The team has created a full-blown tandem between Pierce and Devin Singletary. Pierce has only one reception over the past three weeks, and if you’re forced to start him, you are just hoping for a goal line touchdown. Pierce has only one breakaway run this season, which is clear when you look at his stats for the season. The Texans are comfortable with the current setup in the backfield, and there’s no reason to bank on Pierce to take over unless there’s an injury to Singletary.
Dameon Pierce when asked to do anything other than run straight through a wide open hole for 2 yards: pic.twitter.com/0oCVawfK63
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) October 29, 2023
Brock Purdy, QB — San Francisco 49ers
The former Riser has cobbled together rough starts the past two weeks. It’s time to put our feet to the fire on Brock Purdy. Against the Vikings and Bengals, he finished with a TD:INT ratio of 2:4. There were missed throws against the Vikings and Purdy would later be checked into concussion protocol.
He cleared protocol but still had missed throws against the beatable Bengals secondary. It is entirely possible that the offensive scheme has been thrown off without Deebo Samuel, but with a bye week coming up, it’s the perfect time for the quarterback to reset and get back to his winning ways.
A.J. Brown, Will Levis, CeeDee Lamb, and Trey McBride are the Risers this week. Najee Harris, Elijah Moore, Dameon Pierce, and Brock Purdy are the Fallers. My actionable advice for the week would be to spend any FAAB or top waiver claim on Will Levis. The talent is for real, and after losing Kirk Cousins, the claims will be flying fast and furious for the star quarterback. Have a great week and go get Levis on your fantasy teams!