21 December 2023 • by Neal Maligno
What’s up and welcome to Rival Fantasy Week 16 Risers! The goal of this article is to discuss players whose fantasy football stock is on the rise. The players discussed in this article may be good trade targets, waiver wire adds, must starts and more.
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Brock Purdy was the QB4 in week 15 and has now finished top 10 at QB in 5 of the last 6 weeks. The reason he’s a riser is due to the fact that he’s certified himself as a top 10 QB rest of season and no longer just the QB you stream on a good match up. There’s now only 3 to 5 quarterbacks you consider starting over Purdy in the playoffs, as he’s elevated his game and has a ridiculous arsenal at his disposal.
Nick Mullens is now the Vikings starting QB ahead of both Joshua Dobbs and Jaren Hall, who have all played since the loss of Kirk Cousins. In his first start for the Vikings, he threw for 300+ yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, which isn’t a monster game, but it did land him as the QB11 of week 15. Rest of season he has Lions, Packers and Lions, so Mullens is a solid option at QB for those in two QB/superflex leagues or for anyone streaming quarterbacks in the playoffs.
QBs I mentioned last week: Bailey Zappe & Zach Wilson
Ty Chandler was a top 5 RB in week 15, starting in place of Alexander Mattison who was out with injury. Chandler had 157 total yards and a touchdown, finishing with almost 25 fantasy points. I’m not a big Mattison fan and I never wish injuries on players, but I do love it when Chandler gets all the work out of the Vikings backfield. O’Connell says that Chandler will have a featured role in the offense, so even if Mattison returns, I believe the Vikings are starting to come around on the fact that Chandler is just the better running back.
Devin Singletary has officially forced the Texans to bench Dameon Pierce, now getting all the workload out of the backfield. The last two weeks Pierce has had 5 carries and 1 target, while Singletary has had 39 carries and 8 targets, making him the Texans RB to start. Not that I’m happy for Pierce’s struggles, but I called it before the season started that Singletary was going to be a factor and that Pierce was going to struggle. Texans don’t have a cake walk rest of season, but Singletary is a good flex option the rest of the way.
RBs I mentioned last week: Jerick McKinnon & Ezekiel Elliott
Rashee Rice has broken into the top 25 at wide receiver, where he joins fellow rookies Puka Nacua and Jordan Addison. Rice has caught 32 receptions, 334 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last 4 games, making him the #4 wide receiver in fantasy football during that time. He’s the #1 WR in the Chiefs offense, an offense powered by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes and a must start player moving forward.
Tee Higgins found his way back to the top 10 at WR in week 15, thanks to 4 receptions, 61 yards and 2 touchdowns. The loss of Joe Burrow was expected to stall out the Bengals offense, but Jake Browning has done a great job filling in for him since the injury. It’s good news that Higgins is back healthy and producing, but now Chase is banged up and if he can’t go, Higgins gets more attention from the QB, potentially increasing his workload.
WRs I mentioned last week: Zay Flowers & Garrett Wilson
Darren Waller got hurt in week 8 and hadn’t played since, then he returned in week 15 and caught 4 passes for 40 yards. Nothing earth shattering, but a healthy Darren Waller matters and right in time for the fantasy playoffs. Waller has more upside than most of the tight ends we’ve been forced to stream when you don’t already have one of the top options at the position. Tommy DeVito will quickly find out how good Waller is and make him his favorite pass catcher in New York.
Tucker Kraft has been trending up ever since the Packers lost rookie tight end Luke Musgrave. Kraft finished as the #6 TE in week 15, with 4 receptions, 57 yards and 1 touchdown. The Packers offensive weapons are all kinds of beat up, so Kraft is being depended on to put up points, scoring two TDs in the last four games. Playing the Panthers in week 16 is lining up Kraft as a solid streaming option at TE or perfect TE to have in two TE leagues.
TEs I mentioned last week: Davis Allen & Jimmy Graham
Tre Tucker was WR15 last week after catching 3 passes for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns, yet I still don’t expect this to move the needle much for many. The Raiders have a rookie QB in Aidan O’Connell, three vet WRs in Adams, Meyers, and Renfrow, rookie TE Michael Mayer and Josh Jacobs should be returning in week 16. All of that is exactly why Tucker will go ignored for the most part, but I don’t believe he should. If you’re in a deep league and need someone to stream, Tucker is the fastest guy in the Raiders offense, has good chemistry with O’Connell and is worthy of a deep flex start.
Bonus Flex I mentioned last week: Chase Brown
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