- Knowing which players are gaining or losing value can help you not just with your lineup, but on the trade market.
Things change quickly in the NFL. Injuries and role changes shift the value of players and it's important to be ahead of those changes. Some of the players on the rise and decline are obvious, while some aren't obvious to the masses yet. Here are some players with the stock up and down heading into Week 5.
RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
It didn't appear that Johnson would be unleashed after the first two games of the season. After Theo Riddick was cut, Johnson moved up draft boards with the hopes of getting a bigger workload, especially in the passing game. He had 18 touches and 14 touches the first two games, including 16 and 12 carries. Then C.J. Anderson was let go and Johnson has seen an uptick in volume the last two games. Johnson had 20 carries against the Eagles and 26 carries last week against the Chiefs. He was also losing some goal-line carries to Anderson and has five carries inside the five-yard line the last two games. With the Lions on bye this week and the porous Packers' run defense ahead in Week 6, offering a trade for Johnson if a team with him is 0-4 or 1-3 makes sense for a good team this week.
WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Sutton has quietly had an excellent season. The second-year receiver is improved and getting open more easily. He's a big red zone weapon at 6'4" and 218 pounds. Sutton has at least seven targets in each game and has reached double-digit points in PPR formats in three of four games, and in the one he didn't he came away with four catches for 40 yards. Last week against the Jaguars, Sutton had six catches for 62 yards with two touchdowns. He has a 21% target share and six red-zone targets.
RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones has looked excellent, and is the best back in the Buccaneers' backfield. It's only a matter of time before he gets the bulk of the touches. He played 49% of the snaps last week against the Rams and had 19 carries for 70 yards with a touchdown, while Peyton Barber had nine carries for 19 yards. Jones added a 12-yard catch and ran 10 routes, while Dare Ogunbowale ran 12. Jones also had runs totaling 74 yards called back due to penalties. The good news is Jones saw the majority of the touches in the second half. Even though coach Bruce Arians said Barber remains the starter, it only means he's on the field for the first play and if the Buccaneers go with the hot hand, it's Jones. He has rushed for 234 yards on 50 carries (4.7 yards per rush), while Barber has 53 carries for 182 yards (3.4 yards per rush).
RB Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
Remember when there were incessant complaints about Fournette after a disappointing Week 3? How things have changed. Fournette had 29 carries for 225 yards and two catches for 20 yards against the Broncos. Volume is extremely important in fantasy and Fournette is getting it with 88 touches, which is only behind Christian McCaffrey and Nick Chubb. Fournette, who is averaging four receptions per game, hasn't scored a touchdown yet, but they will come.
TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
Tight end has been a tough position to find consistency, and Hooper has been one of the few reliable ones. Hooper has benefited with the Falcons struggling defense and a pass-heavy offense. Injuries on the offensive line are forcing Matt Ryan to get rid of the ball quickly and Hooper had nine catches for 130 yards on 11 targets last week. He has 33 targets in four games and has 28 catches for 307 yards with two touchdowns.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
There were some lofty expectations for Smith-Schuster this season, as he was even selected in the first round of some drafts. Any hope of Smith-Schuster reaching that high ceiling was crushed when Ben Roethlisberger went down with a season-ending elbow injury. Smith-Schuster has played two games with quarterback Mason Rudolph and has 11 targets. He had seven targets against the 49ers in Week 3 and had three receptions for 81 yards, with most coming on a 76-yard touchdown. He's capable of breaking those big plays at any time, but it can't be counted on often. The Steelers went extremely conservative against the Bengals last week, throwing 16 passes to the running backs, and Smith-Schuster caught three of four passes for 15 yards in a game the Steelers played from ahead in a 27-3 win. On the touchdown to Diontae Johnson, Smith-Schuster got the attention of the safety, allowing Johnson to be wide open. The value of Smith-Schuster is down and trading him will net a low value return. The Steelers will play from behind more often and the hope is the targets increase as Rudolph gets comfortable.
RB Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
Peterson still has name value, but it's an awful situation in Washington across the board. Peterson played 39% of the snaps last week and the game script is likely to be unfavorable almost every game for Peterson with the Redskins constantly playing from behind. When that happens, Chris Thompson, who played 53% of the snaps last week, is on the field more. Peterson is barely involved in the passing game and the Redskins are struggling to move the ball. Peterson has 33 carries for 90 yards with a touchdown and three receptions for four yards.
WR Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
It appeared as if Watkins would soar into WR1 territory with the absence of Tyreek Hill, but it hasn't happened. After a huge Week 1 in which Watkins had nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 11 targets, Watkins has been quiet considering the explosive offense of the Chiefs. He has reached double-digit points in PPR formats in two of the three games since Week 1, but he hasn't scored a touchdown. The targets have decreased from 13 to eight to six the last three weeks and Watkins lost a fumble last week. Watkins is seeing volume, but the downfield passes have been to Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman.
WR Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
The first two weeks were good for Ridley, with a touchdown in each game. He caught 12 of 16 targets for 169 yards. In Week 3, Ridley caught one target for six yards. Ridley said he struggled due to the Colts' zone defense. Then he had six targets last week against the Titans and had three catches for 32 yards. Ridley did suffer a hip injury in Week 2 and was limited in practice last week, and that could have been a factor. With Julio Jones, Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu, there will be some weeks where Ridley is quiet.
RB Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
Cohen isn't involved enough in the offense. While he scored a touchdown last week, he had two receptions for seven yards. After getting eight catches in Week 1, when he was used primarily out of the slot, he has two receptions in three consecutive games and only 13 carries in four games. Even with Mike Davis inactive last week, David Montgomery played 69% of the snaps and Cohen was at 39%. Montgomery had 24 touches and Cohen seven, and it doesn't appear as if it will change.