If you are researching stocks in the market to invest in, how long are you looking at their profit/loss sheet? Weeks? Months? Keep that in mind with the 2023 Fantasy Football Week 5 Stock Up/Stock Down article.
One single week in the NFL (especially early in the season) is often the definition of overreaction theater, much less the week-to-week game of Fantasy Football. Each player has data from which we draw conclusions. We are forced to use that information to make decisions moving forward.
We tend to evaluate each week's Fantasy Football performances thinking about the short term. What does the data tell us about what to expect for a defined period of time, or for the rest of the season? But we can also draw conclusions from a longer-term Dynasty perspective.
Who saw their stock rise based on usage or opportunity in Week 4? Who saw it fall due to their own performance, lack of usage, or because of a change in role? Let’s dive in and find out.
2023 Fantasy Football Week 5 Stock Up/Stock Down
Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Without any clues ahead of time, if I told you the leader of Red Zone touches for the Chiefs through four weeks had 16, you would think it was Travis Kelce, right?
Well, you would be wrong. At seven, Kelce has less than half as many touches as Isiah Pacheco, who has become the lead back and red zone dominator in this offense. In fact, Kelce's seven touches are only two more than Rashee Rice. Pacheco, on the other hand, is evolving into a dangerous weapon all over the field.
Pacheco's overall touches have increased each week, beginning with 12 in Week 1 and ending with 23 in Week 4, including a number of uber-aggressive runs that have made him meme-famous.
Typically, the running back on a Patrick Mahomes offense has been an afterthought. But that's before they had a back like Pacheco. Using his size, speed, and eleventh-ranked yards per touch, the Chiefs are becoming a much more balanced offense.
The Chiefs are rushing the ball 44% of the time in 2023 (including 53% in Week 4). That number is up from just over 38% for the 2022 season.
Josh Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
It was assumed that Joshua Palmer would take over the Mike Williams role in the Chargers' offense and the game on Sunday against Las Vegas proved that to be true. Palmer led the team in targets with eight and easily had a season-high in snap rate at 86%.
He should step right into the deep threat role that Williams occupied. Even with three of his games being a part-time player, Palmer already ranks 22nd in deep targets among wide receivers this season.
It seems like it is going to be quite a while before Quentin Johnston plays any kind of significant or fantasy-relevant role for Los Angeles.
Being connected to Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense (who have passed the ball 63% of the time in the last three games) means more fantasy goodness (including red zone looks) is certainly on the way for Palmer.
Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens
In a post-J.K. Dobbins world for the Baltimore Ravens, we may finally have some real clarity about who will lead this backfield all season. Even with Justice Hill and Melvin Gordon active in Week 4, Gus Edwards played 69% of the snaps (12% for Hill, 19% for Gordon) and carried ball 15 times compared to six for all other running backs.
In a surprising turn of events, Edwards also saw three of the five running back targets on Sunday. If he emerges as a dual-threat, he will be one of the waiver wire steals of the year.
Despite being over 28 years old, Edwards ranks 14th among all running backs in true yards per carry and he is already in the top-25 in rushing yards this season despite playing only parts of two of the four games he has entered. The Ravens' offensive philosophy should also help bolster his value the rest of the year.
Once again, the Ravens lead the NFL in rushing play percentage (54.5%). Despite the rhetoric that they would be more pass-happy this season, they rush more than any other team. And they have also benefited from positive game script. In terms of overall game script this season, Edwards' situation ranks 10th-best among all running backs.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
It finally happened. The numbers have been trending this way for some time, but on Sunday, we officially got a 50/50 split between Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Each played 49% of the snaps in a blowout loss to the Houston Texans.
Harris managed 103 total yards (thanks a long 31-yard catch and run), and Warren had 57, but Harris has consistently looked like the slower, less explosive player all year.
Despite playing against one of the worst rush defenses from both 2022 and 2023, Harris was the least efficient rusher in Week 4, according NFL's Next Gen Stats.
With Kenny Pickett now out for an extended period of time, the Steelers are likely to face even more negative game scripts, which usually means Jaylen Warren time. The Steelers are 29th right now team run plays per game and Warren is third among running backs in targets (22) because of the deficits early in the year.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Tennessee Titans
With Treylon Burks missing Week 4 due to injury, this was supposed to be the game DeAndre Hopkins finally broke out with his new team. The Cincinnati Bengals defense has looked shaky, especially in the secondary, and Hopkins had very little target competition. What happened, however, was quite a bit different.
Hopkins played his lowest snap rate of the season (53%) and finished with just four catches for 63 yards. Those 63 yards are his second-highest of the season, but that's more an indictment of how he has been playing rather than a feather in his cap.
The Titans—perhaps as expected—are also not giving the ball to receivers in the red zone. Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears have 13 red zone touches this year while all Tennessee pass-catchers have a total of 11. Decreased playing time plus a diminished red zone role on an offense that runs the ball at the tenth-highest rate in the league is not a recipe Hopkins's success.
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