14 weeks of football are in the bag and we have plenty of the data needed to make informed decisions. It’s virtually impossible to watch every second of every game, so naturally, there are things that you miss from week to week. This article aims to name mostly under-the-radar, mid-tier, but fantasy-relevant players that are trending up or trending down. You’ll never see me mention that Justin Jefferson is trending up because that’s a headline you can read just about anywhere. You’ll also never see me slap a player like Matt Breida with a “trending down” label, because (with all due respect) who cares? But you will see me hold “star” players to a higher standard by occasionally featuring them in the trending down category. The underlying purpose of this article is to identify rising players before they become popular waiver wire adds.
Baker Mayfield/Sam Darnold- QB, Rams/Panthers
What in the actual heck is going on? Does Amazon Prime Video have the technology to allow us to peek into an alternate universe where Baker Mayfield is actually good? And what is going on in the Carolinas? Apparently, Sam Darnold called the Ghost Busters, because he strung together a solid outing against a Broncos pass defense that has given opposing quarterbacks fits. This is exactly what your grandma was talking about when she said that God works in mysterious ways. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season these two would be in the position that they are today? Both starting quarterbacks are trending up for the rest of the season.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 9, 2022
After orchestrating a 98-yard game-winning touchdown drive, Baker Mayfield will get the chance to usurp Matthew Stafford as the 2023 starter. Of course, that is assuming Matthew Stafford returns to the football field. Sam Darnold did enough to win his last time out. He threw for 164 yards and a touchdown, whilst adding a tuddy on the ground. Darnold’s matchups for the rest of the season are a quarterback’s dream. Look for him to light it up in hopes that Carolina doesn’t go looking for another signal caller in this year’s draft.
D.J. Chark- WR, Detroit Lions
It still feels strange to say this, but when the Detroit Lions step on the football field points go up on the scoreboard. Keep in mind, a fair share of those points are scored by the other team. The difference this season is that the Lions’ offense is clapping back. Detroit has scored at least 30 points (31,31,40) in three of their last four games. When a team is scoring at such a high clip most of their offensive weapons are viable for fantasy. This seems to be the case for D.J. Chark who is trending up after back-to-back solid outings. In Week 12 Chark returned to the starting lineup following a six-game absence due to an ankle injury. He drew five targets in route to a touchdown grab.
This past week Chark turned things up in the yardage department. He and Goff were in synch. Chark caught five of six targets for 98 yards. It’s good timing for Chark to get healthy and play well. Fellow WR, Jameson Williams is back in action, albeit special teams action. Undoubtedly Williams will be mixed in more frequently in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen who’s playing time will take the largest hit between Chark, Reynolds, and Raymond.
Michael Gallup- WR, Dallas Cowboys
OBJ who? If you don’t think that Michael Gallup has been hearing the Odell Beckham Jr. news, you’re wrong. I’m talking about the free agency rumors, not the American Airlines incident. Over the past couple of weeks Gallup has been displaying exactly why the addition of the star is unnecessary. Gallup’s Week 12 stat line doesn’t tell the full story of his production. He caught five balls for 63 yards on eight targets. What was most impressive were the two grown-man grabs that he made, snatching the ball out of the air.
Cowboys: Hosting Odell Beckham Jr. for a visit tomorrow
Michael Gallup: pic.twitter.com/2Ug98TMYeJ
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 5, 2022
It is undeniable that Gallup is trending up after scoring a pair of touchdowns in last week’s demolition of the Indianapolis Colts. Just like the Lions (well, not JUST like the Lions) the Cowboys are putting up impressive numbers week after week, making virtually all of their weapons useful for fantasy. Apart from a Week 16 meeting with Philadelphia, the Cowboys’ remaining schedule should be a cakewalk. Unless OBJ does indeed decide to take his talents to Jerry’s World, Michael Gallup seems to be a clear beneficiary of that unchallenging schedule.
Marcus Mariota- QB, Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder. That’s it, that’s the tweet. I don’t miss people using that line. Not one bit. I don’t think I’ll miss watching Mariota play football either. It was fun for a while when the dirty birds were eking out wins here and there. With the Bucs only two games ahead of the Falcons in the NFC South standings, Arthur Smith (Falcons Fanbase) has decided to name Desmond Ridder the Week 14 starter. This is not rocket science. You won’t need to take out any loans with Sallie Mae to pay for expensive college textbooks that your professors won’t use anyways. This is simple. Ridder in equals Mariota out. Therefore Marcus is definitely trending down. I am not an agent, but I believe Mariota should ask for a release. There are still quarterback needy teams out there (49ers perhaps?), and he appears to have overstayed his welcome in Atlanta.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 8, 2022
Kyren Williams- RB, Los Angeles Rams
You couldn’t have seen this one coming. Nobody could have. It seems that the resurrection of Cam Akers was and is real? I don’t know, please don’t quote me on any of this. What I can tell you though is that Kyren Williams has not been productive. At least not in the last couple of weeks. In the last two games, Williams has a combined 28 rushing yards on just six attempts. In his defense, he is more of a third-down back, to begin with. Unfortunately, his struggles haven’t been limited to the ground, his receiving production has taken a hit as well. In the same span of games, Williams has just one reception on three targets. Williams is trending down, it appears that, at least for this season, he will only make an impact in games where the Rams are trailing heavily.
Gus Edwards- RB, Baltimore Ravens
If you started Gus Bus last week, God bless ya. If you started him and lost, then I know for a fact you blame him solely and wholeheartedly. Well here’s some good news for you. You can’t start him. Nope, not after a performance like that. One week removed from leading the backfield, Edwards totaled just 12 yards on just six carries. Lamar Jackson went down, but it’s not like the team stopped running the ball. Edwards was out-touched by Kenyan Drake, while the latter also logged three targets in the passing game. For now, it looks like Gus is trending towards being more of a touchdown-dependent fringe-flex play. Last week could very much have been fluky, but we’ll need him to show us something against the Steelers this week if we’re to have confidence in him again.