The relatively good news that Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was suspended for only one game has clearly sent a good portion of fantasy owners scurrying to update their draft lists. Frankly, there were concerns the NFL would levy harsher punishment on Britt, an extremely talented player but one who just cannot avoid trouble off the field. Then again, Britt has made news on the field as well, as he tore his ACL in Week 3 last season and missed considerable time the year before as well. The state of his knees always seemed the more critical issue to determining his value anyway.
Still, at least Britt will be eligible to suit up in Week 2, and anyone who has seen him play knows the potential is there for a monster season. The pieces are in place for an improved Titans team, with running back Chris Johnson poised to return to his 2010 self (well, close to it, we hope), and young quarterback Jake Locker, an upgrade athletically and for arm strength, the new starter. Say what you will about Britt's indiscretions, but the guy has mad skills. Through two weeks last season, he already had registered 271 receiving yards and three touchdowns. In the 10 games in which he caught passes in 2010 he hauled in touchdowns in seven of them, including a magnificent October performance when he embarrassed the Philadelphia Eagles' secondary for 225 receiving yards and three touchdowns, doing so with Kerry Collins at quarterback.
With health and hopefully legal woes behind him, Britt certainly has top top-10 wide receiver potential. Yet as of Friday morning he's merely an 11th-round choice on average in ESPN's live drafts, 37th among wide receivers, each of those figures clearly driven by the risk. The reward, however, is so sweet.
In keeping with the theme of this weekly Stock Watch blog entry, it's certainly worth noting that his value is rising quickly. The only wide receiver whose 7-day snake draft stock has risen faster is Braylon Edwards of the Seattle Seahawks, but it's a bit misleading, since he wasn't being selected at all and is still owned in only 10 percent of leagues. By the end of this holiday weekend Britt might have moved into the top 30 wide receivers, quite a feat since it was news of an actual suspension that triggered the rise. It could have been worse.
The Titans activated Britt from the PUP list this week and there were concerns that he wouldn't be a full participant in Week 1 anyway. Forcing him to miss the game is a good thing, though one can salivate at the damage he might have done, even at 75 percent, against the New England Patriots secondary. Even by Week 2 (San Diego Chargers), he might not be on the field for most of the plays, but reports from the team about Britt's ability to run and cut have been positive. By the way, rookie Kendall Wright is expected to start against the Patriots, for those looking for a deep-league sleeper in Week 1.
Britt's value will continue to justifiably rise, and as we hit the final weekend before the games count -- the regular season starts this coming Wednesday! -- here are some other players moving around for our Stock Watch. This week we fit in even more names.
Movin' on up
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: From undrafted to ahead of Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the rookie should soon pass Andy Dalton, Josh Freeman and Alex Smith, too. There is upside. Note that the top quarterbacks aren't seeing value change much.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The team's acknowledgement that the rookie will start over LeGarrette Blount is cause for celebration, and a move to clear flex status. Martin could crack the top 20 running backs soon.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions: I've been touting him for a while, and no running back's status in ADP has improved as much over the past week. By October this guy is starting. Heck, could be by Week 3, when he's first eligible to play.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: It's surprising that he's owned in only about half of ESPN's standard leagues. He's starting in Week 1, and while I still think Maurice Jones-Drew returns quickly, with each passing day ...
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos: C'mon, doesn't it seem a bit odd that Decker has zoomed past teammate Demaryius Thomas over the past week just because of the implication that Peyton Manning likes him more in preseason action? I think he likes them both.
Most tight ends after the big names: Interestingly, while Aaron Hernandez is the high riser at tight end, past him a horde of guys after the top 100 are moving, like Kellen Winslow, Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett and Greg Olsen. Owners are realizing a second tight end matters as opposed to a questionable sixth wide receiver, when each can be used at flex.
Others: Joe Flacco has moved into the 12th round, and breakout wide receiver Torrey Smith is safely in Round 9. I've got Smith two rounds better. ... Tim Tebow remains owned in merely a quarter of leagues, but he's moving up. ... Cedric Benson is clearly starting in Green Bay, and he has justifiably cracked the ADP top 100. ... A bunch of younger running backs who haven't failed yet, as opposed to the veterans who start, are movin' up: David Wilson, Ryan Williams, Jacquizz Rodgers. ... Kendall Wright, Jon Baldwin and Darrius Heyward-Bey are young fellows at wide receiver with bright futures, each more popular than a week ago.
Movin' on down
Matt Flynn, QB, Seahawks: From Tebow range (Round 13) to undrafted. How sad, but reasonable.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Suffered a minor arm injury in final preseason tilt, which probably is driving his fall, but the fact is others simply have more upside.
Evan Royster and Roy Helu, RBs, Washington Redskins: These are the first two names when it comes to falling the farthest over the past week, which says a lot about coach Mike Shanahan, since Tim Hightower (and you don't want him, because the Redskins let him go) has seen only a slight rise. Yes, it's best to avoid this ever-changing situation, and you're doing it.
Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Similarly annoying since we have only some clarity on who starts even in Week 1. Redman remains the most attractive fantasy asset here over Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall, though.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals and Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Rookie running backs are rising, but not the wide receivers. These guys are no longer being selected. In Floyd's case the quarterback situation is ghastly, and Quick is likely not a starter.
Others: Can't really explain why hotshot rookie Andrew Luck has seen his stock drop in ADP recently. Colts will certainly throw a lot. ... As Benson rises, James Starks predictably falls. Don't expect much from Starks this year. ... Mark Ingram is down five spots in a week, which is odd because his current knee injury is not deemed serious. ... Indy's Donald Brown is down four spots, hopefully not because of the third preseason game, when he rushed for 8 yards on seven carries. This is a sleeper. ... Edwards' rise in Seattle correlates with Terrell Owens being cut. Not a great reason, frankly. ... DeSean Jackson is slipping in the seventh round, but he really shouldn't.
Enjoy your drafts this holiday weekend!