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My wife and I have agreed that in exchange for watching unlimited NFL, I only get a limited amount of college football “chips”. Bowl season is separate, but during the regular college season I get to watch a limited number of college football games so I have to use my “chips” wisely.

And I will be using a chip this weekend, as Ohio State takes on Michigan in a match-up of No. 2 vs No. 3.

The ironic part however, is that what I really like to watch is the small school stud. The guy who probably didn’t get a bunch of scholarship offers from a number of BCS schools. These “diamonds in the rough” so to speak are part of what makes college football so great.

Therefore I will be tipping my hat in the week 12 stock report to those players by featuring some of those NFL players that played for many of the smaller schools.

The definition of a “smaller school” is subjective, but let’s just say there will not be Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, or even Boise State alumni listed here.

Week 12 Stock Report: Stock Down

While I do want to highlight some small-school players, some unfortunately have been trending down….

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Miami of Ohio)

Roethlisberger might be the poster boy for small schools. He has routinely and easily surpassed 20 TDs each of the last five years, including a sparkling 2014 when he notched 32 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 passing yards.

However, after his dud of a performance against Cleveland where he failed to pass for a single TD, some of his owners are getting very impatient. It was also his fifth game with less than 300 yards passing. Furthermore, two (NYG and BUF) of the Steelers next three opponents are two of the top ten toughest teams in giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks.

My recommendation is dependent on your situation. If you are struggling to make the playoffs I’d sell. But if you’re looking good for the playoffs, you have to hold or even possibly buy. He faces Cincinnati and Baltimore in weeks 15 and 16, who have both given up 19 passing touchdowns or the seventh most in the NFL. And if you need him for week 17, he plays Cleveland, who has given up the most passing touchdowns. Speaking of Cleveland…

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns (Alabama State)

It seems that the Crow has flown south.

Crowell has seen his production drop from the previous week’s total each of the last five weeks to a season low combined yards of just 23 last week. The fact that Browns coach Hue Jackson consistently vacates running the ball doesn’t help either. Furthermore, the fact that the Browns are the leading candidate for the first overall pick, don’t count on Crowell killing the clock soon. Clearly, if you can still sell, do so.

Our next player situation however is a little more murky…

Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Towson)

I’m not sure what the connection is between the AFC North and small schools. Maybe it’s the scouting departments; I don’t know. But West saw only eight carries again this past week for the second time in four weeks. And much like the Browns, the Ravens seem to abandon the run very quickly. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is even more curious given that unlike the Browns the Ravens are often tussling in close games.

Another reason to sell West is that Kenneth Dixon looks better and better each week. But here are the facts:

-West’s yards per rush has gone up each of the last four weeks and has a high yard per carry than Dixon

-The Ravens seem to prefer Dixon as the pass catching back but he did not have a single catch this past week while West did

-Dixon has yet to score and West is still a red zone option. West had another touchdown this past week, an 18-yard scamper through the middle of the defense.

If you have the roster space, I’d buy West and Dixon. If you only have space for one, West is the one to grab for this week given that the Bengals, the Ravens opponent this week, has given up an average of 24 fantasy points to opposing running backs. Both backs are heading up. Which brings us to…

Week 12 Stock Report Stock Up

Week 12 Stock Report: RBs

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants (Liberty)

Unlike the murky situation in Baltimore, Jennings is clearly the lead back in New York. Jennings out-touched (26 to six) and out-snapped (47 to 20) Paul Perkins. Jennings is also coming off his best game of the year (129 total yards and a TD). Jennings faces Cleveland next who is giving up the fifth most fantasy points to running backs, followed by Pittsburgh who is fourth. He is a great play this week and a solid buy.

Tim Hightower, RB, New Orleans (Richmond)

Despite the presence of Mark Ingram, Hightower continues to see action. He had his greatest combined yardage game this season last Thursday when he rushed twelve times for 69 yards and caught eight passes for 57 yards.

That performance however was greatly assisted by the exit of Mark Ingram for concussion protocol reasons. Ingram is expected back this week. Even if Ingram does not play, the Rams allow the third fewest fantasy points to running backs. He also will face Arizona during our key fantasy week 15. The Cards are a fantasy RB nightmare, having given up the fewest points this season. Sell Hightower now.

Week 12 Stock Report: WRs

Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers (Western Oregon)

Williams especially might be off the radar given that San Diego was on bye last week, but his stock is trending up as well. Before his bye last week Williams has a stellar game, catching five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. He is on pace for nearly 70 catches and over 1,000 receiving yards this season. Not too bad for an NFL 5th rounder!

However, do not buy Williams now. Wait one week. After Houston, who is the third stingiest in allowing WR fantasy points, he plays four teams in a row in the bottom half. Buy all the cheap shares of him you can next week.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings (Minnesota State-Mankato)

You don’t get much further from a football powerhouse than Minnesota State-Mankato. Yet Adam Thieln is currently excelling as a starting WR for the Minnesota Vikings. Defenses have been shifting their coverage over to Stefon Diggs and Thielan is taking advantage racking up double digit fantasy points three weeks in a row. With some very soft defensive teams on the Vikes remaining schedule, I would buy now.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (West Alabama)

After catching touchdowns in back to back weeks, Hill has not a caught a touchdown the last three weeks but is averaging more than 5 catches each of those three weeks, and has double digit fantasy points four out of the last five weeks. He is probably my favorite player in the week 12 stock report as his price is still relatively low but he has a decent upside. With Jeremy Maclin still unlikely to play this week, Hill makes for a great cheap buy, with emphasis on the cheap part. Be aware that he will be facing Denver who has allowed the second fewest points to WRs. Hopefully he’ll make the West Alabama alumni and all the other small schools proud!

Looking for more players, from big or small schools in addition to the Week 12 stock report? Try My Playbook to figure out who is going to rise or fall next.

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg remembers making Jerry Rice his first round selection as well as taking a flyer on a young pitcher named Doug Drabek. His Fantasy analysis has spanned multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, and even golf. A FSWA finalist, his fantasy analysis has been featured in various outlets including but not limited to SI.com, USA Today national magazines, Yahoo! and RotoExperts.
Mark Strausberg

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