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Risers and Fallers – Week 14

CHAMPIONSHIP MODE

There’s no more time left for hope. Dreams have since become nightmares. Tomorrow is yesterday. Luke, I am your father. Chances are if you’re this interested in what to do this late in the season, you’re in it to win it from here on out. There’s zero room for mistakes. Here’s a look at the biggest “Booms or Busts” that could quickly build a strong 2016 case as a legit option in your playoff lineup or go down as a 2015 “Swing and a miss.”

Doug Baldwin vs Baltimore

Last week he was the definition a WR1. Baldwin was targeted early, often, and with results as he and Russell Wilson did whatever they wanted. But the question remains, was last week a stat-padding affair or is Baldwin on the rise? Perhaps, with the long term questions surrounding not only Marshawn Lynch but Jimmy Graham as well, Baldwin could turn into an elite option. Thanks to Baltimore, this looks to be a case builder as he should register back-to-back weeks with great numbers. If Baldwin can help WR3 needy teams during championship runs this week, he could earn himself a look as a WR2 next season.

Matt Jones vs Chicago

Long story short here, does this kid have what it takes or not? Washington clearly thinks so, but, after the last decade of coaching mistakes and offensive questionmarks, that statement doesn’t necessarily mean a whole hell of a lot. Alfred Morris is on the way out the door as Washington won’t bring him back for his price tag as many teams will take a shot at the once effective back. That leaves Jones to handle the full workload. That also leaves us with the choice of drafting him or skipping over. He has shown burst in the past as evidenced by his 90-yard touchdown against New Orleans. But he’s also disappeared for full games as evidenced by his crap day against The Patriots. Jones would not only help desperate owners this week but could earn an early look for next season.

Blaine Gabbert vs Cleveland

Blaine? Gabbert? Blaine Gabbert? The former Jacksonville QB? He could have value next season? It sucks to say, but yes he could. It’s clear as day that Colin Kaepernick will be gone, likely to fill in as some back up hopeful (cough, Dallas, cough) for the remainder of his career. That’s as long as Gabbert continues to do what he’s been doing since taking over. Gabbert is starting to look like former 49er Alex Smith in that he may not win you the game but he’ll do all that he can to not lose it for you. Gabbert, not Cam Newton, not Aaron Rodgers, not Tyrod Taylor, ran for 75 yards and a touchdown while also connecting with Torrey Smith for a 71-yard score. That’s impressive, no matter what your track record looks like. If Gabbert can keep it up over the final month of the season he could easily be viewed as the 2016 Blake Bortles.

Stevie Johnson vs Kansas City

All we’ve heard since week one is “Career comeback…” and “PPR gold.” Well, RnF is selling on any sort of long-term PPR comeback, career gold or what have you. Chances are strong that the Chargers franchise will moved to LA this offseason. Chances are that Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen will be the faces of that franchise move. Chances also are that they’ll have to make a few sexy moves to increase fanfare and popularity throughout the team. Resigning Stevie Johnson seems very unlikely at this point. He’s done well enough to deserve consideration but there’s just too many moving pieces. Stevie J would have to go “HAM” for the rest of the year for a rebuilding franchise to give him such a look. Considering how Oakland just signed the younger Crabtree, Stevie J looks to be elsewhere in 2016.

DeMarco Murray was Buffalo

As far as RnF is concerned, Murray should be cut at the end of the season, opening up salary room while also pushing Ryan Mathews into the starter’s role. It’s just too much money for what doesn’t seem to be a true featured role. If Murray wanted to stay in Philly and earn the rest of his contract, he’ll have to go gangbusters for the rest of the year. The best way to make a team reevaluate is to take your game to the next level. Make them think that you’re doing them a favor when in reality you’re playing for your life. Murray has an enormous amount of long-term value on the line as he his next stop could be Cleveland.

About Patrick White

Have been with Sharks for seven years. Been printed and published. Have been copied by, faced off against, and beaten some of the fiercest competition and abbreviated outlets in football. If you read RnF and live by the old "If you're not first, you're last" mentality, you'll be just fine.