Buy Low Sell High: Week 10
The 2017 fantasy football regular season is entering the stretch run. Now is a great time to make shrewd trades and waiver acquisitions to set yourself up for success during the final few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs. With waves of teams taking and returning from bye weeks, mid-season adjustments will be made, and some things we might be taking for granted after nine weeks of play are bound to change quickly. Stay on your toes, and try to think more than one week into the future when making trade decisions.
In addition to our weekly Tradespotting podcast, we will provide weekly buy low/sell high recommendations throughout the season. Below, you’ll find players to target while they’re still affordable, or whose stock we expect to rise moving forward (“buy low”) — and others to consider trading away while we feel their values are either near their high points or soon to trend in the wrong direction (“sell high”).
Players to Buy
QB | Titans
For the most part, Marcus Mariota has had an extremely disappointing 2017 fantasy season. He is fantasy QB22 (!) in standard scoring. The key factors in Mariota’s reduced fantasy value this season have been the Titans’ lack of talented pass catchers on the outside (Rishard Matthews and Taywan Taylor don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing secondaries) and Mariota’s own lack of rushing attempts since injuring his hamstring early in the season. However, both situations will soon change. Prized rookie and presumed #1 WR Corey Davis is finally healthy and returned against the Ravens in Week 9. Also, Mariota looked much more mobile against the Ravens last week than when he initially returned from the Week 4 hamstring injury, and Mike Mularkey declared that the training wheels will come off for Week 10. Consider that Mariota has one of the 10-easiest remaining fantasy Strengths of Schedule for QBs, and his stock seems primed to rise in the second half of the season. – Matt Foreman
RB | Saints
This is your final opportunity to buy Mark Ingram. Alvin Kamara had his true breakout performance in Week 9, and the misconception is spreading that Mark Ingram’s lead-back role has been stolen. That is not the case. Ingram actually out-snapped Kamara 60% to 42% and out-touched him 17 to 16. This is undoubtedly a committee, which is usually a term we hate in the fantasy football industry. However, in the New Orleans Saints’ offense, there is more than enough work to produce two quality fantasy starters. Perhaps, even two fantasy RB1s (Kamara is currently the RB9 and Ingram is the RB12).
With the industry buzzing about the explosive rookie (and his highlight reel TD) there will not be a better time to acquire Ingram. Many will believe the lie that Kamara is set to take over as the lead back. Others will assume that an RB-by-committee will make both players weekly hit-or-miss plays. It is your job to capitalize on these errors in judgment. This is by no means a call to sell Alvin Kamara, but rather a declaration that both RBs can be integral parts of a fantasy championship team. Ingram should maintain the majority of the GL work and early-down touches, while sprinkling in some touches in the passing game. That is enough for me to believe that he will continue to be an RB1 you can buy at an RB2 price. – Hunter Gibbon
WR | Steelers
I adamantly refuse to disembark from the Martavis Bryant bandwagon. Have I already recommended you buy him this season? Yes. Was I wrong? Well…let’s just say that mistakes were made. Bryant has been quiet and nearly invisible on the field this season, and quite the opposite off of it. But things are different this time. Really. As I detailed in our Week 5 column – and despite all of the social media drama – Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have been inches away from breaking several big plays. Many are convinced that lovable rookie Juju Smith-Schuster has stolen Bryant’s place in the Steelers’ offense, but that isn’t so. Martavis ran with the first-team offense this week, and as Big Ben pointed out in a radio interview on Tuesday, most of Juju’s catches this season have come out of the slot (Bryant plays on the outside).
There will be plenty of big-play opportunities to go around in Week 10, and Pittsburgh has the 6th-easiest fantasy Strength of Schedule for the rest of the season. The Steelers are coming out of their bye week to face the hapless Indianapolis Colts, who rank dead-last in total defense and are the 7th-most generous to fantasy WRs.
I am so certain that this will be Bryant’s bounce-back game and effective 2017 coming out party that, if I’m wrong, I promise not to write about him again this year. In fact, if Martavis Bryant does not score a touchdown against the Colts this week, I will eat an entire raw onion* and post the video to the Gridiron Experts and Tradespotting Twitter accounts. If this turns out to be bad advice, you will literally get to watch me cry. – Matt Foreman
*My original idea was to do the One Chip Challenge. Sadly, the Paqui Carolina Reaper chips are sold out. Looks like Martavis will just have to score a touchdown this week!
RB | Patriotstimes are a changin’. Mike Gillislee has proven to be JAG, with fewer than 5.2 fantasy points in 6 straight games. His goal line and early-down role has been lost to Dion Lewis and it would not be a shock to see him become a weekly healthy inactive. You might be asking why I am writing about Rex Burkhead instead of Dion Lewis. Dion Lewis’s growing role is no longer a secret and his cost has likely risen to a price I am not comfortable paying.
Lewis has been productive each time he has been given touches, but he is even more brittle than he is productive. With multiple leg fractures and a torn ACL in his past, the Patriots will be forced to limit his touches or he will more than likely miss games in 2017. Therefore, with Gillislee being phased out of the offense and Lewis likely to have his touches limited, a window has opened for Rex Burkhead to permanently insert himself in the Patriots’ weekly game plan. That role revealed itself with Burkhead’s best game of the season in Week 8 against the Chargers, scoring 15.3 PPR points on 11 touches. He was even given entire offensive series to himself. White is only involved in the passing game, Lewis is only involved on the ground, but Burkhead is getting work in both facets. Basically, Burkhead is already starting to get enough work to be a borderline FLEX option, but should Lewis succumb to injury, his value would explode. Go out and acquire the best bench stash in fantasy football for nothing more than a trade throw-in. – Hunter Gibbon
Players to Sell
Kenyan Drake & Damien Williams
RBs | Dolphins
In the first game of the post-Jay Ajayi era, both Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams performed admirably. In fact, both finished the week among the top-12 RBs. Drake touched the ball 15 times for 106 combined yards, including a 42-yard run. Williams touched the ball 13 times for 61 combined yards, including a tackle-breaking receiving TD. Drake slightly out-snapped Williams 55% to 45%, in what was a near-even committee. One might think this could become some lesser version of the aforementioned New Orleans backfield, producing two RB2s to help propel your fantasy team in the playoffs. I am here to tell you that Week 9 could be the high point for both of them.
The primary reason Drake and Williams found success is the ineptitude of the Oakland defense. Currently ranked dead last in the NFL in Defensive DVOA, the Raiders have allowed big fantasy performance after big fantasy performance to opposing offenses. The schedule stiffens up considerably for the Dolphins, who own the league’s 5th-worst point differential despite currently sitting at 4-4. Miami will more than likely trail for the majority of their games in the second half of the season, limiting their ability to run the football. That is especially concerning for Drake, who was primarily used on the ground in Week 9 as opposed to Williams’ usage in the passing game. Are we just going to ignore how poorly Jay Ajayi was doing behind that horrendous OL for the first 7 games of the season? An even committee on a bad team with a terrible OL is not the recipe for fantasy success. That Week 9 contest with the Raiders was played in prime time, meaning most people witnessed each Miami RB’s success. Use that to your advantage and trade either one of them if you can get any value in return. – Hunter Gibbon
RB | Packers5th-most difficult remaining Strength of Schedule, and without the great Aaron Rodgers, figure to be trailing in most games. When that happens, the fantasy outlook for Aaron Jones will be ugly. The Packers trailed the Lions throughout their Week 9 contest, and Jones played just 34% of the snaps, producing 1 fantasy point on 5 carries.
The forecast for largely negative game scripts for the second half of the season means the Packers will be forced into more obvious passing situations, and RB Ty Montgomery is locked into a regular role on passing downs. Jones is a talented young player, and when the Packers stay competitive, he could still produce, but his RB1 potential is gone without Aaron Rodgers under center. – Matt Foreman
WR | Colts
Of all of the sell high’s I have written this season, this one hurts me the most. T.Y. has been one of my favorite players since this incredible post-game interview and every season I have drafted him higher than his ADP and traded for him in every league I could. Hilton is a burner with great ball skills. A player who has DeSean Jackson’s ceiling with a higher floor when Andrew Luck is healthy. Unfortunately, without Luck, Hilton’s floor couldn’t be lower. (Of course, this is not saying to trade him in dynasty leagues, where his stock will rise considerably with Andrew Luck’s return next season.) In redraft leagues, however, I believe his best games have already come and gone.
Hilton has been entirely matchup-dependent in 2017. He has averaged an incredible 29.17 PPR points per game against the Texans, Browns, and 49ers, but only 5.45 PPR points per game in the other 6 contests. Unfortunately, his remaining schedule is absolutely brutal, including matchups with the Steelers, Broncos, Jaguars, Ravens, and Bills in 5 of the next 6 games. Those all seem like matchups in which he will hover close to the 5.45 average, not the 29.17. You will also have to live through the Colts late-season Week 11 bye. T.Y. is currently the WR7 in PPR scoring, coming off of his best game of the season. There is an owner in your league who will overpay for a player like that. As much as it pains me to say, you must seek out that owner and trade away T.Y. Hilton before he loses you a fantasy playoff game. – Hunter Gibbon
Thanks for reading!