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Fantasy Football Buy Low Sell High: Week 5

Buy Low Sell High: Week 5

Welcome to bye week season! As we pass the quarter-pole of the NFL schedule, Week 5 could define how many a fantasy season will go. While the Saints, Redskins, Falcons, and Broncos take their scheduled byes this week, injuries to Chris Carson, Dalvin Cook, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr have further muddied the fantasy waters. Unless you’ve lost a key fantasy player to injury mid-season, you don’t know how it feels. Make the necessary moves to prevent your team from freefallin’, and remember that we’re all just runnin’ down a dream of bringing home our league championship. 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 who are cheaper now than they were on draft day, 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”).

Julio Jones

Wide Receiver | Falcons

A guy at my office stopped me on Tuesday to vent about his early-season fantasy woes. Chief among them? “Julio. Man, that guy is KILLING me. Hasn’t even score a touchdown yet! Worthless.” Seems like an overreaction, right? There can’t possibly be Julio owners out there already panicking and looking to sell…right? Well on Wednesday afternoon, I got this text (image)

Apparently, Julio owners are very upset that he has yet to find the endzone this season. And since the Falcons are on their bye this week, he won’t be scoring any TDs until Week 6, at the earliest. Receiving touchdowns are a low-frequency, high-variance statistic, making them particularly difficult to predict. A different player has led the NFL in receiving TDs every year of this decade. And yet, it’s not exactly bold to predict that Julio will score more than 0 TDs over his next four games. Although he is WR31 thus far, in seasons where he has played at least 14 games, Julio Jones has never finished worse than fantasy WR9. He was WR6 last year and WR2 in 2015. He is a WR1 and a consistent fantasy producer on a very good offense, and you can’t teach that. If the Julio owner in your league is rash enough to give up on him this early in the season, exploit the situation. – Matt Foreman

Jeremy Maclin

Wide Receiver | Ravens

I was a big Jeremy Maclin proponent during the offseason, and the results have been mixed through 4 weeks. Maclin has scored two TDs and leads the Ravens in targets with 20. However, 3 other Ravens have 18 or 19 targets (Watson, Allen, and Wallace), so he is not dominating the target share. To make matters worse, Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing attack has been about as bad as possible. Flacco is 32nd in the NFL in Yards and Yards per Attempt, in addition to owning a negative TD to INT ratio. A difficult schedule and Flacco’s lack of practice time in the offseason could be the primary causes for their struggles.

According to Sharp Football Stats, the Ravens faced the 3rd most difficult Pass Defense Efficiency SOS through the first 4 weeks (Even though this is a small sample, the Jaguars, Steelers, and Bengals all appear to have legitimately good pass defenses). They face the 6th easiest Pass Defense Efficiency SOS the remainder of the season. In 3 of the next 5 weeks they go up against the Raiders, Dolphins, and Titans, all of which rank in the bottom 4 in terms of Pass Defense Efficiency. Despite this brutal start, it is not difficult to imagine a turnaround for Maclin facing a considerably easier schedule. Furthermore, with more time separating him from his back injury, Flacco’s attempts and efficiency are both set to improve. Maclin will benefit most from this improvement in his cemented role as the Ravens primary slot receiver, a role that Steve Smith Sr. excelled in during the last few seasons of his career. Maclin has demonstrated time and time again that he is a talented and productive WR in his own right. With the difficult schedule in the rearview mirror, Maclin is a potential WR2 for you will want on your fantasy team. – Hunter Gibbon

Martavis Bryant

Wide Receiver | Steelers

Martavis Bryant has been one of my favorite 2017 breakout candidates since the preseason. Through four weeks, he’s only made me look good once – when he put up 3-91-1 (15 standard points) in Week 2 against the Vikings. On the stat sheet and on the fantasy scoreboard, he has been disappointing otherwise. However, Bryant has been inches away from connecting on long touchdown plays in two other games.

Martavis has been excruciatingly close to scoring three long TDs in four games. Had he caught the two referenced above, Bryant would have TD catches of 75 and 40 yards added to his season total. While this isn’t an accurate way to project performance (it doesn’t account for potential changes in game flow, for example), let’s go with it for argument’s sake. Martavis has 25 standard fantasy points through four games. Add another 23 points for the two would-be-TD catches (75-yd TD= 13 pts, 40-yd TD = 10 pts), and he would have 48 points through Week 4. This hypothetical would make Martavis Bryant fantasy WR3 behind only Stefon Diggs and Jordy Nelson. It’s also worth noting that he leads all WRs in NextGenStats Average Targeted Air Yards with an average of 21.6 air yards per target. Though we can’t really count “air yards” and plays that didn’t happen, all of this tells me that Martavis Bryant is very close to a fantasy breakout.  – Matt Foreman

Mark Ingram

Running Back | Saints

After Week 1, all three Saints RBs seemed destined for a tortuous season trapped in a 3-way timeshare. Much has changed over the three weeks since then. New Orleans seems all but done with the Adrian Peterson experiment. The future Hall-of-Famer has amassed single-digit carries in all 4 games, including a season-low of 4 against Miami last week. When Peterson has touched the ball he has not looked good either. The end is clearly near for the former fantasy superstar. Alvin Kamara is the talk of the fantasy industry after his breakout game in London, where he received in an incredible 10 targets. The Peterson disappearance, the Saints Week 5 bye, and the Kamara hype make Week 5 the ideal time to target Mark Ingram in trades.

Ingram has been the picture of consistency thus far in 2017, receiving double-digit touches and posting double-digit PPR points in all four games. The fact that his touches have increased every week (11 in Week 1, 12 in Week 2, 16 in Week 3, and 18 in Week 4) indicates that his upside has yet to be uncovered. Kamara was never a full-time player during his time in college and seems destined for the complimentary, yet still valuable Darren Sproles role in the Saints offense. This leaves 16 to 20 of the most valuable touches in all of fantasy for Ingram to gobble up every single week. Believe it or not, Ingram has posted back-to-back RB1 seasons, despite only averaging 16 and 18 touches per game. Finally, targeting players entering their bye weeks is an underrated strategy that puts pressure on owners facing bye week conundrums. With Peterson’s clear departure from the Saints weekly game and Ingram yet to have a true breakout performance, there absolutely will not be a better time to buy Mark Ingram in 2017. – Hunter Gibbon

Deshaun Watson

Quarterback | Texans

Waiver Wire Week 4It’s been quite a year for Deshaun Watson. After he led Clemson to an upset victory in the national championship game in January, the Texans traded up to No. 12 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft in April to select Watson with the hope that he would become their franchise QB. Though unheralded Tom Savage was named the team’s starter during the preseason, that didn’t last long. In Week 4, Watson’s 5 total TDs in the Texans’ 57-14 curb stomp of the Titans set an NFL record for most touchdowns by a rookie, and he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Watson looks like the real deal, and I think his future is bright. But there’s a chance that his trade value will never be higher than right now – he has the mystique of “potential” to go along with recent production (53 fantasy points in his last two games). There’s also the reality that Watson’s last two outings came against two of the league’s worst defenses: the Patriots (32nd) and Titans (30th). As the Texans face better defenses, Watson may become more of a matchup-dependent fantasy starter. With Week 4 injuries to Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota and Week 5 byes for Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins, Watson owners are sure to receive their fair share of inquiries. Explore the trade market, and see if you can move Watson for a stud at another position of need for your team. – Matt Foreman

Jared Goff

Quarterback | Rams

Jared GoffFresh off a cool 255-2-0 performance against Dallas, Jared Goff is a bonafide QB1 through four weeks of the season (fantasy QB10, to be exact). He is clearly improved and looks like a completely different player than the one who was under center for Los Angeles last season. With a rejuvenated Todd Gurley and receivers Sammy Watkins and rookie Cooper Kupp at his disposal, Goff and the Rams’ offense look like they’re here to stay. But as I noted in this space last week, the schedule is about to get brutal for the Rams’ passing game. I do not expect Goff to finish as a QB1, and though few may, now would be a great time to try to sell him high as a QB1 fill-in to an anxious Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota owner. – Matt Foreman

Lamar Miller

Running Back | Texans

Prior to his impressive Week 4 performance, Lamar Miller had been a major disappointment during his time in a Texans uniform. Miller was an incredibly efficient player during his time with the Dolphins and many believed that his efficiency would sustain with increased volume when he signed with Houston. This has not been the case, and Miller’s trade value has steadily decreased since the 2016 offseason. One notable fantasy performance should not erase an entire season of disappointment. Following his 29.1 fantasy point outing could be your last remaining window to sell a player who is clearly not suited for an every-down workhorse role.

Miller’s inefficient 2016 season and the beginning of the 2017 season for that matter is only one of the reasons why I would sell him for the remainder of 2017. D’Onta Foreman is coming. The rookie has seen double-digit touches in each of the last three weeks and Texans HC Bill O’Brien recently said that the team views Foreman as an every-down back. Considering that Foreman’s pass-catching ability was a major question mark coming out of the University of Texas, that statement should not be taken lightly. Miller’s TD opportunities were already limited and now Foreman is clearly the superior goal-line option. Also, Houston had a legion of scoring chances in their Week 4 explosion against Tennessee, a feat I don’t expect this usually unexplosive offense to repeat very often. More often than not, the Texans will be in low-scoring, smash-mouth football games with limited TD opportunities. Miller’s consistent workload should keep him in the RB2 conversation, but there is surely an owner or two in your league that believes DeShaun Watson can lead the Texans to weekly fantasy brilliance. Seek out that owner. Talk to that owner. Trade Lamar Miller to that owner for a price he will not return over the next 12 weeks. – Hunter Gibbon

Hunter Gibbon

Hunter Gibbon

Hunter is an Oklahoma City native who graduated from the University of Tulsa with a B.S. in Mathematics. He has a penchant for analytics and views sports primarily through a statistical prism. He remains unbiased when analyzing and watching sports, but the Dallas Cowboys and OKC Thunder have a special place in his heart. Fantasy football has been a favorite pastime of his as long as he can remember, particularly the 16-team home league he commissions with his younger brother and DFS. Hunter is an avid writer, a professional wrestling fanatic, and a literature and television snob. If he isn't watching Better Call Saul or Jane the Virgin, reading a novel, or watching Roman Reigns spear someone into next week, he is spending time with his wife and his dog in Yukon, Oklahoma.

Matthew Foreman

Matthew Foreman

Matt is a Pitt graduate whose home smells of rich mahogany. His life is filled with dogs, scotch, leather-bound books, and winning fantasy football teams. When he’s not writing or thinking about fantasy football, Matt does a fine impression of a lawyer. He holds grudges in fantasy football and real life, and his heroes include Charles Barkley, George Costanza, and Ric Flair, who often told opponents, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! WOOO!”

1 comment

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  • Appreciate the article! I have a couple of questions for you. I’m in a 12-man full point ppr league. I have Brady as my starting QB with Watson as his backup. I’ve been thinking about trying to move Watson for either Ingram or Tevin Coleman. Which would you target first? Or should I be trying to aim higher?

    Julio is in your category. Thanks goodness, I just made a trade and sold McCoy, Tyrell Williams, and Fitzgerald for Hyde and Julio. Now I have a potential trade in the works–Julio for Hopkins. I’m concerned with Julio’s injury history to stay on the field. He’s dealing with a hip injury going into his bye-week. Meanwhile Hopkins has been on fire and doesn’t have the injury concern.

    Please advise! Most appreciated!

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