Fantasy Football Buy Low Sell High: Week 6
Another week in the books and we are getting into the height or trading season for fantasy football. Fantasy teams are starting to become more clear and team’s that have started out with an unfortunate 0-5 or 1-4 type of start need to make serious moves if they want to even sniff action in the fantasy playoffs in Week’s 14-16.
I’d like to post a quick follow up to some of the players mentioned from last week’s “Buy Low Sell High.”
- Tyreek Hill was mentioned as a potential candidate to have a multi-week window to buy, and that remains true. Hill hasn’t eclipsed 61 receiving yards or scored a TD in his last three games. One of the fastest players in the league with arguably the best big-play ability of anyone out there, Hill has a get right spot this week in a primetime matchup on Sunday Night Football against the Patriots. This is a great chance to buy in before he potentially puts on a show.
- Jordan Howard was another player who you had an extended period to buy as he unexplainably busted in a prime matchup where the game should’ve called for him to run the ball all day. The Bears put a beating on the Bucs in Week 4, beating them 48-10, yet Howard totaled only 2.5 fantasy points. The Bears are coming fresh off a bye this week and will face a Dolphins defense that ranks top-5 in fantasy points allowed to running back’s this season. Buy now.
- Despite James Conner‘s monster game last week, I would still be pushing to sell him to the highest bidder. If you didn’t already move him last week, great! His price just went up after dominating with 185 yards from scrimmage and 2 TD’s last week. While rumors still circulate of a potential Le’Veon Bell trade, the most likely scenario is still Bell returning to the Steelers after their Week 7 bye which could potentially relegate Conner to a high-end handcuff. You should be able to get two players who are every week Flex options at worst. Don’t sell short, however. If you don’t get an offer you love, hold Conner in case there are any trick’s up Bell’s sleeve to sit out with a “sore hamstring.”
For more info on these guys, feel free to brush up on last week’s article. Now, let’s get to this week’s players to Buy or Sell!
The sky was falling on Monday Night Football for Alvin Kamara owners as Mark Ingram was welcomed back to the fold by out-touching Kamara 18-9 in the Saints 43-19 rout of the Redskins. Questions flooded the Twitter-sphere of Kamara owners in a state of panic wondering what they should trade him for. The answer for me would be simple, nothing. I wouldn’t trade Kamara for anything outside of Todd Gurley still right now despite Kamara’s dud last week. But with the Saints now heading into a bye week, that dud is going to marinate and the window of opportunity to capitalize on this situation will be twice as long as it should be.
Just a quick reminder of how good Kamara was last season, here is a list of some of some rookie records he broke thanks to Pro Football Focus:
Kamara made a name for himself last season while only handling 12 touches per game. Ingram working back into a solid role was an inevitable outcome. Kamara makes his money as a hyper-efficient, big-play threat who will still see loads of work in the passing game on one of the highest powered offenses in the league. We already know both backs can co-exist and each can be top-10 running backs in the league as they were last season where Kamara finished as the RB3 in PPR leagues with Ingram finishing RB6. Do whatever you can to try and snatch this incredible talent away from his current owner.
Another Saint on a cold streak worth shopping for is wideout Michael Thomas. After seeing an insane 40 total targets over the first three weeks of action, Thomas has surprisingly only seen 9 looks from Drew Brees over the last two weeks. Thomas has been about as efficient as they come this season having caught 46-of-49 targets this season for 519 yards and 3 TDs. The 46 receptions are only 1 behind league-leader, Adam Thielen (47) and Thomas’ 519 receiving yards are also 4th most amongst all wideouts.
There is no dispute here that Thomas is still an elite talent and the unquestioned leader of this Saints receiving corps. With a bye week to get right, Thomas will be staring at a tough three-game stretch of matchup’s against the Ravens, Vikings, and Rams before the schedule gets incredibly easy to end the season. Thomas will see matchups against teams who currently rank inside the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to WR’s in five of his last six games. Get in now before Thomas see’s a resurgence and finishes the season strong as a legitimate top-5 candidate amongst all wide receivers in fantasy.
Things are starting to make more sense in Pittsburgh as the season goes on and Antonio Brown retakes the throne as the leading wideout in town. JuJu Smith-Schuster blew up with his first three games going for over 100 yards before he came crashing back down to earth with only 4 catches for 34 yards last week. He salvaged the poor yardage and receptions with a TD, however.
The start of the season showed us the ceiling Smith-Schuster offers this season as a true second-year breakout candidate. His 450 receiving yards so far this season ranks top-8 amongst all wideouts. Smith-Schuster’s 53 targets this season are also top-10 amongst WR’s and he’s also getting them where it counts. Smith-Schuster has seen 15 targets in the red zone which leads all wide receiver’s this season per DailyRoto.com.
Antonio Brown being the top wideout on this team should come as a surprise to no one, but it looks like JuJu is taking a big step forward this season into WR1 territory after being more of a boom or bust WR2 last season. Outside of a Week 11 clash against the shutdown corners of the Jaguars, the remaining schedule is pretty friendly for Steelers wideouts. With AB always commanding the attention of top corners, Smith-Schuster will have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of weak coverage this season.
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Jarvis Landry hasn’t quite been the elite, PPR maven we saw last season in his start with the Browns, but there is room to grow on this revamped offense. Landry has been all over the board this season giving you anywhere from 34 yards in a game to 106 yards. Landry’s 56 targets this season still ranks him top-5 in the league, however, and he has seen a consistent 10 targets in each of his last two games.
The schedule for Landry and the Browns is about to get all kinds of friendly for the passing game. The Browns have the Chargers, Buccaneers, and Steelers all on tap over the next three weeks with each team ranking in the top-5 for most fantasy points allowed to wideouts this season. Each of these games is loaded with shootout appeal and Landry should have no problem racking in the receptions as a main focal point of the offense. The Browns are also using Landry a bit more aggressively as his 13.1 yards per reception this season is a career best. Landry won’t be quite as volume driven as he has been in past years with such a higher quality of target.
Landry is still on pace for 92 receptions, 1,219 yards, and 3 TDs. The reception total would be Landry’s lowest since his rookie season in 2014 (84) with the yardage total being a new career high. I would expect Landry’s TD total to be closer to the 5-7 range based on his current 7 red zone targets being far and away from the next pass-catching option on the Browns (Antonio Callaway, 2 RZ Targets). Get in now before Landry potentially sees a big positive trend.
After missing the last three weeks with a knee injury, the Falcons lead back, Devonta Freeman, returned to action last week. Freeman was eased back into action, seeing a near even split with Tevin Coleman. Freeman out-touched Coleman 10-9 against the Steelers but only managed to put up 41 yards from scrimmage. The Falcons as a whole were a disappointment last week only scoring 17 points in the game after being on a hot streak and putting up over 30 points in each of their previous three games. Bigger days are ahead for Freeman as he came away from the game no worse for the wear.
Freeman has had overall fantasy season finishes as the RB13, RB6, and RB1 in each of the last three seasons respectively. He is still looking as solid as ever and is averaging 4.9 yards per attempt this season per Pro Football Reference. We should see the workload split go back closer to the 60-40 percent or even 65-35 percent range between Freeman and Coleman as soon as this week. With Matt Ryan looking closer to his MVP caliber 2016 self this season, the Falcons offense as a whole should be trending up despite last week’s hiccup. Freeman should get back on track with them, making him a great buy right now as a potential RB1 you can get for the price of an RB2.
The tight end position has been the biggest loser so far this season in fantasy football. With guys like Geoff Swaim and C.J. Uzomah making for legitimate streaming options, it makes a lot of sense to target a guy like Kyle Rudolph right now on the trade market. Having an every week TE1 locked into your lineups can give you a big leg up on your opponent heading into each week this season.
Rudolph is currently neck and neck with Rob Gronkowski on the overall TE6/7 fringe this season according to FantasyPros.com. Some early season surprises inside the top-5 are Eric Ebron (TE2, more on him below), Jared Cook (TE3) and George Kittle (TE5). It’s hard to see each of those three guys maintaining a solid enough role on their offenses to stay in the top-5 conversation all season with Kittle maybe being the exception. Even Kittle I could see falling down somewhere between TE8-to-10 more now with C.J. Beathard under center.
One of the best parts about Rudolph this season is that he has been very steady. He has exactly 5 receptions in each of his last three games and has yardage totals of 48, 57 and 41 over that span. Rudolph also has managed 1 TD during that time. He hasn’t had a big, blowout game just yet which makes him an attractive target as a player who could potentially see a boost in production going forward.
Rudolph is quietly on pace for 73 receptions, 732 yards and 6 TD’s this season. That would put Rudolph right below his career-best 83/840/7 line that he put up in 2016 when he finished as the overall TE2 in PPR leagues. If you’re struggling with injuries at the TE position, I would do whatever I could to try and secure a set it and forget it option like Rudolph at the tight end position this season.
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After being a ghost on the Jets offense with only 108 receiving yards over the first four weeks, Robby Anderson showed up with 3 catches for 123 yards and 2 TD’s last week. His big plays were pivotal in the Jets win against the Broncos, 34-16.
Anderson has shown us his big-play ability in his career with a 14.4 yard per reception average over the last two seasons. He finished out as the WR18 in PPR leagues just last season according to FantasyPros.com as well. The problem with that this season is Quincy Enunwa is back in action and has been the clear favorite target of rookie Sam Darnold this season. Enunwa has seen a team-leading 42 targets this season compared to only 21 for Anderson.
After being selected as a mid-round draft pick in the fantasy season as a potential WR2/3, Anderson has seen his ownership percentage fall under 50% on Yahoo! leagues this season. A lot of people understandably cut ties early on. You are going to live and die by the big play this season with Anderson and the inconsistency he has brought so far this season is a complete liability in your starting lineup. Sell high on Anderson now after his huge game before he puts up another dud.
Demaryius Thomas has been striving for mediocrity this season as the rare case of a player getting plenty of opportunities but doing virtually nothing with it. Thomas is currently sitting at WR30 on FantasyPros with an average of 12.9 points per game in PPR leagues. Despite ranking 15th amongst all wideouts with an 87.2% catchable target rate on PlayerProfiler.com, Thomas’ 5 drops this season ranks 2nd most at the position. Thomas has been consistently outplayed by Emmanuel Sanders and even rookie Courtland Sutton this season.
Lucky for you, Thomas is coming off his best game of the season where he somehow managed to turn 5 catches into 105 yards and 1 TD. The highlight was a 42-yard TD that came late in garbage time with the game well out of hand. This presents a great opportunity to finally unload Thomas and his inefficient ways from your roster.
I have been trying to get rid of Thomas in one of my leagues for the last three weeks but have gotten zero interest. Last week should hopefully open the door a little in the negotiations. If you package Thomas up with a Flexworthy RB, you should be able to net a much more solid and consistent RB2 or WR2 in the process.
One of the biggest busts of this season’s draft at this point, Kenyan Drake finally put up a solid showing last week for those brave enough to continue starting him. Drake had only rushed for 3 yards in each of his last two games before going out and managing 46 yards on 6 attempts last season. He made his money in the passing game, however, catching 7-of-11 targets for 69 yards and 1 TD.
The downside to all of this is that the heavy receiving usage looks a little random and Drake was still held under 10 carries on the ground for the third game in a row. The Dolphins have shown zero commitment to the running game this season and Frank Gore remains a very old roadblock on Drake’s path to success. The Dolphins are also running a very slow paced, low volume offense in general, leaving little opportunity for anyone to thrive offensively on a consistent basis to this point.
It may be tough to do, but it’s probably best you accept your losses on this one as Drake is incredibly hard to trust in your starting lineup and does you no good on your bench. See what you can get for him on the trade market after his best game of the season. There is always a market for running backs.
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A true testament to the meltdown that is the tight end position, I give you your TE2 on the season, Eric Ebron.
Ebron is coming off a complete roasting of the Patriots last week where he turned an incredible 15 targets into 9 catches for 105 yards and 2 TDs. Ebron has seen heavy usage with Jack Doyle on the shelf and T.Y. Hilton banged up just added more onto Ebron’s plate. Over the last three weeks, Ebron has seen a total of 36 targets but has only caught 19 of them. Ebron has completely relied on his heavy usage in the red zone to be of service so far this season.
The downside to all of this is that Hilton and Doyle are both slated to be back in action soon which will greatly cut into this massive workload Ebron has seen over the last three weeks. Ebron only managed 4-5 targets per game in the first two weeks and his 4 drops this season is currently the most among tight ends per PlayerProfiler.com. Another concerning factor here is that out of Ebron’s 255 receiving yards this season, only 55 of those yards have come after the catch.
With the tight end position being such a wasteland, you will get way more than you should right now for a player like Ebron.
John Ferguson is an avid fantasy football fanatic with 10+ years of experience in competitive leagues and DFS. Ferguson specializes in draft strategies, trade negotiations (Buy Low/Sell High), DFS value picks, and sports betting amongst other parts of football analysis. He follows the Oakland Athletics closely as a diehard fan and enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children. A native of Monterey, California, Ferguson now calls Quintana Roo, Mexico home.