Buy Low Sell High: Week 7
Mid-October is the most magnificent time of year for sports fans. The MLB playoffs are in full swing, the NHL and NBA seasons are kicking off, and the NFL is chugging along on every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. This year in particular though, has felt particularly exciting. The NBA offseason was the most exciting in history and the intrigue could not be higher. Sami Zayn turned heel and the Shield is fully reunited, even wearing their old ring gear (Sorry, you know I have to include wrestling talk). For the first time in a while, we cannot find one truly great NFL team. The perennial powers are flawed or injured, and teams have surprised us left and right (looking at you Jets and Bills). Unfortunately, the fantasy landscape isn’t as exiting for many of us.
Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. The Colts may shut down Andrew Luck. Julio Jones has yet to score a TD. Not to mention the laundry list of injuries and busts from the previous 5 week. But fear not, fantasy footballers: the sky is not falling. Let us guide you through these turbulent times and onward to the fantasy playoffs. 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”).
Tradespotting Podcast with Matt & Hunter
Players to Buy
Tight End | Seahawks
Would you believe me if I told you that Jimmy Graham is fantasy TE24 heading into Week 7? Well it’s true, it’s damn true! But despite his early-season struggles, and those of the Seattle offense as a whole, I still think it’s reasonable to expect Graham to finish as a top-5 to top-8 fantasy TE. He has the 13th-easiest remaining schedule among fantasy TEs, with five of Seattle’s remaining opponents ranked in the lower-third of the league in tight end aFPA. In his last three games, Graham has averaged 8.3 targets per game, and despite already having had his bye week, Graham is tied for the 8th-most targets and the 8th-most red zone targets among tight ends. With only 1 TD thus far, he is bound to start converting his red zone targets at a higher rate. For Week 7’s matchup with the Giants, Jimmy Graham is TE #5 in the FantasyPros Expert Consenus Rankings. Go after him now, before he has his first big game of 2017. – Matt Foreman
Quarterback | Steelers
The 2017 incarnation of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has not come close to meeting expectations. The return of Martavis Bryant had fantasy owners dreaming of the 2015 Steelers offensive juggernaut. Having Bryant, Bell, Brown, and Big Ben on the field together was supposed to be foolproof, but instead, they are averaging a thoroughly mediocre 19.7 points per game. While Antonio Brown has continued to be ridiculous and Bell has recovered from a slow start, Big Ben has yet to come around. Most owners in your league probably believe that he won’t. Whether you are still waiting on Andrew Luck, you just lost Aaron Rodgers, or you are tired of trying to stream QB, Roethlisberger is a high-upside QB option that can be acquired for dirt cheap.[the_ad id=”73518″][the_ad id=”69556″]
Monday morning box score checkers will look at Roethlisberger’s 6 combined INTs over his past two games, listen to his comments about “not having it anymore”, and proceed to entirely write him off. It is your job, nay your duty, to take advantage of those people. First of all, 4 of the aforementioned INTs were caused by deflections and/or receivers stopping on their routes. Yes, they count the same, but Big Ben should not be held fully responsible. Not to mention, the Steelers’ matchups in Weeks 5 and 6 were about as difficult as they come The Jaguars defense has been annihilating every QB it runs into and producing inside of Arrowhead Stadium is never an easy task. Their schedule opens up in a huge way over the next several weeks, with the Lions, Colts, Titans, and Packers in 4 of the next 5 weeks. There should be positive TD regression in Big Ben’s future, as well. He is currently 6th in the NFL in passing yards, but 19th in TDs. With Brown, Bryant, Smith-Schuster, and Bell in tow, those TD numbers should rise with haste. A month ago, rumors were flying of Carson Palmer’s demise, and he currently sits as the QB8 in fantasy. I believe the ever-dramatic Roethlisberger will follow a similar path, starting as early as this week. Find the frustrated Big Ben owner in your league and you should be able to acquire a potential every-week starter for next to nothing. – Hunter Gibbon
Tight End | Buccaneers
- Q. Which tight end leads the NFL in receiving TDs since the start of the 2016 season?
- A. Cameron Brate. Stop laughing…this isn’t a joke.
Cameron Brate has been arguably the least-celebrated difference-maker in fantasy football this season. Like most fantasy coaches, I paid him no mind for several weeks as I awaited the imminent breakout of prized first-round rookie TE O.J. Howard. While that may still happen before the end of the season, it hasn’t yet, and Brate is currently out-targeting Howard by a 3-to-1 ratio. He has at least 4 catches and 1 TD in each of the Bucanneers’ last four games and is now fantasy TE3 despite his team’s Week 1 bye. And because Brate is tied for 3rd (with Zach Ertz) in red zone targets among tight ends, this no longer seems like a fluke. If you can pry Brate away from his current owner because he lacks the name recognition of players like Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker, Hunter Henry, and Kyle Rudolph – each of whom he is outperforming – you should strongly consider doing so. But do your research, and make sure you don’t overpay. – Matt Foreman
Wide Receiver | Saints
Through 5 games, the New Orleans passing attack has not been the dominant and prolific force it has become known for under Drew Brees and Sean Payton. An improved defense and renewed commitment to the running game have been staples of this version of the Saints. While I do believe that the running game and defense are better, I’m not quite ready to ignore a decade of top-3 passing production. Brees and the passing attack are sure to return to producing bountiful fantasy points, and Michael Thomas should be the primary beneficiary.
The Saints are currently 11th in pass attempts per game, which seems pass-heavy enough. However, they have finished top-3 in pass attempts in 9 of the past 10 seasons. Even if they do pass less than past years, history tells us that number should rise towards the top-5. Michael Thomas currently boasts a 24.7% target share. Believe it or not, that is highest target share a WR or TE has ever had in the Drew Brees era. Number one targets in the New Orleans offense typically average around a 20% target share. While 4% may not seem significant, it averages out to 25 more Drew Brees targets than any Saints players has ever had. Thomas’s ceiling is legitimately a top-5 finish. To put the cherry on top, the Saints face a litany of soft pass defenses, including Chicago, Washington, Tampa Bay twice, Atlanta twice, the LA Rams, and the New York Jets. An easy schedule, paired with a historic Drew Brees target share, and a sprinkle of regression to the passing attempts mean, Michael Thomas should finish the year as an elite WR1 option. – Hunter Gibbon[the_ad id=”73965″][the_ad id=”63198″]
Players to Sell
Quarterback | Cardinals
Only Tom Brady has more passing yards than Carson Palmer after six games, and he’s fresh off a 3-TD performance in the Cardinals’ Week 6 win over Tampa Bay. He is fantasy QB8 (standard scoring) on an offense that appears to be trending upward. But Week 6 was Palmer’s first 3-TD game of the season. And if you consider Palmer’s age (37), the recent acquisition of RB Adrian Peterson, and the state of Arizona’s offensive line (he has been sacked 21 times, 2nd-most in the NFL), it would make sense for the Cardinals to skew a bit more towards being a ball-control offense the rest of the way. And the numbers bear this out. In spite of his 3 TDs last week, after having 44 or more pass attempts in four of his first five games, Carson Palmer attempted fewer passes against the Buccaneers than in any other game this season (22). There are owners in your league who may now be without Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck for the rest of the 2017 season, so it’s a great time to sell high on the former #1 overall pick. – Matt Foreman
Running Back | 49ers
It has been a roller coaster ride for Carlos Hyde owners and truthers. There were rumors that Carlos Hyde could be cut or traded in the offseason. That Joe Williams was Kyle Shanahan’s hand-chosen RB destined to replace Carlos Hyde as the 49ers feature back. Hyde quickly shut those rumors down by averaging 17.5 fantasy points per game through the first 4 games, operating as San Francisco’s every-down workhorse.
All was well until the offseason rumors came full circle in the form of Matt Breida inexplicably out-snapping and out-touching Hyde in Week 5. More trade rumors have flown since then, but Hyde responded with a Week 6, 24.5 fantasy point performance. Week 5 was seemingly an anomaly, but count me as one who is scared that this roller coaster ride is not over. The 49ers are 0-6, with no long-term commitment to Carlos Hyde. The trade rumors may have been overblown, but that much smoke does not rise without a fire somewhere. Matt Breida will continue to receive significant work and could easily out touch Hyde on any given week if he gets “the hot hand”. With a rookie QB in tow and positive game script hard to find, a committee is the last thing Hyde’s fantasy value can afford. The aforementioned 24.5 point Week 6 performance was a product of good TD luck, considering that Hyde only had 28 rushing yards. This could be your last chance to sell Hyde under the illusion that he is the 49ers workhorse. I would advise you take it. – Hunter Gibbon
Running Back | Cardinals[the_ad id=”66786″]After being informed of his trade to the Arizona Cardinals, Adrian Peterson said his reaction was, “Thank you, Jesus.” After Week 6, his fantasy owners were probably saying the same thing. In his first game as a Cardinal, “All Day” was overall fantasy RB2, eclipsing his entire four-game rushing total as a Saint with a vintage 134-2 performance. AP is back! He’s going to win you your league! Not so fast, my friends. There were moments in his Cardinals’ debut when AP really did look like his hold self: decisive, explosive, and highly motivated. However, Arizona was up 24-0 at the half and opened the third quarter with another touchdown to make it 31-0. Pounding the rock with their new early-down back was only practical. While I do believe what I wrote above – that the Cardinals want to take some of the pressure off of Carson Palmer – they’re simply not going to be jumping out to huge leads like they did against Tampa Bay very often. They are 3-3, and their first two wins were low-scoring games, decided by 3 points each. I think AP could be a legitimate RB2 the rest of the way, but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect many more 25-point fantasy games. The key is to take advantage of coaches who expect his elite RB1 performance from Week 6 to be the new normal. – Matt Foreman [the_ad id=”69437″]
Tight End | Colts
The case to trade Jack Doyle is simple. Long story short, there is a real possibility that Andrew Luck will not play a single down of NFL football in 2017. To make matters worse, Jack Doyle has been a disaster, particularly in Week 6. He lost a fumble and dropped pass after pass after pass. However, similar to Big Ben, box score watchers can be fooled. Doyle posted 16.1 fantasy points, finishing as the TE5 on the week. Also, he is currently 6th among all TEs in terms of team target share. The only problem is that targets only count if you catch them. Additionally, even though Jacoby Brissett has been impressive, no one will argue that he is a positive for the Colts weapons. Doyle and his situation are making the absolute least of the targets he is receiving. If you drafted Jack Doyle with hopes of him being your every week TE1 once Andrew Luck returned (like I did in a few leagues, unfortunately) there will not be a better time to sell him. Find the owner in your league who merely checks the box scores and sell Doyle if you can get anything of value. I have a strong feeling Doyle will be on almost every waiver wire within a few weeks, so anything in return will be a positive. – Hunter Gibbon[the_ad id=”63633″]
Thanks for Reading!
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.