This column is a bit different than your weekly waiver wire piece. Here we’ll examine widely owned fantasy football players who have trended up and down dramatically so far this season, with the goal of identifying sell high/buy low trading opportunities. Your comments, contributions, and criticisms are welcome, both in the comments and in the forums. Let’s do this!
In week 8, I played a good friend who had half his team on bye. I laughed when I saw the guys he plugged in, including one Marvin Jones. The rest is history as I then proceeded to lose not just the week, but also my dignity and pride, mostly thanks to Jones’ ridiculous 36 point outburst. He’s had a hell of a run since week 6 (16, 11, 36, 6 fantasy points) and looks to be locked in as the WR2 in Cincy. Notably, the 6 should have been more, as he had a long TD called back by a penalty. Use the down week in Miami to grab Jones if you can.
Recommendation: Buy – A.J. Green attracts the best cornerbacks, leaving Jones to run free. He’s got good matchups the rest of the year and makes for a strong buy if the price isn’t too crazy.
With Rashard Mendenhall ailing / terrible at football, the Cardinals finally unleashed the explosive Ellington in week 8. The result: 154 yards rushing and a TD on only 15 carries. That’s 10+ yards per carry. He’s not going to do that every week, but if the Cardinals have any kind of brain they’ll use Ellington like the Patriots planned to use Vereen this year – 10-15 carries and 5-7 passes per game. Ellington makes a strong buy in any format coming off the bye week, and I rank him as a RB2 with room to grow for the rest of the season. The Cardinals still have yet to play the following teams: STL, PHI, TEN, HOU, JAC. I’m feeling a nice end-of-season run coming for Ellington.
Recommendation: Buy – If you need a RB, this is probably the most affordable option you can grab that has gigantic upside.
Week 9 makes 3 of the last 4 weeks that Sanders has posted highly useful WR3 lines (13, 0, 16, 9). If you’ve held him all this time hoping for a renaissance, you’ve got it. Now it’s time to sell. Sanders has a tough rest-of-season schedule, and isn’t big or fast enough to consistently torch opposing #2 cornerbacks. Add in the inconsistency of Big Ben and the Steelers offense this year, and you’re probably not comfortable starting this guy in any given week. Package him with a RB2 to get a WR or RB upgrade.
Recommendation: Sell – Pittsburgh plays CLE twice, BAL, CIN, MIA, and GB. Use the last couple of strong weeks to get what you can, while you can. His next 0 is forthcoming.
I was really high on Tate as a money value pick coming into this year, so I own him in quite a few leagues. I finally traded him in most of those leagues this week, and I’m advising you to do the same. After putting up 21 points in week 8, he followed that up with a 2-point job in week 9. Unfortunately, in that offense, that’s the kind of WR he is – inconsistent, and matchup dependent. If / when Harvin gets back, Tate’s role becomes even more cloudy. Finally, out of 9 weeks played this year, Tate has exceeded 10 fantasy points three times. How can you plug him in and ever feel great about it? Let’s sell him now and improve our teams while we can.
Recommendation: Sell – Use the 21 point showing to move him to a team that is needy in the WR department. I really don’t care what you get back, as long as it’s someone more consistent than Golden Taint.
Kaepernick has looked much more like the version (of himself) we were expecting these last couple weeks. If you drafted him as your starting QB, you probably picked up another QB like Phillip Rivers while Kap was struggling and are now wondering what to do with both. I’m suggesting you sell Kaepernick. Here’s why: he just got done shredding the stout defenses of Jacksonville and Tennessee. Somehow I’m not impressed. He still has a pile of matchups against teams with highly legit pass defenses (ARI, SEA, CAR, NO, TB) and with the injury to Aaron Rodgers, you may have a small window to sell to a QB needy team.
Recommendation: Sell – This isn’t the year Kap leads you to the promised land. He’s going to continue to be inconsistent and underutilized, and I just can’t trust him on a week-to-week basis.
It pains me to mention a mere kicker here, but Folk is really rolling. Specifically, he’s made 23 of 23 field goal attempts this year, including 11 moneyballs from 40-49 yards out. Add in his extra points, and he’s the highest scoring kicker this side of Gostkowski. The Jets are playing conservative offense with their rookie QB and strong defense, and it seems highly likely that Folk will continue to post double-digit weeks with regularity. He’s on a bye this week, so he’ll be ripe for the picking next week in most leagues. If you’re rostering an inconsistent kicker, throw him to the wolves and bring in Folk. Your win column will thank you later.
Recommendation: Buy – You probably won’t even have to pay anything. Just drop your current trash kicker and plug in Folk.
My lord, if you own Colston this year, I truly feel for you. When he’s played, he’s been useless, and this past week he didn’t even play. He has done almost every possible thing to tank his trade value. If you still can, point to his consistent history of production and the fact he plays on the high-powered Saints with an all-world QB. He’s on the wrong side of 30, has clearly lost a step, and isn’t healthy. I don’t think that Colston makes a fantasy impact down the stretch in 2013. Abandon ship!
Recommendation: Sell – Package him with a RB2 and try to sell to a team that needs depth. He’s a low-level lottery ticket stash this point, and not much more.
Yep, we’re gonna do it. I simply feel that I must review the underachieving Saints this week. Whereas Colston has been injured and ineffective, Sproles simply hasn’t been used like he has in the past. His receiving and rushing touch numbers aren’t way off his career averages, however. The difference is that the Saints aren’t giving him the ball in the red zone – those targets are all going to Jimmy Graham, who has outscored Sproles and running mate Pierre Thomas by a wide margin. Sproles’ schedule down the stretch doesn’t really get any easier either. Sproles left Sunday’s game with a concussion, so you can’t really move him this week. Just get it in your mind that if he has a big game this Sunday, you’ll move him quickly thereafter.
Recommendation: Sell – You’ll be selling pretty low, so wait for a strong week from Sproles if you can. If not, I certainly can’t hold it against you for cutting bait. He just doesn’t really seem to be a part of the Saints offense this year.
He was supposedly targeting week 7. Then it was for sure he’d be back week 8. And, he’d definitely be back in week 9. Except…not. Seattle is clearly cooking with gas without Harvin, so there’s absolutely no reason to rush him back, especially after he underwent a ‘setback’ that is ‘common with this type of injury’. Whatever that means in medical jargon, I think it means that Harvin’s value as a stash is getting lower and lower. I’d rather be stashing Andre Brown or Shane Vereen. Harvin is going to need a couple weeks to be re-integrated into the Seahawks offense, and who’s to say injury-prone Harvin doesn’t get hurt again? I just don’t think it’s worth the headache. Someone else in your league will though, and that why I’m advising you to sell him this week. Perhaps you can get Marvin Jones?
Recommendation: Sell – Use his name recognition to strike a deal this week. I think Harvin is much more likely to make an impact in the real-world playoffs than the fantasy playoffs.
Randle shapes up to be an excellent buy this week. The Giants are coming off a bye, and the prior week Randle crushed owners who started him, earning 0 fantasy points in a cake matchup against the Eagles. However, prior to that performance, he posted 21 and 13 points, respectively. The Giants next three games are against OAK, GB, and DAL – hardly imposing passing matchups, especially for a WR3 as talented as Randle who will attract favorable coverages. Get your buy-low gloves on and throw some offers around.
Recommendation: Buy – Randle is the future for the Giants with Nicks being in a contract year. They’re certain to feature him a ton in much more competitive matchups down the stretch.
Larry Fitz has definitely not delivered the mail for fantasy owners this year. I recommended him as a comeback player this year and a great buy, and I have to apologize – I truly underestimated how terrible Carson Palmer could be. I believe that his value has truly hit its nadir however, as owners that have been disappointed this entire year have just had to sit through the Cardinals bye week. The time to strike is now, and here’s why: The Cardinals rest-of-season schedule includes cakewalks against JAC, STL, PHI, and IND in 4 of the Cards next 6 games. Even in the tougher matchups, there should be plenty of garbage time scoring. See if you can pick up Larry Fitz at a WR3 price this week.
Recommendation: Buy – Owners of Larry Fitz have to be way down on him, and you should be able to use this to negotiate a bargain bin price. And he just might dominate down the stretch.
With the way the season started for Cruz, I never thought I would be including him in this section of the column. But, nevertheless, Cruz is a wonderful buy low this week. As we noted earlier, the Giants have a very favorable schedule down the stretch for passing purposes. They’re trying to make a playoff push in the terrible NFC East. And there’s just no way that Eli Manning can continue to be as bad against the poor pass defenses on the upcoming schedule…right? Cruz has been under 10 fantasy points four weeks running now. Coming off their bye, look for the G-men to get Cruz back on track in a big way.
Recommendation: Buy – Use his recent lack of production to buy him low. The Cruz missile is primed to explode in the second half.