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 or buy low trading opportunities. Your comments, contributions, and criticisms are welcome, both in the comments and in the forums. Let’s do this!

Stock Rising

Josh Gordon CLE | WR

Gordon was suspended the first two weeks of the season, and coming back Week 3 with Brian Hoyer under center, things were looking grim for Gordon. He wasn’t widely started this week, so most people missed out on his 10 catches for 146 yards and a TD on 19 targets. He even added in 22 yards rushing. The general thought is that Cleveland is showcasing his talent to drive up his trade value in what appears to be a lost season already. Which is fine with me – I can’t imagine him being traded to a worse situation than Cleveland in terms of supporting cast and QB play. Although raw, Gordon has the physical tools to be a high end WR2 every week, and all he needs is the aforementioned trade to make this a reality. Hope my Redskins get an offer on the table.
Recommendation: Hold – If they continue showcasing him, you win. If he’s traded to an offensive juggernaut, you win. Don’t sell high just yet.

Knowshon Moreno DEN | RB

All the analysis out there says that Moreno is the man in Denver, which appears to be mostly correct. He blew up for 2 TDs in week 2, and seems to have the trust of Peyton Manning. But anyone who watched MNF can tell you there sure was a ton of Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball sprinkled in, especially after the Broncos were up by a few scores, which is going to happen most weeks. The end result: The RBBC that we all feared was just that in a blowout win. I believe Moreno is going to be used more like he was in week 3 (39 yards rushing) than he was in week 2 (93 yards, 2 TD) going forward. People are still valuing him as the Denver starting RB, so I’m saying now is your chance to sell and make a strong profit.
Recommendation: Sell – Moreno has the least burst of the 3 Denver backs, and if they catch him in pass protection, his value is toast. Sell now while he’s considered a decent RB play.

Michael Vick PHI | QB

Drafters that acquired Vick for his 10th or so round price tag are feeling pretty good today. All he’s done is dominate in the new Chip Kelly offense to the tune of about 30 points per week, making him an undisputed top 5 QB and the clear steal of the draft. He’s like Apple stock when it was in the $600 plus per share range, which is to say astronomically outperforming his averages. Savvy investors will realize this is the time to sell him. More turnovers are coming as teams are starting to figure out how to stop the new offense, and we all know he will definitely be dinged and miss games at some point. Target the worried RG3 / Brady / Kaepernick 0-3 owner in your league with a strong offer.
Recommendation: Sell high – Vick’s value can’t get any higher – I believe regression is coming, and quickly.

Jordan Cameron CLE | TE

You have to hand it to this kid – he’s found a way to live up to all his preseason hype, and more. Through 3 weeks, Cameron is the #2 TE in the fantasy game, trailing only Jimmy Graham. He’s had multiple weeks of over 20 fantasy points and looks to be locked in as an every week TE1 option. As crazy as it sounds, I’m selling him this week, specifically because after a 3 TD, 24-point performance, you can literally ask almost anything in trade for him. Every team has a weakness somewhere, and if you took Cameron and another TE late in drafts, sell him before teams start doubling and bracketing him, forcing Hoyer (who seems to be the starter there now) to look elsewhere.
Recommendation: Sell high – Teams aren’t going to let Cameron destroy them every week – he’s going to face stronger coverage and regress as teams realize the Browns only have 2 legit weapons.

Stock Falling

David Wilson NYG | RB

It’s not been a good start to the 2013 campaign for David Wilson and the Giants. Owners who invested a fifth round pick are probably tearing their hair out. The team is 0-3, and a good part of the blame should fall on Wilson. He’s had a game with 2 fumbles and a subsequent benching, a game where he had 7 total touches for 17 yards, and another where he had 11 touches for 39 yards. Wilson also has yet to catch a pass this year despite his massive run-after-the-catch potential. He’s been brutally putrid. We’ll use all these reasons, of course, to buy super low on Wilson this week. Help his owner solve their RB dilemma by offering up someone like Moreno, Bilal Powell, or a package involving Willis McGahee. Wilson’s value will never be lower. If the Giants have any chance of competing his year, they will have to feed Wilson the ball early and often – they literally do not have anyone else at RB with talent. His breakout game is coming.
Recommendation: Buy low – Wilson is a superior talent with an inferior start to the year. He’s a perfect buy low.

Stevan Ridley NE | RB

Ridley has been just brutal. Through 3 contests, his numbers are as follows: 36 carries for 121 yards (3.36 YPC) with one reception for 8 yards. His stock is so far down, he split touches about equally with LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden this past Sunday in a game the Patriots won handily. I’m not here to tell you that better days are right around the corner – Belichick does whatever he wants with his personnel, and he does not care about us fantasy owners. If a breakout is coming for Ridley, I can’t imagine it will be week 4. I think you’ll just have to trust in his talent, and hold him. Don’t drop him and try not to sell ridiculously low –unless you’re really desperate. You won’t get anything truly useful back in either situation, as Ridley’s value is truly at it’s nadir right now. You can certainly buy him very low if you are so inclined, which isn’t a terrible idea if you’re 3-0 with a few spare parts to move, but for owners, I’m convening a Ridley support group, and we’ll meet at the bar around 5.
Recommendation: Hold – Can you really sell him for anything good right now regardless? Give your second round pick a few more chances to regain his value before cutting bait.

Torrey Smith BAL | WR

Through the first 3 games of the 2013 campaign, Torrey has been solid, but unimpressive. He’s averaged almost exactly 5 catches for 90 yards per game and has yet to score a TD. However, I’m very bullish on him for the rest of the season and think you should be buying him this week. He has 30 targets already, which is tied for 7th among all WR’s. He’s on pace for 1400+ yards and 80+ catches. His yardage totals are showing that he can be a solid every-week option as opposed to his boom-or-bust status of the past. One reason: His route tree has improved immensely, making him no longer just a deep threat. Flacco has noticed, and the touchdowns for Torrey are coming. Offer up a flashier option like Josh Gordon in trade this week and secure yourself a WR2 with WR1 upside for the rest of the season.
Recommendation: Buy – Talented, strong, and fast, Smith has Flacco’s attention. Huge weeks are coming, and soon…perhaps Week 4 against a leaky Bills secondary.

Kansas City D/ST KC | D/ST

I’d almost never throw a D/ST into a stock watch article, but I’m really impressed by this unit and felt like they should be mentioned. The Chiefs are 3-0, and the defense is probably the single key reason why. Through 3 games, they’ve rolled up 14 sacks, recovered 5 fumbles, intercepted 4 passes, scored 2 defensive TD, and allowed an average of under 200 passing yards per game. Everyone always knew that KC had a ton of talent on the defensive side, but it seems like they’re all finally buying into defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme and pulling in the same direction. Despite this, KC D/ST remains criminally un-owned in many leagues. I’m designating them as a Bear only because the buy-in is so low in most leagues…that it’s free. It’s time to change that, especially when you examine their next 6 games: Giants, at Titans, Raiders, Texans, Browns, at Bills. They have four games at Arrowhead, and only one low-end matchup (Texans) in the bunch.
Recommendation: Buy low – Pick this D/ST up off waivers if you can, but if not include the unit as a ‘throw-in’ to complete any deals you’re making this week. The soft upcoming schedule and recent dominance suggest it will be well worth your while.