Our Week 5 fantasy football stock watch features several widely owned players who have trended up and down dramatically so far this season, with the goal of identifying sell high/buy low trading opportunities heading into Week 5 of the NFL season. Your comments, contributions, and criticisms are welcome, both in the comments and in the forums. Let’s do this!

Stock Rising

Andrew Luck IND | QB

Luck has truly taken his game to another level in 2014. He’s scored over 110 fantasy points in the first four weeks, which is more than 20 more than the next closest QB. He’s the leading scorer not only for QBs, but overall. The Colts have gone to a much more pass-happy offense this year, and I can’t see him slowing down with the mediocrity of their running game. He’s taken the leap to stud.
Recommendation: Hold – He just might end up as the #1 overall player for 2014

Le’Veon Bell PIT | RB

Bell has been one of the most consistent RBs so far this year, and as a result his stock is way, way up. He’s averaged 14.5 points per week, and owners who drafted him in the 3rd round are feeling mighty fine about their profits. I don’t blame you, but if I owned Bell anywhere, I’d be trying to sell high for a kings ransom. He’s performing at an unsustainable pace, and the Steelers banged up defense is going to contribute to some slow games for him as the season goes along. Also, he still has the following games on the docket: CIN, @ CIN, @ NYJ, HOU, BAL, KC, @ CLE. I think he’s a monstrous sell high right now, and I think you can get it.
Recommendation: Sell – He wasn’t anywhere near this explosive last year, and I don’t trust him or the Steelers run game. Sell while the iron is hot.

Ahmad Bradshaw IND | RB

Bradshaw has looked reborn in the Colts offense, operating mainly as the goal-line, change of pace, and passing down back. He’s mostly split carries with ineffective Trent Richardson, but when the Colts are looking to score, Bradshaw’s the man in the backfield. He’s 4th among RBs in points so far, and its fair to say if he stays healthy he could finish there. It’s a big “If” – Bradshaw has chronic issues with both feet, and the way he runs (angry) he’s going to get hurt sooner or later. I’m hoping for later, but history suggests sooner.
Recommendation: Sell – He won’t last all year, they’re mixing T-Rich in more and more, and he’ll never be more valuable. Use his standing among RBs after 4 weeks to move him for an upgrade

Eddie Royal SD | WR

Royal exploded during Weeks 3 and 4, scoring 4 TDs on less than 150 total yards receiving. If you were ballsy enough to start him both weeks, my hat is off to you. For everyone else, you probably grabbed him afterwards. He’s done this before: Randomly showed up in time to cobble together a few monster games, and then disappeared for the remainder of the season. Not only do I not buy his performances, I’d be shocked if he scores another 4 TD this season. I’d sell him while he’s hot to anyone that’s buying.
Recommendation: Sell – If you have a deal that’s close, don’t be afraid to sweeten it with Royal to get your opponent to hit accept. I think the chances are pretty high that he’ll be a drop within a few weeks.

DeAndre Hopkins HOU | WR

Last year Hopkins looked like a raw athlete, without polish, who had the makings of a stud. The caterpillar has morphed in the butterfly. Hopkins has been terrorizing opposing defensive backs through the first 4 weeks, either scoring or going over 100 yards in all games to date. People don’t believe in him fully just yet, but to me he looks like a younger version of his teammate, Andre Johnson. DBs around the league have a long season ahead of them – he’s only going to get better.
Recommendation: Buy – Use his lack of name recognition to acquire him as the ‘add in guy’ in a trade. He’s an every week starter already with potential for a ton more.

Larry Donnell NYG | TE

Despite the struggles of Eli Manning, and despite being drafted in almost zero leagues, Donnell has made quite a name for himself at the quarter pole. He’s 5th overall in TE points, less than a single point behind third round pick Julius Thomas, and less than 10 behind leader Martellus Bennett. He’s been a monster in the red zone, a force over the middle, and has managed to stay uninjured. The Giants offense has warmed in recent weeks, and I’m expecting more of the same. If you were lucky enough to have grabbed him, I’d hold – his upcoming schedule features Atlanta, Philly, and Dallas, none of which can play a lick of defense.
Recommendation: Hold – If you’re going to sell, at least wait out the next few weeks to let his value increase even further. His schedule is very favorable.

Stock Falling

Tom Brady NE | QB

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Patriots look like a hot mess this season on offense, and seemingly Brady can’t save them any longer. Maybe he’s in decline, or maybe he just doesn’t have the weapons anymore, or maybe a little of both. Regardless, he’s barely a QB2 right now, and he’s got less fantasy points than Derek Carr through 4 weeks. This is going to get worse before its gets better.
Recommendation: Drop – Despite the brand name and track record, Brady isn’t worth owning in 10 and 12 team leagues at the moment. There are just too many other productive waiver wire QBs.

Eddie Lacy GB | RB

Coming into 2014, industry pundits all agreed: In a dynamic Packers offense, it looked like Fat Eddie was going to eat, and eat well. Instead, he’s dying of starvation through 4 weeks. He’s scored just 25 fantasy points through 4 weeks, and more concerning is his 3.0 yards per carry average. I think better days are ahead though: Green Bay’s offense has looked out of sync several times early, he has yet to rack up 20+ carries, and the Packers are playing a couple of teams in the next few weeks (MIN, MIA, NO) that they should be able to get up big on and run to kill the clock.
Recommendation: Buy low – I absolutely still believe in the talent, the situation, and the offense.

LeSean McCoy PHI | RB

McCoy is another back taken inside the top 5 that has been a massive disappointment. He’s lost valuable running and screen work to Darren Sproles, been swallowed up by penetration due to poor blocking, and posted a very un-McCoy-like 3.9 fantasy points over his last 2 games. I don’t buy this early-season slump – the Philly offense is too fast paced, and they play too many bad defenses in the NFC East for it to continue. I’d buy right now while I could.
Recommendation: Buy – He’s Shady McCoy for gods sake. If you can buy him at anything less than full value, do so immediately.

Toby Gerhart JAX | RB

I can’t believe I drafted this bum in one of my leagues. It’s simply flabbergasting that I was that desperate that I took the plunge. Gerhart has been so bad I cant really describe it. I think the phrase “relative non-factor” pretty much covers his performance so far. The Jags can’t defense, pass block, or run block. He’s already splitting carries with Denard Robinson, a converted quarterback. If I could sell Gerhart in a package deal, I would do it. I can’t because I’ve already dropped him.
Recommendation: Sell – He’s only worth a speculative roster spot in deeper league, or if you’re really that desperate. He just isn’t a special player.

Marques Colston NO | WR

Colston has gone from WR2/3 to borderline useless in a month. He’s totaled 22.5 fantasy points, a figure that Antonio Brown and Jordy Nelson blew by in a single game. The Saints offense has been a mess, but even inside of said mess, Colston has been a forgotten man. He’s yet to top 10 fantasy points, and he’s even had a week of 0.00, totally killing owners that started him. The only good news here is that he has 23 targets through 4 games, with 10 of them coming last week. He matches up against Tampa Bay this week, the team allowing the most points to WR. Hopefully he has a good game here, and then you can sell him for something useful. I think he’s lost more than a step, and is an every-week liability in your starting lineup.
Recommendation: Sell – I truly believe that his days of being a stud WR, or even a solid WR2, are pretty much over. I’d rather have more explosive guys like Rueben Randle and Terrance Williams.

Vincent Jackson TB | WR

We can sum up the struggles of VJax and the Tampa offense thusly: He has scored 2 touchdowns, and yet somehow he has yet to score over 9.5 fantasy points in any game. Josh McCown was terrible as the Bucs starting QB, and while I wouldn’t wish injury on anyone, it was an act of mercy for the Tampa offense that he left week 3 with a thumb injury. The vast difference between McCown and Glennon was incredibly easy to see. Jackson only caught 4 balls in Week 4, but he was targeted 10 times. His chemistry with Glennon is only going to get better, especially because they’ve worked together before. I think he’s one of the best buy-lows in all of fantasy football at the moment.
Recommendation: Buy low – Especially if the VJax owner in your league is off to a tough start. I’d rate Jackson at worst a WR3 for the rest of the year, and with a competent QB, he has WR1 potential.