By Jeff Melbostad
Welcome back to DFW’s own Buy Low, Sell High, Hold Steady article. Each and every week we cover a number of players who fall into each category based on current values, performance, and player trends. Player values are of the utmost importance to the fantasy football community. Striking on a player when his value is low or high makes all of the difference in the world. These concepts are especially true in dynasty leagues where player values stretch out over a much longer period of time. So while we’ll focus on some immediate news and production remember that in dynasty we can’t overreact. One game (or even a few games) a career does not make, but it does definitely give us an idea of what to expect.
Before we get started I’d like to take a moment and pray to the “almighty” Quinn who writes our Thursday article here at DFW and is slowly building a cult-like following:
Dear holy and omniscient Quinn. How dost thou achieve status in the Quinnian order? Many applications have I sent but nary an acceptance have I received. Please show me the path to righteousness. I thank you, oh holy Quinn, for featuring me in your crappy article each week. I realize now that it is merely a tool to mock and belittle me. I understand too that this seemingly unnecessary disparaging is done only to make me a better person. Please just accept me as your pupil. Even if you are an evil and malevolent deity I think I could learn much from you. Answer me this time or I WILL quit you. Amen.
Alrighty then… now on to the good stuff:
Cam Newton, QB CAR – Let’s just say that we all came into this year with unrealistic expectations for Cam Newton. After a year as epic as the rookie had last year he was doomed to regress a bit. I don’t think any of us saw him dropping out of the top 10 at QB (where he currently sits) but that’s where we are. Let’s remember that Cam has as few weapons as just about any QB in the league. If Carolina can surround him with more talent and a better coaching staff he will return to form. Maybe 2010 was still a career year but he can be a top 5 quarterback in this league. I don’t think he costs all that much right now since owners and those seeking to trade for a QB have moved on to shinier new toys in Luck and RG3. Make a play and see if his price has lowered with his expectations. You may be surprised at what you can acquire your new franchise QB for.
Beanie Wells, RB ARI – Wells is returning this week after a temporary trip to IR. The guy is a human health hazard and is always dinged but he’s a starting RB in this league. He gets his job back immediately and should get the bulk of the carries. At this point in the season that can be solid gold for some teams looking at a playoff push. Pick him up at bargain basement prices before he has a chance to flash the talent that he has on field again. Don’t pay too much because he’s bound to get dinged again but he should be a solid flex play from here on out. If that’s what your team needs then I think Wells could fill the slot at an affordable rate.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI – Arizona’s quarterback situation is absolutely abysmal. It is affecting Fitz’s value in a big way. Yet he’s still performing as a WR2 in fantasy points in PPR leagues. That is his absolute floor (barring injury). I’ve never seen so many people giving up on one of the truly elite fantasy players of his generation. I understand that situation factors in (especially with playoff time approaching) but his value is a fraction of what it should be right now. You owe it to yourself to feel the Fitz owner in your league out. If they’re as down on him as I’m seeing some are then you can get a very very good deal on a guy that will put up elite stats. He’ll do it whether they solve their QB situation or not. He’s done it with crappy QB’s before and he’ll do it again. Plus I really think Arizona HAS to do something to improve the situation. When they do Fitz’s value will skyrocket back to normal levels. Now is the time you have to buy. It’s the perfect buy low situation. I’ve never seen one more clear. Do so and you won’t regret it. I promise.
Antonio Brown, WR PIT – Brown is a guy that anyone looking to buy low right now should be targeting. He’s missed two games in a row due to injury. The two games before that he had 6 catches for 57 yards combined. Earlier in the season Brown was looking like a potential WR1 in fantasy but in this “what have you done for me lately” game there are bound to be some that have forgotten about that. Brown is young and will be a stalwart of that Pittsburgh team for some time to come. As a result his price will not be cheap. But it may be cheaper than it was. It may be that he’s affordable and if that’s the case then you make a move. He should be returning soon and will immediately be a fantasy starter when he does. Check it out in your league and see if there’s a deal there to be made.
La’Rod Stephens-Howling, RB ARI – This kid put up 127 yards and a touchdown last week, which makes my sell pick a little more controversial. Some would argue that this was just the opportunity that LSH needed and the team would be foolish not to keep giving him the rock. That’s a reasonable take but I truly believe LSH is a mediocre talent and although he has filled in admirably with the other backs injured I just don’t see him having long term value. We’re talking dynasty here so long term value is everything unless he’s going to win you games right now. That’s simply not going to happen with Beanie coming back and regaining his starting role this week. La’Rod will probably still play a 3rd down and passing role but his carries will diminish to the point of him being useless as a fantasy starter. I recognize those that believe he can be a starter and the Beanie haters abound for a reason but this is a guy I’m confident in selling while I can get something for him. By mid next year his 15 minutes of fame will have passed and no one will be considering him a sellable product at all.
James Starks, RB GBP – Starks is, as of now, the starting RB in Green Bay. After receiving the bulk of the carries the past two weeks Starks has only been able to muster just over 3 yards per carry. It’s clear that he’s not a starting caliber back. Add in the fact that Benson could still return late this year and his future value is diminished as well. If you can get something for Starks from a RB needy playoff team right now then you have to do so. He likely won’t garner much but I really think almost anything is worth moving him at this point. Let some other owner worry about his value in this muddled and underused backfield.
Marcel Reece, RB OAK – I’ve believed in Marcel for a while now and thought he was the true handcuff to McFadden. I was nearly alone in that belief and his emergence proves that even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again. Reece has had some great games filling in for McFadden so far and is always fun to watch. Who doesn’t like to see a big FB as nimble and talented as Reece putting up big stats? Still let’s be real, he’s behind McFadden on the depth chart no matter what he does. He’s earned a role on the team when DMC comes back but it will be a small share because of McFadden’s elite talent and athleticism. I’m convinced that Reece is now the clear handcuff for McFadden owners so if that isn’t you find that owner and see what they’ll pay. Netting a decent draft pick, older starter, or young player with potential for a handcuff is always a good idea. Exploit their need for him (since DMC missed time due to injury every single year) and make a nice profit.
Tony Gonzalez, TE ATL – As we’ve said year after year this could finally be Gonzalez’s last so in dynasty it’s tempting to sell. It’s not often that an owner feels comfortable riding a player into the ground and getting nothing in return. With Gonzo the risk of that is there every year. It’s been there for a number of years now. Still, he can win you a championship. He’s that good. He’s playing out of his mind this year and is currently ranked behind only Gronkowski in fantasy points and only Witten in targets. Being tops in both of those categories means big things for fantasy owners especially as we near the playoffs. Hold him and get your championship. Every once in a while riding someone into the ground is the right thing to do.
Cecil Shorts, WR JAX – I’m changing my tune on Cecil a bit after seeing more of him. In week 9 after he went off I listed him as a definite sell. His solid play has been just as impressive since then and he’s starting to convince me he can become a reliable WR3. The last two weeks he’s gone for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 catches. I still don’t necessarily think Shorts will be special but he’s nothing to sneeze at as a third wideout on your squad or flex play each week. I want to keep seeing more so I’ll hold and see if he keeps it up. I still believe that if you can get a real nice deal for Shorts you move him but at his going rate I actually want hold and see what he can do long term. The upside is there and the team keeps using him. Maybe a change at QB is just what he needed.
Justin Blackmon – I was always a believer in Blackmon as the best WR in his class. A potential career day will get many excited and may draw offers. As such, the potential to sell high is there. Don’t give into temptation. This is just the first in a long list of great games for Blackmon. He just needed a reasonably decent QB. Decent is all Henne is and Blackmon went off for 236 yards and a touchdown so imagine if Jacksonville can get a true gunslinger. You hold a player as young and as good as Blackmon because he can do a lot for your fantasy team in the future. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing.
Hold for Quinn – Matt Ryan, QB ATL – What in the world happened to Matt Ryan?! He had 3 interceptions in the first quarter last week and 5 interceptions total. Not what we’d all hope for and expect out of our coveted QB1. He didn’t look good for certain and his team barely won the game, in part, because of it. Still, unless you’re as brain damaged as fellow writer Harley Quinn you hold Ryan and are sure of the fact that he’s an elite option going forward and always. Even the best of QB’s have bad games now and then. This was one of his. Despite the bad showing he still threw for 301 yards and he should be due for a big game this week against the worst passing defense in the league. So settle down Quinny… the world will be alright again soon enough.
And that’s it. These are just a few guys that, in my opinion, you should be looking at this week and deciding what to do with them. Whether you have them on your roster or are thinking about acquiring someone the buy low and sell high philosophy is a powerful one. And one you should always look to take advantage of.
Obviously the final decision on these players (and others) is up to you. If you have thoughts on these guys or opinions that differ I’d love to hear them. Hit us up in the DFW forums or post a comment and I’ll respond in kind. Differing opinions is what makes fantasy football fun after all.