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. Let’s have at it:
Note: For the next few weeks (playoff time!) I know many of your leagues have trade deadlines that are already past. I’ll still be referring to my categories as buy low, sell high, and hold steady for those with no trade deadline. For those that can’t trade you can think of my categorizations as value down, value up, and value holding steady. It still gives you a good idea where the player value is at and who to target via waivers or once trades open back up. Remember that, as always, we’re dynasty focused here at DFW. These can still be used for redraft leagues but, especially at this time of year, I’m focusing on the future and the dynasty concept.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI – I said it before (last week in fact) and I’ll say it again. Fitzgerald’s value has never, ever been lower. You need to make a play for this guy. The situation will change. It has to. Buy an elite player for the future and you’ll be rewarded every time. I understand the many qualms people have in acquiring Fitz right now. He’s aging and will be 30 by the time the season starts next year. He’s got terrible QBs with a bad offensive line (always a bad combination) and no apparent end in sight. He’s looking like he’ll have his worst statistical season since his rookie year. These are all negatives you can use to acquire Fitz for less than he’s worth in my humble opinion. None of the reasons will stick around long term.
Vernon Davis, TE SFO – Davis isn’t having a very good season by any measure. He has just 35 catches for less than 500 yards and 5 TDs. He’s really only had 3 good fantasy games out of 11 thus far. Not only that but Vernon’s true colors are starting to come out again. A few weeks ago he was whining about how the 9ers and QB Alex Smith were utilizing him. Then last week after a 0 catch performance he complains that Alex Smith should be the QB over Kaepernick. As soon as the chips are down Davis’ diva qualities emerge. All of this combined leads to down value for Vernon. Time to buy. He’s a top 5 TE and a physical freak more so than any other TE in the league. His future is still bright even if his current production isn’t.
Matt Forte, RB CHI – Forte is another player who is a top tier talent but has tortured fantasy owners with pitiful stats. He’s had a very poor past 3 weeks, averaging just 50 total yards with no TDs, and then suffered an injury in the Vikings game. It sounds like he may have lucked out with the injury and could return as soon as this week. But owners haven’t lucked out with Forte in their lineups much this year. His season may be over so this is a play for next year but he’s a talented back who will remain a focal point for this offense when healthy. Pick him up on a discount while he’s dinged and next year you’ll have a every week fantasy starter.
David Wilson, RB NYG – Andre Brown going down means that Wilson should finally get some more carries. Oh and don’t forget he’s an awesomely talented young back who just needs to get his shot. I really think that Wilson will impress at some point and become an every week starter in both the NFL and fantasy football. I’m not convinced the additional carries he receives now will vault him to stardom just yet. Bradshaw is still a pretty talented starter in his own right. I do think that he’ll eventually prevail though and if he shows flashes now his price tag will only go up. Buy him before that happens. He’s still probably fairly expensive since dynasty owners invested a high pick in him but if you can get him at a reasonable discount then you need to. I love this guy’s talent and with Bradshaw constantly getting dinged, Brown out of the picture, and the Giants being a traditionally good running team I like his situation fairly well too.
Steven Jackson, RB STL – Sjax has put together a pretty nice last few weeks for fantasy owners. He’s had 120+ yards and 20+ carries in 2 out of the last 3 games. He’s finally starting to outplay rookie Daryl Richardson and is relegating him to a change of pace role. Maybe this is what the Rams had in mind for their aging RB. Keep him fresh during the first half of the season and ride him hard down the stretch. Either way now is the time to sell Jackson to a playoff contender. He’s playing his best football right when it counts and some RB needy team is bound to take notice. If you can get anything worth getting then you move him because in the offseason he becomes a 30 year old back and we all know how that goes for RBs in the NFL.
Andre Johnson, WR HOU – There can be no question that Andre has returned to his elite form. So why move him now? Well, if you’re in the playoff picture you don’t. You can’t. There’s not a WR playing better than him the last couple weeks. 23 catches for 461 yards and a TD in just two weeks is one ridiculous stat line! Still, that’s the reason you move him if you’re out of the playoffs or looking at the future. He’s capable of keeping up this pace long term but he’s also capable of getting injured or disappearing in this offense like he did earlier this season. Add in the fact that he’s 31 and it’s definitely time to get value for AJ while you can. In dynasty leagues people tend to avoid older WRs like the plague so the market will close quickly. Move him now.
Danario Alexander, WR SDC – Get what you can for DX (I guess that’s what people, or at least Quinn, are calling him) while you can. The guy is a big, strong, fast WR. The perfect model of an NFL stud. Too bad he can’t stay healthy. I’d pass him off while people are excited about his production and his future prospects. Alexander has been on fire for the last few games averaging just over 100 yards and 5 catches over the last 3 games. He should be a solid WR2/3 option for the playoffs as long as he stays healthy. But therein lies the rub. Let someone else worry about those bad knees and get some value now.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB NYG – What the hell you say?! His handcuff went down with a broken leg and he’ll be a stud who’s receiving all of the carries going forward. Not so fast. His value is high because of this. David Wilson will get carries because of this. I’m convinced both of these things are bad for Bradshaw’s value both short and long term. Wilson is a stud in waiting and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out and secures the starting role. Likewise, with Bradshaw’s value as high as it is now there’s no place to go but down. He has a tendency to get nicked and there couldn’t be a worse time of year to be injury prone. I’m selling and I’d advise you to do the same. I really think you’ll be happy you did when all is said and done.
Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN – What a roller coaster this week was for both Hillman and his fantasy owners. Starting in place of McGahee and getting the chance he’s been waiting for sounded almost too good to be true. Well it was. The team decided at the last minute to play No-Show Moreno instead. Never fear though, Hillman is still very talented he just needs to work on his pass protection. That’s not an uncommon thing for rookie RBs so I’m not too worried. He’s the RB of the future in Denver. Because of the hype his value is too high to buy and because of his talent you can’t sell. Keep him and wait it out. McGahee is 31 and on his last legs and Knowshon is only a threat in an alternate universe. Hillman will be the guy.
Dwayne Bowe, WR KCC – The horrific QB situation has many owners unhappy with Bowe right now but like I said with Fitzgerald in Arizona situations will change. It’s been a pretty disappointing season stat-wise despite a pretty solid start. Still, Bowe is a talented guy and unlike Fitzgerald will most likely be going to a different team next year since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. I say roll the dice and hope it’ll be a better spot (which I suppose should be a given since Brady Quinn won’t be throwing him the ball). It’ll be tough to rely on Bowe as long as Quinn is throwing to him so you can’t count on him down the stretch. He’s still worth a hold because of his future prospects though. Don’t panic and move him while the chips are down.
Mike Wallace, WR PIT – The latest team depth chart has Wallace being “demoted” as sharing the WR2 duties on the team with Emmanuel Sanders. It kind of goes without saying that’s not a good thing. Wallace has only had 8 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown over the past three weeks. Again, not a good thing but let’s face it, much of the blame for this poor performance can be laid at the feet of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch. There’s only so much a WR can do. Even a WR with the talent that Wallace has. Once Big Ben comes back all will be well again in Pittsburgh. Right now Tomlin is sending a message to Wallace and the rest of the team. While fantasy owners can’t ignore the message either they should ride it out because it’s nothing to worry about long-term. Wallace will be fine and so will your fantasy team if you hold him through this rough patch.
Hold for Quinn – Randall Cobb, WR GBP – Yes Greg Jennings is returning. No he won’t be in Green Bay long-term. Cobb is the WR to own in Green Bay. Everyone, including coaches and players, is aware of the fact. Don’t give him up thinking he’ll get lost in the deep WR shuffle this team has. He’s a playmaker and a focal point of the offense. He will remain both for a long time and that’s a pretty damn good offense to be a focal point of. Finley and Jennings may leave this offseason and it’ll be the Rodgers to Randall Cobb show. Don’t be the guy who traded him away when that happens.
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.