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. Here are my picks:
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 – You may not like it Larry is staying in this spot until he’s no longer valued WAY lower than he should be. He’s an elite WR in both fantasy and the NFL. As I said last week Fitz is on pace to have his worst season since being a rookie. He has just 5 catches for 65 yards in the last three weeks combined. It’s clear now that he’s not going to help you for the playoff stretch, but use that to your advantage. Many are looking for someone to win now with. While Fitz isn’t in a position to do that right now he will be in the future and for many years to come. Arizona will figure the QB thing out. Even if the situation barely improves Fitz can and will put up top 10 numbers. If your league allows trading now go get him. If not keep him in mind because at this rate he’s sure to still be a buy when trades open back up in a few weeks.
Cecil Shorts, WR JAX – Yes that’s right. If you’ve followed my column this year you’ll notice Shorts has now come full circle. He was clearly in my sell high category when he was starting his breakout back in week 9. A few weeks later I featured him as a hold to see if he could keep up his torrid pace. He has. So now, just a couple weeks later, he’s soundly in my buy category. He’s made a believer out of me. 368 yards and 4 TDs over a 4-week period will do that to you. He’s a young WR on the up and up so the time to land him is now or never. Maybe his production will wane a bit as the season wears down since he has a concussion right now. Making him a great guy to buy low when you can.
Jordy Nelson, WR GBP – Jordy went down due to injury last week, Greg Jennings is back to starting, and Randall Cobb is coming on strong. As if those weren’t enough reasons for Jordy’s value to be low he’s having a pretty terrible second half of the season to boot. Since week 8 he only has 6 catches for 126 yards and a TD. Not quite what we were all expecting. I don’t expect the trend to continue. At least not once he recovers from his most recent injury. Jennings is likely to be gone next year so Jordy will remain a focal point in a heavy hitting offense. He was putting up big stats the first half of this year. I’ll take him on my squad.
Reggie Wayne, WR IND – Now is the time to buy older players like Wayne as people look to next year with their teams. The off-season is a time for hype and youth. Guys want to get shiny new toys and dump old players while they can. Wayne has been spectacular this year (leads the league in targets) and should be for a few more years with Luck throwing him the rock. Luck is already looking like a star and locking on to Wayne. That bodes well for his future. Give someone a draft pick for Wayne. He’ll get his shiny new toy and you’ll get guaranteed production while that toy develops on his bench.
Bryce Brown, RB PHI – I like this guy. I like him a lot. He’s not in the sell category because he’s struggling or because he lacks for anything. He’s a young, talented back who has shown us plenty in his first two starts as a rookie. He’s run for a whopping 347 yards 4 TDs in the past two weeks. Not only that but he passes the eye test with flying colors. The guy looks like a NFL star. Still, you have to move Brown right now if possible. His value is as high as it’ll likely be for a while. Regardless of how good he is he isn’t passing Shady McCoy on the depth chart. I firmly believe that. So barring injury you have at best a Ben Tate situation here. If you have patience and depth that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you can get a piece that will help you now for a piece that may help you a couple years down the road it’s a done deal.
Vick Ballard, RB IND – Get what you can for this guy while he’s starting. Ballard is just not that talented and because of it could be replaced at any time. Over the past six weeks he’s averaged just 52 yards and has only 1 touchdown. And speaking of the eye test… Ballard definitely doesn’t pass from where I sit. That said he’s likely to get more carries going forward with Donald Brown banged up. That can only help his market value. So gauge the interest in your league. There’s always a market for starting NFL RBs so if you find someone who’s interested make a deal now or a tentative one for when the trade deadline ends.
Jamaal Charles, RB KCC – As much as I love Charles and love watching him play he’s a frustrating player to own (I own him in a few leagues). He’s super talented and dynamic as hell. Unfortunately, I just can’t help but doubt he’ll ever be utilized enough to be a consistent producer. It’s been the same story now with multiple coaching staffs and varying competition for carries. He’s a great flex play because of his big games but he doesn’t come at those prices. He demands RB1 value and if you can get that for him I’m beginning to think you should. I haven’t waned on his value before but it’s becoming clear now that he may never be the consistent producer we all crave. If you can get a good price for him (which is probable in my opinion) then I say move him in favor of help elsewhere or a more reliable (albeit less dynamic) back.
Joe Flacco, QB BAL – Flacco is who we thought he was. He’s doing the same thing he always does. He is consistently average. This makes him a great backup fantasy QB. Reliable as they come for a fill in or spot starter. He’s on pace to break a personal record and throw for over 4000 yards this year. If you can find a guy in your league that still thinks he’s got starter potential after a career year then sell him to that guy. If not you could do a whole lot worse as your QB2 in fantasy. Either way it’s worth exploring the market for Flacco especially if he finishes strong. He’s an impending free agent should be talked about plenty in the off-season. That makes good press for trading fodder.
Denarius Moore, WR OAK – Moore has had a very weak showing over the course of this season and especially in the past three weeks. He has just 4 catches over that time span and has developed a severe case of the dropsies. It’s become so bad that coach Dennis Allen benched Moore last week. This situation is not what buyers and supporters of Moore had in mind going into the season. Still, I happen to think he’s a pretty talented guy and for sure the best WR the Raiders have to offer. He’s only 23 years old and while his situation sucks right now it should improve. His value is too low to move him so don’t cheat yourself and move a young talent when he’s sucking. I also wouldn’t necessarily buy Moore right now because he and the Raiders need to figure things out before he’ll be a consistent producer. A definite hold.
Eric Decker, WR DEN – Decker has been very quiet the past four weeks or so. He’s averaging just 2.5 catches and almost 30 yards during that time. Still, Let’s not forget that he’s still got Manning throwing to him. I think he’ll be fine in the future. If his little slump lowers his value enough to make him a buy then, by all means, make a play. I don’t see that happening though because the hype surrounding Manning is pretty loud. We all know he makes WRs and Decker is a prime candidate. As such you won’t get a cheap buy but because of his recent struggles won’t get a lot in return.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL – Finally Dez is showing us how good he is and how good he can be. He’ll be a stud for a good long while. He just needs to keep his head on straight and ironically I think his success will help him do that. He seems to be the type of guy that thrives on competition and when he’s killing it he stays focused. There’s risk in that he’ll lose said focus if he starts to struggle but his fantastic performances the past few weeks make it a minor worry. Don’t sell Dez. Those of you who stuck with him through the ups and downs are finally being rewarded. I know there will be lots of buyers but he’s a 24-year-old phenom who will be a cornerstone of your dynasty franchise for years to come.
Jeremy Maclin, WR PHI – Maclin has been killing fantasy teams this year. Struggling through terrible stats, terrible QB play, and various injuries Maclin is on pace to put up the worst season of his career. He’s not even a WR3 in my fantasy leagues this year. Still, there’s some reason for optimism. Maclin is oung and very good, Philly just has a LOT of issues to sort out. This isn’t a good year to use as a gauge of Maclin’s value. Still, that’s what many buyers will be looking to do. Don’t cave to their petty logic. Keep the man and wait for he and the eagles team to return to form.
Hold for Quinn – Jimmy Graham, TE NOS – Quinnie the Pooh frequently needs help with obvious holds. This one is for him. There is no sugar coating it, Graham has been lackluster the past couple of weeks. He’s had just 4 catches and under 60 yards in each of those weeks. Brees hasn’t looked his way as much since he’s seen only 6 targets in each of the last three weeks (and Brees has thrown PLENTY of passes during that time). But for Quinn’s sake guys Jimmy is still really, really good. The guy is the best TE in the league (no disrespect to Gronk). He’ll get his regardless. Stay the course.
Done deal. 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.