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. It’s go time:
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 told you for the past few weeks he was going to stay here and so he does. His value keeps dropping and dropping. I didn’t think it could get worse for Fitz until he had 1 catch for 2 yards last week. Ouch! Because of it, though, he’ll remain a good buy the rest of the season and soundly into the offseason. As soon as the Cards sign or draft a remotely competent QB in the offseason his price should rebound a bit. I like making a play for him as soon as you’re able. In most dynasty leagues that means right after the season.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL – A bit of a no brainer buy but sometimes that’s what we all need right? Bryant broke his finger this week and will possibly miss the rest of the year. If your league allows trading during the playoffs then someone is likely looking or a replacement WR1/2. If not, the fact that he isn’t producing the last three games of the year will make his stats look worse. There always seems to be something going on in Dez world so some owners may get that much more frustrated with him. Send some feelers out when you can. He won’t come cheap since it seems like he’s finally emerged going for at least 1 touchdown in each of the past five weeks. Still, it’s always good to gauge potential trades when the chips are down on a player. If trades don’t open for a few more weeks at least Dez hasn’t gone on a tear between now and then. Don’t forget about him like some other owners will. Keep him on your radar and make a play.
CJ Spiller, RB BUF – Spiller may be a tough buy but his value is skyrocketing right now. Fred Jackson gone for the year (and likely for good) means Spiller finally gets the focus he and fantasy owners have been asking for. Even on limited carries Spiller has put up very good yardage and averages a whopping 6.6 yards per carry. Imagine what he can do if he gets 20-25 carries per game! He’ll be a RB2 going forward at worst. He has elite talent. If you can buy him now he’ll be worth more next season. Keep at the Spiller owner. He won’t come cheap but the price you pay will be worth it.
Tony Gonzalez, TE ATL – This pick may surprise more than a few of you. Why on earth would I suggest you buy a guy who could retire at any moment? Well, as I stated with my Reggie Wayne pick last week there’s no better time to buy “old” guys you think have plenty left in the tank. Sure Gonzo could retire after the year but I wouldn’t count on it. He’s playing at an elite level and unless Atlanta wins it all and he rides out into the sunset I think he’ll return. You could (and probably will) gamble on much worse odds. If he stays he’s your TE1 or a possible flex option. If not you likely didn’t have to give up much to get him. Many are too scared to let a guy retire on their roster to take that chance. Don’t be scared.
Frank Gore, RB SFO – I usually don’t like selling guys who are producing consistently but if there was ever a time to check out of the “old man” RB sweepstakes now is that time. Gore’s value will likely only go downhill from here on out. Despite putting up solid stats all year long and having his promising young backup go down to injury Gore is a guy most dynasty leaguers won’t touch. He’ll turn 30 years old very early in the offseason and that’s pretty much the death knell for any fantasy runner. If you can find a buyer who will give you something then you make the deal. I think he may have one year left but unless you’re one flex player away Gore probably won’t win it for you next year. I wish running backs could play well into their 30’s like WRs and TEs but history doesn’t lie. Gore’s end is very near.
Greg Olsen, TE CAR – I’ve never been a believer in Olsen and it’ll take a lot more than a couple touchdown-scoring games in a row or a handful of viable fantasy games on the year to make me change my mind. I know many others do believe in his talent and think he just needed to be utilized correctly. If one of those owners is in your league then feel him out. Maybe he’ll give you a decent piece for Olsen. He’s still young and talented. Just never lived up and I find it hard to believe he ever will on a consistent basis. Olsen is on pace to have the best statistical season of his career but I don’t believe he’ll ever reach that elite category. Unfortunately for Olsen, at the TE position just solid players are a dime a dozen so that’s just not good enough.
Steve Smith, WR CAR – Smith has had two very good games after a relatively mediocre season so far. He posted 5/120/1 and 7/109 stat lines respectively. That’s peaking at the right time with most league’s fantasy playoffs in full swing. Still, Smith is getting old and as an undersized, speed-reliant player that’s not a good thing. You can’t coach height and if his speed goes with age he’s just another undersized route runner. Move him for what you can get. In leagues that still allow trading there are owners looking to secure a final piece for the championship run. Heading into the offseason there are guys who are looking to make a run with vets next year. Take advantage and move Smith for a younger player or pick. Get out while the getting’s still relatively good.
Robert Griffin III, QB WAS – This pick is bound to be met with some criticism but I think it’s a smart play regardless. RG3’s value is SOOOO high right now. The recent injury may squelch it a little but I don’t really think so. He’s a fantastic player and as dynamic a QB as we’ve seen in the NFL. Dynasty leaguers are often enamored with youth and the new shiny toy and RG3 fits the bill. He’s 22 years old and in his rookie year has 24 total touchdowns, almost 3000 yards, and a mere 4 interceptions through 14 weeks. You should be able to get a king’s fortune for the young stud. As evidenced by his latest injury he takes countless nasty hits. It’s just his playing style. He’s bound to get injured periodically if he keeps on that path. See if you can’t nab another older elite QB like Brady, Manning, Brees and something else for him or get a solid young stud at a different, less replaceable position.
Vernon Davis, TE SFO – There’s really just one word to describe Vernon’s play since week 6 of this year. Horrible. Since that time he’s had only ONE viable fantasy producing game. He’s only got 38 catches on the season people! Is it because of the changing QB situation? Maybe defenses are focusing on him? The team’s offensive game plan doesn’t feature him? I really don’t care. Great players can overcome all of those things. If not necessarily in every single game at least more often than not. I believe he’ll do so eventually but this is getting tiresome. You can’t sell now since he’s been so horrible and for that same reason most aren’t selling. Keep him on your roster and make a go of it net year. There’s no doubt he’s among the most talented at his position. I know… you’re getting sick of waiting. Well, so am I. We’ll hold together and pray to the almighty Quinn for brighter days ahead. Then let’s agree when his talent shines and his value returns to normal levels, ok?
Brandon Marshall, WR CHI – You can’t sell a guy performing on the level that Marshall is right now. You’ll get a king’s ransom but it’s still not worth it. He may be the best fantasy WR in football right now. Marshall is a target hog who catches absolutely everything and a physical beast capable of beating out any defensive back at any time. That’s a guy I want on my fantasy squad. He and Cutler picked up right where they left off in Denver. He’s already over 100 catches and has 9 touchdowns with no signs of a slowdown. This situation is a match made in heaven so strap on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride for years to come.
Pierre Garcon, WR WAS – This kid is a player. He and RG3 will be a force for a while if their recent play is any indication. Garcon has had 80+ yards and a touchdown in each of the last three games since returning from injury. Don’t move him now because I think as long as he can remain healthy (which I guess is easier said than done) he’ll be a mainstay in this Redskin offense for a long time. Garcon is a dynamic playmaker and by far the best receiving option the Redskins have. That means plenty of opportunity and as a result plenty of stats for fantasy owners.
Any Saints Player – This year is has got to be a pass for the Saints offense. Bounty Gate killed the coaching and team makeup beyond repair. They’ve held it together some but this team has as talented an offense as we’ve seen. Don’t worry, panic and move any of the playmakers on this roster. Next year they’ll start fresh and return to form. I don’t think you’ll get good value or do yourself any favors moving them after such an off year. These guys are must holds in all respects.
That’s all for me thanks. 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.