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. Now on to the interesting stuff:
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 – Well with this being the last time we do this article in 2012 it’ll also be the last time Fitz appears in this spot. As I said I’d keep him here as long as it make sense and of course it still does. There’s not much to say that I haven’t said already. Other than this past week where he put up 8 catches for 111 yards with Brian Hoyer at the helm Fitz is producing like a WR6 and has the talent to be a WR1. That’s a pretty big disparity and something you should take advantage of if you can. Because he had a good game and has the chance to do so again next week the window could be closing sooner than I expected. Make a play now.
Darren McFadden, RB OAK – After a pretty mediocre season for even the injury prone McFadden his price should be lower than it was last offseason. McFadden has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry after averaging more than 5 yards per carry each of the last 2 years. The zone-blocking scheme Oakland has gone to is definitely an issue for McFadden and seems to eliminate much of his effectiveness. Maybe they go away from the scheme or maybe he goes elsewhere (he’s a free agent in 2014). McFadden is a super talented back and only 25 years old so he’ll get back on track at some point. The injury woes will always be an issue but if you can acquire him cheaply and have a backup plan in place it’s a great move in my opinion. Even if you just buy and resell when his value trends back upward it’s a swell idea.
Danny Amendola, WR STL – I’ll start out by saying I’ve never been a big believer in Amendola. He just can’t remain healthy or consistent enough to be able to count on in my book. That said his value should be pretty low right now so I think he’s worth a buy at the right price. Amendola has just one meaningful fantasy game since week 11 and just three decent games since week 5. That’s due to both injuries and ineffectiveness and maybe others are starting to lose patience. The good thing with Amendola is we know he’s a target hog when in the game. Despite missing 5+ games he has 91 targets on the year (good for top 40 among WRs). He’ll rack up catches and yardage slowly but surely when he’s in the game. Since I’m still not his biggest fan my advice would be to buy and resell when his value goes up this offseason or early next year (assuming he produces well). Others (like my malignant co-worker Quinn here at DFW) are more on the bandwagon and would likely encourage keeping him. Either way you should reach out and see what it’d take to acquire Danny Boy.
Brandon Lloyd, WR NEP – Fantasy owners had such high hopes for Mr. Lloyd entering the 2012 season. He finally had an elite QB throwing him the ball and with his elite catching ability seemed destined for greatness. As his owners are all too aware that didn’t quite happen. Still, Lloyd has put up three solid fantasy weeks in a row to close out the season. Lloyd has put had 23 catches for 341 yards and a touchdown during that time frame. These weeks were also pretty high profile since they occurred during the fantasy playoffs. People have likely taken notice. Lloyd is 31 years old and I feel comfortable saying he will NOT be the focal point of the offense now or ever. If you find someone who thinks he’s turned it around then sell for what you can get. You won’t get a lot and it’ll be a fraction of what you likely paid to acquire him but now is the time to get out if you can.
Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN – Please, please, please do yourself a favor and move this guy while he has some value. Moreno has been spectacular filling in for McGahee late this season. No one can argue that point. He has also been a spectacular failure for the other 95% of his career. Some may believe he’s turned the corner but I just don’t see it. He’ll go back to being a RB3 as soon as the team has the personnel to put him back in his place. Get some value, ANY value while you can. You have to do it. In the immortal words of my good friend Dan Heins here at DFW, “Anyone who owns Knowshon and isn’t trying to sell deserves that guy on his team IMO.” Amen to that.
Darren Sproles, RB NOS – Sproles has had a pretty solid 2012 when all is said and done. Sure he missed 3 games due to injury but his 67 catches are the most among RBs. His 588 yards and 6 touchdowns receiving have led him to a top 15 finish in my fantasy leagues, despite having some pretty ugly rushing stats. Still, Sproles will turn the dreaded age of 30 this offseason and while his game is better suited to playing longer than most RBs that age has proven to be more than a number. Add in the fact that Ingram has started getting more involved and Pierre Thomas continues to look solid and I think the end is near for Sproles. He will still likely play a change of pace role for a few more years but I don’t see him producing at this level any longer. Hold or buy at your own peril. Sell and profit.
Ryan Mathews, RB SDC – What a waste of a year this was for Mathews. I was never on his bandwagon but many here at DFW were. Unfortunately, at this point there is nothing you can do with Mathews but hold. He performed far below expectations in a year that he was supposed to emerge as an elite back. 959 yards and 1 touchdown in 12 games isn’t horrific but it’s a far cry from what many expected out of Mathews. Keep him on your roster and try again next year. I would advise moving him if he starts off hot in the preseason or early next year but that decision is up to you (should the situation even occur). Mathews is still only 25 years old but he will get hurt again, that is the only certainty here. You don’t want that happening while he’s on your roster if you can help it. Regardless, you can’t move him now without losing nearly all of the value you put into the young man when you bought/drafted him so hold tight and hope a lot.
Robert Meachem, WR SDC – Some will argue that Meachem isn’t worth a roster spot in all but the deepest leagues. Based on his performance his performance in a year in which he should have emerged (much like Mathews) that may be true. Meachem has just 14 catches for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns on the entire year! Much like his teammate Mathews I was never on the Meachem bandwagon. Still, things are going to change in San Diego this offseason. They signed Meachem to a decent chunk of change (due $5 million next year) so he’ll be there for a while. Denario Alexander is studly but can’t stay healthy. I still think Meachem will get a shot next year to produce at WR3 levels. He’s not fancy but he can potentially be a flex or spot start if he can progress at all. If you don’t hold Meachem you’re basically cutting him because no one will pay for him. I say hold through the offseason and see what the team does. After a wasted year for many San Diego players next year can only get better… right?
Stevan Ridley, RB NEP – After a pretty strong season Ridley’s 2012 has sputtered toward the end. The last two weeks haven’t been great but it’s pretty clear after a full season that he’s the back of choice in New England. Ridley is only 23 years old so if he can hold on to a starting job he could be a very solid RB2/3 for a very long time. He’ll never be elite but many a championship was won with lesser known, more consistent scorers on a fantasy roster. Ridley is exactly that. Don’t move him unless you get a very solid offer. Because of his lack of name recognition and the perception that the New England running game is not a viable fantasy producing position I doubt you will. Keep Ridley on your roster for the long term and be rewarded with a guy who will just produce on a consistent basis. A guy you can count on week in and week out even if he doesn’t get the fantasy start every time. Those are my favorite kind of guys.
Thanks for reading. 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.