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. And 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 we go:
Jason Witten, TE DAL – Is this guy still injured or rusty? Did his hands suddenly turn into stone? I don’t think so. But with only 76 yards in 3 games he certainly is disappointing fantasy owners so far. He’s been targeted 21 times and only has 8 catches and seems to have a mild case of the dropsies. That said, the entire Dallas offense seems to be up and down this year (probably more down than anything). I get the feeling that many are willing to give up on Witten at least until he shows us something. So strike while the iron is hot for a discount.
Antonio Gates, TE SDC – It’s the week of the aging tight end in this week’s buy lows. Both of these guys are still top talents despite having fairly horrid stats thus far. Neither should be given up on so easily as this. Gates has been dinged up in some way, shape, or form for a few years now but he still produces when he plays. Make a play for him and slot him in as your starting TE going forward. Someone who is worried about his perpetual inability to stay healthy for 16 games is likely willing to give you a deal.
David Wilson, RB NYG – Wilson fumbles in week one and is placed squarely in the doghouse. Something called Andre Brown goes off in week two and three. Ahmad Bradshaw is returning from injury this week. All of this adds up to Wilson being the odd man out. The perfect time to strike on a guy who will emerge at some point. Wilson appeared in last week’s column as a hold but the aforementioned reasons have moved him into the buy category for me. I still believe he’s the most talented back on the roster. Maybe he doesn’t get his shot this year, but it will happen. Buy while his value is down and stash him until he gets his opportunity.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA – Many are looking at Daniel Thomas to pick up the slack if Reggie Bush misses time. Thomas should get more carries no doubt but I’m more excited about Lamar’s prospects. Miller has been a favorite of mine in college and coming into the pros. If Miller gets a chance to shine because of this I really think he will. Maybe this buy is a little late to the party but it’s definitely worth an ask. See what the Miller owner says.
Andre Brown, RB NYG – A big time game from a no name player. Sounds like a perfect sell to me. Three touchdowns and 184 yards in two weeks is enough to get anyone’s attention. But Bradshaw comes back this week and while Brown may spell him more than usual, there is still the aforementioned David Wilson to contend with. If Wilson is able to work his way out of the doghouse Brown could easily become the RB3 on that team. Get some value for him while you can.
Ramses Barden, WR NYG – Maybe Barden did enough to become the WR3 in NYG. Maybe. But even so there’s plenty of talent ahead of and behind him. I was as high on Reuben Randle as anyone coming out and I see him emerging as a playmaker at some point. Even if Barden becomes the WR3 with Nicks and Cruz ahead of him it’ll be tough to rely on him with any kind of consistency. Chances are he’ll probably just fade back into obscurity. Sell while he’s worth something, anything.
Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ – Santonio had a very good game in week three catching 9 balls for 147 yards. He’s the #1 WR in NYJ and has 33 targets in 2012, tying him for 6th out of all WRs in targets. So why in the world am I telling you to sell him? Well, he’s a head case for one. A locker room cancer with a bonehead factor that’s off the charts. Add to that mix a bad QB in Sanchez who may be replaced with Tim Tebow (god forbid) at some point and I see a recipe for disaster down the road this season. Get out while he’s on top of his game. That is if anyone is willing to buy what he’s putting out so far.
Joe Flacco, QB BAL – Flacco has looked like a bone-a-fide QB1 thus far in 2012. He’s thrown for 912 yards and 6 TDs through just three games. That’s an average of 300 yards and 2 touchdowns a game which is good enough to make him a top 7-8 QB in all of my leagues! Certainly not what we were expecting out of “Average Joe Flacco” (as fellow DFW cohort Dan Heins likes to call him). While this is an unexpected surprise for fantasy owners (especially those holding underperformers like Rodgers and Romo) there’s reason to believe the bubble will burst. Through four NFL seasons Flacco has had plenty of time to show us his true colors. And his true colors appear to be a very average fantasy QB. Is it possible that he took a big step forward and has emerged as a top tier QB in this league? Sure… but I’m not betting on it. Sell this guy to someone who is. Or someone who is enamoured by the statistics. In a six weeks you’ll be plenty happy you did.
Brian Hartline, WR MIA – Many people targeted him on the waiver wire last week. So when Hartline was held to no catches, doubtless many will be ready to give up on him just as quickly. But wait just a minute. He had 8 targets (which is a very respectable number) and Revis Island isn’t kind to anyone. Targets are a key stat for WRs and Hartline has 29 so far in 2012. That’s top 15 out of all WRs so far. Based on that I’m willing to give Hartline a pass this week. There is little competition at WR on this team and he seems to be a favorite of Tannehill. The guy isn’t a top tier talent but on that team he doesn’t have to be. He’s capable of running solid routes and being a target hog. And that’s all you need out of a productive fantasy receiver.
Mike Vick, QB PHI – Vick is back again in the hold steady column. The guy has twelve, yes TWELVE, turnovers in just three games so far. Things have gotten so bad fans and writers alike are speculating on a possible benching. But I still think you hold this guy. Am I just a biased believer? I don’t think so. Vick is an ultra talented player. Despite his “awful” start he’s racked up solid yardage totals and four total touchdowns. His performance thus far is still good enough to make him a middling QB2 in most leagues. Is that what those drafting him had in mind? Absolutely not. But this is his floor. And you never sell a guy at his floor in value. Anyone who puts up QB2 numbers as his floor is going to stay on my roster for a good long while. I suggest he stay on your roster to. Things will get better.
Coby Fleener, TE IND – No catches and two targets in week three made for a miserable day. But don’t panic so soon. Rookies will have their ups and downs. Fleener is a talented receiver and has shown he can put up points already in his short NFL career. He’s still a matchup nightmare and a favorite target of Luck. Many will bring up the “emergence” of fellow rookie tight end Dwayne Allen in week three but Fleener is the go to guy in the passing game. He’ll produce low end TE1 numbers but you may have to stomach performances like this from time to time as he develops as a rookie in the NFL.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL – There is no doubt Dez is struggling right now, but he’s a top talent. If he can stay focused he’ll do big things. He’s still valued highly by many but I’d argue not as highly as he should be. His 20 targets thus far aren’t what we’d expect but the Dallas passing game has struggled as a whole. Once they find their identity all bets are off. Hold and his production will improve.
Another week is in the books. 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.