By Jeff Melbostad (@Jeff_DFW)
Welcome back to DFW’s own Dynasty Stock Watch in-season article. Each and every week we cover a number of players who fall into the buy, sell and hold categories 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 gives us an idea of what to expect.
Let’s take a look at the players:
Percy Harvin WR SEA – Harvin isn’t generally the type of player teams are looking to acquire in the early goings of the NFL season. Subjected to hip surgery in the beginning of August with a 3-4 month recovery time means teams working in the present see little value in the man. Ahhh but the joys of dynasty leagues means this type of player always has value and that means he should be on your radar at the very least. Percy is still a stud and proved as much during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. As a triple-threat player he produced some very nice stats with the Vikings despite suffering through injuries and horrendous quarterback play. He can be an elite receiver, runner and kick returner making him an extremely valuable asset when healthy. Still, why think of acquiring him now? Well his value is not like to get lower from this point forward since his supposed 2013 return is getting closer every day. Harvin’s rehab is reportedly going very well and since he was put on PUP he is eligible to return in week 7. After the initial surgery and timeline that seems ridiculously optimistic but according to CBS’ Jason La Confora Harvin has “wowed his surgeon” with the recovery he’s making. Now is the time to strike before everyone else begins to take notice. While new faces and current weekly producers are stealing the limelight the price on Harvin should be as low as it’s bound to go. You owe it to yourself to explore what he’d cost your team.
Shane Vereen RB NEP - Just like with Percy Harvin, injuries can sometimes be a strangely good thing for those looking to buy low. I know that sounds horrible but it’s a simple fact and one we all need to take notice of whether we like it or not. Sure, it’s a bit early to sell out on your season and go after a guy who can’t help you this year but it sounds like Vereen (again like Harvin) should be back this year. With the way New England was looking to use him (and did use him in week 1), Vereen could be a great contributor during a title run late in the year. Buy now while people are reeling from the injury news and their loss of a suddenly valuable contributor. Vereen put up 159 total yards and 7 catches in week 1 despite Ridley starting and being the bell cow back before fumbling himself out of the game in the second quarter so he can definitely help your team when healthy. Just make sure you have the depth to be able to hold him while someone else starts for you. He won’t be eligible to return to the field until week 11 after being placed on short-term IR. Luckily, most dynasty leaguers weren’t counting on Vereen to be a starter so he should come somewhat cheaper anyway. Mention Ridley’s fumbling woes and lack of true playmakers in New England and see if you can’t get Vereen at a much more reasonable price than he would’ve been healthy.
David Wilson RB NYG - Yes the offseason hype for Wilson was out of control and yes the post week 1 hate is seemingly running on a similarly crazy track. We know who Wilson is. He’s an extremely talented runner who has a bit of rawness to him that needs to be coached away. The true value of Wilson is somewhere in between the massive hype machine he had going before week 1 and the fear mongering we’re subjected to now with his two fumbles, benching and the signing of Brandon Jacobs. He’ll come around and become a very good NFL running back but patience might be needed in the short term. If you can find someone doubting his talent because of fumbling issues then jump on them. Wilson is going to be a solid producer in this league and dynasty is all about the future.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw IND – It sure didn’t seem like it in week 1 but I’m still convinced Bradshaw is the lead back in Indy. After many thought he’d carry more of the load Bradshaw saw just 7 carries on Sunday to Vick Ballard’s 13 carries. The fact of the matter is that Bradshaw missed loads of time through training camp and preseason with a foot injury so he was doomed to be eased into things. Find the guy in your league that didn’t realize this and is reading too much into Ballard getting more playing time. Bradshaw is a far more talented player than Ballard and is a much better fit for a pass-happy offense like Indianapolis employs. It’s only a matter of time before he seizes the role. Sure it’d be good to have Ballard as a handcuff since Bradshaw seems likely to get hurt every year but when healthy and ready to carry the load he’s a pretty solid RB and a viable starter for your fantasy squad.
Julius Thomas TE DEN - The temptation to hold is strong with this one. Julius Thomas look good on Thursday night. He looked damn good. Thomas caught 5 passes for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. You can’t ask for more than that out of a tight end in this league. Not only that but the infamous Peyton Manning, who threw 7 touchdowns himself in the game, reportedly said that Thomas will maintain a big role going forward for the Broncos. This all sounds well and good but anytime a guy puts up stats this far above his pay grade I have a tendency to sell. Sure it’s possible that Thomas keeps up this torrid pace and becomes the next elite tight end. It’s far more likely, however, that he fades a bit and while still putting up solid more sporadic numbers, the focus for that passing game remains on the ridiculously talented three WRs the Broncos have on their roster. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker will all get theirs. Add in some rushing numbers just to keep defenses honest and even the best of players will find it hard to maintain a presence in this offense. Manning isn’t going to throw for 7 touchdowns every week and he’s the type of QB that will make you look good if you just get open a few times. I like Thomas a lot but I think now is the time to get a very high price for him. If you don’t get offered what you want, which should be what you’d expect out of a TE1, keep him and enjoy the ride.
Jordan Cameron TE CLE - Try as I might I just can’t believe in Cameron. Many here at DFW had high expectations for him and there’s no doubt he lived up in week 1 putting up a whopping 9 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted more than any TE with 13 total targets. Still, with that Cleveland offense still a bit of a question mark and Cameron not being a truly elite talent I have a hard time believing he’ll be consistent on a week to week basis. He’s a great sell because those that believed are 100% sold now. If you’re not that guy then find him in your league and see what he’ll pay for the suddenly prized possession. Again, he should net you TE1 prices so don’t settle for less.
Jared Cook TE STL - ”Why all the tight end sells?!” you may ask. What do you have Tight End Hate or something. Well, in fact, I do. Expecting these types of games every week out of a tight end not named Gronkowski or Graham is a mistake. Cook, like Thomas and Cameron, impressed in week 1 with a sexy 7/141/2 stat line. Surely there are some that are excited about the prospects of these young, talented breakouts but they really are a dime a dozen in my opinion. This week it’s Cameron, Thomas and Cook. Next week it could be Fleener, Rudolph and Eifert. The fact is that you can find these guys at relatively cheap prices all over the place so when you can net a nice profit on the hot hand now you do it and then go get a similar guy for less. That’s the name of the buy low, sell high game.
Anquan Boldin WR SFO - What a fantastic week 1 for the grizzled old veteran WR! Boldin was targeted more times (17) than any other player in the league and looks like a key cog in the San Francisco offense. He caught a ridiculous 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown in the week 1 win over the Packers. That’s enough to turn heads and to single-handedly win owners their fantasy matchups in week 1. Still, before we get too excited let’s remember that Boldin is aging and not likely to consistently put up this kind of performance at this point in his career. At 32 years old Boldin is past his prime and was in a relatively strong passing offense in Baltimore last year where he disappeared at times. Sure Kaepernick is locking onto him and they seem to have good chemistry but it won’t be all roses going forward. In week 2 Boldin will line up against one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Richard Sherman so he likely won’t come close to his week 1 performance. Not that you should judge a player by one week but his value will certainly go down if he slumps after such a divine performance. Since San Fran lacks playmaking pass-catchers other than Vernon Davis he could easily put up better stats than last year (which would make him a solid WR2) but that is his upside and it’s only likely to last this year. Crabtree should bounce back next year and Boldin is in a contract year which could make him expendable in the offseason. Add that he’s missed at least one game due to injury in all but 1 of the past 6 years of his career and I’m ready to sell this guy for as much as I can get.
Peyton Manning QB DEN - Say what?! The immortal Peyton Manning just threw 7 TDs, 462 yards and a sickening 141.1 passer rating! He’s my ticket to a 2013 fantasy bowl championship! Well, that could very well be. If you’re set up for a title run then I can see holding Peyton for certain, but if you’re somewhat less of a favorite then you should find the guy trying to round out his roster for this year and sell now. Manning’s value can’t get higher and in fact will likely get much worse toward the end of the season. The man turns 38 in the offseason and likely has only a couple years left. That’s ideal for short term success maybe but those with a longer outlook (maybe a rebuilding or reloading team) need to get what we can while the getting is good. It should be real good right now. See what your league mates will pay.
Stevan Ridley RB NEP – As is the case with the aforementioned David Wilson, Ridley needs to correct his fumblitis in a hurry. Luckily for him (at least in the short-term) Vereen isn’t going to steal his job just yet due to wrist surgery. With Vereen on short-term IR Ridley has plenty of time to convince us all (Bill Belicheck included) that he’s a bell-cow back and deserving of carrying the load for that Pats. He sure did it for us last year by rushing for 1263 yards and 12 TDs and finishing as the #5 fantasy RB in my favorite league’s scoring system. I’m convinced fumbling issues can be corrected by the coaching staff and New England needs someone they can lean on right now with the multitude of injuries their team is suffering from. I have little doubt Ridley’s value will bounce back in the next few weeks and if you’re set on selling him, then is the time to do it, not now.
Reggie Bush RB DET - The argument that Bush is a sell can definitely be and probably is being made in many fantasy circles. He’s a a 28 year old back nearing the end of his career and has been somewhat underwhelming since entering the league. Sure he had a TON of hype associated with him coming out of college but he has never been an elite rusher in the NFL. Bush has had his fair share of ups (time in Miami as a bell-cow) and downs (time in New Orleans as a bit player) to be certain. Still, I feel he’s truly the PERFECT fit for that Detroit offense. I know it sounds cliched and maybe I’m getting too excited about one game or the purported use of Reggie as an all-around offensive weapon but I really don’t think so. His value is up after a huge week one and his value will go down as he continues to near 30 but I think he’s got two very studly years left in him and I want that on my roster.
James Jones WR GBP - Jones no doubt upset a lot of fantasy owners with a nasty goose egg in week 1. Probably enough so to make some doubt whether they have the right WR in this Green Bay offense. Last season Jones caught a team high 14 touchdowns and convinced us all that he was a legit weapon in that high powered offense. While I can assure you that he’s not the best WR to have in Green Bay, he is worth holding on to because that Packer offense has only just started to get going. There will be plenty of opportunities for Jones and he’s a very good touchdown target as he showed in 2012. Jones is not likely a WR1 or even a WR2 for your squad so if he’s a WR3 or flex play then you can afford to be patient through his ups and downs. Both QB Aaron Rodgers and HC Mike McCarthy recently stated they need to get Jones more opportunities so that’s definitely encouraging. If you give him some time then I believe his ups will outweigh his downs.
Lamar Miller RB MIA - Miller is in a somewhat similar boat to Wilson in terms of expectations and performance. The good thing for Miller and his fantasy owners is that he doesn’t have slippery fingers and he isn’t in the coaches doghouse. His offseason hype was a freight train and against a very tough Browns’ run defense he was destined to underwhelm. No one saw him running for a measly 3 yards I imagine but such is the life of a fantasy owner. Many of us (myself included) had high hopes for Lamar in week 1 and while he underwhelmed he’s still got the talent and potential to be a solid RB2 this year. Indianapolis is up next and their rush defense is much more porous. Let’s see how Miller fares in week 2 before starting to pump the brakes on this hype train. He’s got little competition for carries since Daniel Thomas is just a guy and I think he’ll come around. Miller has been a personal favorite of mine since he was drafted in 2012 and that’s got to count for something right?! ;)
Hold for Dummies – Cordarelle Patterson WR MIN, Giovanni Bernard RB CIN, Tyler Eifert TE CIN - All three of these promising rookies went into week 1 with high expectations only to disappoint us all. They were all likely had at relatively high prices in your rookie drafts, which leaves you feeling pretty down after finally getting a chance to see them play for real. Still, this is a long season and in the case of dynasty a long career. All these guys are talented and will get their opportunities to shine. Patience is the name of the game with these young bucks and while we all know it in the back of our minds it certainly can’t hurt to be reminded of it from time to time. Don’t panic or make any sort of judgement on these guys or their roles after one lousy week. They’ll come around and you’ll profit in the long run by holding true to what you know. The cream eventually rises to the top.
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.