Written by Josh Haymond @JPesoFF
Buy, sell, and hold analyses can set apart the top dynasty owners from the average ones. But little can be gathered from the analysis without consideration of price. At what cost should I buy? At what cost should I sell?
A “buy” and a “hold” is essentially one in the same – if you don’t own the player, you should be trying to acquire him, and if you do own the player, don’t let him go at the market rate – either way, you want him on your roster. “Sell” is a category by itself – if you don’t own the player, you are running for the hills.
Now on to the goods.
David Wilson, RB, NYG, 5’9’’, 205 lb., 6/15/1991
After two brutal fumbles in week 1, Wilson got the start in week 2 but failed to get anything going, taking his 7 carries for just 17 yards. Through two games, Wilson has rushed 14 times for a mere 36 yards and no touchdowns, and further has failed to tally a catch. While true that the Giants offensive line has been woeful, Wilson must make more out of his touches. Like many young running backs, Wilson struggles in pass protection and protecting the football. But at just 22 years old, Wilson has the running ability like few in the NFL. Neither Brandon Jacobs nor Da’Rel Scott can keep a head-strong Wilson on the pine; it’s only a matter of time before the young back gets his game together. Luckily for dynasty owners, there’s one last chance to buy.
Conclusion – HOLD/BUY up to RB5
Stevan Ridley, RB, NEP, 5’11’’, 220 lb., 1/27/1989
A week one injury to Shane Vereen has afforded dynasty owners one more chance to sell Stevan Ridley at “starting running back” value. Ridley should get the bulk of the carries until Vereen’s return, but that won’t necessarily equate to numbers you want in your starting lineup. His lack of involvement in the passing game at this stage in his career does not bode well for his fantasy upside. Through two weeks, Ridley has rushed 25 times for 86 yards with no touchdowns and no receptions. He’s one fumble away from being relegated to the bench (aside: a player like David Wilson will have a longer leash due to his level of talent than Ridley). The upside doesn’t justify the cost, or the opportunity cost to sell at his market value. Rid yourself of Ridley.
Conclusion – SELL at RB20-25
Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI, 6’3’’, 216 lb., 2/14/1990
After catching 5 passes for 42 yards on 8 targets in week 1, Jeffery was held to one catch for 11 yards in the Bears’ week 2 win over the Vikings. As the season wears on, Jeffery and Jay Cutler’s relationship will develop, and in turn, Jeffery will do more with his 6.5 targets per game. With Brandon Marshall drawing double teams and Martellus Bennett a viable red zone threat, Jeffery will be single covered each and every week. Weekly consistency may be shaky, but there will be plenty of opportunities for Jeffery to show off his impressive skill set in Chicago’s vertical offense. Jeffery’s big pop will come in 2014, but now is the time to buy before his owners get a taste of his upside. He has just scratched the surface.
Conclusion – HOLD/BUY up to WR15
Eric Decker, WR, DEN, 6’3’’, 218 lb., 3/15/1987
Eric Decker returned from drop-laden week 1 debacle with a solid week 2, snatching 9 passes for 87 yards in Denver’s win over the Giants. Decker was widely regarded as a top 20 dynasty receiver before the season began – too high for a player with his risk profile. Now with Wes Welker in town and the emergence of the Julius Thomas, Decker’s week-to-week scoring will be a questionable bet. Sure, Peyton Manning will keep Decker relevant, but leverage this week 2 performance to sell out in to a more elite long-term option. You may have to swallow a short-term scoring decrease to do so, but better to sell Decker a year early rather than a year late. Even now, you may only find 2-3 owners in your league willing to buy him at his perceived market value.
Conclusion – SELL at WR20
Cam Newton, QB, CAR, 6’5’’, 245 lb., 5/11/1989
Through two weeks, Cam Newton has completed just 37 of 61 passes for 354 yards and a 3:1 TD:INT ratio. Newton has added 53 yards rushing. The numbers don’t paint the whole picture. While Newton has missed some throws, his “weapons” have done little to assist him. Unfortunately for Newton, his arm strength is being wasted – his downfield weapons leave much to be desired. Greg Olsen has left big plays on the field thus far and Steve Smith isn’t the field stretcher he once was. This year could be a maddening one for Cam’s owners, but it will force the Panthers to get him a big-time weapon in the off-season (not the first time we’ve said this). Still, Cam is a fantasy bear and will undoubtedly turn the corner.
Conclusion – HOLD/BUY up to QB3
Philip Rivers, QB, SD, 6’5’’, 228 lb., 12/8/1981
Through two games, Philip Rivers has amassed top 5 numbers, totaling a whopping 614 yards and 7 touchdowns on 50 completions (76 attempts). Let’s not get too excited here. With many quarterbacks struggling through the first two weeks of the season, Rivers’ owners may be in a position to sell the fool’s gold at max value. More than likely, Rivers is a QB2/3 on dynasty teams and wasn’t a costly acquisition this off-season. Rivers is not a player you should “play keep away” from other owners – expect his numbers to come back down to earth, likely as someone is starting him against you. Target 2nd round picks of teams in dire straits at QB, preferably a 2nd that looks to be 2.1-2.6.
Conclusion – SELL at QB20
Julius Thomas, TE, DEN, 6’5’’, 250 lb., 6/27/1988
After erupting in week 1 with 7 grabs for 110 yards and 2 TDs, Julius Thomas was again heavily involved in week 2’s game plan, totaling 6 catches for 47 yards and a TD. It took a while for Thomas to put it together, but Thomas owners are now in for a fun ride. More often than not, owners will be scared to pay the price necessary to justify selling Thomas. Though there will undoubtedly be bouts of inconsistency in JT’s production, his weekly upside makes that inconsistency worth swallowing. It is unlikely that the Broncos will bring back both Wes Welker and Eric Decker next year – we may not see Thomas’ ceiling realized until 2014 – a frightening thought.
Conclusion – HOLD/BUY up to TE5
Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN, 6’6”, 258 lb., 11/9/1989
Kyle Rudolph will see an increase in value with a new quarterback in 2014, but in the near term remains a very shaky bet for fantasy production behind the arm of Christian Ponder. With 10 targets through two games, Rudolph has secured 5 catches for 69 yards, adding 1 TD. With the tight-end landscape as deep as it is, dynasty owners in need of a short-term starter option should deal Rudolph for an upgrade at the position. Owners with Rudolph as their TE2 would be wise to test the market, but are in better shape to hold Rudolph for his future upside. At just 23 years old, he has yet to reach his potential, making him an interesting stash for rebuild squads.
Conclusion – SELL at TE7; HOLD/BUY at TE14