NFL Buy Low/Sell High - Week 6
Fantasy Football is a crazy game. In order to be successful over the course of a fantasy football season, it is critical that managers can objectively evaluate how their players are performing and make decisions on whether you should cut them loose or keep them for another week. In fantasy, there’s a phenomenon known as ‘Draft Bias’ where managers will feel more attached to the players they drafted and have a hard time parting ways with them mid-season. There’s no room for heart in fantasy football! In order to have a championship season, fantasy football managers need to be able to identify players who are being undervalued and complete trades or utilize the waiver wire to get them. This new article series will be discussing all of those decisions and recommending players at each position to buy low or sell high.
Updated editions of this series will come out every few weeks to keep track of who is best to get your hands on (or get them off your hands) in order to win in Week 16. Let’s get it started!
QB: Matt Ryan
Generally, any quarterback listed in these articles will be a buy/sell/hold for Superflex or two Quarterback leagues. Most of my followers are fairly recent, so most wouldn’t know, but I always have, and always will be a late-round Quarterback drafter. The reasoning behind this can be explained potentially down the line, but for now, Matt Ryan! Listen, yes, he’s been a liability for the past few weeks, but things are changing in Atlanta, and I think this might be the lowest point of Matt Ryan’s season in which you can buy low on him. Ryan is currently the QB19 on the season, however, in the two matchups where he played a soft defense (vs SEA, at DAL) he posted QB1 numbers. In the following three matchups, he played more difficult matchups (as far as DEF vs. QB metrics are concerned) and put up a combined ~31 fantasy points in three games. Obviously, that’s not what you’re looking for, but in those games, his top options at receiver were also limited - if not completely out of the game. One thing is for certain, Ryan most definitely will not finish as the QB19 on the season, so if you can buy him at around that value, I think that’s easy to pay off.
RB: Kenyan Drake
I know what you’re thinking: Kenyan Drake, really? Yes really. Drake is currently the RB32 in PPR scoring, and while that’s obviously worrisome, do we really think he’s going to end the year as the RB32? These are his opportunity counts in the last five games: 18, 22, 19, 13, 19. Compare that to Alvin Kamara’s (the current RB1) opportunities over five games: 20, 21, 20, 23, 21. Drake’s snap counts aren’t falling drastically either, so the assumption that Chase Edmonds is stealing the job from Drake is not valid. If you can find someone who is frustrated with Drake and will take low-end RB2 value, I’d pull the trigger immediately. Drake’s upcoming schedule is very soft with the next five games being: at DAL, vs. SEA, vs. MIA, vs. BUF, at SEA. In points allowed, those teams currently rank 32nd, 20th, 13th, and 23rd, respectively. As far as fantasy points allowed to the RB they rank 19th, 9th, 28th, and 16th, respectively. Buy low on Kenyan Drake before he out-performs his current ranking of RB32.
WR: Marvin Jones
This feels almost too low of a “buy low” because Jones may very well be sitting on your waiver wire right now. Jones is currently the WR79 in PPR so far this season but was drafted around the WR32-36 range. The Lions are a bad team, but that works in favor of fantasy wide receivers as the game script is always in their favor. Thus far, the Lions wide receivers have gone up against the 31st, 27th, 28th, and 14th ranked matchups for fantasy. Through their next five matchups, they’ll see the 9th, 6th, 21st, 4th, and 29th best matchups available. Detroit has also already had their bye week, so you’d be getting a player with an additional game available than most players currently. If you can snag Jones for someone like Sammy Watkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Corey Davis, or someone similar, I’d be happy with that.
TE: Zach Ertz
Ertz, who was drafted as the TE3 or TE4, has currently posted startable tight end numbers just one time in week 3 versus the Bengals. Three of the last five matchups for the Eagles, in general, have been difficult matchups with at PIT, at SF, and vs. LAR.
The opportunities are still there for Ertz, however, as he has 35 targets which is tied for fourth-most among all tight ends. Ertz’ situation is too good to finish as the TE15 in PPR (where he currently sits) as the Eagles have a depleted receiving core which is constantly injured, and they still get to play the Cowboys twice, the Giants twice, Seattle, and New Orleans, which are all solid matchups for tight ends. The only tight ends I would rather have over Ertz currently are Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, Waller, J. Smith, and that’s it, so if you can give up any tight end other than those listed for Ertz, that would be a solid value.
RB: Darrell Henderson
The issue with Henderson isn’t necessarily his fantasy performance thus far, but more so the situation he’s in and the variance in his scores. Henderson is currently a high-end RB2 in half-PPR scoring, and I think there are plenty of players in that range that I’d rather have over him going forward. Henderson is the “hot hand” right now, but what happens if he underperforms this week at SF? Will Akers become more involved as the season progresses? Henderson has yet to have a snap count greater than 50% in any game so far this season and is somehow on pace for 13 touchdowns. In terms of expected touchdowns (yards per TD average), Henderson is scoring a TD for every 88 scrimmage yards he gains. That is nearly half the amount of yards compared to what the league average was last year. Henderson has also benefited from playing against the 32nd, 24th, 23rd, 22nd, and 19th placed teams in points allowed. His next five games are against teams that rank 14th, 8th, 13th, 20th, and 12th in points allowed. I would be selling high on Henderson now before he has a few disappointing performances. The following players are currently ranked worse than Henderson in PPR points who I’d rather have over him: Kenyan Drake, James Conner, David Johnson, and Raheem Mostert.
WR: CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb has been impressive to start the 2020 season, but we have to consider the competition that he has faced to be objective in our judgments of players. Here’s a comparison between CeeDee’s points compared to the team’s ranking in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers; 10.9 (1st), 17.50 (27th), 11.60 (32nd), 25.2 (30th), 20.4 (26th). Lamb gets Arizona and Washington next who are both top-five against wide receivers in fantasy points allowed, not to mention he’s also playing with a new quarterback and is in his rookie season. Lamb is currently the WR11 in PPR so if you can land Allen Robinson, Terry McLaurin, Cooper Kupp, or DJ Moore, I’d consider that a win.
TE: Jimmy Graham
In his eleventh season, Jimmy Graham is currently the TE6 in half-PPR and standard-scoring formats, largely due to his touchdowns. Graham already has more touchdowns in five games with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles than he did in sixteen games with Aaron Rodgers. Last year, a tight end scored a touchdown per every 131 receiving yards they gained. This year, Graham is scoring a touchdown for every 42 receiving yards. Graham is on pace for a 13 touchdown season, which would be his second-highest total since his career-high of 16 in 2013 with New Orleans. Graham has over-produced through five games and is sure to have some touchdown regression as far as his pace goes, but we also have to consider that nearly half of his current fantasy point total came from one game against the second-worst team at defending tight ends, the Falcons. I’m not saying Graham won’t be a solid option in some weeks, but I am saying there are a few tight ends I’d rather have if you could sell high on Graham. Some examples are Henry, Ertz, or any other WR2/RB2.