Featured Pros: Buy Low, Sell High
It happens every year: Some players underperform while others overachieve relative to expectations. The only thing you can do at the start of each season is stockpile as many of the overachievers as possible, while avoiding the dreaded busts.
Now that we’re nearing the mid-way point of the season (a horrifying thought, I know), we thought it would be worthwhile to ask this week’s Featured Pros which of these groups of players make the best trade bait. It’s a classic game of “sell high” on the overachievers (for max value) and “buy low” on the underachievers to capitalize on their eventual breakouts.
Before we get to the advice, here are our Featured Pros this week. You can click on each expert’s name to follow them on Twitter.
Buy Low/Sell High Summary
Below is a summary table of the responses we received from the experts. You can read on to get their reasoning behind each pick. Note that in the case of Ryan Mathews, he shows up in the “Buy Low” and “Sell High” category depending upon the expert. In many ways, that makes him a classic trade target since it often takes varying opinions of a player to get a deal done.
|R. Mathews (SD)||C. Johnson (TEN)||V. Cruz (NYG)||M. Manningham (NYG)|
|R. Mathews (SD)||F. Jones (DAL)||G. Jennings/J. Nelson (GB)||M. Williams (TB)|
|A. Bradshaw (NYG)||R. Mathews (SD)||P. Burress (NYJ)||V. Jackson (SD)|
|D. Murray (DAL)||J. Stewart (CAR)||J. Nelson (GB)||B. Lloyd (STL)|
|R. Torain (WAS)||P. Hillis (CLE)||P. Burress (NYJ)||V. Jackson (SD)|
|A. Bradshaw (NYG)||S. Greene (NYJ)||C. Johnson (DET)||R. White (ATL)|
Q & A
Q1: Name one RB you would “sell high” on and tell us why.
Ryan Mathews (SD): I am typically not a “sell high” guy since I draft players that I like and am not typically eager to get rid of them when they perform well. That said, if I found myself with Ryan Mathews on my roster, I think I’d try to find a taker. He had another injury scare against the Jets, but is only two weeks removed from his 125-yard outburst against the Broncos. I am just not convinced he’s durable enough to carry the load for the Chargers, and his playoff schedule (Ravens in Week 15 and Lions in Week 16) is pretty tough. Plus, Mike Tolbert is vulturing goal line carries.
Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports
Ryan Mathews (SD): A bunch of solid choices were actually injured in Week 7, so they’re probably off the board now. I’m definitely willing to flip Ryan Mathews, if I can get a haul worthy of a top-10 running back. Mathews dealt with injuries every year at Fresno State, and that issue has clearly followed him to the next level. It’s a constant worry with this player. If you own him, you probably drafted him somewhere in Rounds 3-5, so you’ve already turned a profit. This is a reasonable time to cash out.
*Bonus name* I might be willing to sell low on Peyton Hillis. He has the nagging hamstring injury, the nagging presence of Montario Hardesty, and a frightening end-of-season schedule. For whatever reason, the Browns have all four of their games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh stacked up at the end of the year, in Weeks 13-17.
Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG): Bradshaw had the “perfect storm” last time out. Brandon Jacobs (knee) was sidelined, the Giants were playing the Bills and he got spoon-fed three 1-yard touchdown plunges. It will be his best game all year.
DeMarco Murray (DAL): After running right past the Rams and entering the record books to the tune of 252 yards, the RB will be a must have commodity amongst owners. The problem with Murray is that he took advantage of gaping holes in the terrible Rams’ defense and will have Felix Jones in a RBBC when he returns. If I could sell him for a top WR or other position of need I would.
Ryan Torain (WAS): He has looked terrible. Terrible. Even given opportunities against Philly (best matchup for opposing RBs) and Carolina (3rd best matchup for opposing RBs) he has failed to produce. He has been sloppy in his hole assignments. He has showed no burst or vision and seems to refuse to fall forward. He gets winded easily and generally looks slow. I see Roy Helu getting involved in a much more productive fashion, and honestly think that he is the player that benefits most from the Hightower injury. If you can manage to trade away Torain to an owner strapped at RB, and willing to take an upside flier in exchange for a high 2nd-tier player at a position of need for your starting roster, I would make that trade happen.
Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG): Bradshaw scored three touchdowns prior to the bye, but he’s unlikely to match that total anytime soon because touchdown-vulture Brandon Jacobs is healthy again. The Giants face some pretty stiff run defenses in the upcoming weeks, including the 49ers, Cowboys, Packers and Patriots.
Q2: Name one RB you would “buy low” on and tell us why.
Chris Johnson (TEN): With some trepidation, I’m recommending Chris Johnson due to his fantastic upcoming schedule. He has the Colts in Week 8, the Panthers in Week 10, and the Colts again in Week 15. He also has favorable matchups against the Falcons, Buccaneers, Bills, Saints and Jaguars down the stretch. Another long-term player to acquire is Roy Helu, who will probably find himself splitting time with Ryan Torain in the short term. But given Torain’s fragility, there’s a good chance that Helu is the RB1 in Washington by season’s end.
Felix Jones (DAL): In the aftermath of DeMarco Murray’s record-setting day, you should be able to get a double-discount on Felix Jones — let’s say a 30 percent price-cut for the injury, then another 30 percent for his presumptive loss of the featured role. Nothing unforeseeable has happened with Jones this year; you knew he was capable of the sort of big day he delivered in Week 3 (155 total yards), and you knew he was brittle, an injury risk at all times. When he gets healthy, I’m willing to place a small bet that he’ll still have a useful workload in the Cowboys’ offense. Jones is a great platoon partner, and, it seems, a lousy candidate for a full workload. Dallas will face Tampa Bay and Philly in the fantasy playoffs, two defenses that have been user-friendly for opposing backs.
Ryan Mathews (SD): Bet on special talent here. While Mike Tolbert currently steals the goal-line work and most of the third-down duties, he isn’t half the player Mathews is. By stringing together consistent health, Mathews will earn the trust of the staff and start pushing for 20 touches weekly. He has the ability to be a top-3 running back in the NFL.
Jonathan Stewart (CAR): The Daily Show has been the best RB on the Panthers this season and is getting the goal line looks. D-Will has under-performed to say the least and his propensity of getting hurt may rear its ugly head at any time. Stew could be a top 10 RB if Williams gets hurt.
Peyton Hillis (CLE): Whether the contract deal gets worked out or not, the .500 Browns still have much to play for and Hillis has shown he can go into absolute beast mode- even against tough AFC North defenses. His perceived value is at it’s absolute lowest right now, and he represents a potential piece of your roster that can be a true season-changer moving forward.
Shonn Greene (NYJ): Greene got off to a really slow start, but has picked things up ever since Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold returned to the lineup. Greene has a ton of favorable matchups coming up; he plays the Bills twice, Broncos, Redskins and Eagles in the next eight weeks.
Q3: Name one WR you would “sell high” on and tell us why.
Victor Cruz (NYG): I have to go with Victor Cruz, who has scored the 15th-most fantasy points amongst WRs this season. Mario Manningham is due to bust out, and Cruz’s targets were down last game. He could continue to be a factor in PPR formats as a possession-type WR, but I doubt he catches three more TDs over the remainder of the season. He’s a solid fantasy WR3/WR4, but his play feels a little flukey to me.
Greg Jennings/Jorday Nelson (GB): I’m not saying you have to do it right now, today, but there’s going to come a time when we have to deal with the possibility of a Packers shutdown in the final weeks, in the style of Tony Dungy’s Colts. My Yahoo! colleague Scott Pianowski recently wrote about this, and it’s clearly in play. Green Bay currently holds a two-game lead in its division, plus the Packers have a two-game lead over the Saints, and a head-to-head win. They also have a relatively friendly schedule, following a Week 9 trip to San Diego. If you can get ahead of the potential late-season panic and sell Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson in, say, Week 10 or 11, that might not be the worst idea.
Plaxico Burress (NYJ): His three-touchdown torching of the Chargers isn’t really a fluke because he is a dominant red-zone presence. But at age 34, that’s all he is. Plax hasn’t topped 55 yards since Week 1 and doesn’t have more than four catches in a game all season. Just praying for goal-line work will lead to duds more often than not.
Jordy Nelson (GB): He is the least targeted WR in the top 20 scorers and is on an offense that has only one consistent threat week in and week out (Jennings). With James Jones starting to emerge and Finley stealing looks, Nelson will be too inconsistent for the remainder of the season.
Plaxico Burress (NYJ): This weekend’s 3 TD explosion might be enough to weasel one of your league’s donkeys into taking the bait on a package deal with Burress and a flex-type player like Daniel Thomas/Mark Ingram/Marshawn Lynch/Deangelo Williams, etc. for one elite difference-maker you could add to your starting roster.
Calvin Johnson (DET): I may seem crazy for telling you to sell high on Johnson, but hear me out. Detroit’s offense has really struggled in recent weeks. Now, Matthew Stafford is hurt with a bum foot. He could still play, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be 100 percent. Also, Detroit’s offensive line is garbage, so there’s always a good chance that Stafford will be knocked out for a few games. If you can get good value for Megatron – which would be a king’s ransom because he’s the No. 1 fantasy receiver – then you should definitely pull the trigger.
Q4: Name one WR you would “buy low” on and tell us why.
Mario Manningham (NYG): Let’s stick with the Giants and go with Mario Manningham. He almost found the endzone (a couple of times) in Week 6 and has seen 17 targets in the last two weeks. His upcoming schedule — the Dolphins in Week 8, the Patriots in Week 9, the Saints in Week 12 and the Packers in Week 13 — is favorable, and even in the bad matchups, he’s not the focus of the defense due to the presence of Hakeem Nicks on the other side. Santonio Holmes is another guy who jumps out. He is coming off a brutal matchup against the Chargers, but has five or six nice matchups down the stretch. Given the way he played late last year, I have to believe that he and Mark Sanchez will get on the same page after the team’s Week 8 bye.
Mike Williams (TB): As of this writing, Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams ranks fifth among all wide receivers in total targets, but just 45th in fantasy points. Clearly, Williams himself has been part of the problem. And I’m not the biggest Josh Freeman fan, at least for fantasy purposes. But as long as the targets are there, I like Williams’ chances to deliver value. He’s coming off a pair of six-catch games, so there’s no reason to think he isn’t still the team’s top receiving option. Williams has also had some rough luck in the early going; he had a touchdown catch in the Minnesota game negated by penalty. I still think (perhaps stubbornly) that there’s a breakout coming.
Vincent Jackson (SD): V-Jax finally got his hamstring and abdomen right as the Chargers came out of their bye, but he immediately found himself on Revis Island. That’s like another bye week. While most passing attacks will wane in the weather, the Chargers’ projects to only get stronger. They have five home games in addition to a dream matchup in Jacksonville over the next eight weeks.
Tommy Rowan – TOFantasySports
Brandon Lloyd (STL): He had 6 catches on 12 targets on Sunday and will only get better once Sam Bradford returns to the lineup. The Rams’ defense is putrid and they will have to pass a ton. Lloyd has top 10-15 potential the rest of the season. Grab him now before he blows up.
Vincent Jackson (SD): Take a look at his upcoming schedule:
Roddy White (ATL): White has disappointed this year, thanks in part to a knee injury. The bye week is coming at the right time for Atlanta, as White (as well as Matt Ryan) can heal up. White is way too good not to rebound in the second half.
I’d like to thank this week’s Featured Pros for stopping by to share their insight! Be sure to check out the experts’ respective sites to keep up with all of their latest content.