Fantasy's reverse stock market: Who are the buy-highs and sell-lows?
Welcome to our bi-weekly look at the fantasy football stock market from a reverse perspective. If you’ve been playing fantasy long enough, you’ve heard it a thousand times by now – buy low, sell high. Like the stock market, success in this game often comes down to which owner finds the best value on draft day and throughout the season via trades and waiver wire moves.
However, sometimes it is still OK to buy or sell late. It’s better to be late to the party than to not attend it at all. With that in mind, we take a look at a reverse stock market of sorts. Here are some players that are still ascending and some that have yet to hit rock bottom.
The arrow is pointing up for Taylor in Buffalo. The team added a much-needed target when they acquired Kelvin Benjamin at the trading deadline. Jordan Matthews is nearing 100 percent, Charles Clay will be back soon and rookie Zay Jones is showing signs of life.
Taylor is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season in Week 9, though much of his production came in garbage time. Over the last three weeks only Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz have compiled better numbers.
After leading all quarterbacks last season with 577 rushing yards on 94 carries, Taylor is only fifth at the position so far in 2017 with 210 yards on 50 carries. He also behind his TD pace with just two rushing touchdowns through eight games compared to the six he tallied in 15 contests a year ago. His dual-threat ability still gives Taylor a very high floor to go along with suddenly attractive ceiling.
Volume is the key when you talk about Gordon’s fantasy impact. He ranks eighth in carries (131) and 11th among running backs in targets (41). His rushing stats overall are nice, but it’s the damage he’s done as a receiver, including a league-high four TD catches by a running back, that has made him an elite RB1.
There isn’t much behind Gordon on the depth chart and that gives him most of the team’s money touches. Only Le’Veon Bell sees a larger percentage of his team’s red-zone carries than Gordon does for the Chargers (81.8 percent).
Gordon has been playing through foot and knee issues, but coming off his bye in Week 9 there’s some optimism that he’ll be closer to 100 percent. The Jaguars are on tap this week, but after that the schedule really opens up.
Baldwin is starting to pick up the pace nicely in recent weeks after a slow start and being limited by a groin injury for a stretch in October. He’s been targeted 34 times over the past three games, which is second only to Amari Cooper (36) during that span. He scored in two of those contests and is the second-highest scoring wideout in PPR formats during that run.
The veteran is coming off a stellar Week 9 effort as he caught seven balls for 108 yards and a touchdown. We’ve seen Baldwin put together some multi-week stretches in the past where he posted monster numbers and we could very well be witnessing the beginning of one of those types of runs.
His 68 percent catch rate is a far cry from last year’s 80 percent mark. If he can improve on that the rest of his numbers will flow. Baldwin was drafted as a low-end WR1 and given his target volume and the way Russell Wilson is playing he has a good chance to still deliver of that value. His stock is rising, but it likely hasn’t topped off just yet.
After Winston aggravated his shoulder injury in Week 9, the Bucs have decided to rest him for a few weeks in an attempt to get him back to 100 percent and become a reliable producer later in the year. Fantasy owners can’t afford to wait.
Winston is currently sitting at QB20 and has struggled to finish two of his last four contests due to the injury. That has led to him throwing for one TD or fewer in six of his eight starts this season. His yardage totals aren’t bad as he has hit the 300-yard mark four times this season. However, his rushing attempts (only 15 carries) are down significantly so he’s not padding his stats with anything on the ground.
With the Bucs sitting at 2-6 there’s a chance they fall even further out of the playoff race and they may not have much motivation to rush Winston back. Add to it a tough schedule down the stretch — with playoff week matchups vs. Detroit, vs. Atlanta, and at Carolina — and the immediate future is not bright for Winston.
Stewart started off the season with a solid outing in Week 1 at San Francisco, finishing as RB11 as he turned 20 touches into 82 total yards and had a receiving touchdown. Since then he’s only been a top-30 PPR running back one time and failed to crack the top 40 at the position in six contests.
He has only gotten to 20 touches in one other game, but it didn’t translate into much as he finished with just 21 yards on 18 carries in Week 5 against the Lions. He rushed for his first score of the season in Week 8, getting back on the fantasy radar, only to respond with another dud in Week 9 against Atlanta. He finished that game with 21 yards on 11 carries and fumbled twice.
With Stewart not taking care of the football, the Panthers turned to Christian McCaffrey. The rookie finished the game against the Falcons with a career-high 15 carries for 66 yards and a score. Expect McCaffrey to continue to see more looks and that suggests that an even bigger decline of production could be ahead for Stewart.
Life without Aaron Rodgers has been bad for the entire Green Bay offense, including Nelson. In two games with Brett Hundley as the starter Nelson has mustered just five catches on 11 targets for 48 yards and has not scored a touchdown. Hundley had him wide open for would’ve been an easy TD on Monday night, but didn’t see him.
Even before Rodgers went down, Nelson wasn’t posting huge yardage numbers. However, he stayed fantasy relevant by scoring touchdowns. He scored five times in his first four contests but hasn’t sniffed the end zone since.
With Hundley leading the offense Nelson is barely worth consideration as a WR3. You might want to wait to see what happens this week against a Bucs’ defense that has ceded the third-most fantasy points this season to wide receivers before bailing completely, but don’t hold your breath as it may not translate into much production for the veteran in this struggling offense.