Week 8 buy-low/sell-high options in the fantasy stock market
We are now at the point in the NFL season where it seems like everyone has a grip on what value players have, and accordingly, what players should be sitting on the waiver wire. But as always, most think they know more than they actually do.
Earlier in the season, it was difficult to pry away studs who had a bad game or two, simply because their owner spend a lot of draft capital on them, and didn’t want to admit defeat. But now, they may be sitting at 1-6 or 2-5 and at the bottom of your league standings. Those are the one’s who’ll sell on players that have underperforming, because they cannot afford to wait.
That is just part of the Fantasy Stock Market, and now that we know the best league mates to target, let’s talk about the players that may be on their teams, as well as players who may be on your team that you should consider getting rid of.
Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets
This is probably an easy one to spot, but I promise you that his owner is panicking. He’s now had two bad games in a row, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely going to be his quarterback again. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Marshall, as Fitzpatrick was the quarterback who was with him last year when he finished as the No. 3 wide receiver. Has he had a down year to this point? Yeah, sure. But what that does is gives us Marshall’s floor. He sits as the No. 22 wide receiver now, and has yet to have a huge game. His 48-percent catch rate is alarming, but again, it’s never something he’s had issues with before. As a matter of fact, he’s never had a catch rate below 58 percent in his 11-year career, which tells us he’s going to be in for a very high catch rate over the final nine games of 2016. He’s No. 7 in targets (63) on the year, and that always leads to production, especially when you’re as talented as Marshall is. Looking at his upcoming schedule (Browns, Dolphins, Rams), Marshall is probably my favorite buy-low in fantasy football.
Perceived Stock Value: Shaky WR2 with Fitzpatrick at quarterback
Actual Stock Value: Low-end WR1 who is in for some positive regression. We’ve been through his floor
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
The 2016 Chiefs have been odd to say the least. They have scored 24 or more points in four of their six games and Alex Smith is averaging 35.7 attempts per game, yet Kelce and Jeremy Maclin have combined to average just 101.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns this year. Instead, Tyreek Hill has caught three touchdowns despite playing 81 total snaps and receiving 17 total targets. That adds up to one touchdown every 5.7 targets, in other words, not sustainable. By this point, we know how Andy Reid runs his offense, and because of that, we know what Kelce will end up with. Even if Smith’s pass attempts come down, Kelce will end up in the range of 70-75 receptions, 850-900 yards and five touchdowns. Similar to what we did with Matt Ryan last week, let’s take a look at what his rest-of-season projections would look like.
|Travis Kelce||Gms||Targets||Rec||Pct||Yds||TD||Yds/Rec||PPR Pts||PPR Pts/gm|
|Weeks 8-17 (proj.)||10||65||45||69.0||594||3||13.2||122.4||12.2|
|Full Season Projection||16||100||72||72.0||890||5||12.1||191||11.9|
It’s important to know that there are just a few “set-it-and-forget-it” tight ends, but Kelce has been one of them the last few years. He doesn’t offer you Rob Gronkowski upside, but he offers a solid floor at a position where that is hard to find. Even if we don’t anticipate a step forward in his career, he’s set to perform as a top-8 tight end for the rest of the season.
Perceived Stock Value: Low-end TE1 who isn’t startable every week
Actual Stock Value: Plug and play TE1 who has a high floor/limited ceiling
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
It’s kind of crazy to me how quickly fantasy owners will jump off a cliff when their superstar doesn’t perform. Nelson is the perfect example of this, as he’s now totaled just 77 scoreless yards over the last two weeks, while Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery have gone off. You don’t need to remind them of this, but we can talk about a lot of star wide receivers who are underperforming, and even worse than Nelson. DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery… the list goes on. What’s important to Nelson is the fact that he’s playing every snap, and Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball more than he ever has in his career. Over the last three weeks, Rodgers has thrown the ball 143 times (47.7/game), easily his most over any three game stretch of his career. Because of that, you see two Packers wide receivers in the top four fantasy producers over the last three weeks. Adams (43 points, No. 3 WR), Cobb (40 points, No. 4 WR) and even Montgomery (23 points, No. 30 WR) have all produced. The volume isn’t going to stop, either, as the Packers defense is among the worst in football. As of right now, Rodgers is simply trying to gain his confidence back on short throws, but it’s only a matter of time before Nelson starts stretching the field like he has his entire career. The Falcons, Colts and Titans aren’t matchups that you should be worried about, either.
Perceived Stock Value: TD dependent WR2 who isn’t the same player
Actual Stock Value: High-end WR2 who is getting his legs under him. Despite Rodgers’ struggles, he’s the WR19
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
After a few big games, Tate is near the top the fantasy world, and is tied for the fourth-most points over the last two weeks. He’s amassed 21 targets over the last two weeks, turning them into 14 catches for 258 yards and a touchdown. But what brought on this surge? Coming into Week 6, he had totaled just 17 catches for 134 yards and no touchdowns. It’s simple – there has been no Eric Ebron or Theo Riddick in the lineup. On top of that, Marvin Jones was shadowed by Josh Norman in Week 7, leading him to see just five targets in that game, while Tate got 11 of them. It hasn’t been all roses for Tate, though, as he’s dropped three passes over the last two weeks, tied for the most in the NFL during that span. With the absence of Ebron and Riddick, Tate has gone back to playing the role that he was last year. Over the first five games, his average depth of target was 9.8 yards downfield, but that number dipped to just 6.9 yards in Weeks 6 and 7. If he was a lock to continue in this role, you could buy into his new found production, but it’s not going to stay this way. He’s startable while Ebron and Riddick are out, but once they return, sell before he goes back to the pre-Week 6 Tate.
Perceived Stock Value: Returned to 2015 form, every week starter as a WR2
Actual Stock Value: WR2 while Ebron/Riddick are out, WR4/5 when they return
Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens
It’s easy to get blinded by the 32 targets over the last three weeks and the 280 yards that he’s totaled, but Wallace is a prime sell-high candidate. Similar to Tate, Wallace has been helped from an injury to create the production. Once Steve Smith became a bigger part of the offense in Week 3, you started to notice a lull in Wallace’s production, as he had totaled just seven catches for 78 scoreless yards in Weeks 3 and 4. And remember, that came after his first two weeks that netted 132 yards and three touchdowns. To see his production over the last two weeks with Smith out of the lineup should not surprise anyone. The Ravens also happened to play the Jets, our No. 28 ranked pass defense last week when he totaled his season-high 120 yards. Their offense is going to change extremely soon, considering Joe Flacco has thrown the most completions in the NFL, yet ranks 29th in passing touchdowns. He’s not going to go away for good or anything, but he is not the consistent WR3 that everyone seems to think he is going forward, because Smith will be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Perceived Stock Value: Every week WR3
Actual Stock Value: Volatile option who will decline to WR4 status with Smith back in lineup
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
It’s not the popular thing to do, but if you own McCoy, it’s a good time to welcome offers for him. After he pushed to play in Week 7, the Bills allowed McCoy to take the field, where he ultimately re-aggravated his hamstring injury. Without knowing details about how bad his hamstring injury is, I feel we have to assume the worst. Just this season, we have witnessed Doug Martin miss four-plus games with no end in sight, as well as Rob Gronkowski not return to form until Week 5. For a running back who relies on his jump-cuts as much as McCoy does, this is concerning. It’s also important to note that the Bills will play the Patriots next week, the Seahawks (in Seattle) in Week 9, and then have their bye in Week 10. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that McCoy doesn’t see the field until Week 11 against the Bengals. If you need to win a few games now, McCoy likely won’t do you any good. Dealing him should return you a rock-solid every-week option.
Perceived Stock Value: Stud, top-tier running back
Actual Stock Value: Low-end RB1 the next few weeks (if he plays at all), with risk of re-injury