[sc name=”Author – Craig Rondinone”]
It has been tougher for fantasy football owners to get yards and points out of their players this season than we expected.
Defenses have been holding their own through the first two weeks of NFL action. Only five of the league’s 32 teams broke the 30-point plateau this past week, and only four did it during the opening week. But while high-scoring shootouts have been fewer and further between, there still have been enough touchdowns to go around for fantasy football leagues. The good news is that it is not too early to make a trade!
Without further ado, here are the buy-low and sell-high candidates for Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season.
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Fantasy Football Buy-Low Candidates
Brandin Cooks (WR, NE)
While everyone from Rob Gronkowski to Chris Hogan to James White has been catching a plethora of passes from Tom Brady, Cooks has been slightly ignored in the Patriots offense during the opening two games. Cooks has five receptions for 125 yards and no touchdowns in the early going. His old New Orleans teammates were not going to allow Cooks to embarrass them last week, so the Saints’ double coverage was the main cause of Cooks’ struggles. Look for more plays to be designed for Cooks in the coming weeks so he can stretch the field and start racking up fantasy points for his millions of owners. With Julian Edelman sidelined for the season, and with Gronk a weekly injury risk, we have not heard the last from Cooks. Even if he doesn’t live up the second-round ADP he was earning by the end of the preseason, he could still return low-end WR1 value.
Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)
Mixon seems like the only rookie running back who has not gotten off to a Jim Brown-like start this season. Mixon has 17 carries for 45 yards and another 20 yards receiving over his first two contests. Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt had 78 yards and a TD on one play in Week 1. Mixon has been disappointing, but so has the entire Cincinnati offense (nine points in two games!), which is why the Bengals brass fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and promoted QB coach Bill Lazor to be OC. This bodes well for Mixon, who is the most explosive back out of Cincy’s RB trio with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. The hope is that Lazor will make Mixon the No. 1 back instead of having him split the carries three ways with the other two. Get Mixon on the cheap now and maybe within a couple games he will be posting the big rushing numbers Hunt, Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook and Jacksonville’s Leonard Fourcette are as rookie runners.
Jamaal Williams (RB, GB)
Williams has not been doing anything to force fantasy owners to trade for him (four carries for 15 yards in two games), but he will not continue to be a fantasy zero all season long. Green Bay’s top tailback, Ty Montgomery, has a knack for getting nicked up and has not yet proven he can handle the rigors of being a full-time running back. Montgomery’s 39 touches over Green Bay’s first two games has to be a growing concern. If Williams is stashed at the bottom of somebody’s roster in your league, making a minor swap or having him be a small part of a blockbuster could pay off huge dividends in the end if Montgomery’s body breaks down and Williams becomes the Packers main man in their rushing attack. Aaron Rodgers and Co. always hook their running backs up with a potpourri of scoring opportunities and that could become Williams at some point.
Fantasy Football Sell-High Candidates
Carlos Hyde (RB, SF)
Hyde opened the eyes of fantasy owners this past Sunday by barreling though the staunch Seattle Seahawks defense for 124 yards on 15 carries. It was another flash of brilliance that usually precedes a dud outing where he fails to rush for 50 yards or an injury that keeps him off the field a few weeks. While some Hyde owners may be head-over-heels in love with Hyde since he is being productive and has no one threatening his workload or vulturing touches, the fact remains he is a ticking time bomb. On Thursday night, he proved it again by asking out of the game twice for a minor hip issue. Hyde has missed 14 games over his first three NFL seasons, has never rushed for 1,000 yards and has little talent surrounding him on San Fran’s offense. Trade him now before he becomes the NFC’s version of Jeremy Hill.
Trevor Siemian (QB, DEN)
Siemian is making Denver head honcho Vance Joseph look smart for installing him as Denver’s starting signal caller. Siemian has thrown six touchdown tosses and has not had the same problems getting the ball outside to his dynamic duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders that he had in his rookie campaign. Siemian is no John Elway, though, and with Paxton Lynch waiting in the wings as the long-term QB, Siemian is more of a placeholder than a franchise quarterback. Siemian’s numbers will also be stunted since Denver seems content to rely on its defense and conservative offense to win games. He did not break the 250-yard barrier in either of his first two games, despite playing better than he probably ever has in his short career.
Allen Hurns (WR, JAX)
Did you just pick Hurns up off waivers, plug him into your lineup and watch him pile up six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown? You sir or madam, are a genius! But you know that Hurns did most of that in the fourth quarter during garbage time, and you also know that he is no Allen Robinson and cannot be expected to carry Jacksonville’s passing attack on his shoulders, especially when scattershot Blake Bortles is the one throwing him the ball. Con an owner in your league desperate for a receiver into thinking Hurns has bounced back from his 2016 fiasco and include him in a trade for a running back or a better receiver. Hurns is not as good as he was in 2015 and not as bad as he was last year, which means he is probably just an 800-yard receiver.
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