Heading into Week 5, fantasy football owners should be ready to wheel and deal.
We are now a month into the NFL season. Fantasy owners now know where they stand with their rosters and the strengths and weaknesses on their teams. That means they should be peppering owners in their leagues with trade offers and packaging the players on their squads who have overperformed for players who have underperformed (and are ready to play better). Just who might those players be?
Without further ado, here are the buy-low and sell-high candidates for Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season.
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Fantasy Football Buy-Low Candidates
Doug Martin (RB, TB)
Jacquizz Rodgers played well in Martin’s absence while Tampa’s top tailback served out the remainder of his suspension. Rodgers had 67 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week1 and 108 combined yards in Week 3, so some fantasy owners might think Martin is now going to embroiled in a time share situation with Rodgers or may lose his starting spot altogether. But Rodgers has proven that while he is a serviceable starter when needed, he is limited and is not the dynamic runner Martin is when everything is right with Martin’s mind and body. Martin might not reclaim his place as the bell-cow back right away, but by midseason he should be the top tailback once again.
Terrelle Pryor Jr. (WR, WAS)
Guess who is ranked 49th in the NFL in receiving yards? Robert Woods, Allen Hurns, Cooper Kupp and this guy. The converted quarterback has been a fantasy flop at receiver for Washington so far. He has not had more than 70 yards in a game and has one touchdown catch during the first four weeks. Pryor has been getting more pub for his postgame problems with fans than he has for anything he has done on the field. Washington’s other main pass catchers, Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder, have actually been worse, though. The Redskins’ passing attack is better than this and will show it over the next month, and Pryor will be front and center making plays downfield and using his size inside the red zone.
Kendall Wright (WR, CHI)
Wright has been as inconsistent this season, giving fantasy owners zero catches one week and 51 yards and a TD the next. This is because his quarterback for the opening month, Mike Glennon, was equally as inconsistent. The Mitchell Trubisky Era begins this Monday night, though! Trubisky looked great during the preseason and frankly should have been plugged in as the starter earlier than this. He will hopefully throw better passes than Glennon has, which will definitely make Chicago’s defacto No. 1 receiver more of a fantasy factor. Get Wright for bargain-basement bucks before Trubisky and he combine for a breakout game together.
Fantasy Football Sell-High Candidates
Philip Rivers (QB, SD)
Rivers had been playing like he was a student at the Mark Sanchez School of Turnovers after throwing 18 interceptions over a 13-game stretch coming into last weekend’s contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rivers threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns against Philly’s injury-ravaged secondary, though, and his above-average receiving corps makes him appear to be an attractive fantasy choice from here on out. Yet with the home fans in L.A. wanting nothing to do with the Chargers, Melvin Gordon and running attack struggling (29th in NFL), and the signal caller turning 36 by year’s end, Rivers’ fantasy future might be paved with more multi-interception disasters. Trade him now as the bye weeks start and owners in your league might be in need of a QB.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense
The 2017 Steelers defense is playing like the famed “Steel Curtain” defenses of the late 70s and early 80’s. After a month of games, Pittsburgh is ranked second in sacks, scoring defense and total defense, and tied for fourth in turnovers, making them one of the top fantasy defenses. But look closer at their early-season schedule. Cleveland, Chicago, Baltimore and Minnesota (without Sam Bradford) have offenses that rival the offenses of the lower-tier SEC teams at times. Pittsburgh has Green Bay, New England and Indianapolis (with Andrew Luck probably under center) on the horizon, though, so trading the Steelers D now and getting a solid skilled player in return is a decent plan.
Ameer Abdullah (RB, DET)
Abdullah made me look like an idiot (not hard to do) by running for 94 yards and a touchdown last week after I said in my under-the-radar booms/busts column that he would not do much against Minnesota’s defense. For my next bit of “wisdom,” I am going to tell fantasy owners that now is the time to trade Abdullah to a RB-starved team in your league. Abdullah has durability issues (he twisted his ankle this past week), and he has third-down pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick always behind him ready to vulture his touches, especially if Detroit is trailing in the second half. Trade Abdullah now while he is running hard before a pulled hamstring or a couple 10-catch games from Riddick hurts his fantasy worth.