By Corey Brooks
Fantasy Football Buy Low, Sell High Candidates: With six weeks in the books, it’s a good take to reassess some player performances and take a hard look at who is likely to see a dip in production and who is poised to bounce back. Here are five sell high candidates and five more to consider buying at a discount.
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Sell High and Sell Now
Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, CLE) — This mainly applies to PPR owners of Duke Johnson, as many Standard League owners probably aren’t starting him on an every week basis. So PPR players listen up: Duke Johnson Jr. is the most dynamic playmaker the Browns have. So why sell? The simple answer is: unknown QB play. As long as Cleveland is shuffling QBs, expect Duke to be hit or miss. It’s an easy answer when to start him, it’s if Deshone Kizer is starting. Johnson was clearly Kizer’s safety net and go-to pass catcher. Unfortunately, with the Browns 0–6 and turning to Kevin Hogan last week, it’s unclear who will be starting moving forward for the Browns. Trade Duke now while his value is still based off his Week 2 — 5 performances and not his Week 6 let down.
Chris Hogan (WR, NE) — Hogan has been a nice revelation in the Patriots passing attack since the loss of Julian Edelman in the preseason. Hogan has been sliding into the slot and is a huge red zone target for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Unfortunately, I don’t see Hogan sustaining the same fantasy numbers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Weeks 2–5. With a healthy Gronk and Brady/Cooks looking better together each week, I see Hogan falling back down to Earth from a WR1 to a flex player with a low-end WR2 ceiling. Sell Hogan now while he’s worth an RB2 to strengthen your backfield.
Adrian Peterson (RB, ARI) — Adrian Peterson is back to his old self. Well, not really. While Peterson did look good last week, he is not the RB2 you’re looking for. Peterson had a great first week with the Cardinals, but this is still the beat-up Cardinals o-line that Peterson is running behind. I’m not telling you to go dump Peterson for a flex player or backup WR, but sell him now while his value is at its peak. Go out and get those 1990s born Peterson fans to buy high and take advantage of his break out game.
Jarvis Landry (WR, MIA) — Landry has posted two touchdowns in his past two games. He is Cutler’s most frequently used receiver, but his upside is very limited. With the likely return of Devante Parker and the constant uptick in usage for Jay Ajayi the past 3 weeks, Landry will fall back to a flex option in standard leagues and at best is a high-end WR3 with a WR2 ceiling, depending on his opponent in PPR. With two double-digit games in standard leagues, now is the time to hand off Landry for an upgrade. Landry’s value is very high right now, so trade now before it sneaks back into reality.
Carlos Hyde (RB, 49ers) — Some how, Hyde keeps producing. He has found the end zone four times this season. The problem is the four touchdowns came in just two games. San Francisco is starting a rookie QB moving forward, which could mean an uptick in carries. But I’m not sure Hyde is durable enough to handle anything more than 12–15 carries a game through the rest of the season and there’s a young running back by the name of Matt Breida who I believe will see more usage going forward. Hyde has been tremendously inefficient with his YPC the last two games and I don’t see that changing. Unless you’re banking on a lot of goal line touches, which seems less likely with a rookie QB at the helm, I’d sell high on Hyde.
Buy Low and Buy Now
Jay Ajayi (RB, MIA) — Ajayi has been one of the biggest head aches of the fantasy season, and trusting him is difficult. But Ajayi has seen an uptick in usage each week the past three weeks. With Cutler struggling, now is the time to buy Ajayi as that second-round pick most of us used on him. Ajayi plays three bottom of the barrel rush defenses in the next six weeks. Gase will continue to heavily rely on Ajayi, so buy Ajayi while he is still on the cheaper side of the fence.
Doug Baldwin (WR, SEA) — Baldwin has had a difficult season thus far, especially since injuring his groin. He and Wilson seem on different pages. Keep reading because the page is about to turn. If there were ever a time to buy low on a potential top 15 WR it is now. Baldwin has one of the best upcoming schedules, only facing one Top 10 passing defenses in the next seven games before the fantasy playoffs start, and that one defense is a very beatable Atlanta unit. You can bring this promise to the bank and cash it in: Baldwin will be a legitimate WR 1 moving forward.
Evan Engram (TE, NYG) — As most football analysts will tell you, rookie tight ends don’t normally make an impact in the league. Sometimes, analysts are wrong. With injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, now is the time to snatch Engram. He is one of, if not the fastest, tight ends in football. He is a matchup nightmare for linebackers and cornerbacks. Expect Engram to line up all over the field to exploit matchups as a TE/WR and be used as a Jimmy Graham-esque player with healthy Jordan Reed-like ability. Engram is a surefire TE1, especially in a year where the tight end position has been an injury carousel.
Alvin Kamara (RB, NO) – Yes, Mark Ingram just had a breakout performance. Yes, he out touched Kamara 30–14. Yes, Ingram gets the goal line touches. BUT the Saints absolutely love this kid Alvin Kamara. There is a reason they traded Adrian Peterson for close to nothing. They like what they see. He is averaging a little over 10 yards a carry since Week 3, which is obviously an unsustainable Y.P.C., but it will do enough to give this young man the football a little more. Kamara carried more times in Week 6 than he did in Weeks 2–5 combined. He is more than a change of pace back for Ingram. Think of this as a Freeman-Coleman like backfield but with a much more explosive RB in Kamara. As long as the Saints have Drew Brees under center they will be a passing team, which bodes well for Kamara and his ability to catch out of the backfield. Kamara and Ingram can co-exist. Buy low on Kamara now, especially in PPR leagues, before his workload increases.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR, CAR) – He is finally looking healthy and back to Newton’s No. 1 downfield target. With the addition of Christian McCaffrey, recent success of Devin Funchess, and subtraction of Greg Olsen, Benjamin has been able to receive more targets, opportunities, and single coverage. Newton is finally looking like the Superman Cam we know and love, which means we should see more 100+ yard games from Benjamin. Kelvin should also see an uptick in red zone targets moving forward. Buy Benjamin and comfortably slot him in your lineup as a WR2 with a borderline WR1 upside.
Bonus Buy Low Stash:
Donte Moncrief (WR, IND) — With Andrew Luck looking to return soon, keep an eye on Moncrief. He has been a TD monster in his career and I expect the Colts to come out firing with Luck under center. Moncrief is one of Luck’s favorite red zone targets, and expect Moncrief to finish with at least 5–6 TDs by the end of the season. Buy low and stash.