Fantasy Football Buy Low, Sell High (2018 Trade Deadline) - Roto Street Journal
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Fantasy Football Buy Low, Sell High (2018 Trade Deadline)

The Draft and Waiver Wires often get all the credit for Fantasy Football team construction. Yet, the less gloricized, but often even more important way to build a championship-winner is the art of Buying Low and Selling High. For many leagues, Saturday, November 10th is the Fantasy Football Trade Deadline, marking your last chance to pull off moves with other owners. All you’ll have is the Waiver Wire and prayers, so capitalize now by gaining stretch run heroes, and ridding yourself of potential season-wreckers for your championship run.

Even if you nailed a perfect draft and sniped every waiver gem and sit at 7-1, you can still improve your playoff chances with a look at the Weeks 14-16 schedule. Or maybe you’re in desperate “Win Now” mode, and need players with the right matchup.

Clearly, wherever you stand, Strength of Schedule needs to be on your mind. Thankfully, we have as in-depth analysis in our 2018 Trade Deadline Strength of Schedule Guide.

But if you don’t have time to sift through all 40 pages right now and just need the Sparknotes (cheater), here’s the players who should absolutely be on your radar to Buy or Sell.

Buy Low

Quarterbacks:

Cam Newton (QB-CAR)

Fresh off a 14.72 FP faceplant on the national stage, Cam Newton is as cheap as he’ll ever be, making him the ideal QB Buy Low right now. Prior to this dud, Newton topped 21 FPs in 6 of 8 games (75%), and had never been below 16.

Now, he’ll face three bottom-five defenses in his last six games? That’s a fantasy gift from the Gods. Particularly of note is Newton’s Week 14 and 15 dates with the Saints and Falcons, respectively. For most, these weeks mark your semis and finals, and Newton seems likely to hand deliver a title if he’s your QB Anchor. If paying up big for a QB not named Patrick Mahomes (QB-KC), beg for Newton.

 

Dak Prescott (QB-DAL)

Still only 35% owned, Prescott might not even require you to buy him. At most, he’s likely viewed as a throw-in prospect. Yet, based on his recent play, Amari Cooper‘s acquisition, and a cakewalk schedule, Prescott could be an every-week QB1 here on out.

Prescott has gone for 29 and 20 FPs in two of his last three, with both against two tougher defenses in JAX (29 FPs) and WAS (20). Imagine what he could do with a cakewalk schedule moving forward? And finally with a true No.1 weapon in Amari Cooper (WR-DAL)?

The vast majority of Prescott’s remaining opponents boast the golden, shootout creating set up of A) Blow-up offenses that have  B) Awful Defenses.  (PHI x 2, ATL, NO, TB, IND). This should keep Dak running and gunning for the stretch run.

 

If price is somehow right after last week’s explosion…

Drew Brees (QB-NO)

Now up to the QB5 on the season thanks to a 31 FP blow-up, Brees has been awfully boom or bust in 2018.  He’s strung together 36, 40, 27 and the recent 31 FP week-winners, but also cost weeks with 8 and 6 point duds, despite the Saints putting up 30 points in said games.

When I wrote this last week, Brees was fresh off a 6.8 dud and I labeled him the ultimate Buy Low. A 31 FP effort + Dez Bryant (WR-NO) addition later, and Brees’ asking price has skyrocketed.

Even still, he’s the ideal QB Target after Newton considering this schedule. Those aforementioned 36 & 40 FP days? Came against ATL and TB, who Brees will get to smash once more. He also gets projected shoot-outs with CIN, PIT, and PHI. Even CAR, who is strong against the QB and one of the lone “yellow” matchups on Brees’ schedule, should provide the right game-flow for a blow up. Expect Brees to light it up this holiday season, and secure him by any means necessary.

 

Running Backs:

Alex Collins (RB-BAL)

Collins carries around a stinky stigma, which makes him a prime Buy Low candidate. Although buried by many, he’s actually the RB19 on the season and has now topped double digits in 3 of his last 4 games, and 5 of 8 games on the year.

Based on his upcoming schedule, Collins should continue rolling, offering the “Stretch Run Hero” upside he brought last year. He legitimately does not face a single tough matchup, with 5 of his final 6 fantasy games against bottom-10 defenses versus RBs.

While Ty Montgomery (RB-BAL) has been acquired, which muddies things a bit, he’s likely a greater threat to Javorius Allen (RB-BAL), who’s become a complete non-factor with 1, 3, 0, and 1 carries in his last four games.  In fact, use the Montgomery acquisition as a selling point to Buy Low on Collins, who has quietly emerged as the clear guy here. This offense is bound for plenty of RZ trips with this cakewalk finish, and Collins should be a strong weekly bet for at least 1 TD each week, with a few multiscore games tossed in.

David Johnson (RB-ARI)

This feels a little “Bandwagon” as a “Buy Low,” as many have discussed DJ in the fantasy community. Still, a glance at this upcoming schedule tells you why. Four of seven come against bottom-10 defenses, and none of the remaining three are overly intimidating.

Beyond the joke game slate, Johnson also stands to gain from Byron Leftwich’s promotion to OC. Though the team had nowhere to go but up, the offense as a whole still looked much better. Josh Rosen (QB-ARI) set career highs across the board, while Johnson logged a season high 41 receiving yards (sad).

With a week off to scheme even more around his strengths, Johnson should see the usage against the right matchups for an explosive second half. The RB12 standing after a Top-5 Overall price should have his owners ready to sell, and perhaps blinded to his season-long upside.

 

Nick Chubb (RB-CLE)

Chubb isn’t likely to be a particularly cheap “Buy Low” after a steady first three games as the starter. He’s risen to the league-leader in yards after contact per attempt at 4.61, and has been a high-end RB2, low-end RB1 since Hyde’s departure thanks to steady volume: 18+ carries in all three contests, scores in 2 of 3 and 14+ FPs in said contests.  His 58 carries over these three weeks trail only Adrian Peterson (RB-WAS), and Chub’s 84% market share of carries is the highest among all RBs since Week 7. Stability.

Even still, the ceiling might be a ton higher than most realize. Chubb should maintain this high volume, but now against a glorious upcoming slate of games with the 3rd easiest Strength of Schedule among RBs.

Indeed, new OC Freddie Kitchens cheffed up some serious Duke Johnson (RB-CLE) magic, who was used far more than at any point of 2018. Johnson hauled in 9-of-9 targets for 78 yards and two scores, and should remain a receiving staple, considering Kitchens’ “Bruce Arians Roots.” Duke also stands to benefit from this delicious schedule

But Chubb could be a true high-end RB1 cloaked in RB2 clothing. Buy him if his owner doesn’t recognize his humongous stretch-run upside.

 

Wide Receivers

John Brown (WR-BAL)

Fresh off of back-to-back 4.3 and 3.0 FPs clunkers, and a generally underwhelming five-game run, Brown’s value is completely depressed. This is especially true during a Bye Week right now.

As such, he makes for an ideal Buy Low.

The Rest of Season schedule is a complete joke, with 50% of his games coming against Bottom-Five opponents, and no contests against formidable secondaries. His “harder” matchups are against OAK (lol), KC (catch-up mode), and LAC (same).

Indeed, Brown has many more blow-ups brewing, and can be traded for a bench piece in many cases. He hasn’t seen a ton of targets, with only 17.6% target share behind both WIllie Snead and Michael Crabtree. But the quality of said targets, is significant: Brown ranks No.2 in the league in total target distance, No.3 in Average Target Distance, and No.8 in Red Zone targets.

With cake competition, those high-quality targets could turn into a lot more production down the stretch.

 

Amari Cooper (WR-DAL)

Cooper’s 8 target, 5 catch, 58 yard and 1 TD game was highly promising… but his owners are still likely shellshocked from his awful unpredictability with the Raiders.

Capitalize.

Cooper truly could be a No.1 WR down the stretch. He has all the physical gifts — his route running was pristine Monday night. Scott Linehan loves locking in on one main target, and Cooper faces minimal competition to be that guy.

Best of all? The schedule is pure cake. Cooper has the second easiest strength of schedule among wideouts, with 5 of 7 remaining ames coming against Bottom Five  opponents! Snag Cooper at a mid-WR2 price before his WR1 tear begins.

If in spot to make playoffs already…. 

AJ Green (WR-CIN)

Obviously, this one is risky. There’s no clear timetable for Green’s toe injury, and even when he returns, these type of ailments can linger.

But if his owner is in a desperate “Win Now” spot, and Green could be had for a significant discount, he’s worth pouncing on. The Bengals square off with LAC (15th), OAK (11th and falling), and CLE (9th) in the playoffs, and even a 75-80% Green could do damage here. Playoff-minded owners should at least consider Buying Low.

 

Tight Ends

David Njoku (TE-CLE)

In general, David Njoku has experienced a fantastic turnaround since Baker Mayfield took over at QB. Through the first three games with Tyrod Taylor, Njoku was the laughable TE36. Since Mayfield took over, Njoku has been the TE8.

But still, a Week 8 goose egg and some bleh 7 pointers may be on his owners’ mind. Though there’s no guarantees Njoku improves his consistency, he has all the natural ability and a complete cakewalk schedule — easiest among TEs — to help facilitate some blow-ups. He has three Bottom-Three matchups and no team in the top half at defending TEs to close out 2018.

Also helpful: Freddie Kitchens’ insertion to OC. Mayfield has said Kitchens was very interested in what his players do well and are comfortable with, and Mayfield has always loved attacking the seams and using his TE ever since Oklahoma. At such an unpredictable position, Njoku has the natural ability, QB-trust, play-calling, and definite schedule to be a stretch run force.

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