2019 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High - Roto Street Journal
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2019 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High

Every fantasy owner is looking for their own little miracle. That doubted, slept-on guy they can get as a last round “Penny Stock” or off the waiver wire for nothing. Yet, the less glorified, but often most important way to build a fantasy championship-winner is the art of Buying Low and Selling High.

See, fantasy football is truly a stock market (hence, the name Roto Street Journal). Just like in Wall Street, the Wolves of Roto Street know exactly when to buy the right players at their lowest cost, and sell others while they’re peaking. The right trade, at the right time is often the overlooked difference between hoisting the trophy at season’s end… or watching through tears as one of your league mates does so instead.

To help you navigate the tricky fantasy trade waters, I’ll be giving you some discounted slow-starters to consider Buying Low on before they turn it around. Players who may not be lighting up the scoreboards yet, but offer future improvements in their schedule, opportunity, or team performance that owners blinded with rage may miss, all for you to steal.

On the other hand, I’ll give you the players whose values are peaking, and that you should Sell High before their true worth reveals itself. Maybe they’ve been benefited from a few cupcakes in a row. Perhaps an absent teammate is soon returning, or the schedule is about to stiffen. Regardless, selling a player at his highest value is a crucial move to boost your team’s long-term outlook.

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Buy Low

Sony Michel

(Week 4: 6.3 PPR points)

After a solid rookie season and a phenomenal performance throughout the 2018 postseason, many were high on Sony Michel going into his second season. He hasn’t been absolutely useless on the field this year, but relatively low usage coupled with inefficiency and a complete absence from the passing game have led to an average output of under 7 PPR points per game through 4 weeks. He’s fantasy’s RB44, and many impatient owners are ready to cut ties with the 24-year-old — and that’s where you step in.

A few things give me faith in Michel to turn it around. For starters, he got off to a very slow start last year after missing most of training camp, and turned it on late with strong performances down the stretch. His offensive line has been banged up, which has hurt the flow of the entire offense, but New England overcomes O-Line injuries year after year and likely will again. And while guys like Rex Burkhead and Brandon Bolden have taken some carries from Michel in the early part of the season, expect that to shift as the games get more important and their opponents get better. And with mediocre opponents — @ WAS, vs. NYG, @ NYJ — on the horizon, expect a resurgence from Michel in the near future.

Odell Beckham, Jr.

(Week 4: 4 PPR points)

One of the league’s most talented receivers heading to one of the league’s most exciting up-and-coming teams was supposed to produce fireworks, but through 4 weeks that has not been the case. The Browns offense has had some decent performances, but Odell Beckham, Jr. hasn’t really been a part of them — he’s topped 75 yards just once so far, and most recently put up a dud of a performance in a 40-25 win over Baltimore. It’s one thing if the offense is sputtering and fantasy outputs fall with it, but when a star wideout can’t make anything happen when his QB throws for almost 350 yards, that should set off some alarms.

All of these red flags will inevitably lead to one of your league mates deciding to pull the plug on Odell. His upcoming schedule doesn’t scream “immediate turnaround,” but matchups only matter so much when you’re one of the most talented guys to ever play your position. Also, as Nick Chubb and Cleveland’s running game continue to gain notoriety around the league, teams will be forced to load up against the rushing attack, leaving themselves vulnerable over the top for OBJ to take advantage. As long as Cleveland’s offense continues to score, Beckham will get involved and will make you glad you scooped him for a great price after his slow start.

Adam Thielen

(Week 4: 2.6 PPR points)

Although teammate Stefon Diggs was able to find some statistical success on Sunday in the midst of one of the grossest passing attacks in football, Adam Thielen wasn’t so lucky — in Week 4 or at all so far in 2019. Thielen has yet to top 5 receptions in a game thus far, as Kirk Cousins and Minnesota’s offense struggles to get anything going through the air. Thielen and Diggs have both expressed frustration with where the offense is at through 4 weeks, and it could lead to big changes for them both.

While nothing has come out of Diggs’ camp or the Vikings, social media activity and speculation have started to point towards Stefon Diggs potentially wanting out of Minnesota. If something does stem from those rumors, Thielen would immediately become the team’s undisputed WR1 and would presumably be able to produce no matter how much Cousins sucks. But even with Diggs still around, Thielen is bound to return to his target hog ways — and with 3 of his next 4 matchups coming against teams in the top 3 in terms of points allowed to opposing WRs, this would be the perfect time. ESPN’s “expert” Matthew Berry is advocating in favor of trading Thielen this week — find some sucker who still listens to that clown and take advantage.

Honorable mention: Josh Gordon, Miles Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins

Sell High

Leonard Fournette

(Week 4: 26.5 PPR points)

It’s not every day you see a running back top 25 points without scoring a TD, but that’s exactly what we saw Leonard Fournette do in Week 4. He turned 29 carries into an insane 225 yards, and another 20 yards on 2 receptions gave him enough to be fantasy’s RB6 for the week. It was an incredibly impressive outing from Fournette, and one I think he has little to no chance of repeating. Denver is in the top 10 in points allowed to running backs, and Fournette will only see one such team in his next 5 games. The Jags have the 21st-ranked offensive line in football according to PFF, and Fournette has failed to find the end zone through 4 games, which is a troubling sign for a team that isn’t scoring very much in general.

Some will see Fournette’s showing in Week 4 and think it’s a sign of things to come; find that person and make a deal while you can.

Sterling Shepard

(Week 4: 16.9 PPR points)

The Giants offense has done a total 180 since the team inserted Daniel Jones into the starting lineup, and Sterling Shepard has been right in the middle of it. Shepard has caught 14 of 18 targets for 176 yards and a TD in 2 games with Jones, and he’s playing himself into the WR1 conversation in the process. However, that conversation has to come with a few “but’s” in this scenario. Jones has been great, BUT he’s still a rookie quarterback in a ruthless media market, and one poor performance could change the trajectory of his entire season. Shepard has looked great over the last few games BUT has struggled to put together a full season to this point in his career. And Shepard is currently the Giants #1 receiving option, BUT Evan Engram has made massive strides early in 2019 and has shown a solid rapport with Jones, and Golden Tate is now eligible to return from suspension.

It may be nitpicking, but there are a few too many red flags around Shepard for me to feel too good about him moving forward.

James Conner

(Week 4: 26.5 PPR points)

After a very slow start to 2019, James Conner finally put up the numbers of a 1st-round fantasy selection Monday night against the Bengals. He rushed for just 42 yards but caught 8 passes for 83 yards and a score in primetime. But a closer look at the game itself shows it may be an outlier when we look back on Conner’s 2019 season. Right off the bat, the fact that Jaylen Samuels more than doubled his season-long touch total in this contest should tell a lot. Conner probably isn’t fully healthy — he said after the game that his ankle is “fine” and he doesn’t expect to miss time.

The Steelers also don’t trust their offense the way it’s currently constructed with Mason Rudolph under center. Samuels took several snaps in the Wildcat Monday night, which also resulted in many of Conner’s receptions in the form of “tap passes” from the backfield, and it’s clear the Steelers are going to be a moving target when it comes to their offensive strategy.

Ultimately, when factoring in health, usage, and his surrounding offense, Conner isn’t in nearly as strong a position to succeed as he was during his breakout 2018 season. Luckily, his name still carries a lot of weight in the fantasy world, and especially after his output Monday night, you’ll likely be able to find someone to take him from you.

Honorable mention: Austin Ekeler, Jordan Howard, Chris Carson


  • Youngest member of the RSJ team. Boston sports and not much else. 0 for 2 closing the deal on Tinder dates. Venmo: @SeanKeegan

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