2019 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 6 Buy Low, Sell High - Roto Street Journal
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2019 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 6 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

Jamison Crowder

(Week 5: 3 PPR points; 2019 WR60)

After exploding for 14 catches for 99 yards in Week 1, Jamison Crowder has been extremely quiet since. In that span, he’s hauled in just 8 of 14 targets for 75 yards and 0 TDs, averaging about 5 PPR points per game. Yuck — it’s NEVER good when a guy’s stats from 1 game are better than his next 3 combined. Fortunately for Crowder owners, his savior is returning in the form of a mono-free Sam Darnold. Darnold is officially active for the Jets’ Week 6 game against Dallas, and seeing as Crowder’s Week 1 eruption was coincidentally the only game he’s played with Darnold in 2019, the young QB’s return could be exactly what Crowder needs to return to fantasy relevance.

Crowder’s immediate upcoming schedule isn’t exactly ideal — Weeks 6 and 7 bring the Cowboys and the Patriots, who are the #3 and #1 teams at limiting WR production respectively. After that, however, it gets juicy:

For 5 straight weeks, Crowder and the Jets won’t play a single team that’s in the top half of the league in slowing opposing WRs. This makes now the perfect time to pull the trigger on a low-profile move for Crowder, stash him through the tough matchups, and unleash him at the perfect time as you make your playoff push.

David Montgomery 

(Week 5: 10.6 PPR points; 2019 RB28)

After a hype-filled preseason that shot his ADP up as high as the early 3rd round, Bears rookie David Montgomery has been a bit of a disappointment so far. His workload has been wildly inconsistent, with his touches ranging from 7 to 24 and everything in between, which has made it difficult for the young back to get into any sort of rhythm in what’s been a mediocre-at-best offense this season. Even when he’s gotten touches, however, he hasn’t taken advantage, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and adding in only 9 receptions in the passing game. As the Bears enter their bye week, Montgomery’s stock may be as low as it’s been — which is why now is the time to grab him.

After the bye week, the Bears’ next 3 matchups are with New Orleans (7th-best against opposing RBs), the Chargers (middle of the pack), and Philly (5th-best). Not ideal — but much like Jamison Crowder, Montgomery’s schedule makes a turn at the perfect time. From Weeks 10 to 16, he’ll face 7 straight defenses that are in the bottom half of the league in terms of slowing down opposing RBs. Mitch Trubisky should also be back and fully healthy by this time, which will add another helpful piece to Chicago’s offense heading into the homestretch. Ultimately, Montgomery doesn’t have much competition for carries — Tarik Cohen has similar snap numbers but has just 17 rushing attempts all year, and Mike Davis has been on the field for just 5 snaps over the past 3 weeks. At this point he just needs to turn his opportunities into production, and with his value where it currently is, now may be the best time to take the chance that he can do exactly that.

Damien Williams 

(Week 5: 6.8 PPR points; 2019 RB43)

Much like Jamison Crowder, Damien Williams has struggled with consistency after a stellar Week 1 showing. He was injured during Week 2 and missed the next 2 games as well, and in Week 5 against the Colts rushed just 9 times for 23 yards and tacked on 3 receptions for 15 more. LeSean McCoy thrived in Williams’ absence, averaging 20 PPR points per game over Weeks 3 and 4, but was a non-factor in Week 5 after an early fumble and finished the game with 0 carries and just 2 receptions. Factor in the presence of Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams and it’s difficult to get any clarity in KC’s crowded backfield. The key to this one is not overthinking.

Williams — Damien, that is — should be and will be Kansas City’s #1 guy, and his role will only continue to increase as he returns to full health. Shady isn’t going to just disappear, but as long as he holds footballs like a germaphobe holds a bag of dog crap, fumbles like his costly one Sunday night will continue — and head coach Andy Reid has a historically short leash when it comes to fumbling the football. Williams has undoubtedly the higher floor of the two, and is entering possibly the most generous part of his remaining schedule with a big matchup against Houston, which should be a shootout, followed by Denver and Green Bay, who are both in the bottom 6 in the league in slowing opposing RBs. There are a lot of moving parts here, but again, don’t overthink it — he’s the lead RB in an Andy Reid-led offense that scores in bunches. If you can get him for cheap, do it.

Honorable mention: Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Ronald Jones II

Sell High

Devonta Freeman

(Week 5: 18 PPR points; 2019 RB20)

The Falcons may have lost to Houston on Sunday, but their offense actually looked in sync for possibly the first time all season long. Matt Ryan threw for 330 yards and 3 TDs, and while the running game wasn’t exactly the emphasis of the day in a game where 85 total points were scored, Devonta Freeman still managed to tie his top fantasy output for the season. But while his numbers put him in the top 15 RBs for the week, they’re deceptively bad — he only carried the ball 11 times for 30 yards, and caught 5 passes for 40 yards, with a receiving TD saving him from what would’ve been just a 12-point afternoon. That being said, you undoubtedly have some guys in your league that only look at the final point tally, and those are the guys to target here.

A few factors make me timid about Freeman moving forward. Freeman’s snaps and touches have steadily been decreasing over the past few weeks, while backfield-mate Ito Smith‘s have shot upwards. As Atlanta’s backfield moves closer and closer into committee territory, Freeman’s usage and overall output will only continue to fall. His remaining schedule also does him no favors — of Atlanta’s 11 remaining games, 9 will be against teams that are in the top half of the league in stopping opposing RBs. It’s really pretty simple: 2 consecutive RB1 showings + decreasing workload + daunting upcoming schedule = sell. ASAP.

Courtland Sutton

(Week 5: 19.2 PPR points; 2019 WR10)

While veteran teammate and 2-time Pro Bowler Emmanuel Sanders has seen his numbers shoot downward in recent weeks, Courtland Sutton has emerged as a legit option in Denver with 84 PPR points through 5 weeks. He’s managed to put together a strong start despite finding himself in an offense led by Joe Flacco, which, as we know, can be a black hole when it comes to fantasy production. There have even been rumors that Sanders may be traded before this month’s deadline, which would undoubtedly provide a bump to his other teammates in his absence. But despite all this, I’m not sold on the 2nd-round pick out of SMU.

No matter who is at QB, Denver is built to be a run-first, defense-reliant team. It’s what’s allowed them to win games and stay relevant despite employing QBs like Case Keenum, Trevor Semian, and the corpse of Peyton Manning. WR production is not their top priority, and it leads me to believe Sutton is going to come back down to Earth eventually. And his remaining schedule isn’t promising, either — his next 7 matchups, and 9 of his final 11, are against teams in the top half of the league in stopping opposing WRs. Phillip Lindsay is back to pacing the offense on the ground, and you’re only to get so much production from a WR when his offense is scoring just 18 points per game and his QB has fewer TD passes than Mason Rudolph. Bottom line is, Sutton isn’t going to keep producing like the late-round steal he’s appeared to be. Throw some trade offers out and get something for him while you can.

Melvin Gordon

(Week 5: 7.8 PPR points; 2019 RB85)

This is definitely a weird one, since Melvin Gordon obviously missed Weeks 1-4 while holding out for a new contract, then returned with his tail between his legs to put up a measly 7.8 PPR points in his first game back. He rushed 12 times for 31 yards and caught 4 of his 6 targets for just 7 yards, while teammate Austin Ekeler continued his incredible 2019, setting season high marks with 16 targets and 15 receptions and finishing with 93 total yards and 22.3 PPR points on the afternoon. Logic says that moving forward, Gordon will gradually increase his workload in the running game and Ekeler will return to a pass-first role in LA’s backfield, but whether this is the case or not may not even matter.

Gordon didn’t look particularly explosive against Denver on Sunday, appearing to show some signs of rust after his long hiatus. I personally believe it’s possible that in the middle of his months of contract drama, we forgot that Gordon has just one 1,000-yard season in his career and has never finished higher than 7th in the league in rushing. He’s talented, sure, but he’s also not immune to struggling to put up crooked numbers after a 10-month break from game action. His schedule isn’t doing him any favors, either, with 4 of his next 5 opponents boasting average-to-strong run defenses. It’s a tough pill to swallow to trade a guy you likely used an early pick on and have been waiting around for, but what you can get for Gordon now while his name still holds value is much better than what I anticipate you’ll get from him for the remainder of the season.

Honorable mention: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darius Slayton, Tyler Boyd

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