Week 1: Fantasy Stock Watch
In the stock market, you make money by buying low and selling high. A profitable trade occurs when you go against the grain. You buy low when the masses can't get out fast enough. You sell high when the stock is getting bid up in droves. You laugh in the face of momentum. Being on the right side of both transactions requires a forward-looking mentality and some luck.
Fantasy football is no different. In most cases, an out-of-character, explosive week is followed by a return to normalcy. Similarly, a surprisingly poor performance is often preceded by a bounce back-game. Sure, there will be anomalies where an extreme performance signifies a new value, but in most cases, the change in perception is overstated. The overreaction creates profitable trade opportunities for you.
Each week, this space will be devoted to analyzing the risers and fallers in fantasyland and how to react: Buy, Sell, or Hold.
This week, we look at the vibe of some players heading into the first weekend of games. We also have the benefit of being able to react to the opening-game dominance by the defending champion Seahawks.
Lynch is not big on cameras, but perhaps he's been reading his name in Fantasy Bust columns. Lynch looked in peak form Thursday with 110 yards and two TDs. He rewarded fantasy owners with 25 points. Sure, the Packers defensive line is decimated without B.J. Raji, but Lynch looked like anything but a bust. The Seahawks' running back may leap frog over RBs Gio Bernard, recent riser Doug Martin and even the concussed Eddie Lacy in high stakes drafts this weekend.
However, the basis for the preseason bust labels was not a product of Lynch's talent, but whether he can withstand another high-volume season after 403 touches in 2013. Lynch's value may not be higher at any point this season than now. If you have an owner in your league craving some Beast Mode, consider flipping Lynch for an elite receiver or one of the top four RBs. SELL
Expectations for Sanders are at an all-time high. Peyton Manning connected with Sanders for two long touchdowns in dress rehearsal week. Those connections alone got the attention of the fantasy community. But news of Wes Welker being suspended until Week 6 has owners valuing Sanders as a WR2 with enough upside for WR1 production. In fact, hearing Sanders' name called in Round 3 of fantasy drafts has become commonplace.
The skeptics will point out that Sanders' intended fit in the Broncos' offense was on the outside. Andre Caldwell and rookie Cody Latimerwill see snaps in the slot, but Sanders did spend time in the slot in Pittsburgh, so expect many personnel formations out of the Broncos. Still, assuming the Sanders can exceed Eric Decker's 2013 numbers is a stretch. Consider selling Sanders to an owner with his perceived value so high. SELL
Nobody questions Harvin's talent. A versatile threat, Harvin is a defensive coordinator's nightmare as he can be featured as a receiver and runner. The Seahawks will find creative ways to give Harvin the ball in space. Harvin's electrifying speed and amazing elusiveness makes him one of the elite players in the game. Drafted as a WR3, Harvin has the talent to be a high-end WR2.
The WR3 draft value is due to the frequency in which Harvin is off the field. He's played only 10 regular-season games the past two years, and as a Viking, he battled migraines that led to a seemingly weekly appearance as questionable on the injury report.
Last night, Harvin produced 17 fantasy points in PPR formats without scoring a touchdown, which implies that there should be even bigger weeks on the horizon. Stick with Harvin and wait for his value to rise further before considering a trade. HOLD
Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski shenanigans aside, no tight end has been talked about more in the past week than Ertz. Eagles coaches have been talking him up all summer and the hype has peaked leading into a favorable Week 1 matchup with the Jaguars. Ertz is not a trade candidate yet given the lack of a true market. Owners are likely overvaluing, and those on the side line are taking a wait-and-see approach. HOLD
With uncertainty surrounding Andre Ellington's foot, Dwyer's stock is rising. Fantasy players are advised to look for other options for Week 1, but Dwyer should be rostered if Ellington misses extended time. BUY
Superman is looking vulnerable these days. Newton has been gradually falling in drafts all summer primarily due to concerns about his receivers, but now there is real concern about whether his body will be ready for Tampa Bay this Sunday. If Newton plays, he will wear a protective jacket to protect his fractured ribs.
It's generally best practice to start your studs, but there are exceptions to the rule. In this case, benching Newton is justified. The lack of reps with his receivers aside, Newton will not be his normal self and likely refrain from running a lot. You also risk Newton leaving the game early if he takes a blow to those ribs.
With that said, do not panic for the long term. Newton will heal up and develop chemistry with his new receivers. Consider making a trade with an owner who is all doom and gloom on Newton. BUY
News this week of Spiller being used on kickoff returns has many fantasy owners regretting their decision to draft the Bills' running back. There were already concerns following the offense's inept preseason. And of course, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brownfigure to factor into the game plan given the concerns at quarterback. There isn't much of a buyer's market here, so hold onto Spiller. Hope for a big start out of the explosive back against a Bears defense that was worst in the league at stopping the run in 2013. HOLD
What to do with Wes? He has no value for the first month of the season and by the time he comes back, Sanders, Latimer, and Caldwell may have clearly defined roles. Plus, let us not forget that he has suffered three concussions in less than 10 months. If you can trade Welker for a viable fantasy starter like Andrew Hawkins or Greg Jennings, pull the trigger. SELL
The pulse of the fantasy community this week has been decisively negative on Wallace. Many drafted him as a WR3, but the opening-week matchup versus Darrelle Revis and the Patriots has owners looking for alternative options. While that's fine for now, Wallace will face softer defenses throughout the year. BUY