NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 4 Fantasy Football Buy or Sell: Black Friday Pricing for Aaron Rodgers 

We have just completed the third week of the National Football League season, so we now have the beginnings of a meaningful sample size. If a player had diverse performances in Week One and Week Two, his Week Three performance can be considered representative. Of course, that’s still not statistically sound, but it’s more than we’ve been able to go on before, so we can be a little bit more confident.

Each offensive position has two Buy and two Sell candidates:

Buy High: Get him now, the secret is out. He’s producing and it’s sustainable.

Buy Low: Keep the Faith. He’s had a rough start, but will find his form shortly.

Sell High: He’s peaked. Trade him now.

Sell Low: Cut bait. Stick a fork in him. Get him off your roster.

With that, it’s on to the week 4 Buy or Sell fantasy football advice column:


Buy High: Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans – No, he’s not an elite option – but it’s time to respect what he can do, and that includes taking care of the football and scrambling for yards. He only has three touchdown passes, but has not thrown a pick this season, and last week was by far his best effort. The schedule gets brutal after this, but the Titans look committed to the dink-and-dunk style that will keep them out of trouble. He’s still no QB1, but will be a capable buy-week fill-in if you’re allergic to risk. Plus he’s good for an extra two or three points on the ground.

Buy Low: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – Discount Double Check had his worst game in recent memory last week, and the Packers have the early Week 4 bye for him to stew about it. If there was ever a chance to get Rodgers for less than a premium, now is it. He has maybe one tough road defense left on the schedule (Week 6 in Baltimore), and that’s it – the rest of the lineup is poor defenses or home games.

Sell High: Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns – Show me a pundit who predicted 321 yards, three TDs, and a win last week, and I’ll show you a filthy liar who’s trying to back-date his posts. Hoyer has absolutely earned another shot, even with three interceptions, but up next is a Cincinnati defense that just made Aaron Rodgers look bad. Hoyer’s ascent recalls memories of Derek Anderson, which says all you need to know. It was a good win last week, but the Vikings look like a disaster area this season.

Sell Low: Matt Schaub, Houston Texans – Schaub and the Texans always seem to have to prove themselves – and they always seem to fail. The Ravens haunted him last week, and the upcoming schedule pits them against Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis and Kansas City before a bye – not the time to buy in on him.

Running Back

Buy High: Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens – Even when Ray Rice was healthy, Pierce was vulturing touchdowns and stealing snaps. Now that Rice is hurt, Pierce has shown he can handle full-time work, and he’ll continue to split touches with Rice when he comes back. Pierce is a strong RB2 play right now.

Buy Low: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Martin has only found the end zone once all season, and his 4.4 yards per carry were wasted in a Beantown beatdown. The Bucs still have a talented receiving corps, though, so teams can’t totally stack the box against him. Once anyone but Josh Freeman takes over at QB, Martin will find the touches he needs to make an impact again.

Sell High: Alfonso Smith, Arizona Cardinals – He got into the end zone last week, but the Cards are committed to the running back committee, and the offense is too air-oriented to produce a fantasy-worthy back right now. Feel free to put Smith on your watch list, but no more.

Sell Low: Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers – He’s probably the best blocking back in Pittsburgh, which helps because of their terrible offensive line, but Dwyer won’t see enough regular touches to warrant fantasy consideration. Once Le’Veon Bell returns, Dwyer will be worth even less.

Wide Receiver

Buy High: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers – He obviously peaked last week, with an awesome 196 yards and two TDs on nine receptions, but Brown is still clearly option Number One for Big Ben. As long as the Steelers struggle to run the ball, and Emmanuel Sanders is the only other legitimate receiving threat, Brown will be a safe play.

Buy Low: Victor Cruz, New York Giants – The Giants *probably* hit rock bottom last week. Next week’s matchup in Kansas City is not great due to their pass rush, but the Chiefs are unlikely to keep Cruz covered all game. He’s still worth that high pick you used on him.

Sell High: Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina Panthers – Ginn is definitely a deep threat, and should be rostered in leagues that count return yardage, but he’s still the Number Four option in the Carolina offense, and no one can be guaranteed to break a long play every single week. Until he starts seeing a higher quantity of targets, stay away.

Sell Low: Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens – Brown was a trendy pickup when Jacoby Jones went down with an injury, but he was a complete non-factor last week. As long as the Ravens have Torrey Smith and a fantastic running game, Brown will be a risky proposition.

Tight End

Buy High: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers – Believe it or not, Gates is now the Bolts’ healthiest receiver. His mediocre line was buoyed by a TD last week, and the upcoming schedule is hardly imposing. King Laserface will rely on his old Lancelot once more.

Buy Low: Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams – His Week One performance sure looks like a fluke now, and he’s got a tough matchup versus San Fran this week, but Cook is still a major part of the Rams’ passing game, especially with so much uncertainty at wide receiver. He’ll rebound versus Jacksonville in Week Five. I had him as a Buy High candidate after Week One, and will stick to my “buy” recommendation on him.

Sell High: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills – Chandler has seen six targets in each game so far, but only his Week Three performance was any good. With rookie QB E.J. Manuel still figuring out who his best options are, Chandler can be a steady fill-in but shouldn’t be counted on as your TE1.

Sell Low: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph has the trust of QB Christian Ponder, but considering Ponder is terrible, will be benched soon, and the Vikes should be handing the ball to Purple Jesus 40 times a game, Rudolph does not have fantasy value.

Defense/Special Teams

Buy Low: Cleveland Browns – Yes, you read that correctly. The Browns have been much better on defense than anyone has given them credit for, racking up 12 sacks on the year and even keeping Purple Jesus to 3.5 yards-per-carry last week! Up next are home dates with Cincy and Buffalo, teams that can move the ball but whose offenses are hardly dynamic. The Browns can be a safe fill-in or streaming play going forward.

Sell High: Chicago Bears – The D has looked solid, but they haven’t been playing against great offenses, and they’ve now lost Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton for the season due to an ACL tear. IDP fantasy players should immediately downgrade defensive ends Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton, too, as they’ll be subject to the double-teams Melton used to get. At Detroit and versus New Orleans will turn the Midway Monsters into baby cubs.


Buy High: Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs – Houston had three sacks in Week One, and then last week took down Michael Vick in Philly 4.5 times. He also knocked down three passes, forced a fumble, and recovered two more, to go with six tackles. While that obviously looks like his peak, KC’s upcoming schedule should have you salivating: vs. NYG, @TEN, vs. OAK, vs. HOU, vs. CLE, @BUF. Get all Chiefs you can in IDP.

Sell Low: Bjoern Werner, Indianapolis Colts – A first-round pick, Werner is still spending Sundays sitting on the bench. The Colts defense is trending upward after a rough start, and Werner doesn’t look to be part of it. Unless you’re in a deep IDP dynasty league (or you have roster space to stash him for later), you can ignore him.

About the author: Jonathan Pollak

Jonathan Pollak has finally given in and started utilizing the internet to rant about football. He has been playing fantasy sports since a pencil, paper, and newspaper box scores were needed to calculate stats. His earliest and fondest memories are of Lawrence Taylor hurting people.

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