And just like that, week one of the 2017 season has come and gone (other than the two Monday night games this evening). Every year the injury bug rears its ugly head and we lose players for the year. First and foremost, I wish a speedy recovery to all the players that got injured.
The worst thing fantasy owners can do is overreact after one week. The NFL season is not a large sample size to begin with compared to other sports but we need to assess what we see week-to-week. Coming into this season, fantasy owners had questions about certain teams. We were not sure how players would be implemented into their respective game plans. Week one has offered us a glimpse into what we MAY come to expect throughout the season. With that being said there are a some players we need to try to acquire while their price tag is cheap. As well, there are others that we can let go of or try to trade away and gain as much value as possible.
Below, I will list a handful of players that fantasy owners need to buy low or sell high.
Buy: Jordan Howard & Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
I am still buying Jordan Howard. Everyone will be focused on Tarik Cohen so you may be able get Howard at a discount. Howard is not a bad running back. He had a solid week 1 (outside of the bad drop at the goal line that cost his team an opening week victory) rushing 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. Howard lacks the electric speed and catching ability Cohen does, but Howard will still offer fantasy production as the short yardage and goal line back. The Bears would be wise to find ways to incorporate both, maybe have Cohen replicate what the Chiefs do with Tyreek Hill. Cohen was drafted in the fourth round as a change of pace back behind Howard. Being only 5’6’’ 179 lbs Cohen is not built to take a full work load. I wish I could say buy low on Tarik Cohen but I doubt you would be able to. He had 12 targets yesterday as the Bears don’t have anyone else to throw to losing Cam Meredith and Kevin White. Take advantage of people loving the rookie buzz and buy low on Jordan Howard because both backs will offer value. Week to week Cohen will offer a higher ceiling, Howard will offer a higher floor.
Buy: Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Austin Hooper had a slight coming out party in the Super Bowl this past February where he had 3 catches for 32 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots. He seems to be the check down option for Matt Ryan. At 6’4’’ 254 lbs Hooper is a big bodied tight end that can catch and run (4.72 sec 40 yd dash). Hooper ended week 1 with 2 receptions for 128 yards and 1 touchdown. His long touchdown will not a be common theme week to week, but go back and watch that clip. He broke multiple tackles and displayed a fantastic stiff arm ability. The dude runs hard and enjoys running through defensive players. With teams needing to focus on covering Julio and stopping the run game, Hooper will continue seeing targets.
Buy: Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
According to Fantasy Labs, Paul Richardson out snapped Tyler Lockett 41-26. Richardson showed towards the end of the season last year that he can be depended on. I am buying the number 2 wide out in Seattle all day. Standing 6 feet 183 lbs he offers a bigger frame outside than Lockett does. He tied Jimmy Graham with 7 targets yesterday. The Seahawks seem to be happy allowing Lockett to focus on returning kicks as he still continues to fully recover from his broken leg injury late last year. My only caution is to keep an eye on Seattle’s offensive line, they were destroyed yesterday. If they can figure out a way to shore up the line, Richardson will return great value.
Buy: Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
Evan Engram was an absolute beast playing at Ole Miss last year. He is a wide receiver trapped in a tight end’s body. At 6’3 240 lbs he moves like a polished wide out. Buy Engram while you have the chance. The Giants have zero run game, and Eli Manning does not look like he has the arm strength he once did. All this adds up to Eli targeting Engram in the underneath routes. Look for Engram, and buy now.
Buy: George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
If you paid attention to training camp reports out of San Francisco you would hear the glowing reviews about the rookie tight end out of Iowa, George Kittle. You also would have heard how new head coach Kyle Shannahan and General Manager John Lynch disliked Vance McDonald’s bloated contract from the previous regime. Head coach got what he wanted and Vance McDonald was traded to the Steelers making Kittle the starting tight end. Kittle is a very athletic all around solid player. He was dealing with an injury late in the preseason but played week 1 and had 5 catches on 6 targets for 27 yards. San Fran should be throwing plenty this year trying to play catch up. As injuries pile up keep an eye on Kittle. As he gets more comfortable with his new team he may end up being a steal.
Sell High: Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
Marvin Jones started 2016 on a positive note. He may be doing the same thing again this year as he scored yesterday while catching 2 balls for 37 yards. However; I’m not buying Jones this year. In fact since he scored week 1, I would try to sell him now. I believe the Lions have plenty of other play makers on their team this year that will see more targets than Jones. Rookie Kenny Golladay (BUY BUY BUY!!!) put on a show in the second half of yesterday’s game securing 4 catches for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns. PPR machine Golden Tate had another 100 yard receiving game. Everyone knows what Theo Riddick offers as he gets a handful of targets every game and he scored a touchdown as well. Eric Ebron is in his third year and should see an uptick in usage. I think Marvin Jones is a decent receiver, but he is going to be terribly inconsistent week to week (just like last year).
Sell High: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
This next guy hurts me to say, but I am selling high on Larry Fitzgerald. The future hall of famer has been the definition of consistent the past few years. He started 2016 off with a bang and performed great for the first 10 weeks of the season. But over the last 7 games Fitz only scored in the top 15 receivers once. At his age a full season took its toll. This year, I imagine something similar happening. He should see solid usage (especially if David Johnson misses extended time) for the next couple months, but beyond that he may see a decline. Hold on to Fitz for a couple more weeks then sell high.
Sell High: Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
After finding out Jordan Reed is playing with a fractured toe, I want nothing to do with the mega talented Reed. I am a huge Jordan Reed fan, and I believe he is one of the best tight ends in the game, but his ability to stay healthy is a major concern for our fake game we all obsess over. Injuries are part of football, and unfortunately Reed has a history of multiple concussions as well as a slew of other injuries. Jordan Reed, I wish you the best this year and hope you stay healthy because you are fun to cheer for. Unfortunately, I will not be owning you anywhere on my rosters.
Sell High: Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore has been a gridiron warrior for the past 12 years. With the uncertainty of when Andrew Luck will be back (doesn’t sound like anytime soon) I am selling Frank Gore. The Colts did not look good yesterday, and I don’t see a whole lot changing without Andrew Luck. They drafted Marlon Mack in the fourth round out of South Florida to eventually replace the steady vet. Mack looked solid yesterday, and the Colts are going to need to see what they have in the young rookie. He has size and speed and can catch out of the backfield. Look for Mack to earn more playing time. And hope Andrew Luck comes back soon.
Other players to buy (may not be able to find them at a discount)
1. Kareem Hunt RB Chiefs
2. Javorious Allen RB Ravens
3. Kenny Golladay WR Lions
4. Corey Davis WR Titans
5. Cooper Kupp WR Rams
Other players to sell (may not get the value you would like)
1. Todd Gurley RB St. Louis err Los Angeles Rams
2. Carson Palmer QB Arizona Cardinals
3. Eddie Lacy RB Seattle Seahawks
4. Brandon Marshall WR Giants
5. Paul Perkins RB Giants