Buy Low/Sell High: Week 4
September 28, 2016 | Matt Terelle
Welcome to our weekly edition of Buy Low/Sell High. The skilled fantasy owner should be using trades to his or her advantage on a weekly basis, treating the trade market like stocks on Wall Street. One way to do this is to acquire players coming off of slow performances who you think have a good chance at bouncing back. At the same time, you should be looking to deal away players coming off of big performances that you think were a fluke and unlikely to continue throughout the season. Generally, making trades after Week 1 is a bit of an overreaction as it would be better to wait for a three or four-week sample, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth listening to offers. Let’s get going with whom we should be looking to buy and sell for Week 4!
Carson Palmer (QB) – Arizona Cardinals
Living the fantasy life can be an excruciating ordeal. Last week, Palmer owners were feeling great after he roasted the Buccaneers for 308 passing yards and three touchdowns, putting the game so far out of reach that he finished it on the sidelines in a ball cap. In Week 3, things weren’t so rosy as Palmer threw four interceptions against the Bills. Now it can’t feel great for the Palmer owner to click the box next to his name when setting lineups. Use that uncertainty to your advantage. Those who drafted quarterbacks such as Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, or Kirk Cousins, as well as quarterback streamers, should take note. The Cardinals offense has proven to be explosive when it is clicking and it’s simply too early in the season to assume they won’t fix their issues. A home matchup against a Rams defense that Palmer topped 300 yards against in both meetings last season should help him get right.
DeAngelo Williams (RB) – Pittsburgh Steelers
Well, that was fun while it lasted. Williams will be taking a backseat starting in Week 4 as star runner Le’Veon Bell will be returning as the team’s lead back. That leaves Williams with next to no value…or does it? I’m actually of the mindset to try to acquire Williams on the cheap for a few reasons. First, there’s a chance he remains moderately involved in the Steelers’ offense going forward. Williams has been an absolute stud since taking over for Bell back in Week 9 of last season and there were reports of Ben Roethlisberger saying that they would be using both backs on the field at the same time in some packages. Second, Bell hasn’t exactly proven to be durable over his career. In what is now his fourth season, Bell has suffered two knee injuries, a foot injury, and a concussion. There’s a strong chance he doesn’t last the season and if so, you are going to want Williams around. Don’t trade away anything too valuable to get him, but if you can get him as a throw-in as part of a larger deal, that would be ideal.
Jeremy Maclin (WR) – Kansas City Chiefs
Maclin has put up pedestrian numbers through the first three weeks of the season, hauling in just 15-of-29 targets for 166 yards and one touchdown. Those are hardly the numbers fantasy owners envisioned when they made Maclin their WR2 in fantasy drafts this summer. Maclin has now squared off against tough corner Jason Verrett in Week 1 and a Houston secondary ranked seventh in DVOA by Football Outsiders. Maclin’s Week 3 performance can be attributed to a game script which was negative for Kansas City’s passing game. With Ryan Fitzpatrick handing out interceptions with extreme generosity and the Jets offense playing poorly, the Chiefs didn’t need to open up their offense. Either way, Maclin is the clear cut WR1 on a team without a true secondary option on the outside. He will continue to see the lion’s share of the targets, as evidenced by him averaging just under 10 per game thus far. Better days are surely ahead for him.
Matt Ryan (QB) – Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has been amazing to start the year, ringing up three straight terrific performances and currently ranking as the second-highest scoring quarterback in fantasy, just behind Drew Brees. All that is quite pleasing considering Ryan was drafted in the late rounds or picked up on waivers, but keep in mind that Ryan has had three cake matchups so far, taking on the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Saints. All three of those teams currently rank 25th or lower in DVOA against the pass. Chances are if you have Ryan on your roster he was drafted as a backup to your starter. Provided you feel comfortable with the other quarterback on your roster, it may be time to see what you can get for him. For what it’s worth, after Week 4’s tilt with Carolina, brutal road matchups with Denver and Seattle await him in Weeks 5 and 6.
Jeremy Hill (RB) – Cincinnati Bengals
Hill, surprisingly, busted out in a big way against the Broncos in Week 3. The third-year running back rolled up 97 yards and two touchdowns for the Bengals, although he likely did it on most of his fantasy owners’ benches. There are a few things to keep in mind with Hill. First, he broke off a 50-yard run on the team’s first possession of the game. Factor that out and he gained just 47 yards on 16 carries last week. Second, the Broncos’ run defense hasn’t been all that stout this season, ranking 30th in DVOA so far. Sure, he’s going to fall into some touchdowns as he’s the Bengals’ goal line back, but as a non-factor in the passing game, he’s not going to be much help when he doesn’t score. The Bengals backfield has been divided up pretty evenly through the first three weeks of the season and that isn’t going to change, barring injury. If it’s me I’d be looking to capitalize on the big Week 3 out of Hill, pointing to the fact it came against the vaunted Broncos defense, before your leaguemates figure out the holes in Denver’s run stopping unit.
Terrelle Pryor (WR) – Cleveland Browns
Pryor is coming off an amazing game. He couldn’t be stopped anywhere on the field, going off for eight catches and 144 yards while also scoring a rushing touchdown out of the wild cat. This isn’t to knock Pryor’s talent as he looks smooth in the passing game and has been targeted heavily by whoever is throwing the ball for the Browns. Just keep in mind that Pryor’s big game came against a weak Miami secondary where Pryor was really Cody Kessler’s only option in the passing game. Josh Gordon is due to return to the fold in Week 5 and Corey Coleman could be back as soon as Week 7, meaning there will be a lot of mouths to feed in Cleveland’s passing game sooner rather than later. The Browns have a terrible offensive line and are expected to keep Kessler in the starting lineup for the next few weeks at least. In all, the situation in Cleveland isn’t exactly a recipe for fantasy success in the long run.(UPDATE: Now with Josh Gordon not returning to the team, Pryor is a hold.)