Week 9 Buys and Sells

Updated: October 30th 2019

The fantasy football world is full of buy/sell articles.  What are we actually looking at when those recommendations are made though?  First and foremost examine the fundamentals which dictate if fantasy stats are sustainable.  Is a quarterback’s efficiency corresponding to his touchdown rate?  Does a receiver collect enough targets to reliably post strong receiving totals?  Will a running back’s offense and usage consistently support fantasy output?  Another key consideration concerns changing situations.  When is a player expected back from injury or suspension?  Will another player possibly usurp usage from another?  While we can’t review every player, this and future articles during the season will give the reader a few potential buys and sells to get ready for future weeks.  Rankings are based off four touchdown passing PPR leagues.

Quarterback

Buy: Sam Darnold, QB34

We can classify Darnold’s recent play as disastrous.  Seven interceptions in the last two games and eight sacks last week has Darnold “seeing ghosts”.  He averages less than nine fantasy points per game so far this season which is less than a typical flex-type running back.  The surrounding situation also works against Darnold.  Many consider head coach Adam Gase one of the worst in the league and the Jets boast an awful offensive line to match.

So why take a chance on the Jets’ starting quarterback? We must remember Darnold is only 22 years old with only 17 games played so far due to injuries and sickness over his first two seasons.  This provides lots of room for growth as a quarterback going forward.  The youngster plays most of the bottom-level defenses in the NFL over the next six weeks including Miami twice, the Giants, Oakland, and Cincinnati.  This is buying Darnold at near basement-level with an upcoming schedule which could produce a big spike in his production.  Take the plunge on a player likely with a rookie RSO contract at a rock-bottom trade cost.

Sell: Phillip Rivers, QB16

2019 is a lot like River’s other seasons during his career.   He is among the the league leaders in passing yardage, stays healthy, and doesn’t add anything in the running game which makes for a solid QB2 or streaming option in fantasy leagues.  Rivers never really relied on arm strength but the lack of zip on his throws becomes more noticeable every year.  He is only signed through 2019 and at the age where retirement is a real possibility.  Rivers upcoming schedule also does him no favors.  Other than a couple of contests against the Raiders, he will not be a quarterback you will be excited about using in fantasy for the rest of the year.  Rivers has been one of the most consistently good quarterbacks in the NFL but it is time to sell him in fantasy leagues where he has value.

Running Back

Buy: Alvin Kamara, RB14

The Saints’ star running back has been excellent once again in 2019.  Kamara’s passing game usage is right in line with previous seasons and his rushing workload pace topped those first two years.  Touchdown regression hit him hard this season with only two scores to his name so far.  This accounts for Kamara’s somewhat down, but still excellent, RB8 per game scoring ranking.  Kamara is the de facto WR2 on a New Orleans team without much behind Michael Thomas making him virtually matchup proof and game script independent.

Latavius Murray exploded the last two weeks in Kamara’s absence scoring 32 and 36 points.  Certain owners might be in a pinch with New Orleans’ bye coming up and Murray’s performance without Kamara may foster concerns about some decrease in Kamara’s usage going forward.  These concerns might open a slight buying window to try and acquire the superstar running back.

Sell: Sony Michel, RB22

Michel was a buy earlier this year largely thanks to the schedule.  He rewarded those fantasy owners with solid weekly production due in part to lots of scoring chances.  It is time to move on for a variety of reasons.  Michel remains one of the least dynamic backs in the NFL ranking among the lowest in forcing missed tackles.  The Patriots do not utilize him in the passing game with only six receptions the entire season.  The New England offensive line is not dominating the line of scrimmage as in previous years.  Rex Burkhead returned to the lineup from injury in a limited fashion this week.  He gathered over ten touches per game before his injury with more diverse usage in the passing game than Michel.  His reps will only increase as the season goes on taking snaps from Michel.  New England’s upcoming schedule features games with much more competitive teams which will also limit Michel’s touches.

Wide Receiver

Buy: Robby Anderson, WR64

As usual, I like buying wide receivers for many of the same reasons as quarterbacks. Anderson’s price in many leagues will be about the same as a rock you found by side of the road.  The heavy part of New York’s season is over.  The Jets have a fantastic finishing schedule for the passing game.  Anderson showed big-game potential with Darnold to finish last season.  Look for some more down the stretch from the speedster this year.  He could be an excellent WR4 down the stretch.

Sell: Courtland Sutton, WR13

We have witnessed the second year breakout from Sutton many were hoping for.  The former SMU star has been the model of consistency with at least 62 yards and 4 receptions in all but one game for each.  The situation appears very murky now.  Denver is now faced with the prospect of playing an undrafted free agent quarterback who has never thrown an NFL pass , or eventually a developmental rookie quarterback coming off injured reserve whose own coaching staff said was “not a quarterback yet”, all behind one of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines in the game.  Sutton is likely on a rookie deal in your RSO leagues with years left on his contract so don’t panic trade.  Understand, though, you can’t expect the same kind of game to game consistency you saw earlier this season going forward.

Tight End

Buy: Greg Olsen, TE11

Olsen predictably started slowly coming back from injury.  He looks better now but not up to the standards we are used to. Olsen ranks ninth in targets and tenth in receptions among tight ends.  Carolina’s bye is out of the way and the schedule does not have any team left which would cause you to bench Olsen.  You should understand this is not the same Olsen as in the past and the quarterback situation is not great no matter who starts for Carolina.  He does provide a relatively steady performer at the position and should come at a fairly cheap cost.

Sell: Austin Hooper, TE1

Practically no one predicted this.  Hooper emerged as the overall TE1 over the first half the season with an 84% catch rate and a 100 reception pace.  Atlanta performed far worse than expected with one of the bottom passing defenses in the league. This led to early negative game scripts throughout the mid-point of the season resulting in the most passing attempts in the NFL so far.  Negative game scripts likely remain for Atlanta but the competition changes drastically.  The Falcons faced a pass-friendly schedule so far in the season.  The remaining schedule ranks among the worst for passing offenses.  Look for both decreased volume and effectiveness from Hooper over the second half of the year.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

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