Fantasy Football Week 4: Buy and Sell Stock Report
It was a topsy-turvy Week 3 in the NFL, where tight ends ruled the roost and few things went as expected in the fantasy football realm.
What happened last week? Did the San Francisco 49ers have a freaky Friday switch with the Indianapolis Colts? Did Jake Locker channel Randall Cunningham? Why did the tight ends hog all the touchdowns?
Whatever the case may be, weeks like that happen every year. Move on and take advantage of some of the great prices you will find, especially with bye weeks already here.
This article is intended to reflect a "stock market" situation, where you will want to buy a player in a trade at a perceived bargain or sell him for a nice return.
Buy: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
The wheels came off for the Philadelphia Eagles last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, and quarterback Michael Vick vindicated his skeptics with a turnover-filled night.
But he still managed to score well in the fantasy realm, coming just shy of 18 standard points despite throwing just one touchdown. That's what his owners get thanks to those legs.
Perhaps his fantasy owner noticed and will keep the faith. Or perhaps his owner is panicking, expecting this to be the beginning of a downhill trend.
Sell: Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland Browns
Just like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects Brian Hoyer.
His huge performance against the Minnesota Vikings was about as likely as Hoyer throwing for three touchdowns in a winning effort on the road. But can you really buy into it?
For starters, head coach Rob Chudzinski was noncommittal after the game about Hoyer's hold on the starting gig. He said he would review the film and Brandon Weeden's health before making any decisions.
Meanwhile, Weeden was already cleared to practice this week. Even if he has lost his job, there is no telling whether he will have an opportunity to win it back sooner than later.
Then there is the little issue of Hoyer's talent, and whether or not this was an aberration in an otherwise lackluster career.
It's likely Hoyer wasn't on anybody's fantasy team before last week, but there are bigger fish to fry on the waiver wire.
Buy: Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco's loss ranked among the most shocking of the young season, and Colin Kaepernick's dud was just as surprising.
After all, the Colts aren't exactly world-beaters on offense—Terrelle Pryor rushed for 112 yards on them in Week 1, for Lombardi's sake—and the 49ers got off to a hot start on offense.
For some reason, San Francisco went away from the run despite Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter gashing the Colts. Kaepernick couldn't deliver through the air with his only reliable receiver being Anquan Boldin.
And there is the rub—the 49ers have been decimated by injuries.
In particular, Kaepernick's favorite tight end, Vernon Davis, was out with an injury. That might be one reason why the 49ers were in an offensive funk.
This marks two weeks in a row with poor performances from Kaepernick. The first was not unexpected in Seattle. This week's could make it easier to pry him loose from his fantasy owner.
Sell: Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders
Denarius Moore had a huge game against the Denver Broncos, and a lot of it didn't even come during garbage time.
The third-year receiver caught a long touchdown in the first half that cut Denver's lead to 10, a bit of a surprise given the Broncos were rolling. He wound up with six receptions for 124 yards, and he narrowly missed out on a second touchdown.
So why should you sell high on Moore? Well, what other No. 1 receiver puts up a goose egg against the Jacksonville Jaguars?
That's what Moore did in Week 2, a testament to his inconsistency. He has a great matchup against Washington this week, but Jacksonville was supposed to be a great matchup as well.
As Walter White would say, tread lightly.
Buy: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Things have quieted down in Arizona for receiver Larry Fitzgerald after an opening-week flourish from the stud receiver unlike any we saw last season.
That's because Fitzgerald has been nursing a hamstring injury that kept him out of the second half of Week 2 action and likely hampered him in Week 3. He also played against the New Orleans Saints, who suddenly have one of the better defensive units in the league if three-game sample sizes are to be believed.
The fact remains Fitzgerald is being heavily targeted when healthy—he has 25 targets despite missing that second half against the Detroit Lions—and he is one of the best receivers in the game. Carson Palmer is still an upgrade at quarterback, and Fitzgerald will get to 100 percent soon enough.
Sell: Robert Meachem, WR, New Orleans Saints
The prodigal son has returned, having left for greener pastures that wound up being a desolate landscape in sunny San Diego.
Receiver Robert Meachem's tenure with the Chargers was a brutal one. The speedy receiver couldn't get anything going with Philip Rivers there, to the point where San Diego cut him after one year of a four-year, $25.9 million deal he signed in 2012.
He's back to business in New Orleans, where he caught a touchdown pass last week. But his act is one we've seen before.
Meachem has always been a fantasy tease, scoring a touchdown here or there, typically on a long ball, enticing fantasy owners to draft him on upside every season before ultimately disappearing for half-seasons at a time.
Buy: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is trouble in Tampa Bay right now, but Martin has been quietly going about his business as the lead back. Unfortunately, the Bucs haven't been able to score many touchdowns yet.
Aside from a touchdown in Week 2 last season, Martin didn't do much until Week 7, when he began a three-week tear where he scored seven touchdowns.
It's unlikely he'll be scoring four touchdowns in a game anytime soon, but once Martin starts finding that end zone, it'll be curtains for your ability to trade for him.
Sell: Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets
Quietly, Stephen Hill is on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards. Would you have believed that was possible a month ago?
Hill does possess talent, but he won't be facing that hilariously bad Buffalo Bills secondary every week.
Buy: David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
Things have improved for running back David Wilson, but he and the New York Giants still had a nightmare game against the Carolina Panthers.
There were some encouraging signs for Wilson's fantasy value going forward, however. Namely, he got the most playing time out of the running backs in that offense—he had 26 offensive snaps to Da'Rel Scott's 21 and Brandon Jacobs' six, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
He also had a nice touchdown run to the outside called back on a holding penalty, something that will not show up on the stat sheets.
Wilson is obviously the best running back the Giants have. He provides the biggest upside to boot, and there is nothing to gain by benching him going forward. He will have a fantasy explosion one of these weeks, and you will never be able to trade for him after that.
Sell: Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers
The Giants are a sieve on defense, as evidenced by the 38-0 thrashing they received from the Panthers.
Brandon LaFell was a huge part of that thrashing, but it must be taken with a grain of salt given the blowout conditions in Carolina. LaFell's career high in touchdown receptions for a season is four.
He might be finally beginning to fulfill that potential playing across from Steve Smith, but it's a safer bet he will fall back into the fantasy shadows after his Week 3 supernova.
Buy: C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
Fantasy owners who bought into running back C.J. Spiller this offseason got a rude awakening through the first three weeks, especially with his most recent dud against the New York Jets.
Spiller surpassed 100 rushing yards in Week 2, but he hasn't had any real fantasy success, particularly after a 10-yard performance last week.
Since Spiller was likely a top-five pick in your league, it's reasonable to assume that owner is having a rough time. Send him or her some relief and get yourself Spiller on the cheap.
Sell: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Running back DeMarco Murray likes to play the St. Louis Rams.
The third-year running back now has 428 rushing yards and two touchdowns against St. Louis in just two career games. Career games, indeed.
Murray is, for all intents and purposes, the lead back in Dallas. But his injury history lends itself to worry over whether he can keep this up. Last season, he got off to a nice start before ruining many a fantasy owner's team with an injury that knocked him out for half the season.
The third-year back figures to be a big part of the Dallas Cowboys offense as long as he can stay healthy, so don't be surprised if he puts up some more big lines after you trade him away. But his value might be at its peak—the time to pull the trigger is now.