It feels early, but if you’re not thinking about the playoffs by this point, you’re late to the party. Your season is basically halfway over, and while the best fantasy teams have begun to separate themselves, there are still plenty of owners sitting on the bubble. If you’re one of those teams on the bubble, you likely need some help through the waiver wire or the trading block to put you over the edge.
The NFL changes so much from week to week, that it’s hard to drown out the white noise, and decide which players are deserving of a serious look, and which ones are just a flash in the pan.
That’s why I’m here to help. My weekly Buy/Sell posts will help you decide which players will stick going forward, and which are flukes. The name of the game is value, so if you can buy low and sell high, you’ll be set up to win your league.
A lot happened over this weekend. As always, last week’s events have fantasy implications for next week’s lineups. A season ending injury will help one teammate while hurting another, a QB’s monster game will raise one of his targets’ stock, and an incredibly easy stretch of the schedule turns an average defense into a must-add:
Here’s our week 7 Buy/Sell:
Let’s start with Victor Cruz’s injury.
Buy: Larry Donnell – TE – NYG: With Cruz out, the Giants lack an impact receiver. Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle will receive increased roles, but they’ll also see increased attention from the opponent’s secondary, now that they don’t need to focus on Victor Cruz. Donnell, should get more looks from Eli Manning, but shouldn’t see much of a change in coverage schemes, aside from the occasional safety keeping tabs on him. I’d look for Donnell to see 2-3 more targets per game.
Sell: Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – NYG: Beckham Jr. is a hot commodity right now. He’s going to take over for Victor Cruz, and should certainly absorb some of Cruz’s targets. But is taking over the #1 spot really the best thing for this rookie? Now he’s suddenly going to be facing number 1 corners and possibly some double teams. I’m not sold that Beckham can handle the jump from Cruz’s shadow to Cruz’s shoes, and I’d sell him before the “Beckham will be the #1 guy” story wears off.
Sell: Rueben Randle – WR – NYG: Randle will not be taking over the Giants’ top wideout vacancy, but without Cruz, he’ll see more double teams and tougher coverages. I don’t expect his role to change much, but he’ll still have to deal with tougher defenses. I’d flip Randle to somebody with elevated expectations. Possibly to somebody that just lost Cruz.
What about the other side of the ball?
Buy: Cleveland Defense: The Browns defense has done just fine so far, but they’ve got a 3 game stretch coming up that makes them a must add. They play the Jaguars, Raiders, and Buccaneers with their next three games. Those first two teams are the lowest scoring of any team in the league, and the Bucs aren’t much better, averaging just 20 points per game, as the 8th lowest scoring team in the NFL. Add them this weekend like a Ronco oven, set ’em, and forget ’em. You’ll be sitting pretty til November.
Sell: New England Defense: The Patriots have one of the top ranked fantasy defenses, and with 18 sacks and 7 picks, it’s easy to see why. However, they just lost Jerod Mayo for the season. Mayo is a vital cog in this defense. He was on pace for 140 tackles. Without mayo, the defense could fall a notch. That’s not the only red flag, though. If we look at their schedule, New England’s next 7 games are against Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Detroit, Green Bay, San Diego, and Miami. That’s 4 of the top 10 scoring teams in the league this year, another 2 that are top 15, and the Lions, who were the 6th highest scoring team last season. If you can flip the Pats defense for absolutely anything at this point, do it.
Buy: Greg Olsen – TE – CAR: When running the read-option, it’s important to have a trustworthy check-down receiver. For Cam Newton and the Panthers, that player is Greg Olsen. Newton’s running game broke out last week against the Bengals, as he rushed for more than 100 yards. He’ll face Green bay this week, and the Packers are notoriously bad at stopping the read-option. In last week’s breakout game, Newton targeted Olsen a season high 11 times. Expect similar numbers from Olsen for the rest of the year.