Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy's reverse stock market: Who are the buy-highs and sell-lows?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defatted the Cowboys 27-13. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

If you’ve been playing fantasy football long enough, you’ve heard it a thousand times by now – buy low, sell high. Like the stock market, success in this game often comes down to which owner finds the best value on draft day and throughout the season via trades and waiver wire moves.

However, sometimes it is still OK to buy or sell late. It’s better to be late to the party than to not attend it at all. With that in mind, we take a look at a reverse stock market of sorts. Here are some players that are still ascending and some that have yet to hit rock bottom.

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Buy high

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Through five weeks of action, Fournette leads the NFL with 109 carries, and that volume has resulted in him scoring the third-most fantasy points among running backs. He is second in the NFL in rushing yards (466) and tied for first in rushing touchdowns (5).

The rookie turned in his best performance of the season in Sunday’s upset of the Steelers as he netted a season-best 29 touches for 184 total yards and two touchdowns. Despite the struggles of Blake Bortles under center, the Jaguars’ running back has proven to be a consistent contributor and don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

He’s getting 38.8 snaps per game and dominating the carries out of Jacksonville’s backfield. Fournette has yet to be held out of the end zone in a single game. While Kareem Hunt and Deshaun Watson have garnered a lot of conversation for their early-season performances, don’t count Fournette out as a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots

When Julian Edelman was lost to a season-ending injury during the preseason, Hogan’s ADP soared several rounds and if you paid the rising price at that time you are being rewarded handsomely through the first third of the season.

Hogan has emerged as a top-five fantasy wideout through the first five weeks, becoming Tom Brady’s go-to-guy in the Patriots’ passing attack. Since his dud one-catch performance in the season opener versus Kansas City, he has pulled in his 22 of his 32 targets for 280 yards and five touchdowns.

As the season rolls on, Brady’s confidence is growing in Hogan. Over the last two weeks only Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham Jr saw more targets than Hogan (20). With durability concerns always lingering around Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, expect Hogan to remain a steady force for New England and fantasy owners alike for weeks to come.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

While the tight end position has mostly been a fantasy wasteland this season, Ertz has been one of the few shining lights of hope. He continued his stellar 2017 campaign on Sunday by pulling down six of his 10 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. He ran routes on 88.6 percent of his snaps and garnered 35.7 percent of the team’s targets.

Through five weeks there are only seven tight ends that are averaging double-digit fantasy points in PPR formats. Ertz’s 16.5 points per game tops the list. He’s actually now reached 10 or more fantasy points in 12 of his last 14 games dating back to last year.

For the season Ertz leads all tight ends in targets (42), receptions (32), and receiving yards (387). He is tied for second in touchdowns (2). The Eagles’ passing game has made huge strides during Carson Wentz’s second season under center and it’s pretty clear that Ertz is the favorite target of the young signal caller.

Sell low

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

Cooper has proven to be one of the biggest busts of 2017. He scored on the Raiders’ opening drive of the season and hasn’t sniffed the end zone since. Cooper has 13 catches for 118 yards through five games. He’s been targeted only 29 times on the year yet has a league-worst seven drops.

Sunday was his weakest performance to date. He was targeted just twice in the contest and his lone catch came in the fourth quarter. During Oakland’s three-game losing streak the 2015 first-round pick has tallied just four catches for 23 yards.

At this point of the season a year ago Cooper had already registered 26 catches for 456 yards. Those numbers seem like a distant memory at this point. While you could make the argument that now is the time to buy low on Cooper, concerns over his confidence and quarterback Derek Carr’s health (he could return in Week 6) make that a harder case to argue.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins’ offense is a total mess through five weeks. They rank dead last in yards per game (231.3) and passing yards per game (156.5), and 31st in rushing yards per game (74.8). Their offensive line is ranked 21st overall by PFF, but the unit has struggled with its run-blocking. Jay Cutler has looked terrible and each week things get worse.

None of this has helped Ajayi build on his 2016 success. The Miami running back isn’t even providing RB3/flex production through five games. He’s now scored one TD in over his last 10 outings dating back to last year.

Ajayi rushed for 122 yards on 28 carries in Week 2 against the Chargers. However, in the three contests since he has only mustered 139 yards on 48 attempts (2.9 YPC). After delivering a stellar 3.6 YAC in 2016, the Dolphin runner is posting just a 2.6 YAC in 2017.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben threw more touchdowns to the Jaguars then he did the Steelers on Sunday, as Jacksonville had two pick-sixes. On the day, Roethlisberger was picked off a career high five times.

With that performance, the Steelers’ quarterback now has thrown more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (6) on the season. Over his last 11 games dating back to last season (playoffs included) he has thrown 13 TDs and 16 interceptions, so don’t chalk it up to one bad week.

His lopsided home/road splits have been much publicized, but as we are starting to see the veteran’s skill set is declining rapidly and that is making him unreliable regardless of the venue. The Steelers have a lot of weapons in their offense, yet they are still struggling to move the ball. Roethlisberger is at the center of the problems. In most redraft leagues the veteran can be considered as a player to drop. His trade value has never been lower.

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