I’ll start this off by saying congratulations to Justin Tucker for breaking NFL record for longest field goal, thumping it from 66 yards out for it to bounce off the crossbar and spin its way through for a game winning three points. If you play with kickers sell high on Justin Tucker.
Week 4 feels like the week that trades really kick off in competitive fantasy leagues, you’ll likely have at least one roster on 0-3 who are ready to mix things up just to flip some of that fantasy voodoo on it’s head. And you’ll likely have a 3-0 roster too, ready to take a couple of shots in the market for a long term win – see Michael Thomas/Javonte Williams and other rookie or injured stars to-be.
There’s also a certain emotional attachment between manager and roster, that seems to wade further and further the more you move away from draft day for certain players. If it were a graph, the Y axis being emotional attachment and the X being weeks since draft day, for most players on your roster that line is going down and down and down. For Ronald Jones drafters, that graph likely went from 100 to zero by the second quarter in week 1, and has stayed well and truly put ever since.
Anyway, for those of you bottling up your emotions, here’s some buy or sell ideas to think about:
Calvin Ridley (WR – Atlanta Falcons)
After 3 weeks Ridley has failed to top 70 yards in every outing, along with only one touchdown. He’s also garnering an ADOT of 9 yards vs 15.2 yards in 2020, which is potentially a sign of Arthur Smith’s new offensive installation with the Falcons. Additionally we’ve seen Cordarelle Patterson getting several targets a game, and this week we saw *checks box score and googles if they’re real* Lee Smith (who I’m pretty sure fitted my kitchen recently) and Olamide Zaccheaus catch touchdowns.
As fun as this might be for hipsters and waiver wire lovers alike, the lack of production for Ridley has coincided with a 1-2 record, with their only win being this week a narrow victory over the NY Giants. Simply put, the Falcons have to get the ball into Ridley’s hands more often and he’ll have his breakout game very soon. You have to bet on talent here and whoever drafted Ridley in the 2nd round in your league isn’t going to be too happy with them so far. It’s a bit of a risky one as the early signs do point to a more conservative Falcons offense and maybe this limits Ridley from making the big plays of recent years, but he’s still had 8, 10 and 11 targets each week, so there’s WR1 volume to be had.
See if you can package something up including some players that have got off to nice starts – Melvin Gordon + Marvin Jones Jr, for example (I know, for leagues that have been around for years and years the level of trust will likely be extremely low, so this won’t be easy and maybe applies more to the casual leagues out there). If the manager is 0-3, even better, load them up with streaky players and grab that elite talent while you can. A superb week 4 buy target.
Odell Beckham Jr (WR – Cleveland Browns)
It was a modest season debut for Odell, 5 catches for 77 yards, but he looked superb and got heavy playing time right out the gate. Plus, considering Jarvis Landry is out for multiple weeks on IR, who else is Mayfield going to throw to? He can’t keep dumping it off to Kareem Hunt, or hoping one of Donavan Peoples-Jones, Rashad Higgins or Anthony Schwartz steps up, he’s going to look for his All Pro receiver.
If you can get him at a value, go get him. He’s going to get the volume and he’s a big play waiting to happen – try and buy at WR3 value and watch out for WR2 return with upside in a flash. He’s a great buy in leagues with two flex spots, we just need to see him stay healthy.
Tyler Higbee (TE – Los Angeles Rams)
Matt Stafford looks like an early MVP candidate and Higbee is getting a sizeable share of the targets and playing 100% of snaps in weeks one and two. Seriously, Sunday was the only game he has left the field while the offense is out – he played 75% of snaps. For context, Darren Waller has played 94%, 92% and 80% snaps. That snap percentage is elite level, regardless of offensive skill position. Now I know, snaps don’t score you points, but apart from last week’s dud, he’s topped 60 yards in both games and caught a touchdown this week.
I think you could get him cheap from a manager that took Higbee as their TE2. If you took someone late like Jonnu Smith or Mike Gesicki and are feeling a bit disappointed, see if you can nab Higbee. Once you do, you can set and forget your TE spot knowing full well that your tight end, is at minimum, in the game .
Elijah Mitchell (RB – San Francisco 49ers)
Mitchell was unavailable in week three due to the ‘stinger’ he suffered in week two. From the reports we got during the week Mitchell flipped and flopped from making progress and being very questionable, but it sounded like he was almost there and the injury isn’t very serious (fingers crossed, I’m no doctor but you have to take the information as it comes).
Meanwhile, Trey Sermon got the start for the 49ers in a plus matchup vs Green Bay Packers and, well, he scored a touchdown late on to salvage an otherwise pretty nothing outing – 10 for 31 on the ground and 2 for 8 receiving. The 49ers ran the ball 21 times, with Sermon getting 10 of them, while also mixing in SIX other personnel, including Kyle Juszczyk who got 5 carries (and also scored a touchdown). I don’t know about you, but if Shanahan loved Trey Sermon he would’ve got at least 15 of the 21 available carries. And if Sermon had the talent that fellow rookie Mitchell has displayed, he would’ve made more of his opportunities.
I think this game was an absolutely dreadful sign for Sermon, but a great sign for Mitchell and that we could (could, being the key word – Shanahan is a bit of a lie guy) be seeing Mitchell establish himself as a the Mostert of this offence when he returns, hopefully in week 4. It’s a risk as he’s injured, but I don’t think a lot of people have woken up to the fact that Mitchell is the starter in the 49ers run heavy offence, and even produced in weeks one and two (the latter to a lesser extent). Go get him at mid-high end RB3/low end WR2 value and when he returns you have a high end RB2 ready to go in your flex.
Saquon Barkley (RB – NY Giants)
Was in my buy column last week and I still believe you can buy him at a discount. He scored, got over 20 touches but it still wasn’t THE breakout, week winning game tetchy owners might be waiting for.
Barkley’s usage is only going up and I would imagine this is the last week you can really buy low on him at all.
Tyreek Hill (WR – Kansas City Chiefs)
Another who was in my buy column last week and this continues – the Chiefs just struggled against the seemingly legit Chargers. Hill can be streaky, which we’ve always known, but the week winning potential is always going to be there. Mahomes threw two interceptions and make some pretty questionable throws, going for the big plays instead of taking what the defence gave him. I expect this to get right very quickly and all of a sudden, you’ll be watching Hill throwing the peace sign over and over and over again (or maybe not with new taunting penalties) trotting into the endzone for another 14 weeks while you wish you made your move. No regrets!
Trey Sermon (RB – San Francisco 49ers)
While Mitchell is a buy, I think Sermon is just as much a sell. It’s still so early for the rookie and you likely drafted him as your RB3 so you do have time (assuming you are injury free) to let it develop into more sizeable role and production. But if someone likes the 12 touches and a touchdown they saw on SNF, package him up and ship him away for an upgrade at RB.
If you have Sermon there’s potential you also had Mostert, so may have dropped FAAB on Elijah Mitchell. If you have Mitchell as well, sell Sermon for an upgrade at RB and enjoy the Mitchell ride all year long. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe Jeff Wilson or Jamychal Hasty return from injury and take the job from Elijah Mitchell. Both will be dealing with returning from multi week injuries and by then Mitchell will have run away with it.
So long story short, if you have buyers knocking for Sermon – go forth and let him be free, especially if you’re 0-3 and need points and wins now!
Jonathan Taylor (RB – Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts lost star Guard, Quinten Nelson, to a high ankle sprain on Sunday. This is not good news for an already struggling offensive line and an already struggling Jonathan Taylor. On the year he’s rushed for 171 scoreless yards on 42 carries (4.1 YPC, very respectable), a very healthy volume. He’s also seen 9 targets, catching 8 for 70 yards. However, 7, 6 and 60 of those statistics came in week one…yep. His carry total has also decreased week by week 17, 15, 10, and he’s also seen his snap count go from 55% in week one, to 45% week two and finally being out snapped by Nyheim Hines 34 to 29, in week three.
JT is such a talented runner but this situation just stinks to me. Wentz is also hobbled already by week three, the Colts have an air of a lost cause about them (honestly, I blame Wentz. This O line was top 5 for multiple years, nothing changes, then he turns up and they stink all of a sudden?!) and it could just get out of control quickly especially now being 0-3.
If you drafted him as your RB1, I can’t see how he’s going to produce as the lynchpin of your team. He has a very nice matchup vs Miami in week four (and who knows, maybe this is what he needs to kick off) so keep him for now, watch him pop off in week 4 and next week try to sell him for someone like De’Andre Swift or Chris Carson PLUS. Yes, plus, I think off the back of a huge game vs Miami you could try for a 2 for 1 including one of those RBs plus a FLEX piece.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – Kansas City Chiefs)
Well, that was good timing. 100 yards rushing and a score in week three for last week’s sell candidate. Nothing has changed for why I think he needs to be sold, this solid outing only increases the value you could flip him for. Try selling him to someone thinking CEH is now a trustworthy or ascending RB1. FYI, he also had another fumble this week. Sell, sell sell.