The fantasy stonks market is always a fun one to evaluate. Buy/Sell articles like this are essentially glorified "Who's Hot and Who's Not" but the tables are turned to where sometimes, you want to buy those that are cold and sell the hot. Buy-low, sell-high is the motto but also, sometimes it is ok to buy-high if you aren't buying as high as it could be. This sounds unintelligible but it makes sense in my head.
This week's article features several big names who were drafted in the first few rounds of every league. Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb and D.J. Moore lead the BUY side given their disappointing Week 1 performances and general question marks placed around them by some fans and analysts alike.
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Players to Buy
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Discouraging performance for Mixon this past week. He fumbled the ball for the first time since 2017 and only played 59% of the offensive snaps (fumble and snaps definitely correlated). Expect somewhere closer to 70% regularly as long he keeps the ball secure. Mixon was only targeted twice (caught one) as Gio Bernard was in for two-minute drills but carried the ball 19 times. 20 touches in about half of his team's snaps are very promising and his matchup this week is favorable in a short-week with Burrow hopefully progressing as the season goes on. Buy ASAP.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
The worry around Chubb is not his performance, but rather Kareem Hunt. Playing next to a fellow workhorse-style back is eerie for fantasy owners and most saw the worst in Week 1. Fortunately, there is a silver lining in that game being a 38-6 blowout and Chubb still playing about 50% of the team's snaps. He was out-touched and targeted by Hunt but that typically occurs to the starter in out-of-reach games. Chubb was split out wide or in the slot for eight snaps this past game which is quite promising. The Cleveland RBs have a great matchup vs the Bengals on Thursday and will look to bounce back with a ground-heavy game-plan.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Moore was targeted nine times this past weekend and only came up with 4 catches for 54 yards in a 30-point outing by the Panthers. Robby Anderson stole the show with his dazzling TD on top of six catches for 115 yards but don't expect that too often. The Raiders defensive line hardly challenged the Panthers offensive line, allowing Teddy Bridgewater more time to throw than he typically will get in 2020. Expect more targets to Moore as the season progresses given his ability to work underneath the defense and create YAC. He and Christian McCaffrey will be crucial as safety valves for Bridgewater and you have an opportunity to buy low on DJM now.
Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints
With Michael Thomas now presumably out for the next few weeks due to a high-ankle sprain, Emmanuel Sanders steps in as the WR1 in New Orleans. This buy may seem obvious but it may not be. There's plenty of push-back against Sanders this season claiming that he has not been the same since his Achilles tear, which is fair but that does not mean that he is not still good. Sanders was the WR1 in San Francisco last year and remained fantasy-relevant while also nearly catching the game-winning TD in the Super Bowl (had Jimmy Garoppolo thrown a better pass). His yards per target in 2018 before his tear was 8.9 and after in 2019 was 9. While there is cause for concern due to age, 33 is not a death sentence for wide receivers, especially technically sound ones who rely on incredible footwork and route-running rather than elite athleticism.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Crazy what one down year can do to fantasy value. Howard was on a top-tier TE trajectory prior to falling flat in 2019 and now has an opportunity to shine again. His four catches for 36 yards and TD are not extraordinary but he did play 53% of the snaps and run 22 routes. With Chris Godwin in concussion protocol and Mike Evans dealing with an early-season hamstring, it's very possible that Howard gets on a bit of a heater early in the season. A Sunday morning matchup vs the lowly Panthers Defense is a good place to start.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
Odell Beckham Jr. is disgruntled, Jarvis Landry is dealing with a sore hip from offseason surgery, David Njoku is placed on injured reserve, and Hooper was the highest-paid TE of all-time at the point of signing. There is no possible excuse for Hooper to only see 2 targets against the Ravens despite playing 77% of the offense's snaps and running 31 routes, third-most on the team. Hooper's usage will see a massive uptick in the coming weeks.
Players to Sell
D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
D.J. Chark possesses a great mix of size and speed but within the Jaguars offense, he will be limited due to Jay Gruden's quick-hitting, spread style and Gardner Minshew's lack of arm strength. Chark runs a 4.34 40 but he is deployed more of a decoy to navigate safeties and corners away from where the actual offense is happening. Luckily, Chark provided a plus fantasy outing versus the Colts this past weekend with three catches for 25 yards and a TD. He was only targeted three times on Minshew's 20 pass attempts in a close game that they ended up winning.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants
Slayton torched the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers' defense on primetime this past Monday and set himself apart as the WR1 for the Giants. While this may be true, the WR1 for the Giants is such a misleading moniker given how much their talent is spread apart. The Giants have playmakers at WR, TE and RB. They also were without veteran Golden Tate this past week due to a hamstring strain. While Slayton may be the most skilled WR of their corps, he will be used as a decoy more often than not to open up the field for the rest of the Giants playmakers while demanding more attention than he can handle on a regular basis.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Landry underwent hip surgery earlier this year and was officially deemed "healthy" sometime around July or August. He went through the offseason workouts and practices without any setbacks despite his initial recovery timeline slipping into October. While I am no doctor, my best bet with player injuries is the more time, the better before returning to action (assuming there is no re-aggravation). Landry is now dealing with a hip issue on the injury report, missed practice this week, and is questionable for the Thursday night game. He is perennially undervalued in drafts and had a fine fantasy game against the Ravens with six targets, five receptions, and 61 yards. However, not even a season removed from a major injury with a QB that looks shakier by the week, I'd hesitate to say this year will look like a typical one.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
Hines is coming off of an extremely flukey two-touchdown game in which he saw plenty of playing time due to Marlon Mack's torn Achilles. In the coming games, it will not be just him and lead-back Jonathan Taylor. Jordan Wilkins will be active and in the mix, stealing snaps from Hines and potentially in-line for more if his talent is on display. It was probably a mistake for most folks to spend over 30% of the FAAB budget on Hines but if you can get something valuable back from an RB-needy owner, then maybe it was not so bad. Just make sure to trade before it is too late.
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