Siri, play Livin’ on a Prayer…Siri, volume up…*clears throat*…Whoaaaaaaaa, we’re halfway there! WhoooooAAAA, livin’ on a prayer!
Welcome to the halfway point of the fantasy season. You’ve made it. Whether you are Tommy on strike from the docks or Gina working at the diner all day, it’s been quite the fantasy year already with so many unexpected twists and turns. By this time of the year, most of you dynasty owners should have a pretty good idea on where you stand with their run towards the playoffs. I will preface the rest of this article with the following, VERY important disclaimer:
Do NOT sell if you think you still have a shot to make the playoffs. I repeat, do not sell UNLESS you feel you have no realistic shot to reach the playoffs. Each year we see players that have night and day differences in their fantasy production from the first half to the second half. No better example comes to mind than Doug Baldwin’s 2015 season.
Games 1-8: 345 yards and 2 touchdowns
Games 9-16: 724 yards and 12 touchdowns
The bottom line is, if you’re at 3-4 and you still believe your team has a chance to compete and get into your league’s playoffs, then go for gold. Winning now is the most important thing in dynasty fantasy football. With that said, if you know you’re out of it and looking towards next year, the second-best thing is a quick rebuild.
During this week’s Stock Watch, I wanted to help you all gauge who are prime buys for those competing for fantasy glory this year and also who are clear sells if you team is looking to head into Browns mode, excuse me, rebuild mode.
Stock Up: Players who playoff bound teams need to target.
Russell Wilson – Looking for a top six quarterback who only gets better as the season goes on? Look no further than the signal caller from Seattle. In the previous two seasons, Wilson has thrown for 16 touchdowns in the first half of his season, but recovered to throw 39 in the second half (32 game sample size). Literally, Wilson gets twice as good, he’s like a fine wine people. Wilson gets a gluttony of bottom ranked passing defenses in the second half of this season including the Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Dallas (playoffs).
Buy Price: 2018 Late 1st & 2018 2nd
LeSean McCoy – In the year of rookie running backs, there is VERY little talk of savvy get-the-job-done vets like McCoy. McCoy managed to get his first touchdowns last Sunday after a very pedestrian start. He will hit 30 years of age this summer and despite him not being Frank Gore-old, he still has a lot of wear on his tires. Grab his stock now for your playoff push as he won’t cost you a ton for a back with RB1 potential.
Buy Price: 2019 1st
Mark Ingram – After spending year after year as one of the top passing teams in the league, Coach Sean Payton has reigned in on letting Drew Brees sling the pigskin around in 2017. The offense has balanced out a bit and, since Adrian Peterson has left town, Ingram has done nothing but see carry after carry in his split role with receiving back Alvin Kamara. Ingram is a great candidate for a late season push and into the playoffs as Ingram will face Atlanta twice (4th most points to RBs) and the NY Jets (11th most points to RBs).
Buy Price: 2019 Mid 1st
Brandin Cooks – Any receiver who plays 90% of the offensive snaps in New England is someone I’m looking to buy. Chris Hogan is a great buy this season as well, but Cooks might be the better option. While Hogan does have two more receiving touchdowns than Cooks, Cooks has over 150 more receiving yards through just seven games. With touchdown regression likely to even out, I like Cooks to be the Patriots WR to own in the second half of the 2017-2018 season.
Buy Price: 2018 1st, 2018 2nd, & 2019 Late 1st
Dez Bryant – Going back to last year, Dez Bryant has scored in 12 touchdowns in his last 19 games. He is as close as you get to a weekly TD at the wide receiver position. The best news is that he shouldn’t be all that expensive either. After two injury riddled seasons, Bryant has managed to stay healthy thus far but isn’t a consensus WR1 as many still doubt his ability against top corners. The man has 71 touchdowns in 103 career games though and I believe “The X Factor” is gonna keep on scoring. Stock up before he has a monster game and the price skyrockets.
Buy Price: 2018 1st, 2018 2nd, & 2019 2nd
Rob Gronkowski – He’s going to be expensive, I get it. But, he’s also the most dynamic TE when healthy and worth the price when he leads you to fantasy pay dirt. Gronk faces Denver, Miami (twice), and Buffalo (twice) who all rank in the bottom third in defense against the tight end position. If you’re going in, dive head first into the deep end with some Gronk stock.
Buy Price: 2018 Mid 1st & 2018 Late 2nd
Stock Down: Players who rebuilding teams can look to move for future value.
Alex Smith – There might not be a bigger stock to sell than Alex Smith if you’re a team building for the future. The writing was on the wall for him this offseason when the Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes 10th overall. Smith isn’t going quietly though, having his best season as a pro. At 34 and the quarterback of the future waiting in wings, now is the best time to move Smith before he sky high value drops.
Sell Price: Patrick Mahomes/2019 2nd & 2018 3rd
Chris Thompson – Thompson is your running back leader in receiving yards thus far in 2017. He is outproducing anyone’s expectations coming into the year and is good value to a contending team, especially in PPR leagues. The uncertainty with Kirk Counsins’ contract makes the Redskins hard to gauge for future success, but Thompson is not built to be a workhorse back that fantasy teams can rebuild with. Sell the stock while he is hot.
Sell Price: 2018 2nd & 2019 2nd
DeMarco Murray – The Derrick Henry era is coming in Nashville. Murray is 30 and in the last year of guaranteed money, but he still has good RB2 value to a team who is in contention this year. That value will be gone in 9 weeks and you won’t be able to sell him for much more than a box of week old Dunkin’ Donuts.
Sell Price: 2018 Late 1st & 2019 2nd
Michael Crabtree – Crabtree, through the first seven weeks, has been a top 10 receiver regardless of league scoring. He is a huge fantasy asset to anyone making a push this season. However, he will be 31 at the beginning of next year and will cost $0 in dead cap space, making him expendable. Crabtree is probably at his highest sale point and could get great return value from the right team.
Sell Price: 2018 1st and 2018 3rd
Chris Hogan – A quiet commodity entering the 2017 season, Hogan quickly became a valued piece in the Patriots offense once Julian Edelman’s injury knocked him out for the year. Hogan, like Crabtree, has been a top 10 receiver for both PPR and standard scoring leagues. Unlike Crabtree, his role could be greatly diminished once Edelman is healthy. Time to move Hogan for a good pick next year.
Sell Price: 2018 Early 2nd
Jason Witten – At 35 years old, it truly is a wonder each week when I watch how Jason Witten still manages to shake defenders to get open. He was never all that athletic to begin with, yet 15 years later he is ranked as the 5th tight end in weekly scoring. He is an obvious sell this year if you are looking towards next year. Take a peek at getting up and coming Dallas tight end Rico Gathers.
Sell Price: Rico Gathers or 2018 3rd