With Week 1 of the NFL season in the books, fantasy owners are now looking at the first batch of waivers/potential trades to start prepping for Week 2 and the remainder of their 2018 fantasy season.
It’s time for the NFL Fantasy Check Down to help get your team in motion for a championship season with a Buy Low, Sell High report on running backs and wide receivers.
BUY LOW, SELL HIGH!
NFL Fantasy Checkdown: Buy Low, Sell High – Week 1 Stock Report
James Conner – Sell High
Let’s start with the biggest headache of the 2018 fantasy football season… Le’Veon Bell. If you’re a Bell owner, hopefully you were proactive and able to get your shares of James Conner. Conner was awesome in his 2018 debut, totaling 36 total touches for 192 yards and 2 scores.
It appears that no one else is going to get touches out of the Pittsburgh backfield while Bell is holding out, which makes sense – Conner looked great. If you are a James Conner owner who didn’t draft Le’Veon Bell, odds are you got Conner rather late in your draft, or better yet, on the early waiver wire.
Assuming the above is true, you probably don’t need to have Conner on your roster due to the fact you got your starting running backs earlier in the draft or prior to waivers. After a monstrous Week 1 performance, now would be a nice time to sell high on James Conner.
Yes, he is going to be a fantasy asset while Bell is out (maybe even when Bell comes back), but odds are the Le’Veon Bell owner in your league is hurting for a starting running back. Why not see if you get to bring in a nice haul by selling him/her James Conner while they are desperate for a RB1?
Adrian Peterson – Sell High
Adrian Peterson is back… and he looks good. AP racked up 26 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, in addition to his 2 catches for 70 yards on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
The 33 year-old came out with a bang in his first game with Washington and fantasy owners are aware of that. To keep things short and sweet, I’d be trying to trade him as soon as possible before the wheels fall off or he misses time due to injury.
Assuming you picked up AP off the waiver wire, or got him as a late round pick (10th round ADP according to Fantasy Pros Average Draft Position), moving him off of your roster should not have a huge impact on your running back position. Maybe the Le’Veon Bell owner in your league needs a running back… I’d throw out a feeler to see if anyone wants to buy in on Peterson’s stud performance in Week 1.
Jay Ajayi – Sell High
Jay Ajayi had a very solid fantasy output on Thursday night’s opener against the Falcons. He rushed 15 times for 62 yards, with 2 touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Obviously, that is an awesome fantasy performance in all league formats. So why would you sell him?
There is a lot going on in the Eagles’ backfield. They obviously love to get Darren Sproles involved in both the rushing and passing game, and they also like to get Corey Clement a handful of touches. I’m willing to bet this ~20 point fantasy game from Ajayi will be one of his lasts in 2018.
Jay Ajayi is going to get the majority of the goal-line carriers in Philadelphia throughout the season, but that is not enough to warrant hanging on to him when you could probably get a great return if you were to trade him right now.
My prediction is that Clement eventually leads the team in running production, and Sproles remains to get his snaps as a “change of pace” style of running back. After racking up 20+ fantasy points in Week 1, now is the time to see if you can move him in your league to help improve your roster elsewhere.
Jordan Howard – Buy Low
Howard isn’t really a good candidate for a “buy low” write-up (as he surpassed 100 all-purpose yards on Sunday night in Green Bay), but I am actively engaging Howard owners to see if they’d be willing to move him while his price is still reasonable.
The thing I love most about Jordan Howard is that he is going to be an active member of the Bears’ passing attack. We know he is an excellent rusher (career 4.6 yards per carry), but we’ve never really seen what Howard can do as a receiver. In his first 2 seasons, Jordan Howard only averaged 1.8 receptions per game.
One game into his first season with Matt Nagy, he already has 5 catches.
I know there were talks about getting Howard involved in the Bears’ passing game, but I would have never guessed they’d target Howard 5 times through the air. His value in PPR leagues just took a major step up.
Now is a great time to see if you could trade for Howard, before he starts adding touchdowns to his stat line and becomes an “untouchable player” in your fantasy league.
Kareem Hunt – Buy Low
I’ve heard a lot of panic out of Kareem Hunt owners after a dreadful Week 1 performance. It is simply way too early to panic on the NFL’s leading rusher from 2017. Hunt absolutely destroyed the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017, totaling 389 all-purpose yards with 3 touchdowns in their 2 match-ups last season.
It honestly appeared as if the Chargers defensive game-plan was to eliminate Kareem Hunt from the ballgame and let someone else beat them. Well, that someone else was Tyreek Hill. Hill was an absolute monster in Sunday’s game against the Chargers; there is no other way to put it. There was no reason for Andy Reid to go elsewhere with the football.
Kareem Hunt rushed the ball 16 times and was only targeted once in the passing game. Based on his usage from last season, fantasy owners should rarely expect Hunt to get more than 15 rushing attempts in a single game, but the targets in the passing game will most certainly increase.
I’m chalking Week 1 up as a bad game for Hunt who is absolutely going to be an important member of the Chiefs’ offense in 2018. If the Hunt owner is panicking in your league, put in a reasonable trade offer and see if you can get a share of Kareem Hunt.
NFL Fantasy Checkdown: Buy Low, Sell High – Week 1 Stock Report
Kenny Stills – Sell High
Kenny Stills’ productive Week 1 fantasy day was mainly due to a 75-yard touchdown that (in my opinion), should have been deflected away by Titans’ cornerback, Malcolm Butler. Stills finished the day with 106 yards and 2 touchdowns – a nice fantasy performance to say the least.
When I re-watched the Dolphins/Titans game, I really didn’t see a whole lot that made we want to buy-in on Kenny Stills being a 2018 fantasy asset. Tannehill only targeted Stills 5 times, and if you take away the 75-yard touchdown, his day is nothing to write home about.
DeVante Parker should be returning soon for the Dolphins, and I’m confident he will be the main focus of Tannehill and the Dolphins’ passing attack (especially in the red-zone). If you have Stills on your roster, hopefully you were able to profit off of his Week 1 performance, but it’s time to sell him.
If you find a team in your league that is in need of a wide receiver, Stills is a good guy to move their way while his stock is high.
Marquise Goodwin – Buy Low
Goodwin was in and out of Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a thigh injury. He failed to receive a pass and let down fantasy owners with a 0-point performance. Assuming the injury is nothing crazy, Goodwin will never let fantasy owners down like that again.
The Vikings’ pass defense is no joke and the injury certainly didn’t help Goodwin’s ability to have a good game. Let’s just look at this game as if it never happened. Goodwin was a favorite target of Jimmy Garoppolo’s in 2017 and will be again in 2018. He has absolute break-away speed and was also successful in running shorter routes last season. So, please do not look at Marquise as a deep-ball-only type of player.
Fantasy owners tend to hold a grudge against someone who puts up a zero-spot in their lineup, so get in touch with the fantasy GM in your league who owns Goodwin and see if you can make a deal. Goodwin will be a top-30 wide receiver in all formats for 2018.
Sammy Watkins – Buy Low
I’m assuming most fantasy owners went with the “wait and see” approach in Week 1 with Sammy Watkins, and rightfully so. Watkins had a very minimal impact in the match-up against the Chargers. Similar to Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs didn’t really need any production from anyone outside of Tyreek Hill.
I still wouldn’t start Sammy Watkins, but the Chiefs signed Watkins to a very lucrative contract and they will find a way to get him involved. He finished third on the team with 5 targets on Sunday and fantasy owners can look at that as the “floor” for Sammy Watkins. As the season moves on, the Chiefs will get Watkins heavily involved in the passing game. He is simply too talented to not be a factor.
You may have a couple more weeks before Sammy Watkins stock takes a big rise. I’d advise fantasy owners to seriously consider acquiring Watkins if they need a cheap WR3/Flex who can bring big upside to the table.
Devin Funchess – Buy Low
Funchess had a very quiet game on Sunday against the Cowboys with only 3 catches for 41 yards. The game script really didn’t call for a whole lot of passing from quarterback Cam Newton, as he finished the game with only 26 pass attempts.
With Cam’s favorite target, Greg Olsen, injured yet again, Devin Funchess should become the main target in the Panthers’ air attack. With a 6’5″ frame, Funchess is going to see his targets sky rocket in the near future, especially in the red-zone.
In the 8 games that Olsen missed in 2017 (weeks 3-10), Funchess averaged 7.9 targets per game and scored 4 touchdowns. Outside of Christian McCaffrey, Funchess is the best weapon left in Carolina’s pass game. If you need to improve at the WR position, now is a great time to target a trade for Devin Funchess.
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