Buy Low / Sell High
By Sigmund Bloom
June 7th, 2010

Buy Low

  • Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans - Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem are recovering from surgeries and there is talk that New Orleans might sign Moore to a long-term deal. He is one of Drew Brees most trusted targets, he's still young, and Moore gives this offense a Welker-like presence in the middle of the field when he's healthy. Need I remind you that he was a top 15 WR in 2008 or that he's in arguably the best pass offense in the league? A potential offseason steal as a throw-in in a bigger trade.
  • Brandon Tate, WR, New England - By all accounts, there's no reason to worry about Tate's knee for the long haul even though it put him on IR last season. He is having a "great offseason" according to QB Tom Brady, and he most definitely flashed first-round talent at North Carolina. He fell to the third because of dope smoking and the knee injury suffered in 2008, but he can become the heir to Randy Moss's big play role in the offense and even contribute some as the #3 receiver this year. I've even seen him dropped in one of my leagues, so you know it's time to get an offer out there for him.
  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona - I don't care if Arizona got Vinny Testaverde out of retirement to play QB, Fitzgerald would still find a way to catch 100 balls this year. Some are backing off of him because of the QB quality in Arizona, but if anything Fitz's game encourages mediocre to bad QBs to lean on him even more. He's still the #1 fantasy WR in my book, but his owners might be more likely to deal him in a package centered around one of the big non-elite #1 tier of WRs.
  • Arian Foster, RB, Houston - How quickly we can forget that rookies have to earn their jobs before the incumbent can be written off. How easy it is to overlook Foster's 242 total yards and three TDs in the season's final two games after a disastrous fumble vs. the Rams sunk our teams in the playoffs in week 15. Ben Tate is hurt, Steve Slaton had part of his neck fused in the offseason, and Foster is getting praise from Gary Kubiak right now. He can be had for bargain basement prices, act now before his owners wake up to his potential value this year.
  • Jabar Gaffney, WR, Denver - The significance of Gaffney's numbers late in 2009 and the likelihood that he will be the Broncos #1 receiver this year is just starting to sink into the consciousness of the fantasy football world, but his price still hasn't caught up to his true value yet. Gaffney could be a top 20 option at WR this year and he is a terrific pickup for a team in a championship window.
  • Devin Hester, WR, Chicago - For some reason, the early news that Hester might be moved to the slot is taking hold more in the FF world than all of the later news that he's very likely to start, if not become a quasi-focal point of the passing offense. Hester performed better than people remember as the #1 last year. If guys like Mike Furrey can be PPR wonders in a Martz offense, what can a talent like Hester do?
  • Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh, Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay, Derrick Mason, WR, Baltimore - Dynasty and redraft league players alike make the same mistake every year - they undervalue great WRs in their mid-30s and try to predict the drop-off. They even do it when the names don't change. Ward, Driver, and Mason have been great picks in leagues of every format for the last few years, and they are still being valued as if this will be their last viable year in the league. Driver is likely to have a few more solid seasons, even if they are outside of GB. Ward and Mason still have years left on their contracts after 2010. If they are on teams in rebuilding mode, don't make the mistake of letting another owner add them for cheap. Even if you don't need them, buy at a discount to hold them hostage and sell at an inflated price when a desperate team needs them around week 6-8.
  • Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati - Palmer might have some elbow issues that limit his upside for the rest of his career, but thats only rumor and innuendo at this point, and the Bengals spent a lot of capital giving him better targets this offseason. With the addition of a #2 WR that can make #1 plays (Antonio Bryant), a top young receiving TE (Jermaine Gresham), a crafty slot receiver (Jordan Shipley), and a big target reclamation project (Matt Jones), Palmer has firepower close to what he had when he was the #1 fantasy QB back in 2005. There's even talk of some no huddle. Palmer is still one of the best QBs in the league, and at his current price, it's smart to bet on his numbers starting to reflect that again. Don't let last year's numbers fool you, the Bengals went very conservative on offense for the second half of the year - Palmer was on pace for 3650/28 in the first half of the season.
  • Matt Moore, QB, Carolina - We won't have to rely on John Fox's infamous loyalty to vets for Moore to retain his value as long as he plays like he did at the end of last season. With Moore at the helm, the Panthers looked like a playoff team and Moore looked like a playoff quarterback, throwing seven TDs against no interceptions on only 76 attempts from week 15-17. Jimmy Clausen is going to be waiting a while to start in Carolina.
  • Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants - Nicks isn't a true buy low because his owners drafted him high and have to love what they have seen so far. Still, Nicks is poised to join the fat tier of #1 WRs just below Fitz/Andre/Calvin, and his owners might not be correctly valuing him. Keep in mind that he played almost all of last season on a broken toe when you project his 2010 numbers. This is the last chance to get your ticket for the Nicks bandwagon at any discount.
  • Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants - Manningham's impressive second year has been overshadowed by the potential flashed by Nicks, consistent work of Steve Smith, and late-season mental lapses, but have no doubt that he showed he has the chops to start at WR in the NFL. Manningham will have to wait until his second team and contract to become a full-time starter, but he can still have significant value if Nicks/Smith get dinged, and he will still be a viable desperation play as one of the most talented WR3s in the league. Patience with Manningham will be rewarded a few years down the line.
  • Malcolm Kelly, WR, Washington - Everyone is focused on Devin Thomas as the breakout WR in the nation's capital, but Kelly is the better natural receiver and just as likely to riff with McNabb as Thomas at less than half the price. The knee and speed questions that hung over his draft stock seem to be answered, so that makes it easier to pay the low price it will take to get Kelly this offseason.
  • Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis - Brown will get at least a shot to start at some point during his rookie contract, even if the Colts do bring back Joseph Addai next year. If they don't, Brown will be an instant top 15 back, with top 7 upside. Last year, the shark play ended up being the trade for the disappointing rookie back entering his second year - Ray Rice, Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles all hit, only Darren McFadden ended up being a bust once again. This year, Brown is the only guy that really fits the bill, and some of his owners do seem ready to bail. He is not being valued as the future lead back in a potent offense that he is, although a recent blurb from Jason Cole that Brown may start soon could change that. Don't wait for Brown to split first-team reps with Addai in training camp before you toss out an offer to his owner.
  • Matt Jones, WR, Cincinnati - As long as Jones is in good shape and a good frame of mind, he'll start again in the NFL. Maybe not for the Bengals, but 6'6" guys with good hands, speed (even if it is build-up speed), and an RB mentality in the open field are extremely useful in pro passing attacks. Jones might not keep his nose clean and the next strike will be his last, but at his current pennies-on-the-dollar price, it's worth the risk to carry him and see what happens.
  • Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta - Douglas has been forgotten by most of the fantasy world because his season-ending knee injury happened before he could take a snap in a regular season. Since then, we've seen that Michael Jenkins is going to remain a very uninspiring #2, we've watched Matt Ryan continue to progress, and we've learned that the Falcons envisioned Douglas as a Wes Welker type of player when they drafted him in 2008 (per GM Thomas Dimitroff). Douglas won't take the field until training camp, so take advantage of the lull in his buzz to steal him in a minor deal.
  • Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta - Speaking of Ryan, his step forward last year was largely ignored because of his injury and the fact that his numbers were still far from gaudy. Ryan has the look of the type of QB that will attack defenses and rely on accuracy, steely nerves, and a mastery of the mental side of the game. He's going to knock on the door of the first tier sooner than later.
  • Sell High

  • Devin Aromashodu, WR, Chicago - Aromashodu has been an offseason darling because of a hot finish that seemed to indicate that he was the apple of Jay Cutler's eye, but there are lots of reasons to put the brakes on the Aromashodu Express. At least one of Johnny Knox and Devin Hester was out for all four of Aromashodu's starts, Aromashodu is not running with the first team right now, and the team is moving to a Mike Martz offense that benefits quick WRs who do damage after the catch. Reality is starting to set in, but there might still be a small window to unload Aromashodu for "breakout WR" prices.
  • Ben Tate, RB, Houston - Tate might be big and fast in a straight line, but I just don't see the kind of inspired runner that takes hold of an NFL starting position when I watch him play. Right now, you might get a king's ransom from someone who coveted Tate in your rookie draft. If you didn't entertain trade up offers for the pick used to take Tate, you don't know how much he is valued, but chances are, there's someone in your league that is a Tate believer. I would try to turn him into a 2011 first or a more promising back before people realize he is far from guaranteed a starting job or lion's share of the work this year.
  • Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore - There seems to be a bit of an assumption going around that the addition of Anquan Boldin to the Ravens offense will make Flacco an insta-stud. Certainly, he will get more production out of the WR spot opposite Derrick Mason, but I don't see the Ravens offense opening up *that* much after Flacco didn't exactly roll over the league when he got more responsibility last year. Flacco's numbers were positively underwhelming in the second half of the season and the playoffs, barely averaging over 200 and a TD pass a game. There is at least one person in your league that thinks Flacco will be a future star. Find that person and deal him for an inflated value.
  • Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore - Speaking of Boldin, that assumption about the Flacco-to-Boldin hook-up seems to extend to a belief that Boldin will continue putting up stud numbers with the Ravens. First of all, Derrick Mason, who has been the Ravens unquestioned #1 the last three years, topped out at solid WR2 numbers during that stretch. Second, Mason has much better chemistry and timing with Flacco than Boldin, and there's to reason to think Mason won't be a #1A, if not remain Flacco's main man even with Boldin around. Lastly, Boldin's previous numbers playing in a souped-up Arizona pass offense are setting unreachable expectations for his production in Baltimore. Deal him while some still see Boldin as a fantasy WR1.
  • Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona, Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco - These two were once their hope of their franchises, who now are forced to reluctantly start this underwhelming duo. They're young enough that some fantasy owners still see them as potential breakout candidates, but I think 2010 is just as likely to be the last nail in the coffin for Smith and Leinart, placing them on the career path of their once-touted backups, David Carr and Derek Anderson. Neither is even that great of a fantasy backup, as Arizona's offense might sputter as it transitions away from future Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner, and San Francisco is clearly looking to run first and run often. Sell 'em to the highest bidder if you own 'em.
  • Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay - Grant's value persists even though he is at a precipice with an exorbitant amount of money due to him next year. Grant has been workmanlike and steady, but never as spectacular as he was in the half-season that got him the deal that now threatens to end his time with the Packers in 2011. Rookie James Starks is more talented than his sixth-round draft slot would have you believe, and his young legs might bring back the explosive element that Grant hasn't brought in the last two seasons, cutting into Grant's workload this year. Grant might get a shot to start with his next team, but RB is a young man's position, and teams will more likely be looking at him as a Derrick Ward/Chester Taylor-caliber free agent. Sell for stud RB value while you can.
  • Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City - I applaud Jones longevity and quiet exceptional production level in the second half of his career, but I can't get excited about his prospects behind a Kansas City offensive line that made Larry Johnson look like Ron Dayne last year. Jones production will likely stay in the doldrums with a few playable games for your team, like his little brother Julius's game logs in Seattle the last few years. It is highly unlikely that Jones can help your fantasy team win games this year, so get whatever draft pick/prospect value out of him that you can.
  • Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh - Wallace was a sensation in his rookie year, feasting on coverages that had to focus on Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. This year, he becomes a starter and also will be without his starting QB for at least four games. The most optimistic fantasy GMs out there are inching Wallace close to prospects like Percy Harvin and Jeremy Maclin after the Steelers put a ton of trust him when they dealt Holmes for peanuts, which means it's time to see if you can make Wallace the centerpiece of a package for a top 15 fantasy WR who is already what people hope Wallace will become.
  • Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.