Buying low, heading into week three.
Two weeks into the books of the NFL season, and we already have our array of injuries, lowered expectations, and in some cases regret. But, more importantly, opportunity of buying low in some cases.
If you know your league, and have observed the tendencies, there is always opportunity. There are multiple players that are under-performing their draft positions, players like David Johnson that may be out an extended period of time. You can take advantage of that. Now is the time to strike and make a move in your league.
Here are a few players that I would try to target at this point of the season:
AJ Green – WR – CIN
AJ Green has been targeted 18 times in the first two games, but has a modest stat line of 10 rec for 141 yards and no touchdowns. The Bengals offense is a hot mess right now, and have fired their OC. In watching the first games with Green, the Bengals have tended to completely avoid him in the passing game in clutch situations and try to force something to Erickson or other similar players. Green has not been a very consistent player overall, given that he usually never has a high reception total, so is dependent on having that big play, or touchdown to generally make an impact. He is still a top 5 WR in my rankings and a player I would try to target and by at a discount. Green was a late first round or early second round pick, so will be hard to obtain given that price tag but does present an opportunity if you can consolidate players for elite one in a trade.
Brandin Cooks – WR – NE
The interesting part this offseason was the buzz around Brandon Cooks going to New England via trade. He gets to play with Tom Brady! In case anyone was wondering, this is a player that did play with some guy named Drew Brees for a couple seasons, its not exactly like its a huge upgrade in QB. From a system perspective, it was probably a downgrade given the lack of consistency in targets for NE WR not named Edelman. Cooks has always been an inconsistent receiver in the NFL. He benefited most in matchups that were at home, and vs. bigger more physical corners. Games away from NO, or games vs smaller, faster corners he struggled with as well. The NE receiving corps is dropping like flies, and Cooks may benefit from higher target potential in the coming weeks. Brady and Cooks haven’t exactly been on the same page from a chemistry standpoint, and would expect him to have a better season going forward. His yards per target are at the greatest point of his career and eventually the regression should turn towards a positive aspect. He won’t meet is ADP of late second round this season, but will still be a solid WR2 option.
Doug Baldwin – WR – SEA
Baldwin was an early round 3 selection and much like the Seattle offense has struggled this season. Sporting a modest 10 rec on 107 yards, he has been a direct reflection of the struggles of Seattle. Seattle over the last few seasons has been a second half team, and make for great trade targets to teams that are impatient to ride out the first couple weeks. Baldwin has been farly consistent throughout his career in Seattle, even though the team rides out its first half lull, and would expect this trend to continue. Seattle hasn’t had a consistent run game so far this season, but may have found their guy in Carson, which can only help to open up the passing game, and give the offensive line a bit of a break. His production currently is more of a low end WR2, which if you can buy him as, pull the trigger on the deal.
Christian McCaffery – RB – CAR
The buzz on McCaffery was hot and heavy coming into draft season, and in some leagues was going as high as the second round. McCaffery had been touted as the passing downs back, and in the preseason had shown significant burst and navigation running through the line. However, once the regular season started, the success wasn’t there. Averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry, and only having 9 receptions through the first two games, he is a perfect buy low candidate, especially with Greg Olson going on the IR. He is the fastest playmaker they have and could see them working him more into the offense in the coming weeks. Cam is still very rusty and dealing with his shoulder, and as the season goes on, should round back into form.
Bilal Powell – RB – NYJ
In a couple of league I am in, Powell was dropped, which makes him an easy acquisition. However, his value is at an all time low, and the Jets seem content to continue to run Matt Forte as their starter, even though Powell was their most effective option last season. On an offense devoid of talent, Powell is once again regulated to backup duty. Powell carried a 5th or 6th round ADP this season, and at this point should be a player that you can get on the cheap and hope that the Jets come to their senses. In my opinion he is a good buy low option given his potential role in the offense as a low end Flex option, with RB2 potential in PPR leagues when given full reps. Forte hasn’t been very durable the last couple seasons and should be a matter of time before the Jets move on from him as the starter. Don’t go out of your way to obtain him, but if you can buy low, he is a back I would target as a depth stash right now.
Isaiah Crowell – RB – CLE
Coming off of a career year last season, Crowell had high expectations placed on him coming into this season and was carrying a 4th round ADP. The bigger value with Crowell coming into the season is he was the incumbant bell cow. Coming closer to the season, the team indicated they wanted to use Duke Johnson more in the offense, which indicated there may be more risk associated with Crowell, as he may lose those receiving touches. However, Johnson was then indicated he would run predominately out of the slot as a WR this season given the state of the Browns receiving corps which alluded to higher confidence in Crowell being a true three down back. The yards per carry are putrid right now at 2.7, and has only two catches on the season. Cleveland has had to play from behind a significant amount, and he hasn’t been used in the passing game as much as he was last season, partly due to Duke being healthy this season. Crowell is a back that needs a significant amount of touches to get going, and averaging 14 a game isn’t going to do it. There may be an increase this week going against the Colts, and the next few games should be more to his benefit, and may be the last opportunity to buy low on Crowell.