Buy/Sell/Hold: Preseason Edition
By: Blake LaBathe
I thought I was addicted to fantasy football when I had my first (but not last) dream about it. I thought I was addicted to fantasy football when the only motivation I had to go to my economics class at eight in the morning was to check the waiver wire. I thought I was addicted to fantasy football when I showed up to my draft and had unintentionally memorized the yards per carry of most of the top ten running backs off the board. When I really learned that I was addicted to fantasy football, however, was when something as minor and unimportant as the NFL preseason became one of my favorite times of year. After never watching a preseason game in my life I’m now upset if I miss one. A player’s value goes up and down multiple times in a week and I’m on the constant move to buy low and sell high. I even traded for Ameer Abdullah one morning and had shipped him off to another team by nightfall. With player stocks on a constant move over these next couple weeks, here are some hot topics in the fantasy world and my recommendation to buy them, sell them, or hold off on any action.
Ameer Abdullah and Joique Bell: Hold
Detroit coach Jim Caldwell recently came out and stated that he expects Joique Bell to be the bell-cow back when he comes back from injury. That same day, quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters that he sees a committee forming among the running backs. The truth is, nobody knows what’s going to happen just yet. Abdullah’s hype train was full speed ahead after his first preseason game, but he wasn’t noteworthy in the second match up. He’s a good player to stash on your roster as long as he’s not flirting with being put in the flex spot anytime soon. Joique Bell, on the other hand, is a running back that has consistently outperformed his ADP and looks to be in the position to get goal line carries this year over Abdullah, and could very well still be a serviceable starter. Whether or not you have either of these players, I don’t suggest any move be made, as you’ll probably end up overpaying or underselling.
Martavis Bryant: Sell
Bryant has been America’s sweetheart “sleeper” most of the off season after a fantasy season where he was incredibly efficient for the amount of snaps he got, and reports on his performance so far have been great. That being said, Ben Roethlisberger has come out and said that he expects Markus Wheaton to be the Pittsburgh receiver to have a breakout year, and Wheaton so far has gotten preference over Bryant in terms of taking reps and position on the depth chart. I don’t quite buy Bryant’s hype for what it is, as I’m not quite sure that a Pittsburgh offense that already supports Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown has enough to go around to make him worth his cost. I see Bryant under-performing based on his ADP, but his hype right now should give you the power to charge a heavy price for him
Devin Funchess: Buy
If he looks like a Kelvin Benjamin and plays like a Kelvin Benjamin, is he this year’s Kelvin Benjamin? Probably not quite, but by taking over the top receiver spot in Carolina, Devin Funchess looks ready to have a great year. He may not play like Kelvin Benjamin, but he sure looks like him at 6’5” and 136 pounds. For his price, I think Funchess is in for a great year. I also recommend buying fellow teammate Greg Olsen, an already underrated tight end that will probably get even more attention than he did last year.
Brandon Coleman: Sell
The biggest sleeper that nobody is yet talking about, Coleman has a real shot to take over the second receiver spot in the Saints offense if Marques Colston continues to regress. The problem is that I don’t see Coleman being fantasy relevant this year. He hasn’t done much at all this preseason and still has to compete with two other receivers and a committee of running backs in New Orleans. There are better sleepers out there, and I wouldn’t want Coleman on my team except in deeper leagues.
Brandon LaFell: Buy
LaFell was the #22 receiver last season after starting with two games of zero fantasy points. Teammate Julian Edelman was the #24 receiver. However, Edelman is currently being drafted as the 22nd receiver off the board, and LaFell is going as the 39th, and that math doesn’t add up considering neither of them have seen major changes over the off season. LaFell has the potential to be a top 20 receiver at the cost of a top 40, and that’s a steal. If you’re trying to trade for him, mention his injury, the presence of new teammate Reggie Wayne, and Tom Brady’s four game suspension. Just know that he’ll be back from injury in time for the season, all reports suggest Wayne will be a non-factor for Edelman and LaFell, and at LaFell’s cost right now you can afford to keep him on your bench for those four weeks if you’re afraid of his performance.
These aren’t all the players that have seen their value move this preseason, just the ones that have gotten a lot of attention, or in some cases haven’t gotten enough. So buy low, sell high, and go work on winning your league.
fantasyreaList Writer: Blake LaBathe