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Fantasy Football Week 8 Stock Report: Time To Buy Low On Matthew Stafford

Adam Pfeifer looks at all the players you should buy and sell for your fantasy football teams.

You buying or selling?

Myself? I’m buying a lot of things. I’m totally buying those Randy Orton RKO vines that are taking the interwebs by storm. They are so, so awesome. I mean, come one. It’s the best finisher in WWE and it occurs to random people falling off bikes, tripping into lakes, going off ramps, you name it. I’m buying Peyton Manning being the greatest quarterback to ever step foot on a football field, especially after breaking Brett Favre‘s passing touchdown record. I’m buying Colt McCoy leading the Washington Redskins to a miraculous second half, winning the NFC East.

Okay, maybe not the latter.

Wait, what’s that? You came here for some fantasy football words? Oh, well why didn’t you say so?

Buys

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions- Through seven weeks, Stafford is outside the top-10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks. But on Sunday, without the godly Calvin Johnson, Stafford wasn’t too shabby, completing 27-of-40 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. He made big plays down the stretch to help the Lions come from behind and defeat the Saints. Many people may be upset with the fact that Stafford only has two 20-point fantasy outings this season, so if you are currently dealing with a weak option at quarterback like Matt Ryan (more on him later), Stafford is an intriguing buy low. First of all, he faces the Falcons lowly defense this season, but Calvin may actually play in this London contest, but if he doesn’t, he’ll be back very soon. That alone is enough to make Stafford go from a top-10 quarterback to potentially top-five. Just look at his splits over the last three seasons with and without Calvin, compliments of our friends at RotoViz.

stafford

Stafford also has a very nice schedule the rest of the way, getting Chicago, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Chicago again from Weeks 13-16. The Lions are also throwing the football about 60 percent of the time (11th-most) and once Calvin returns, they will most certainly improve on their 2.6 red zone scoring attempts per game this year, which ranks 5th-worst in football.

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos- Sorry, Montee Ball, but you’ve been Wally-Pipped. Hillman has now run well in two straight weeks, against two very good run defenses. On Sunday night, Peyton was the star, but Hillman played well, too, carrying the football 14 times for 74 yards and two scores, while catching four more passes. In two short games, in two tough matchups, Hillman has already out-produced Ball, who is still ailing from a groin injury. He has more rushing yards in his last two games than Ball has all year. Many may see this as an opportunity to sell him high, and believe me, I’m all for that if you can get something pretty good. However, I wouldn’t be upset if I couldn’t get rid of him because when Ball comes back, I see this being a 60-40 scenario, with Hillman seeing the 60. And we know how valuable the running back position in a Manning offense is. As my colleague C.D. Carter pointed out, since 2002, Peyton’s lead back averages 1,518 yards and 10.4 touchdowns. Don’t be afraid to hang onto him, folks.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins- Morris has been pretty putrid this year, averaging less than four yards per carry and has yet to rush for 100 yards this season. I’ll be honest, and I love Alf, but he just hasn’t been running the same. He’s missing cuts and holes and doesn’t appear to be on the same page as his offensive line thus far. Still, the offense isn’t helping, now going to their third string quarterback, Colt McCoy. And the more often Washington is trailing in contests, the more often Roy Helu will be in the game and Morris to the sidelines, which is always frustrating to see. I think the offense picks up a bit with Robert Griffin III expected to return to action very soon, and his presence should help Morris in the running game, too. Also, the Redskins have a few games coming up where game flow won’t be an issue for Morris, facing the Vikings, Buccaneers and Rams in the coming weeks.

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks- Baldwin wasted no time making people forget about Percy Harvin on Sunday, catching seven balls for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. The absence of Harvin will be great for Baldwin, who can now play more often in the slot, an area where he excels. According to Pro Football Focus, he lined up in the slot nearly 60 percent of the time this past week. It was also pretty evident that he was Russell Wilson‘s primary option in the passing game, seeing 11 targets, a team-high that also accounted for 30 percent of Wilson’s pass attempts in the game. He should make for a very steady PPR option the rest of the way, and showed flashes last year, so we know what he’s capable of doing as the Seahawks number one.

Sells

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons- Why did Matt Ryan struggle last year? The offensive line. Last year, he was one of the most pressured passers in the league, being in such situations over 40 percent of the time, and about half of his total interceptions occurred when he was under pressure. So why has Ryan struggled as of late in 2014? The offensive line again. This season, Ryan has been pressured on a league-leading 110 of his dropbacks (via PFF), making for 36.3 percent. Atlanta lost another starting offensive lineman on Sunday, and it’s becoming an issue, as he’s been sacked a healthy 15 times, the 7th-most in football. I really wouldn’t be comfortable starting Matt Ryan right now, especially next week against the best defense in football, who, by the way, rank third in the league in sacks.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts- Did you know that Bradshaw is the number-three running back in all of fantasy football so far? Whoa, crazy, crazy. This is tough because I love Bradshaw and Trent Richardson is banged up right now. But it’s very difficult to believe that he can sustain this crazy pace. On Sunday, he caught his sixth (!) touchdown pass of the season. He’s now fourth in all of football in touchdowns. Coming into this season, he only had three career receiving touchdowns on a little over than 130 receptions. Not to mention he’s a 28-year old running back with a bit of an injury history. Bradshaw could easily be a top-15 back the rest of the way, but his value will never be higher, and based off the crazy, unsustainable pace he’s on, you have to use this opportunity to your advantage.

Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars- Robinson had a breakout game on Sunday, and after being the surprised starter for the game, he torched the Browns for over 120 rushing yards and a score. He dominated the touches, seeing 23 compared to just seven combined for Storm Johnson and Jordan Todman. Still, if you can somehow use this opportunity to sell him, I’m not thinking twice. I’m not crazy about owning the starting rusher in Jacksonville, who have the 30th-ranked run-blocking unit and will be behind in so many games. Through seven weeks, only Atlanta and Oakland are throwing the football more often than the Jags. Also, I don’t believe that the former quarterback can survive as an every-down back, and he likely won’t see the goal line work, as Johnson got the short-yardage score on Sunday. Sell, sell, sell.

 

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