BUY SELL HOLD — Week 2
by The Football Fix
There’s nothing better than Week 1 overreactions. So many players are already busts or smashing hits after just one game of football under our belts. It’s important to keep a level head this early in the season. Your team isn’t garbage if you had a low scoring week and you’re not riding your way to the fantasy championship if your team did well either.
Luckily for you, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of this irrational way of thinking throughout the week in the trade market. There’s no point in throwing away an entire offseason of research, analysis, training camp reports, and so on after Week 1. Stick to your guns.
In general, target players who you were high on in the preseason that didn’t quite perform up to par in this first week. Sell those players that you didn’t want in the first place, but had a lucky break or two in the first game to give off the illusion that they’ll be consistent fantasy producers for the rest of the year.
Here’s a few players to focus on in particular:
BUY - TE Tyler Higbee, Rams
Seeing the Week 1 explosions of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller serves as yet another reminder of how important it is to find consistently productive tight ends in fantasy. Unfortunately, you’ll have to give up an arm and a leg to acquire those two guys in most leagues, so we have to find players who are more reasonably valued, while still having that top-tier upside.
Tyler Higbee didn’t explode in Week 1, but I think he could be knocking on the door of that top-3 or 4 tight end group. Higbee caught 5-of-6 targets for 68 yards, which was good for 11.8 PPR fantasy points against a respectable Bears defense.
But by far and away the most encouraging part of his game last week was his overall usage. Higbee played all 52 offensive snaps for the Rams. He ran 26 routes on 27 Matthew Stafford dropbacks, which is good for a 96.3% Route Participation Rate. For context, Higbee’s Route Participation in 2020 was just 56.7%. Higbee also had a 23% Target Share, which was tied for the third-highest share amongst all TEs in Week 1.
This Rams offense with Stafford under center looks a whole lot more exciting and explosive. Higbee has always been held back in his career while having to split snaps with another guy like Gerald Everett, but in 2021, he’s by far and away L.A.’s top TE. He looks primed for a big breakout, so go buy him before he has his nuclear game.
Honorable Mentions: RB Aaron Jones, Packers
RB Najee Harris, Steelers
HOLD - RB Trey Sermon and WR Brandin Aiyuk, 49ers
This whole situation in San Francisco just doesn’t make much sense. Sermon was a surprise healthy scratch on Sunday while Aiyuk spent much of the first half against the Lions on the bench. Nobody truly knows why. Even the Bay area beat reporters are pretty much just making crap up to try and explain Kyle Shanahan’s unexpected decision-making.
Are they in the infamous Shanahan dog house, are they injured, did they actually fall down the depth chart due to their performance and ability? Here’s an idea: maybe we can’t explain whatever is going on in Kyle Shanahan’s head. All we can do is remain objective as fantasy gamers and work with the information available to us, both new and old. A lot of the new information that’s come out in the last few days has been garbage. So let’s go back to the old.
By all accounts, Trey Sermon was operating as the No. 2 back behind Raheem Mostert for pretty much the entire offseason. Niners coaches raved about his cutting ability and how he’d fit into their running scheme. There’s too many different explanations for why he ultimately was a healthy scratch on Sunday, but that doesn't just make him dust in fantasy. Raheem Mostert is now out for the season with a knee injury, which means there are significant touches to be won in this backfield. I think Sermon could be leading this team in carries as soon as in Week 2. If you own him in fantasy and are worried about his Week 1 benching, don’t be.
A similar thing goes for Brandin Aiyuk. All we heard about him this offseason was how he was set to take the next step as this team’s No. 1 receiver. Teammates, coaches, and beat writers alike all raved about his ability. He was supposedly unguardable in camp. So after a good rookie year and a solid offseason, do we really think that the Niners are going to continue to bench their first-round receiver Aiyuk in favor of former UDFA Trent Sherfield? There’s just no way. Aiyuk should be back as soon as next week as a starter in this offense and producer for fantasy purposes.
Don’t try and explain the unexplainable with Shanahan. For months, we’ve been receiving positive information about both Sermon and Aiyuk in this offense. One week of weird behavior doesn’t ruin their potential for the entire season. If this happens in consecutive weeks then we should start getting concerned, but I don’t think it will.
SELL - RB Mark Ingram, Texans
We all came into the season thinking that the Texans were going to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Although they won in a rather convincing fashion last Sunday, it was against the Urban Meyer-led Jaguars, who also look like one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Houston had positive game script throughout the game, giving Mark Ingram and the rest of that backfield a chance to rack up the carries. Ingram ended with 26 rushes, the second-highest total of any back in Week 1. He converted that into 85 rushing yards (3.3 YPC) while also having zero receptions.
The Texans won’t be winning many games from here on out, which means the game script won’t nearly be as favorable. There’s a real chance that we’ve already seen Ingram’s carry ceiling and he wasn’t very efficient with those touches. Add in the fact that he isn’t catching any passes, and Ingram basically is just a plodder in a bad offense.
His rushing touchdown made his overall fantasy production for the week look appealing enough, but I’d be looking to get rid of Ingram ASAP. Those 15 or so PPR fantasy points could easily be his CEILING. You likely won’t want to start Ingram at any point this year, so just sell him now while you have this small window.