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Reality Check: Buy-low and sell-high candidates

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Buy low, sell high ... by now, everyone's pretty familiar with the concept.

So then why do so few get it right?

I'm generally uncomfortable labeling a player a buy-low or sell-high because it can vary so much from league to league and circumstance to circumstance. Plus, it's often more of a hindrance than a help to Fantasy owners, who take it as an edict to overhaul their rosters.

But as I assess trade possibilities in each of my leagues, I so often find myself gravitating toward the same players that I'd be doing you a disservice by keeping it to myself.

Here's what you need to remember: It's not "buy at all costs" and "sell at all costs," but buy low and sell high. That second word is just as important as the first. In many cases, the sell-high is actually the better player than the buy-low. The label has nothing to do with how one player compares to another and everything to do with how he compares to himself. Actual value vs. perceived value -- when the two don't match up, you have a chance to capitalize.

A chance, not a mandate. If the goal is to use market misconceptions to improve your team's standing, then you need to make sure the deal does just that. And I do mean make sure.

It all comes down to going rate, which you can gauge with the help of Dave Richard's Fantasy Trade Value Chart (Week 7 edition can be found here). Generally speaking, a one-for-one deal isn't the best way to nab a definitively better player. While you could potentially get Steven Jackson for Stevan Ridley -- which, as I note below, could pay off in the long run -- a true buy-low wouldn't require you to pay that price. An owner who's legitimately suffering from the loss of Jackson may settle for an offer of Alshon Jeffery and Zac Stacy, hoping to stop the bleeding there. And that's the way to buy low.

As long as you're not bleeding yourself, it's not like you'll miss the extra player. The waiver wire abounds with breakout candidates, many of whom nobody sees coming. In the weeks ahead, you'll find an adequate bye-week replacement, if that's all you'd be looking to replace.

Maybe another Jackson owner would pass on that offer. Maybe he'd even laugh in your face. But under the right circumstances, most would at least have to consider it.

And the same goes for the sell-highs. Knowshon Moreno should buy you an awful lot on the trade market right now. Could he and Trent Richardson land you Jamaal Charles from an owner desperate to fill his flex spot? It's not so far-fetched, really.

If the guy (or gal) doesn't go for it, oh well. You tried. No harm in keeping Moreno for yourself. What you don't want is for him to coerce you into a lesser deal, such as Frank Gore straight-up for Moreno, which would be no one's idea of a sell-high.

You shouldn't go into any buy-low or sell-high scenario thinking deal or bust. Even if you come away empty-handed, you'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing you've done your due diligence.

Now then, let's get started ...

Buy-lows

Roddy White, WR, Falcons: As you may have heard, Julio Jones is out for the season. The Falcons are built to throw, so somebody has to be on the other end of those Matt Ryan passes. As a four-time Pro-Bowler himself, White is the obvious choice. Fortunately for the discerning buyer, his value isn't evident just yet. An ankle injury dating back to the preseason has rendered him useless so far. Now that his hamstring is hurting as well, he'll get a chance to rest the ankle, which he admits he should have been doing all along. You may get nothing from him for the next 2-3 weeks, but he shouldn't cost much more than a bench player.
Better in the long run than ... Alshon Jeffery, Anquan Boldin

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: Right now, Johnson owners are feeling like they should have known better than to draft a notorious underachiever in the second round, but you'd be happy to take that problem off their hands. Johnson's 3.1 yards per carry aren't too surprising when you consider he's had to face the Steelers, Texans, Jets, Chiefs and Seahawks -- all top-six defenses -- so far. His matchup against the 49ers this week isn't much better, but then after a bye in Week 8, it's smooth sailing. Four of his next five opponents rank in the bottom five against the run, and the one that doesn't is Oakland.
Better in the long run than ... Frank Gore, Fred Jackson

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Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: Though he's thrown for just one touchdown in his last three games, Griffin showed signs of regaining his 2012 form at Dallas last time out, more than doubling his previous season-high with 77 rushing yards. After surgery to repair a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in January, his rehabilitation is ongoing, but now that he's regarded as a backup in most Fantasy circles, you can afford a little optimism, especially with favorable matchups against the Broncos, Chargers, Vikings, Eagles, Giants (twice), Falcons and Cowboys ahead. As long as you don't give up a must-start quarterback for Griffin, you've done well for yourself.
Better in the long run than ... Tom Brady, Russell Wilson

Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons: Like White, Jackson should benefit from the loss of Julio Jones, and like White, he hasn't endeared himself to his Fantasy owners just yet, having sat out the last three games (four weeks) with a hamstring injury. This week will make it four. Considering the initial timetable was 2-4 weeks, he can't be too far from returning. Yes, the Falcons are built to throw, but Jackson is a good enough receiver to inherit some of Jones' targets. Plus, he's more likely to get the ball at the goal line now that a Jones fade route is off the table. Your third (or maybe even fourth) running back and a spare receiver could get the deal done.
Better in the long run than ... Ryan Mathews, Stevan Ridley

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: When the Chargers went without downfield threat Malcom Floyd for the first time in Week 3, Philip Rivers looked like he might be in trouble, throwing for just 184 yards. In three games since, he's averaged 349.7. The reason? Rookie Keenan Allen has more than picked up the slack, averaging 100.7 receiving yards in those three games. With his targets going up each week his role appears secure, and looking ahead at the matchups, he'll only get to do more with it going forward. Three of his next four opponents rank in the bottom 10 against the pass, and the one that doesn't is Jacksonville.
Better in the long run than ... Reggie Wayne, Eric Decker

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: Though Edelman's production has gone down the last couple games, his targets haven't, which suggests he's still the closest thing to Wes Welker in the new-look Patriots offense. Granted, that may only last for as long as Danny Amendola is out, but ... um, hello? Did you see what happened to him Sunday? First game back from a groin injury, and he comes away woozy. Even if he's back in relatively short order, I don't know that he gets first dibs. By then, Tom Brady will have everyone else's timing down. I've seen Edelman get dropped in some leagues, so he may cost you next to nothing.
Better in the long run than ... T.Y. Hilton, Kenbrell Thompkins

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: The biggest impediment to Jones-Drew this season hasn't been Jones-Drew, but Blaine Gabbert. Without so much as the threat of the pass, opponents have no reason to take their eyes off the three-time Pro-Bowler. But a couple developments over the last two weeks have significantly altered Jones-Drew's outlook. Gabbert hurt his hamstring, allowing the halfway competent Chad Henne to play quarterback, and former fifth overall pick Justin Blackmon returned from a four-game suspension to put up 326 yards in two games. The impact on Jones-Drew showed just this past week, when he had his best game of the season against the Broncos' top-rated run defense. Maybe he's not washed up after all.
Better in the long run than ... Trent Richardson, Darren McFadden

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Nobody doubts Rodgers is a stud, but particularly those owning him for the first time may have forgotten exactly what that means. Three straight games with just one touchdown pass have brought him down to Matt Ryan level pretty quickly. But remember: He had a couple rough patches last year as well, throwing a combined three touchdown passes in Weeks 1-3 and a combined two in Weeks 12-14 and still finished as the No. 2 quarterback in Fantasy. Eddie Lacy has given the Packers a running game in recent weeks, but it's not like he's stealing touchdowns. Rodgers will still get his. Between the injuries to his receiving corps and the recent shortage of touchdowns, Rodgers has given his owner reason to think twice if you offer up your top quarterback and second running back.
Better in the long run than ... Philip Rivers, Tony Romo

Sell-highs

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: I don't doubt Moreno has the talent to continue doing what he's been doing, but Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman haven't exactly gone away. They don't block as well as Moreno, which is kind of important with Peyton Manning at quarterback, but the Broncos like them enough to give them carries whenever possible. When the game is in hand and passing is no longer necessary, they usually come in for Moreno. The Broncos are sure to have more games like that, as powerful as their offense is. Plus, Moreno hasn't exactly been a model of health over the years. I'm not saying you dump him for a second-tier back, but maybe you capitalize on this opportunity to upgrade.
Worse in the long run than ... Alfred Morris, Doug Martin

Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Rookie Mike Glennon may have a future as the Buccaneers quarterback, but you can't expect him to be the quick study Andrew Luck was last year. In Week 6, he did exactly what you'd hope he'd do against the league's second-to-last pass defense, throwing for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and he may do fine against the 26th-ranked pass defense this week. But looking ahead to the Panthers (twice), the Seahawks, the 49ers and, yes, the Saints, he's going to have plenty of weeks where you can't trust him to get the ball to Jackson, which means you can't trust Jackson. Maybe you should cash in on the former Charger while you can.
Worse in the long run than ... Marques Colston, Mike Wallace

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams: Relying mostly on short passes and yards after the catch, Bradford has been piling up touchdowns over the first few weeks, ranking sixth among quarterbacks in standard CBSSports.com leagues. But much of his success came against teams that struggle against the pass, such as Atlanta, Dallas and Jacksonville. Looking ahead, six of his next 10 opponents rank in the top 10 against the pass. And without any sort of long game, he's unlikely to buck the trend. He's probably just a backup for you anyway, but with his value presumably at its highest right now, you may be able to dupe someone into believing he's a starter.
Worse in the long run than ... Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger

Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders: Most likely, Moore will remain a productive Fantasy option all year just because the Raiders have no one else to catch the ball, but the rate at which he's been scoring touchdowns is simply too good to be true. Terrelle Pryor has thrown five touchdown passes this season. All but one have gone to Moore. That can't last. If the rest of your league values Moore as no better than a high-end flex option, then maybe you should stick with him. But his No. 11 ranking among wide receivers in standard CBSSports.com leagues so far has the potential to inflate his value.
Worse in the long run than ... Hakeem Nicks, Justin Blackmon

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: The main appeal of Bernard on Draft Day was the possibility of him overtaking the plodding BenJarvus Green-Ellis down the line. But six games into the season, Green-Ellis doesn't appear to be going anywhere. So how much can Bernard really do with 15 touches per game? So far, he's the 12th-ranked running back in standard CBSSports.com leagues, but he's been scoring touchdowns at a rate I'm not confident he can sustain, especially since three of his next five opponents rank in the top seven against the run. You certainly wouldn't want to undersell him, but now might be your last chance to pair him with another player and get a Matt Forte or Marshawn Lynch type.
Worse in the long run than ... C.J. Spiller, Eddie Lacy

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: After several weeks of iffy production, Fitzgerald's Week 6 performance may have been just enough to get the Fantasy-playing world back on board. Better strike while the iron is hot. It's not that Fitzgerald will be bad exactly, but looking ahead to his matchups against the Seahawks (twice), Texans, Colts, Titans and 49ers -- all top-10 defenses against the pass -- the 100-yard games will probably be more the exception than the rule with a struggling Carson Palmer throwing him the ball. Right now, he still has the price tag of a stud receiver.
Worse in the long run than ... Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: Of the 10 quarterbacks owned in 100 percent of leagues, Luck has the fewest touchdown passes with seven. Given the Colts' going game plan this year -- playing good defense and controlling the clock -- that doesn't figure to change. They don't want to get in a shootout, and in today's NFL, a shootout is the only way for a quarterback to stand out. Given his ownership percentage, a lot of people still have faith in Luck, and his name value should fetch a decent return in Fantasy. Provided you have even an adequate backup (check the waiver wire just to be sure), you might as well test the waters with him.
Worse in the long run than ... Russell Wilson, Michael Vick/Nick Foles

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Remove Jonathan Stewart from the equation, and suddenly Williams is a respectable Fantasy option again. Funny how that works. But add Stewart back to the equation, and most likely, no one's laughing. Most likely, no one's biting on a trade either, so in these last couple weeks before Stewart returns from an ankle injury, you should probably be shopping Williams. He hasn't been productive enough for you to bother dealing him straight-up, but pair him with a fringy wide receiver, and you may have a shot at an Eddie Lacy or Antonio Brown type.
Worse in the long run than ...
Le'Veon Bell, Zac Stacy

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Scott via Twitter @CBSScottWhite .

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Player News
Colts' Luck on new contract: 'There's nothing there right now'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:01 am ET) An ESPN report surfaced last week stating the Colts were working on making quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the NFL. When asked about the subject at the Pro Bowl, Luck seemed surprise when he heard the news.

"There's nothing there right now," Luck said, per The Indianapolis Star. "I didn't think about it all during the season and it's only been a few days since it ended. I haven't thought about it. I will have conversations with my agent just because you have to prepare, but I'm not sure where that report came from."

Luck has two years remaining on the $22 million deal he signed as a rookie in 2012. It includes a team option for 2016, which must be exercised later this year.

Luck just completed his third season in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl every year he's been in the NFL. He's gone 11-5 in every season as an NFL starter. He threw for a career-best 40 touchdowns in 2014 and led Indianapolis to the AFC title game this season.


Seahawks' Sherman disappointed he won't receive gifts from Pro Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) In case you missed Sunday's Pro Bowl, Team Irvin knocked off Team Carter, 32-28, thanks to a second-half rally, which included touchdown catches by Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmy Graham.

While many Pro Bowl players that made the original roster were absent from the game due to injuries, Pro Bowl players from the Patriots and Seahawks also did not play due to preparations for next Sunday's Super Bowl.

One player who seemed upset about missing the Pro Bowl was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. However, it was for a reason you probably wouldn't suspect.

“Only thing I’m disappointed in is they won’t give us our gifts from the Pro Bowl, which is kind of dumb,” Sherman said, per The Boston Globe. “The NFL is the only league that punishes the players who actually make the All-Star game by not giving them their gifts. It’s supposed to be watches and some other stuff, but we don’t get them so I couldn’t tell you.”


Patriots' Tom Brady on Deflategate: 'My feelings got hurt'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:33 am ET) If you have been out of the loop for the last week, then you might be unaware the Patriots have been under a lot of scrutiny since the AFC title game due to improperly inflated footballs used against the Colts. The media hoopla has transformed the controversy into what we know as Deflategate.

If you haven't been out of the loop, then you are well aware of the nonstop coverage it has received the last week and despite the Patriots pleas for it to go away, it just won't.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had to deal with the backlash from Deflategate, and he found himself talking about the subject again Monday morning during an interview with WEEI.

“It’s all speculation,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, too. I’ve done that and I’m trying to move past that, because I continue to try to rehash things. I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that. Honestly, I’m not interested in trying to find out right now, because we have the biggest game of our season ahead.”

One topic Brady didn't have a problem addressing was the speculation coach Bill Belichick threw him under the bus during a press conference on Thursday. But Brady came to the defense of Belichick, who has won three Super Bowls as the Patriots coach.

“I’ve never once felt that we’re not on the same page,” Brady said. “He’s a great coach. He’s the only coach I’ve ever played for; he’s the only coach I’d ever want to play for. There’s a lot of people over the years that have criticized him, but I’d say there’s not one player who’s ever played for him who’s not had an unbelievable amount of respect for him and how he prepares and his diligence and his preparation."


Giants' Odell Beckham says he played with hamstring tears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:24 am ET) Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham said he played all season with two tears in his hamstrings, according to the New York Daily News.

Beckham took part in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, but admitted he's still not fully healed. Beckham said the injuries prevented him from getting to that "last gear that I wanted to have." He added that the injuries really bothered him against the Eagles and Colts. Beckham said he was "stumbling" and falling over during those games. He added that he's not sure whether he'll ever be 100 percent again.

The rookie had a tremendous season, hauling in 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


Patriots' Tom Brady meeting with NFL after Super Bowl 49
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't expect to meet with the NFL until after Super Bowl XLIX, according to NFL.com.

The Patriots have been in the headlines all week due to Deflategate, and it appears the situation won't be resolved until after the season. "I believe they're going to do [a meeting] after the season," Brady said. "So we'll deal with it after this game. I think everybody is locked in, ready to go for the Super Bowl." Both Brady and coach Bill Belichick have held separate press conferences during the week to deny the team's involvement in deflating their footballs. 

The Patriots are subject to punishment from the NFL if the league finds any wrongdoing during the investigation. 


Earl Thomas on bad shoulder: 'I'll still play fearless'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who dislocated his shoulder in the NFC Championship Game, could remain limited in practice this week ahead of the Super Bowl, reports the Seattle Times. But he said he won't be thinking about the injury against the Patriots.

"When I come alive nothing is limited,’’ he said. “I’ll still play fearless, throw my body around, and let whatever happens, happens.’’

Thomas did allow that he might have to rely more on his teammates.

“My mindset is I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates,’’ he said. “This is the first game I’m going to have to trust them because of my injury. So I really, really, really trust my teammates, and that’s what I’m banking on, my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.’’

It's unclear if Thomas will need offseason surgery.

The Seahawks are 1-point underdogs after opening as 2.5-point favorites.


Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck pondering retirement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told ESPN.com he's not sure if he'll retire or return for a 17th season. Hasselbeck, 39, appeared in four games this season and played well, posting a 102.6 passer rating.

He's set to hit unrestricted free agency.


Colts expected to part ways with center A.Q. Shipley
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Colts center A.Q. Shipley is headed for unrestricted free agency, and the team is expected to let him go, reports ESPN.com. 

"Shipley went from starting in Week 1 to losing his starting job, to being inactive, to being the third-string center," the report said. "All without any explanation from coach Chuck Pagano or anybody in the front office."

Shipley, 28, has played in 45 career games, starting 19.


Report: Dolphins aim to re-sign TE Charles Clay
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Dolphins have privately indicated they want to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay and will make him an offer in coming weeks, reports the Miami Herald. Clay caught 58 passes for 605 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games this season.

Miami also is high on Clay's backup, Dion Sims, who's signed through 2016, the paper said.


Browns extremely thin -- and short -- at wide receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) With wideout Josh Gordon facing a one-year suspension, the Browns are dangerously thin at receiver entering 2015. ESPN.com notes the Browns have two returning slot receivers in Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel and "an undersized situational receiver" in 5-10 Travis Benjamin.

Miles Austin is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after catching 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Tight end Jordan Cameron also is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

Hawkins, a 5-7, 180-pounder, led the team with 63 grabs for 824 yards, with two touchdowns. Cleveland failed to add a wideout in last year's draft but almost certainly must address the position in the 2015 draft.


 
 
 
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