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The Buy Low Report: Ronald Jones on the Radar

Trading is one of the most enjoyable and difficult aspects of fantasy football. The Buy Low Report is here to help. Every Wednesday, this article will identify and analyze players who are ideal buy targets as well as players who are strong sell candidates.

The primary methodology for buying and selling players in fantasy football comes down to volume. Expect “buy volume, sell efficiency” to be a tenant of this column.

Where efficiency does play a key role in player valuation is that prolific efficiency can spur higher usage in the right situations – think of the career trajectories for players like Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, or DeAndre Hopkins. Identifying circumstances where a player’s productivity gives him a shot at greater volume in the near future is a key aspect of playing the trade market.

The players discussed will predominantly be ones that are highly owned, as unowned players fall into the pickup market instead of the trade market.

Buy Low

Ronald Jones

Jones has undoubtedly been one of the biggest and most talked about busts to start the season. The twenty-one-year-old second-round rookie out of USC was so bad in the preseason that coach Dirk Koetter made him a healthy scratch for Tampa Bay’s first three regular season games.

Thankfully for Jones’ NFL future, Peyton Barber performed miserably in his three starts and implored the coaching staff to give Jones another shot. In Week 4, Jones took his first snaps as an NFL starter and out-carried Barber ten to seven. Jones matched Barber in targets, as well, with two. Both players were woefully inefficient with their workloads as Tampa Bay got trounced by the surging Chicago Bears, so do not be concerned that Jones did not produce in his first bout. All that matters is that Jones received more rushing work than Barber and that he was involved in the passing game.

Week 6 will be Jones’ best opportunity of the entire season to show his fantasy and NFL worth as he draws an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most receptions and the third most fantasy points to running backs thus far. Vegas pegs the game to be a shootout with Tampa Bay’s total resting at 27 points, which gives Jones high touchdown equity on top of the already enticing running back points allowed splits. If Jones sees upwards of 55 percent of the rushing work and healthy passing game usage like he did in Week 4 in this cakewalk matchup, then the only thing that can stop Jones from succeeding is himself.

The Buy Low Machine reveals that the good running back matchups for Tampa Bay continue past Week 6, so any momentum Jones builds in the most ideal matchup this week should carry forward.

BuyLowRBwk6

Efficiency is volatile, particularly for the running back position, so do not be scared away by a rookie’s poor preseason performance. Jones became a RotoViz favorite by mid-August for his youth and breakout metrics. He ranked second only to Saquon Barkley in Shawn Siegele’s, Hasan Rahim’s, and Blair Andrews’ rookie rankings. Jones’ dirt cheap price does not reflect his upside in a Tampa Bay offense that ranks sixth in points per game despite a ten-point dud in Week 4.

Carlos Hyde

Hyde’s inefficiency to start the year has the fantasy community begging Hue Jackson to give the reigns to rookie Nick Chubb. While putting Chubb in charge might be the rational move, there is zero signal that will happen. Despite murmurs that Hue wanted to give Chubb more work this past week, Hyde again garnered a 60 percent market share of the rushing attempts while tying his season high of three targets. Chubb had one target and ten percent of the rushes.

Hyde’s workload shockingly has given him the sixth highest total expected fantasy points for all running backs thus far.

CLE_EP

Cleveland’s offensive efficiency will improve as Baker Mayfield develops. Remember, Mayfield was not even getting first ream reps in the off-season, so it is unsurprising that he is still working his way into gear. Mayfield is recognized as one of the best prospects ever and he has shown glimpses of stardom already, so the uptick in Cleveland scoring is undoubtedly on the horizon. Hyde’s efficiency will pick up once he has more touchdown opportunities.

Adjusting the Buy Low Machine to filter for only the next three weeks gives further optimism for Hyde.

BuyLowRbwk6_2

Similar to Jones, buy Hyde for his volume and upcoming soft matchups. The public’s perceptions of Cleveland and Chubb provide ample buying opportunity.

Robby Anderson

Anderson broke out in a big way last week with 27.3 PPR points on only five targets. Usually this type of unsustainably efficient stat line marks a “sell” not a “buy,” but Anderson is a unique case because his efficiency should spur higher volume.

A product of his remarkably high 14.8 career aDOT, Anderson has been a spike production player his entire career. An underrated asset all of last year, Anderson finished as the WR16 but had a 10th-round ADP this year – making him a draft target with league-winning upside. Straight from Cort’s article:

Anderson was simply stellar in 2017, scoring in the 80th percentile or better in almost every WR metric available.

Robby2017

Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold seemed averse to taking shots downfield to Anderson to start the year, as he instead clung to the low aDOT safety of Quincy Enunwa. Rookie quarterbacks like targets they can trust because it builds their confidence. Darnold and Anderson finally connecting bodes well for Anderson’s future opportunity, as Darnold displayed a confidence-based tendency when bombarding Enunwa with targets to start the year.1 But Darnold is easily at his best when targeting Anderson:

darnold AYA

If Anderson can keep making Darnold look good, then Anderson’s role will grow. His profile suggests he can sustainably produce at the most efficient clip on his team, so try and acquire him from owners who are looking to unload at a reasonable price after his not-so-fluky Week 5.

John Brown

Brown has been mentioned in the Buy Low Report nearly every week. His air yards profile in a high passing volume offense continues to give him all the upside in the world. Here are the leaders in raw air yards through Week 5:

Player

Air Yards

John Brown

871

DeAndre Hopkins

870

Julio Jones

831

Antonio Brown

670

Odell Beckham

627

Brown is amongst – ahead of – the most elite company. In terms of market share of air yards, Brown is third overall behind Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. The depth of Brown’s usage has garnered him the thirteenth highest expected fantasy points among WRs this year. With Flacco on a career pace for more than 750 pass attempts, Brown’s opportunity will persist.

As Blair Andrews pointed out, Brown posted the second worst fantasy points over expectation of Week 5, which resulted in his first sub-10 PPR point outing of the year. Use the production dip as a buying opportunity for the overall WR23 who has a top-15 volume profile.

Jarvis Landry

Like Brown, Landry has been a favorite of this column. Apply the same argument for Landry from the Week 1 Buy Low Report to recognize his volume profile is that of a top-12 WR who is a strong buy low in an ascending Cleveland offense.

Donte Moncrief

Buying low on Moncrief is the definition of buying volume and fading efficiency. Blair’s previously linked article makes a strong case for avoiding Moncrief at all costs, but I think Moncrief’s volume relative to his price is too good to pass up. He has the most valuable workload in an offense that has averaged 45 pass attempts over the last four weeks.

Player

Targets

aDOT

Air Yards

PPR

Donte Moncrief

33

11.6

383

52.5

Keelan Cole

29

9.2

266

48.1

Dede Westbrook

27

5.4

147

52.7

Moncrief does not need to be efficient to produce as a top-24 WR given his current volume. Over the last two weeks, Moncrief has posted 22 and 13 PPR point results.

Volume is a skill, and Moncrief continues to have the best volume profile on his team despite posting the worst efficiency of the trio of Jacksonville receivers. Given this trend, it seems more likely that Moncrief will regress towards expectation than Bortles will stop throwing him the ball.

Look to acquire Moncrief at the right price before his volume translates to another blowup week.

Lower Owned / Waiver Wire Buys:

Jameis Winston

Cameron Brate

Keke Coutee

Alfred Blue

D’Onta Foreman

Mike Davis

Tre’Quan Smith

Wendell Smallwood

Week 4 Buy Low Review:

Find last week’s Buy Low Report here.

T.Y. Hilton: Unfortunately, his hamstring injury might be more serious than was initially thought. He remains a strong buy the moment there is good news of his return.

Marvin Jones: Jones popped up on the Friday injury report and evidently was hampered. Expect him to make a full recovery, so he is still a nice buy.

James White: White is a potential league winner with a locked-in RB2 floor and RB1 upside. White translated his receiving game usage into 31 PPR points Week 4 and 24 PPR points Week 5. If an owner doesn’t believe the box scores, buy him.

Phillip Lindsay: Lindsay continues to dominate the Denver backfield and remains a buy candidate.

Antonio Brown: Brown blew up for 28 PPR points in Week 5. Unsurprisingly, the greatest receiver of all time finally produced a great box score to match his volume.

  1. Not unusual for a rookie quarterback.  (back)

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