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The Buy Low Report: Amari Again?

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

The new list is a bit short this week, as the buy profile this time of year for redraft is narrow. Barring any major signals in this final week before the standard trade deadline, expect a shift to late season dynasty buy candidates in the ensuing columns.

Amari Cooper

I hate this one. I really do.

I am not a Cooper fan. Accruing volume is a skill, and Cooper failed to display that skill the last few years as he was incapable of leading his team in targets. His inability to dominate targets was especially damning this year, as he was out-targeted by the ghost of Jordy Nelson and the “randomly competent”1 Jared Cook, all while he was touted as the centerpiece of the Oakland offense in the off-season. Because of this history and Dallas’ franchise outlook, I am still low on Cooper from a long-term perspective.

Nevertheless, it looks like Cooper’s move to Dallas has temporarily rejuvenated his career, as Dallas is making good on Jon Gruden’s empty promise of forcing the ball to Cooper.

Because of his volume and schedule, Cooper’s upside for the fantasy playoffs this year is hard to ignore.

Via the RotoViz Buy Low Machine, Cooper is gifted a cakewalk trio of matchups to finish the fantasy season.

WR Buy Low Playoffs

Cooper, after incidentally causing Philadelphia cornerback Ronald Derby to tear his ACL by working him around on a route,2 faces an Eagles team in Week 14 that now lacks their three starting cornerbacks. Philadelphia has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers on the year.

Week 15 awards the Dallas passing game a matchup versus an Indianapolis pass rush that holds one of the lowest pressure rating and sack ratings in the league, which should generate more clean pockets for Dak Prescott. Quarterbacks are more likely to perform optimally in clean pockets – even Derek Carr was able to produce a three touchdown 27.8 fantasy point day versus the Colts soft pass rush in Week 8 – so expectations should be optimistic for Dallas pass-catchers. Bolster expectations further, too, as the matchup is indoors in Indianapolis and the home squad continues to play at one of the fastest neutral paces in the league – providing both efficiency and volume upside. Indianapolis has allowed one of the highest yards per attempt and completion percentages in the league.

Cooper faces the Swiss cheese Tampa Bay defense in fantasy championship week. Tampa Bay is bottom three in opponent yards per attempt, completion percentage, passing touchdowns, and fantasy points allowed to wide receivers per game.

Cooper’s 15.1 PPR average these last two weeks surely represent his floor for the playoff stretch.

Yes, the sample is small and Dallas’ overall passing volume – 29th in attempts per game and 23rd in pass tendency – is low, but Cooper does rank top-10 in weighted opportunity rating, target share, and air yards market share among receivers the last two weeks. Cooper also has six red-zone targets – 3 of which were inside-the-10 targets – as a member of the Cowboys.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 2.46.51 PM

Again, I am not high on Cooper’s long-term outlook, but the perfect storm is brewing for him to produce fantasy success in the playoffs. By no means do I suggest trading away a top-15 option to acquire Cooper, but if his owner lacks the foresight to see that his production should only increase when it matters most, try and swoop in.

Dalvin Cook

The injury-laden second year running back stormed back to the field in Week 9 with a highly efficient outing of ten carries for 89 yards plus four catches. Minnesota unsurprisingly limited Cooks’ rushing workload in his return, giving him an even split with Latavius Murray. Cook was the preferred pass-catching back, though, with four targets to Murray’s one.

Cook averaged a 66 percent rushing market shares and four targets in the games he played last year, but has fallen down to a 50 percent rushing share in his four games this year. Expect his rushing share to rise in the final games of the season and for his target volume to remain strong.

The Buy Low Machine indicates that Cook is an ideal buy for elite fantasy teams that might have a first round bye, as Minnesota faces two golden matchups to end the fantasy season.

Cook Buy Low

Do not forget that Cook had a lofty top-15 overall ADP this year based off his prolific flashes to start the 2017 season. It seems he has picked up right where he left off.

Cook is a sneaky Buy Low if you can pull it off. Leading up to the trade deadline, he faces tough matchups that might lead to inefficient outings. If Cook produces with another unimpressive box score this week, a strong buying opportunity will likely be presented.

The Minnesota back certainly has championship-winning upside, as he was the overall RB9 over the time he played last season.

Rob Gronkowski

Fade the noise.

Buy Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski has missed three games because of his nagging back and now the sentiment is that the world is falling, Gronkowski is washed and useless, and Gronkowski is going to retire before season-end.

Reference my Week 8 piece for the evidence that Gronkowski is playing as well as ever and those who suggest his performance has deteriorated are wrong. Touchdown regression for debatably the best touchdown scorer of all time is on the horizon.

At only 7-3 with other AFC teams in the hunt, New England will certainly aim to fire on all cylinders to finish the regular season. As I alluded to two weeks ago, New England playing to win will be good news for Gronkowski’s usage down the fantasy stretch.

The negative public sentiment towards Gronkowski continues to grow – use it as more leverage when trying to acquire the elite tight end. Gronkowski is projected to return to the field following New England’s Week 11 bye.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Smith-Schuster’s fantasy playoffs outlook remains fantastic. Reference Week 9’s Buy Low Report for an in-depth look into his playoff matchups.

An added note on the projected high scoring tilts versus New England in Week 15 and New Orleans in Week 16 is that Smith-Schuster actually has more inside-the-10 and red-zone targets than Antonio Brown does this year, and that he nearly matched Brown’s volume in those categories last year.

Unsurprisingly, Smith-Schuster’s usage when Pittsburgh is in scoring positions has resulted in heightened fantasy point outputs for the Southern California grad in games with high totals.

Juju2

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

The Week 10 box score of only 10.4 PPR points fails to capture the positive signal that occurred for Valdes-Scantling. With Geronimo Allison out for the season and Randall Cobb continuing to struggle, Valdes-Scantling matched Davante Adams with a 27 percent market share of targets.

Green Bay’s No. 2 receiver has a cheap price tag compared to his lofty weekly upside.

Philip Lindsay

Denver was on bye in Week 10. I still fully endorse every word I wrote on Lindsay as the highlight of the Week 9 column. The talent, opportunity, and matchups combination make him a potential league winner.

  1. Thanks to Monty Phan for this apt description.  (back)
  2. An ACL tear is no laughing matter and I wish Derby all the best in his recovery.  (back)

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