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Justin Hunter is the Best Kind of Buy Low, i.e. the Free Kind

justin-hunter-titans

Before Week 2 of the preseason I traded Justin Hunter away in a dynasty league based on my perception that the preseason buzz had created a market for Hunter, but that he wasn’t a sure thing to hit. Hunter went out and had an amazing preseason game as soon as that trade was complete and I was pretty sick. Not because I felt like I’d made the wrong call in selling him, but because if I’d just waited one more week I could have gotten more for him. Probably a lot more.

But I’m only somewhat exposed to Hunter in re-draft leagues because I mixed up the wide receivers that I took in the mid-rounds, and Hunter’s ADP became really variable in August. So I don’t have him everywhere, which means that I have a chance to buy low on him in a number of spots.

Some of you are already thinking that there’s no point in buying low on Hunter because he sucks. That’s exactly the kind of mentality that is going to make him nearly free to acquire in trades. I must confess that I really don’t understand the response to buy low ideas that simply regurgitates the results of the season to date. Example:

Columnist: Buy low on Matt Forte.

Response: Yeah right, he hasn’t scored any touchdowns this year!

Me: No shit genius.

Here’s Hunter’s upcoming schedule from the Buy Low Machine.

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I have it as the easiest in the league between now and the end of the fantasy season. The CLE matchup is still rated as somewhat difficult, but by then it should be fairly smooth sailing. Note also that the CIN and IND matchups are somewhat difficult for WRs in hindsight. BAL is an okay defense but even they’ve given up big(ish) games to Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, and Jericho Cotchery. You could potentially wait until after the CLE game, but I think the phrase “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” might apply. If you can get a guy for really cheap, why press your luck?

When I’m trying to decide if I should change my mind on a player I usually try to think about whether the original thesis is still in place. In Hunter’s case I don’t think anything has really changed. He’s still an athletic specimen. If anything his usage situation is only more secure than it was to start the season. We now know he’s close to being tied for the target lead in TEN. And now we should have more confidence about his upcoming schedule. We’re actually taking an unknown and making it a known quantity.

The only way I really like Hunter is if I can get him for close to free. That’s just kind of my trade outlook. I want to pay today’s market price, but with some catalyst on the horizon that will change things in my favor. In Hunter’s case it’s an improving schedule. I bet the Hunter owner in your league has probably looked at some of the weekly fool’s gold on the waiver wire and wondered whether they should drop Hunter. See if you can offer that owner a mild upgrade elsewhere in exchange for getting Hunter thrown into a trade. But this is the important part – you don’t have to make a deal this week. Jake Locker is still coming back from injury and it looks like the CLE matchup will be difficult. If you can’t get Hunter for close to free, you don’t need to do anything.

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