Players hit their point of peak value. Sometimes it’s sustainable, oftentimes it’s not. Every week this season I’m going to give you a few players I think you should sell while their value is high.
After Week 2, these are the players I’m fading for the rest of 2016.
It feels like only yesterday that DeMarco Murray was traded to Tennessee and Ryan Mathews stock was rising as the featured running back for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here’s a dirty little secret. Darren Sproles has out-snapped Mathews two weeks in a row. After a near even split in Week 1 (49-percent vs. 48-percent), the gap widened on Monday night to 57-percent for Sproles and only 29-percent for Mathews with a little bit of Kenjon Barner (8 snaps) and Wendell Smallwood (5 snaps) mixed in.
This isn’t the first time Philadelphia’s OC Frank Reich has utilized an undersized, 30-something RB more than expected. In case you didn’t know, Reich was the offensive coordinator in San Diego last year.
It doesn’t appear that Mathews is going to be the workhorse we anticipated.
Now is the time to shop Mathews. His box score stats look great. Mathews is currently the RB15 in PPR leagues (mostly due to his league leading three rushing touchdowns).
Matthews has only one target in two games. In Week 2, Matthews received nine carries versus Chicago for 32 yards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing long runs like they’re a bad thing, but one of his carries went for 30 yards. That means he had eight carries for 2 yards and two touchdowns. Or broken down even further, six of his carries went for zero yards.
I wonder how many people were watching in the fourth quarter when Matthews scored his second goal line touchdown? It came after a Sproles carry on 4th and 2 which was replayed due to a defensive offside penalty.
Another reason to fade Mathews is that the Eagles’ first two opponents, the Browns and Bears, are pretty clearly the dregs of the NFL.
And to think, I didn’t even mention his injury history.
Cam Newton only has eyes for Kelvin Benjamin.
The sound thinking going into the season was that there was no way Benjamin would see 146 targets like he did in 2014. After all, the Panthers were 28th in pass attempts (501) in 2015 and went to the Super Bowl. 22-year old Devin Funchess would start to emerge, Ted Ginn Jr. wouldn’t just fade away and ol’ reliable, Greg Olsen, would get his 120+ targets.
So why sell now?
Anything is possible but if I had to guess, negative regression is coming. Randy Moss is the only WR in the RotoViz Screener database (2000-2016) to see more than 130 targets and maintain a TD rate over 10-percent.
Color me skeptical that Benjamin spent his 2015 on injured reserve learning how to improve his 50-percent catch rate. Granted, he has been great so far. 100-percent catch rate on his three red zone targets. Drastically, perhaps unsustainably, better than his 22-percent RZ catch rate in 2014.
Here are your top-12 PPR WRs through Week 2:
I think Ben Gretch summed up the table best.
The high opportunity guys (first column) are going to be more stable. High efficiency (second column) is less sustainable. https://t.co/UKJSnweFrP
— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) September 21, 2016
Looking at the table of expected points, I’d rather have Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, T.Y. Hilton and even (gasp) Jarvis Landry for the rest of 2016. All of which, have seen more opportunity than Benjamin, but have yet to cash in.
Based on everything (we think) we know about Benjamin, his current production pace is unsustainable. I’m willing to bet that he’s not a Moss level outlier.
Before you all storm the gates, I’m not saying you should sell him. This is more of me pointing out some concerns I have and I do not consider him a “buy low.”
Julio Jones saw 203 targets in 2015. He’s currently on pace for 104 in 2016. The utilization of Jacob Tamme, the addition of Mohamed Sanu and even the emergence of Tevin Coleman are cutting into his receiving opportunity. As a Julio owner, this is concerning.
A bright spot is that Jones is massively outperforming his expected points, albeit with an unsustainable 15.4-percent TD rate. Jones has never been a prolific touchdown scorer (considering his target volume) topping eight touchdowns only once. Expecting 16 TDs on a 104 target pace is ridiculous.
I may be a week early since the Falcons at Saints in Week 3 should (theoretically) be a shootout. Julio Jones is a wide receiver that I would consider matchup proof. However, the schedule for Atlanta WRs is one of the toughest in Weeks 4 through 13 according to the small sample of data we have in the Buy Low Machine.
I’d be interested in at least exploring what I could get for Julio right now.