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The Buy Low Report: Try to Steal Travis Kelce

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.1 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.2

Buy Low

Travis Kelce

Kelce disappointed with a 1.6 PPR box score, lending credence to August murmurs about his inability to get on the same page with Patrick Mahomes. Concerns ahead for Kelce this year were related to his volume in what would be a revamped offense behind a wildcard rookie quarterback. Kelce’s year-over-year efficiency has left little doubt of his immense talent. The question, as always, is volume.

Target Market Share

Targets Per Game

2018 Week 1

0.24

6.0

2017

0.24

7.6

2016

0.22

6.4

2015

0.22

7.3

A closer look at Kansas City’s Week 1 performance proves encouraging for Kelce. Mahomes awarded Kelce a 24 percent target market share – the exact same share he had last season – which seems to answer the biggest question about last year’s overall TE1. Mahomes’s phenomenal overall performance also suggests the Kansas City offense will be explosive and highly productive fantasy-wise for those involved.

Via the RotoViz Screener, Kelce posted the worst fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE) out of all tight ends in Week 1. Catching only one of his six targets, he scored 8.5 fewer points than expected. Mahomes and Kelce certainly do need to improve their connection, but it seems foolish to bet against that happening given Kelce’s proven track record of success as an elite offensive centerpiece.

Mahomes looks the part of a star, and Kelce got healthy volume. The Chargers have also been stingy against tight ends. In 2017, they held Kelce to a single catch on only one target in Week 3 and finished the season allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Ignore the efficiency noise and buy Kelce’s volume and star power in a Kansas City offense that is set to explode this season.

Jarvis Landry

Landry’s heavy preseason usage carried over to Week 1 as he received a 38 percent target share in Cleveland’s tie with Pittsburgh. It was expected that Landry would be Tyrod Taylor’s clear-cut No. 1 target with Josh Gordon still working his way back in, but the surprising part was his 13.9 aDot and 178 air yards.3

To put this evolution of Landry’s usage into perspective, understand that he averaged 59 air yards per game in the last two years with a 6.3 aDot. In his final two seasons with Miami, Landry received a total of three targets of 30 yards or deeper. On Sunday, Landry had four such targets.

aDot

Air Yards Per Game

30+ Yard Targets

2016 and 2017 Seasons

6.3

59.0

4.0

2018 Week 1

13.9

178.0

3.0

A 1A/1B receiver situation will likely be in order once the uber-talented Gordon is allowed to fully participate, but Landry’s overwhelmingly high usage thus far suggests he might maintain an elite market share in the upper-20s, similar to his time in Miami.

Landry’s down-the-field usage and overall volume give him a true top-12 WR profile. He’s on track to be an incredible value at his 4.03 ADP.

Quincy Enunwa

Enunwa had the No. 1 overall target share in Week 1 and the third-highest weighted opportunity rating. Sam Darnold made it incredibly clear who his preferred target will be as he acclimates as an NFL starter. Darnold threw 21 passes Monday night and sent 10 of them Enunwa’s way. No other Jet garnered more than three targets. A career sub-10.0 aDot receiver, Enunwa is appealing to the rookie Darnold as a safe and reliable target.

Enunwa checks the adequate efficiency box as he posted a 0.91 air conversion ratio on 105 targets in his last healthy season, so there’s no reason to believe that Darnold will be disappointed if he keeps forcing the ball to Enunwa.

The 48 percent market share Enunwa posted Week 1 is unsustainable,4 but expect the Jets’ passing volume to increase as Darnold progresses and game situations demand. New York ended their Week 1 blowout victory with a run-heavy sub-50 percent pass-to-run ratio, which produced only 10 targets for Enunwa despite his ludicrous market share. The promising Week 1 team result suggests that New York should have little reservation trusting Darnold in neutral game scripts going forward.

Enunwa’s 18 PPR points this week will have him on owners’ radars, but capitalize if the Enunwa owner in your league thinks this Week 1 performance was a fluke. If Enunwa is on waivers – which he actually is in the majority of ESPN leagues – make him your top priority.

Tevin Coleman

Coleman has been a perennial Zero-RB darling. Shawn Siegele pegged him as the No. 1 candidate for 2018. Siegele noted Coleman’s impressive preseason passing game usage and suggested he might be able to outscore Devonta Freeman even without an injury this year.

Coleman and Freeman split both usage and snaps versus the formidable Philadelphia defense in Week 1. Coleman had nine rushing attempts to Freeman’s six while Freeman had five targets to Coleman’s two. An even workload split suggests that Coleman will have the opportunity to outperform Freeman from a fantasy standpoint. Coleman has outperformed Freeman on a per-touch basis in fantasy the last two years, including a large edge as a receiver.coleman v freeman 2

 

Freeman’s injury toward the end of the game should not be ignored, either. Reports are that Freeman’s health is not a concern after he limped off the field to end the game, but some skepticism is appropriate given that Freeman suffered a sprained MCL and PCL at the end of last season. As is common knowledge, Coleman instantly becomes a top-12 running back if Freeman misses time.

Rashaad Penny

Penny’s value hit an all-time low after he broke his finger after Preseason Week 1.

Despite the onslaught of coachspeak touting Chris Carson’s hold on the Seattle backfield and Penny practicing only a few times after his finger injury, the sly dog Pete Carroll gave Penny the exact same Week 1 usage as his beloved Carson.

Snaps

Attempts

Targets

Carson

25

7

5

Penny

25

7

5

Carroll exclaimed that Carson cemented his role as the lead back since he averaged 7.3 yards per carry to Penny’s uninspiring 1.1 yards per carry. Carroll then backtracked to suggest that Penny will continue to be involved, but that he would love to see Penny return to his form from one month ago. Well, one month ago, Carroll was also pounding the Carson drum no differently than he is now.

The point is, Carroll’s actions speak louder than his (worthless) words. Penny got the same usage as Carson despite being back from injury for just a few days. It has been covered at length how high Penny’s upside is based off his college production and draft capital. Carroll’s actions suggest he will give Penny every chance to succeed this season. Invest while Penny’s price continues to drop – it should not take much to acquire him at this point.

Some other players to target or scoop up from waivers based off their Week 1 usage and potential upside:

Austin Ekeler

T.J. Yeldon

Phillip Lindsay

Nyheim Hines

Bruce Ellington

  1. It has been proven ad nauseam that volume not only drives fantasy success, but that volume is also the most predictable piece of a player’s valuation. A player’s efficiency is mercurial relative to his volume and without a proven track record efficiency should be downplayed. I choose to look at efficiency as a binary entity when buying and selling in fantasy football: Can a player perform at an adequate enough level such that his volume will translate to the box score?  (back)
  2. Check out the Weekly Waiver Report for intel on the best pickups every week and combine that knowledge with trade tips from this series to become the ultimate in-season owner.  (back)
  3. Pro-rated down from 223 air yards to a four-quarter regulation total  (back)
  4. Robby Anderson should certainly be receiving more than a single target per game  (back)

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