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Week 9 Buy Low Report – A Tight End Makes an Appearance

The Strength of Schedule Streaming app allows you to see which players have the easiest or most difficult upcoming schedules, a potentially league-winning edge that gives you the opportunity to buy players right before they explode in plus matchups.

Welcome back to the Buy Low Report. As usual, we will combine insight from the SoS Streaming App and the RotoViz Screener to identify players who are buy-low candidates. The SoS Streaming App reveals matchup data for each fantasy position. The Screener reports expected fantasy points (EP) — which measures the value of a player’s opportunities — and fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) — which measures a player’s efficiency.

Tight Ends – Weeks 9 through 12

George Kittle

That’s right. For the first time this year, a tight end will be featured on the Buy Low Report. George Kittle, congrats on finally making it big.

Kittle’s season could look a whole lot different.

The Iowa product has had not one, not two, but three touchdowns called back on penalties. Add those three touchdowns to his current season stats and he moves from TE6 all the way up to TE2. As it is, he leads all tight ends in air yards share and ranks second in target share. His 0.59 weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) paces the position.

His bad luck is nothing the flowchart can’t fix. Over the next three weeks, San Francisco has the easiest schedule for tight ends by far, as Kittle will get two games against an Arizona Cardinals defense that has been eaten alive by opposing tight ends this season. In between those two games, he’ll face a Seattle secondary that is also below-average at defending tight ends. The stars have aligned for Kittle to finally pay back the second-round price tag fantasy owners spent on him this offseason. If you can get Kittle now while his value is at a relative minimum, go for it.

Wide Receivers – Weeks 9 through 12

Robby Anderson

In four games with Sam Darnold this year, Robby Anderson is averaging 7.3 targets (21% share) and 106 air yards (38% share) per game, good for a WOPR of 0.59. That volume is typical of a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2, but Anderson’s current price tag is significantly lower. Part of that is because the Jets’ offense doesn’t lend itself to prolific fantasy numbers, but the discrepancy between Anderson’s volume and production is still larger than you would expect. Impending regression will be aided by the Jets’ picture-perfect upcoming schedule, as they have the second-easiest schedule for wide receivers over the next four weeks.

Right now, owners who drafted Anderson in the sixth or seventh round are likely disappointed with what they’ve gotten from him, but matchups against Miami, NY Giants, Washington, and Oakland should change that. Buy Anderson this week before he plays a porous Miami defense.

Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen’s first three weeks were so much fun.

The last five weeks have been significantly less fun.

In Weeks 1 through 3, Allen accumulated 29 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns. Over the last five weeks, he has a total of 22 receptions for 213 yards and zero touchdowns. His targets dropped off too, at least for a little bit, as he saw no more than six targets between Week 4 and Week 6. However, he appears to have rebounded in that area, getting 21 targets over the last two games. With the schedule opening up – the Chargers have the fifth-easiest schedule for wideouts over the next month – Allen should start posting WR1 numbers again soon.

Allen’s decrease in production coincided with a difficult stretch of matchups; Los Angeles has had the fourth-hardest schedule for wide receivers over the last five weeks. With his schedule flipping from hard to easy, Allen is a perfect buy-low candidate.

Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson deserves better.

In 2015, he finished as a fantasy WR1 despite having Blake Bortles at quarterback.

Now, he’s putting up respectable numbers with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm. Robinson is quietly on pace for 151 targets, 105 receptions, 1,202 yards, and seven touchdowns.

Well, he’s done it quietly so far at least – but it might not be that way for much longer. Over the next month, the Bears face the seventh-easiest schedule for wide receivers, starting with a matchup against an Eagles’ defense that has gotten torched by opposing WR1s all year long.

Buy Robinson now and start him with confidence moving forward.

Calvin Ridley

Calvin Ridley has been pretty disappointing this year. After an uber-efficient rookie campaign, many – myself included – were expecting him to take a step forward and perhaps become the JuJu Smith-Schuster to Julio Jones’ Antonio Brown. Alas, that has not happened, but the Falcons’ decision to ship Mohamed Sanu to New England in exchange for a draft pick should open up more looks for Ridley. The Falcons are on their bye this week, but their schedule for wide receivers from Weeks 10 through 12 is the third-easiest in the league.

You could wait a week for Ridley to get past his bye before making a move for him, or trade for him now if his owner is desperate for immediate production. Either way, make sure you get him on your roster for the home stretch.

Running Backs – Weeks 9 through 12

Leonard Fournette

The aforementioned George Kittle has probably been the unluckiest player this year, but Leonard Fournette is right behind him. Fournette leads all running backs in touches this year – including 35 catches in eight games – but ranks only fifth in fantasy points. Even more unlucky is his touchdown rate; the former LSU star has just one touchdown on 198 touches. The Jaguars’ schedule isn’t doing him any favors – they have the 10th-hardest schedule for running backs over the next four weeks – but Fournette’s touchdown rate is so low that he’s worth buying in spite of that. We want to chase volume with running backs, and Fournette leads the NFL in that category.

Phillip Lindsay

Oh, how the tables have turned. Royce Freeman appeared in this space a couple of times back when Phillip Lindsay was taking all the touchdowns. Now Freeman has hit pay dirt in consecutive weeks while Lindsay has been held scoreless. The offense as a whole is going to take a hit with Brandon Allen on the field instead of Joe Flacco, but Lindsay should be able to continue posting RB2 numbers just based on volume. The second-year back has had double-digit carries in every game except one and averages four targets per game, and he’ll have the potential to feast against a Browns’ defense that is well below-average against running backs this season. Over the next four weeks, Denver faces the eighth-easiest schedule for running backs.

Expect Lindsay to withstand Flacco’s demotion and continue posting RB2 numbers.

Thanks for reading the Week 9 edition of the Buy Low Report. Check back next week for the Week 10 article.

Image Credit: Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: George Kittle.

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