Buy Low Opportunities Heading Into Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
Football is BACK! Each and every week there are “Buy Low” articles that highlight guys with opportunities to improve upon their fantasy seasons. In my personal opinion, a LOT of them are useless. Not because the data or viewpoint is incorrect, but because they feature the painfully obvious guys that no one is actually trading away this early. For example: Mark Andrews and Allen Robinson. They both underperformed big time, but they were drafted with significant capital by their managers and there is little to no chance they are giving them up that easily. Even someone like CeeDee Lamb will still fetch CeeDee Lamb prices in the fantasy trade market, so pointing out the obvious is often useless. Later in the year this script flips, but right now you are probably not going to be able to acquire the players that seem the most obvious.
I want to highlight guys that can be acquired in a somewhat reasonable manner, without having to give up the anchors of your team. These guys won’t always be potential superstars, but they will be players that have a clear ramp ahead of them if things break the right way or could explode later in the fantasy season. You can potentially trade bench players or depth at certain positions for these guys, and the managers that drafted them probably don’t have the same type of attachment to them that they do with the bigger names. I will do my best to sprinkle in the occasional mid-round player (like one of them below), and I will also try to highlight a deeper league target (like the rookie below). As the season progresses, there will of course be chances to acquire big-name guys once the managers have fully given up Cupid’s arrow.
The rookie receiver that was tapped to replace A.J Brown is going to take some time to reach that status, and he likely won’t ever get there. The primary reason you want to go get him now is because of his opportunity and the peripheral metrics that are positive signs for a strong rookie season. The Titans only other options in the passing game are Kyle Phillips and an aging Robert Woods, so Burks is going to be the alpha long before the season ends. From a statistical perspective, he was already there when he was on the field. Despite only playing 24 total snaps (37%), Burks earned five targets and compiled 32% of his team’s air yards. Per Fantasypros, Burks paced for 29 fantasy points per 100 snaps, which was right behind A.J Brown but ahead of guys like Michael Pittman, Ja’Marr Chase, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Granted the Titans are a unique offense, that is still elite efficiency for a rookie receiver. As long as his snap counts trend upward, which they usually do in a rookie season, I fully expect Burks to grow into the top option for his team, and a weekly flex option for our fantasy teams.
Tony Pollard – RB, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys offense is a mess in general, but that could bode well for Pollard and potentially Zeke. Cooper Rush will be behind center for at least the next four weeks, so all Dallas receivers should be downgraded. The reason you want to go grab Pollard is that the fantasy managers that drafted him are probably disappointed by his 3-point fantasy performance, and are nervous about Dak being out. Both of those things are reasonable fears, but there were a lot of things underneath the surface to like. Pollard was in a 55/45 type split with Zeke, but he’s a much better pass catcher, and PFF graded him as double the pass blocker that Zeke was in Week one. With the Cowboys playing from behind for the foreseeable future, Pollard is going to be on the field a lot more. On top of the passing game potential, if the Cowboys go in the other direction and try to control the clock, then Pollard should see more work on the ground and near the goal line. Either way, Pollard’s usage should increase. The Dallas efficiency as a whole will decrease, but we want to target pass-catching running backs on underperforming teams.
This suggestion may raise some eyebrows, but this column is about buying low, not buying the obvious. Etienne’s first week was a disaster on many fronts, but the team clearly values his skillset in a similar way to what we assumed they would. He saw an 11% target share and played more snaps than James Robinson despite Robinson finding paydirt twice. Etienne had a frustrating fumble on a highlight-worthy pop by Darrick Forest that cost him ten receiving yards, and he dropped a surefire touchdown early in the second half. His opportunities were there, but his performance was rough. It’s essentially his first real game as a pro, so we do expect to see some growing pains. The fact that Etienne was the clear pass-catching option for Jacksonville is the reason you want to go after him, and I expect the goal line usage to be a more even split going forward once the coaching staff can trust him again. If the manager that drafted him inexplicably didn’t plan to see Robinson involved, this is the perfect chance to go take him off their hands.
Despite my love for Rhamondre Stevenson, there is a great opportunity here to go get the goal line back in a run-heavy offense. Damien Harris continues to be utilized as the 1A in a two-man committee, and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to be used in the red zone. The conversation about the backfield seems to center around Stevenson, but the Patriots have shown us that Harris is going to be right next to him, at the very worst. The primary reason for snagging Stevenson was his potential as the passing game back, and that potential increased with Ty Montgomery going to IR. The thing that stood out to me here was the identical target shares for Harris and Stevenson in game one. We think Stevenson is more likely to be the pass-catching option now, but the Patriots viewed them equally on that front this past weekend. This recommendation could be about both guys in this backfield as their usage should increase overall, but something tells me that Harris is going to be an easier guy to trade for from a narrative standpoint. His goal-line role is incredibly valuable in that scheme, and he’s a bit undervalued.
The Denver Bronco debut was an absolute farce. I can’t use the word disaster, because that’s an insult to disasters. It was a total poop show, and there is very little that could have been worse about that first game. Courtland Sutton did not see a target until the second half, but he saw seven of them in said half. He’s the X receiver and primary deep ball threat down the sidelines, and we know that Russ loves that type of guy. Jerry Jeudy is a baller in his own right, but most of his production came on one poorly played ball by a Seahawk cornerback. Both receivers should be just fine with Russ at the helm, but Sutton passed the eye test in terms of who Russ was trying to force the ball to. He’s going to be the DK Metcalf to Jeudy’s Lockett, and there is nowhere to go but up for this entire passing game. The person who drafted Sutton may be influenced by the “Dump on Denver” media narrative this week, but in all reality, it had nothing to do with general offensive output and everything to do with the goal line debacles and the field goal attempt. Sutton is going to have some huge weeks, and he’s the perfect WR2 for lineups that need upside going forward.