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Buy and Sell Week 7 

2013 has been a strangely obvious year.With several gigantic exceptions, players, on the whole, have performed more or less as expected. The notable nonconformists include CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, David Wilson, and to a lesser extent Ray Rice.

Interestingly enough, running back is by far and away the position that contains the most huge disappointments. While Robert Griffin III and Tom Brady have both underwhelmed, RG3 is getting healthier each week and Brady (hopefully) will have Gronkowski back soon. In the meantime, neither quarterback has killed your fantasy season. The same can be said of wide receiver: it’s quite hard to name a “dud” receiver in relation to their draft status or preseason projections. True, injuries to Julio Jones and Randall Cobb have been disappointing, but prior to getting hurt both players performed well.

That said, the concept of a Buy/Sell column, where we take a weekly stock of a players value, is a very interesting one this season. I would liken it to attempting to offer varying or offbeat opinions on stocks that have performed almost like clockwork; a steady market with predictable trends. (Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if our economy worked as nicely as the 2013 fantasy season?)

To that end, this week I have decided to approach things slightly differently. Instead of our normal approach, I will be looking at some of the “farthest out” names. And no, I’m not referring to 70s hippy jargon which would imply these players have an innate sense of “cool.” Instead, I mean to examine players who have performed either well above or well below expectations. Strating with one of the big names above:

Doug Martin
Until last week, Martin for me was an unquestioned buy-low. Through the first four games of the season, he carried the ball an average of 25 times per game. Anyone touching the ball that much will ultimately produce, and I had to suspect the touchdowns were coming. In week five against Philadelphia, the most concerning number to me is 16 — Martin dropped from his season average of 25 to only 16 carries. And while he did have four catches, the 20 total touches were his lowest of the season.
Overall, I still believe in Martin as a strong buy-low candidate, but if his trend downwards in the total-touch department continues, I might be jumping off this bandwagon sooner rather than later.
Verdict: BUY (for now)

CJ Spiller
Sigh. The Buffalo saga continues. I’d really like to see one season where Spiller is fully healthy the entire time and being used as a real feature back. That could be amazing. Alas, that season will not be 2013. So what do we do? Fred Jackson has been by far the better back and Spiller has been on and off the injury report since the word “go.”
Similar to Martin, I think Spiller is another name you wait on. The talent is there. They will be running in Buffalo. Fred Jackson is not exactly a lock not to get hurt himself. There’s plenty of reasons (and chances) for a fantasy turnaround, and even if this does remain a two-headed monster, I could still see both backs being productive. I’d rate Spiller right now as a top-15 guy, and those are not easy to come by. If you can get him for similar or lower value, I probably would do it.
Verdict: BUY

DeAngelo Williams
I don’t get the hype. He has been a mediocre rusher despite plenty of touches. He also does not receive goal-line work. Jonathan Stewart is due back any week. Like, what’s to love? Yet every time I look I see him inside the top-20 rankings at the position. I’d much rather have Bilal Powell, Le’Veon Bell, or even Andre Ellington. I have no reason to believe Williams will end the season as a top-15 guy and if he reaches top-20 it will only be by attrition. I really am not sure what his market value would be, but if you can move him for, say, a top-30 WR, I certainly would.
Verdict: SELL

Philip Rivers
Rivers’ season is truly remarkable, a rebirth if you will. Clearly, his success can be attributed to Mike McCoy and what he has done for the Chargers offense. The nice thing here is: that situation is only likely to get better as McCoy continues to install his offense and the Chargers players begin to understand the system better. In a dynasty or keeper league, Rivers is even more interesting. I really have no indication how the Chargers front office views him moving forward, but in 2014 he would potentially have Danario Alexander back and a full year of experience in McCoy’s offense. Very enticing.
Verdict: BUY

Keenan Allen
The same things can be said of Allen. In the two weeks after Malcom Floyd was sent to the IR, Allen has recorded 13 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. I think he stays involved and might even crack the top-20 at the position when all is said and done. If he’s still available on waivers, pick him up. I am always wary of overreacting, but this is a case where I’m a believer.
Verdict: BUY

Larry Fitzgerald
Fitz’s “monster” week 6 was almost completely made on one play. Apart from his 75-yard score, Fitzgerald only caught five passes for 42 yards. Not exactly stud material. Where have the days gone when he was capable of putting up 100+ yards and a score or two every single week? It doesn’t matter where they’ve disappeared to, the fact is they simply are not here now. Coming off such a nice week, I’d try to couple his performance with his name value and move him for something of equal value. Other top-20 receivers or running backs sound lke a fair return, here.
Verdict: SELL

Julius Thomas
I list Thomas here because I could certainly see the case where many a fantasy owner would want to try to capitalize on his monster first half to bring in quite the return via trade. Simply put: don’t. I think as long as Peyton Manning is quarterbacking the Denver Broncos, Thomas is a must-keep and must-start. In fact, if I were ranking strictly tight ends my list would look something like: 1) Jimmy Graham 2) Julius Thomas 3) Jason Witten 4) Tony Gonzalez 5) Vernon Davis. I don’t know where Rob Gronkowski shows up on that list when/if he plays, but unless he is the Gronk of old I think he may come in somewhere around, say, number three. Yeah. I believe in Thomas that much.
Verdict: BUY (or keep)

Not as many names this week, but I hope this in-depth coverage of some of the more interesting under or over-achievers has been helpful. As always, you can tweet lineup advice questions, rants, comments, or stories to: @petethegreekff

_PDK