Wait… what? Week 4? Already?
Sheesh. This season is going by far too quickly for my liking right now.
Now that we’re heading into Week 4, we can start considering players’ numbers as legitimate trends (good or bad) and not just chalk it up to small sample sizes and going crazy with extrapolations.
Trends I’d like to note
Julius Thomas looks like a safe plug-and-play TE1 and not just a flash in the fantasy pan (a la Kevin Ogletree).
With each week, Ryan Mathews is looking more and more like Ryan Mathews.
Maybe Trent Richardson really isn’t as good as we originally thought? 3.2 YPC? Ouch.
Many of these notes could turn into an entirely different article, but I bring them up here in order to discuss value. Every player has a changing value from week to week. When Julius Thomas went crazy in Week 1, there was plenty reason to believe that he was Week One Wonder. Regardless, he has become a viable weekly option. Now his value has only risen because he looks like he could be a top 5 TE for the remainder of the season. He could have been “sold high” after week 1, only to sell higher currently.
Ryan Mathews looked rather good in Week 1 (he did get his very first TD reception of his career) but has sputtered since, causing his value to come crashing back down to earth.
All of these examples are reminders to keep a close eye on value on a weekly basis and not just consider the name when ironing out a deal with another owner.
SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Am I saying you should deal the top TE in fantasy? Sure. This is not to say that he’s going to suddenly be a terrible player, but that I believe his value is about as high as it’s going to be in 2013. His last two monster games have come against teams that are historically bad against tight ends (Tampa Bay and Arizona). Consider this; Jared Cook also torched the Cardinals in Week 1, but he hasn’t done very much since. By selling Graham and stepping down just a notch could net a very nice upgrade at another position, especially considering you’re likely to have a deep need for RBs if you own Graham. That being said, I fully understand if you simply wish to hold onto Graham, no matter what.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots
Brady has been targeting this rookie quite a bit this season. They just weren’t able to find much success until they shredded the Bucs’ questionable secondary. Some may say it’s impressive because of Tampa Bay’s additions of Goldson and Revis, but the Bucs seem poorly coached. They have Revis in zone coverage? For shame.
All that is to say that I believe this kind of performance can not be expected on a regular basis, especially after Gronk and Amendola return. This specific performance is indicative of the fluidity in player value each week. Many had written Thompkins off after 2 weeks, but now we’re talking about selling high. I got this straight-up offer: DeAndre Hopkins for my Kenbrell Thompkins. You better believe I hit accept before they thought better of it. See what you can get in return for this New England wideout.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Rivers is currently the 5th best QB in fantasy. Philip Rivers. I’ve never seen someone do so much with so little around him. I’m just waiting for the implosion.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
He’s increased production each week so far and he’s got a nice matchup against the Titans in Week 4. With a 4.3 YPC, he is very dependent on volume. He could be a piece in a larger deal to an owner who is struggling with their RBs. He could also be a piece in a proposal to an owner that’s desperate for RBs. I would look for a guy that has Giovani Bernard as Ronnie Hillman as their 1/2 punch… umm… not that I know anyone like that or anything….
BUY LOW CANDIDATES
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
It’s true. Spiller’s numbers are currently underwhelming. Fred Jackson seems to be rushing considerably better, but I still believe in Spiller. If for nothing else, it’s the upside in his current value that is especially appealing to me. If the Bills can do just a little better job at getting Spiller in space, as opposed to running in between the tackles, then he could see a nice rebound.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
This may be more of a long term buy low. I mention him here so that you will keep an eye on this situation. His price may even get a little lower over the next few weeks as he faces the tough defenses of the Jets, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Niners. Though it’s after his bye before things start looking better. After Week 8, Johnson will be looking at favorable matchups against the Rams, Jaguars, Colts, and Raiders.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Have defenses finally figured him out? Is the lack of offensive options just too much to overcome? Not quite. I believe the Niners play calling has abandoned what made them successful just one year ago. As Frank Gore pointed out, the lack of run game has been especially concerning. I believe that they will right this ship. They have a great chance to do so against the Rams who are among the most generous defenses in giving up yards and points to opposing offenses.