Buy/Sell/Hold Report #4
BUY Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
Chubb’s missed the past 4 games with a right MCL injury. He won’t suit up this week — Cleveland enters a bye — but there’s a decent chance he returns for an excellent Week 10 spot vs. Houston.
HC Kevin Stefanski said Chubb is day to day and has “continue[d] to progress” while hitting “every landmark and milestone” in his rehab.
Let’s not forget how elite he performed early on. Chubb’s taken 14 of his 57 rushes for 10+ yards; 6 for 20+ yards. The 3rd-year man owns rushing lines of 22-124-2 and 19-108-2 for the run-committed Browns.
Kareem Hunt has been fine filling in, but he’s done nothing to suggest Cubb’s role will take a serious dip off its early-season pace. Barring an injury setback, Chubb should jump back into the RB1 mix come Week 10. Try to get him before the price rises significantly.
BUY Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
Cleveland’s first game without Odell Beckham was an encouraging one for Landry. He saw a team-high and season-high 11 targets. And that came on a day when QB Baker Mayfield chucked it just 25 times — netting Landry a massive 44% target share.
Luckily for you non-Landry owners, the fantasy production didn’t follow. Landry finished with 4 catches for 52 scoreless yards.
But this game was played in extremely windy conditions, neutering the passing attacks. And Landry came close to scoring twice — the 1st getting overturned on replay review and the 2nd getting broken up by a big hit in the end zone.
With Landry and the Browns on bye this week, we have the opportunity to buy low on a guy who could be a WR2 the rest of the way. Landry, of course, finished as a top 24 fantasy wideout in 5 straight seasons from 2015 to 2019. And he’ll face the 8th easiest remaining WR schedule, including plus draws vs. the Texans (Week 10), Eagles (Week 11), Titans (Week 13) and Jets (Week 16).
BUY Henry Ruggs, WR, Raiders
The rookie shouldn’t cost much to acquire. In fact, he’s a free agent in a little more than 40% of ESPN leagues.
Ruggs has hit double-digit PPR points just once all season. He’s yet to top 5 targets per game.
It’s been surprising usage for a guy the Raiders spent the 12th overall pick of this spring’s draft on. Remember that it was a COVID-impacted offseason, though. And Ruggs missed time in September with a hamstring injury.
We’ve started to see signs of life. Ruggs has set season highs in route rate the past 2 weeks, running a route on 80% and then 90% of QB Derek Carr’s drop backs. He’s also received a carry in 2 straight games.
Carr has played well all season. And the Raiders have some favorable upcoming matchups vs. the Broncos (Week 10), Falcons (Week 12) and Jets (Week 13).
There’s still intriguing upside here. See if you can take a shot on it for cheap.
BUY Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles
Forgive Goedert for disappointing in Week 8. That marked his return from a small ankle fracture and a high-ankle sprain.
While he drew only 1 target, note that Goedert played 84% of the snaps and ran a route on 25 of Carson Wentz’s 31 drop backs. The team clearly didn’t have an issue putting him in a full-time role.
That’s not expected to change any time soon, as Zach Ertz will miss more time with a high-ankle sprain. With Alshon Jeffery unable to be counted on and DeSean Jackson perhaps done for the year, TE targets shouldn’t be an issue.
After a Week 9 bye, Goedert has a highly favorable schedule that includes Cleveland (Week 11), New Orleans (Week 14) and Dallas (Week 16). He’ll carry top-5 rest-of-season appeal at a thin position.
SELL Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos
Gordon is sitting 15th among RBs in PPR points per game right now. He has Phillip Lindsay’s injuries to thank.
Lindsay suffered a 1st-half toe injury in the opener and missed the next 3 games. He was knocked out the 1st half of Week 7 with a concussion but was able to get cleared for Week 8.
In 3 full games without Lindsay, Gordon has averaged 16.7 carries and 4 targets. RB1 usage. But in what’s essentially been 2 full games alongside Lindsay (the 1st half of Week 1, the 1st half of Week 7 and all of Week 8), Gordon has totaled just 21 carries and 11 targets to Lindsay’s 22 carries and 4 targets.
We’re expecting Gordon to remain the primary pass-catching and goal-line back the rest of the way. But we’re also expecting something close to a 50/50 split of carries. Lindsay has been much more effective than Gordon so far, winning the yards-per-carry battle 6.4 to 4.2.
The role leaves Gordon as a volatile RB2 going forward. You can probably sell him for more than that right now.
SELL Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
To say Evans’ splits with and without Chris Godwin are extreme would be an understatement. Check ‘em out:
Per-game averages without Godwin:
Per-game averages with Godwin:
Godwin is reportedly “50/50” for Week 9 after finger surgery. That suggests he should at least be back by Week 10. And then there’s that Antonio Brown guy, who’s expected to make his Bucs debut this Sunday. With TE Rob Gronkowski also playing a big role in the passing game, there’s about to be a serious target squeeze for Evans.
Now, we’re not suggesting he’ll see 3 targets per game going forward. But he also won’t maintain his current 23% TD rate.
Evans looks like a volatile WR2 moving forward that might still return WR1 value in a trade.
SELL Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
We’re certainly not expecting Hill to drop out of weekly starter range. But it’d be unwise to expect his blistering scoring pace to continue — despite who’s chucking him the rock.
Hill’s career TD rate entering 2020 was an already-healthy 11%. He’s boosted that number to 20% this season. In fact, entering Week 9, he’s on pace for a career-high 14 TDs on just 70 catches and 108 targets.
Hill’s 2020 volume is quite surprising, especially considering Sammy Watkins’ multi-game absence. Hill’s topped 6 targets just twice all year (11 in Week 2 with Watkins; 10 in Week 7 without Watkins). Watkins actually out-targeted him in Weeks 1, 3 and 4.
Watkins could return from a hamstring injury as soon as Sunday against Carolina. Regardless, the smart play is to expect Hill’s scoring pace to normalize.
SELL Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers
Aiyuk’s tallied 14 catches, 206 yards and 1 score over the past 2 weeks (at New England, at Seattle). Deebo Samuel missed one of those, but he’s expected back no later than Week 12. (The 49ers have a Week 11 bye.)
What about George Kittle? He might be done for the season with an ankle injury, meaning you can likely find someone who’s still sunny on Aiyuk as a strong WR3. We just don’t see week to week consistency on an offense that’ll find Nick Mullens and/or C.J. Beathard under center the rest of the way.
Besides, in addition to the Week 11 bye, the 49ers have the most difficult remaining strength of schedule for WRs, per our numbers.
HOLD Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Wentz gives us a huge divide between real-life play and fantasy performance.
He’s committed 16 turnovers. He’s completing a career-low 58.4% of his passes. And he’s notched just 235 passing yards per game.
Yet 5 rushing scores have helped produce a QB6 ranking. Wentz is also on pace for his 3rd season with more than 600 pass attempts.
Of course, we can’t count on Wentz to continue his rushing output going forward. But it’s reasonable to expect his passing efficiency to improve with Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert back on the field. (Consider anything Alshon Jeffery contributes a bonus.)
Wentz’s awful showing last week against Dallas and a Week 9 bye certainly don’t help his stock. Still, with the 3rd most favorable rest-of-way schedule, Wentz should remain a fine QB1.
HOLD D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
We’re about to find out just how good Metcalf really is. Check out the perimeter CBs he’ll face over the next 5 weeks:
Bills CB Tre’Davious White
Rams CB Jalen Ramsey
Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
Eagles CB Darius Slay
Giants CB James Bradberry
Metcalf also gets Ramsey again in Week 16. Now, he’s capable of winning any and all of these matchups. We already saw him beat CB Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots for 92 yards and a score back in Week 2.
But we’ve also seen the Seahawks be willing to go away from Metcalf and feature Tyler Lockett when the matchup dictates it. There’s a chance we see just that over the next 5 weeks.
We’re not issuing a SELL order on Metcalf. But maybe toss him on the trading block and see what kind of return he’d bring back. He’s certainly tradable for a Godfather offer.