Buy/Sell/Hold Report #5
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BUY Ken Walker, RB, Seahawks
Walker obviously won’t come cheap. But sometimes “buying high” is the right move.
The rookie is coming off one of his worst fantasy outings since taking over as Seattle’s starter. But it was actually the most encouraging game for his rest-of-season value.
Why? Because he proved game-script proof. In a game in which the Seahawks trailed for 44 minutes, Walker played a season-high 87% of the offensive snaps. He also set a season high in route rate (74%), delivering 6 catches on 8 targets for 55 yards. That helped Walker squeeze out a PPR RB19 finish – despite the negative game script and a quiet day on the ground.
This kid will have more big rushing days down the stretch. He’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry and ranks top 14 among 49 qualifying RBs in both Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating and Next Gen Stats’ Rush Yards Over Expected Per Attempt.
But the passing-game role is key, boosting Walker’s weekly ceiling and floor. His combination of safety and upside is exactly what you want in your starting lineup down the stretch.
See if you can package a lesser RB – Aaron Jones? Dameon Pierce? James Conner? – plus another piece for Walker.
BUY David Montgomery, RB, Bears
The Justin Fields breakout over the past month has understandably overshadowed the Chicago offense. But it hasn’t rendered the rest of the backfield irrelevant.
Chicago RBs ranked 7th in the league in rushing yards per game over the past 5 weeks and tied for 7th in carries per game. That hasn’t done a whole lot for RB fantasy scoring, however. Montgomery sits just 44th at the position in PPR points per game over that span, with Khalil Herbert at 38th.
But Herbert landed on IR this week with a hip injury, knocking him out for at least the next 4 games. If you combine those fantasy-scoring averages referenced above, then you’d get the RB13 over the past 5 weeks – outsourcing Aaron Jones and Nick Chubb, among others.
Sure, that might be a crude way to assess the backfield. Montgomery probably won’t take all of Herbert’s vacated work. But rookie Trestan Ebner also doesn’t appear likely to get near as much use as Herbert. He has just 2 games this season with more than 3 touches. He logged 7 carries in the Week 3 game that Montgomery left early (vs. 20 carries for Herbert). And with Montgomery out the following week, Ebner tallied 9 opportunities (6 carries, 3 targets) vs. 20 for Herbert.
Fields’ rushing hurts the TD ceiling and target outlook for Chicago RBs, but he’ll also be the focal point of every defense the rest of the way. And, again, he hasn’t exactly killed RB value altogether. If you combine the expected PPR points per game for Montgomery and Herbert so far, you get a bigger number than any RB in the league besides Joe Mixon.
We all know that Montgomery gets a boost with Herbert out, but chances are plenty of Montgomery team managers are underrating his new ceiling.
BUY A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles
There’s some “preceded at your own risk” to this call.
Brown briefly left Monday’s game against the Commanders because of a rolled ankle. He wound up playing 78% of the snaps but finished with 1 catch for 4 yards.
Brown said he expects to be fine going forward. We do too — although we’ll see about his practice participation this week.
The upside here is just undeniable. We saw it with his 36-point eruption against Pittsburgh in Week 8. Beyond that one, though — and excluding Monday’s dud — AJB enters Week 11 with 18.6 PPR points per game. That’s clear WR1 production — and it would top his career high of 17.4 in 2020.
Plus, withDallas Goedert sidelined, Brown’s 8.6 targets per game should only rise.
BUY Tee Higgins & Tyler Boyd, WRs, Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase was still on crutches as of Monday. We’re not doctors – and we don’t have any inside information – but that doesn’t sound like a guy who will be playing NFL football particularly soon. And who knows how effective Chase will be whenever he does return from his hip injury.
It’s good news for Higgins and Boyd. Neither guy has exploded over the past 2 games without Chase. But the 1st game was a dud from the entire Cincinnati offense in a loss to Cleveland; the 2nd was a Joe Mixon TD Party.
That gives you a chance to potentially acquire these guys for the stretch run. Both are proven producers; the Bengals have remained pass-leaning even without Chase; and the rest-of-season schedule is awesome. Cincinnati’s next 4 opponents all rank in the bottom 9 in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
BUY Pat Freiermuth, TE, Steelers
Freiermuth’s fantasy production has been muted a bit by a Week 5 concussion that cost him about half of that game and all of the next. But he’s been a steady producer on strong usage when healthy.
Check out his averages across 7 full games:
- 7.6 targets (21.8% share)
- 4.9 catches
- 55.9 yards
Despite scoring just once, Freiermuth ranks 6th among TEs in PPR points per game in those 7 weeks. Only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are averaging more than 7.6 targets per game this season.
Freiermuth’s role might be even more profitable down the stretch with WR Chase Claypool out of the picture. In his 1st game of the season sans Claypool last week, Freiermuth tallied 7 targets on a 23% target share and 89% route rate. Those are elite marks at TE.
Freiermuth gets a tough Bengals TE defense in Week 11, although he beat them for a 5-75 line back in Week 1. That’s followed by a pair of plus draws vs. the Colts and Falcons – and then a neutral schedule over the final 4 weeks.
SELL Justin Fields, QB, Bears
This one promises to be uncomfortable. The guy has single-handedly been winning you fantasy matchups the past 4 weeks. But you know it can’t continue at anything near that level, right?
Fields’ 5 rushing scores over the past 4 games give him a 10% TD rate at 10 carries per game. Since the league went to 32 teams in 2002, Lamar Jackson has posted the only 2 QB seasons of 10+ carries per game. He tallied rushing-TD rates of 4% and 4.4%. Cam Newton in 2011 has been the only QB to reach 10% in TD rate on 100+ carries.
So it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Fields to keep running and scoring at these rates. But it would be historically unlikely.
Fields has also quietly thrown TDs at an 8.7% rate over his last 4 games. That number might be even more likely to come down, especially with the league’s 6th-toughest remaining QB slate. And that ranking includes this week’s upside matchup with the Falcons. The ideal way to play this would be to start Fields for 1 more game and then trade him next week, after the Atlanta game.
You certainly don’t need to get rid of Fields. But if you’re sitting there with him plus another good QB, then Fields should be able to return some strong value relative to his position. If he doesn’t, then keep him – even if just for that juicy Week 17 trip to Detroit.
SELL Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins
We’ve seen 2 games of Jeff Wilson in Miami. Here’s how he compares to Mostert over that span:
Yards After Contact Per Attempt:
Pro Football Focus Elusive Rating:
Yards Per Route Run:
Goal Line Touches:
Not so pretty for Mostert, right?
Now, both guys produced in a favorable Week 10 matchup vs. Cleveland. Mostert busted off 65 yards and 1 score on only 8 carries. But Wilson acted as the clear lead back with 17 carries (for 119 yards).
Miami does have a strong schedule rest-of-way, at least following a Week 11 bye. Still, combine the rise of Wilson with Mostert’s injury history, and this looks like a fine time to unload the 30-year-old.
SELL D’Onta Foreman, RB, Panthers
Wait … didn’t you guys say this same thing 2 weeks ago, and then he ran for 130 on the Falcons?
Yep. And before that Foreman racked up 21 total yards in a blowout loss to the Bengals.
Since the Christian McCaffrey trade, Foreman has absolutely destroyed the Falcons twice. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get to play them anymore. And we’d bet on Chuba Hubbard being more involved going forward than the mere 12 snaps he played last Thursday night.
Will he jump back ahead of Foreman? Who knows. We wouldn’t bet on that right now, given that Foreman has topped 100 rushing yards in 3 of the past 4 games. But it remains a possibility.
More importantly, however, the remaining schedule looks rough. Only 4 other teams line up worse for RB scoring by our adjusted fantasy points allowed. And that doesn’t even take into account the Carolina bye still lying in Week 13.
There have to be at least a couple of RB-needy teams in your league. Time to shop Foreman.
HOLD Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
Let’s start with the good news: It doesn’t look like Taylor’s ankle injury is a concern going forward. He just smoked the Raiders for 147 rushing yards, highlighted by a 66-yard TD that saw him eclipse 20 mph for the 1st time this season.
Even more encouraging is that Taylor was back in a true workhorse role. He registered a huge 94% snap rate and 85% route rate in Week 10, handling 22 of 26 RB carries and 2 targets.
A guy this talented getting that type of volume is a safe fantasy bet going forward.
So why isn’t Taylor a buy high? Because we still have serious concerns about this Colts offense. It looked functional last week … but it was the Raiders. Vegas ranks dead last in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA, 24th in rush defense DVOA and 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.
Now Taylor is tasked with facing the 8th toughest remaining RB schedule. He gets a struggling Eagles run defense in Week 11 and a great matchup against the Chargers in Week 16. But his other 4 games (omitting Week 18) come against top 11 RB defenses.
His talent and role should be enough to maintain RB1-level fantasy production. But the schedule and supporting cast figure to keep Taylor from being a true league winner.
HOLD D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions
What else can you really do with Swift right now?
Sure, you could let your frustration boil over and deal him for the best offer. But how much are you really getting for a RB with 13 total carries for 22 yards over the past 3 weeks?
Last week’s set of coach quotes seemed to hint at more work for Swift … and technically we did get that. He went from 6 opportunities on 10 total snaps against Green Bay to 9 opportunities and 19 snaps at Chicago.
That’s obviously not enough for our purposes, but it seems like a baby step in the right direction. And as Swift gets further beyond his shoulder injury, we should continue to get more work for him. If you think you’re frustrated now, imagine how you’ll feel after selling Swift for a WR4 and then losing to the annoying dude in your league who drafted from a magazine.
One final piece: Our adjusted fantasy points allowed say Detroit only has 2 truly negative matchups remaining for RB scoring – with strongly positive spots at Carolina in Week 16 and home against Chicago in Week 17.
HOLD Cole Kmet, TE, Bears
That was Kmet’s 2021 stat line. Certainly, he was in for positive TD regression in 2022, right?
Well, sure. But it didn’t surface until Week 8, when he scored his first TD since 2020.
In 2 games since Week 8, Kmet’s tallied 13 targets — a 27% team share. Plus: 9 catches, 115 yards and…4(!) TDs.
Turn on the tape and you’ll see that one of his scores (a 50-yarder) came on blown coverage. Still, it’s clear that Kmet’s role is growing alongside Justin Fields.
While a low-volume pass offense remains in place, fantasy owners can’t get too picky at the TE position. Recent injuries to Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz only add to Kmet’s “hold” value.