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With the dynasty off-season beginning, owners must shift their focus from the week-to-week decisions with hopes of winning the upcoming matchup to more of a long term view of the necessary steps to improve their teams. Near the top of each dynasty owners’ off season to do list should be identifying players to buy or sell in the coming months. In the next few editions of the Dynasty Stock Market, division by division, I will share my opinions on players we should be buying or selling. I encourage you to list your own in the comments are below.
Often, when a fantasy buy and sell list is produced, the assumption is those players are “buy low” or “sell high.” I am sure many of the players I mention will fit into one of these two categories, but not all will. Some of the players I will be targeting as “buys” already have a steep price, but it is a price I am willing to pay, based on that player’s expected future value and level or production. The same is true for players on the other end. There are some players I will be selling, even at a low price, in an effort to rid myself of that player before their value completely bottoms out.
Here is a look at some players to buy and sell from the NFC South:
Julio Jones, ATL WR
Falcons’ superstar wide receiver Julio Jones was being drafted as a top five dynasty wide receiver a year ago and was somewhat of a disappointment this season. Even that disappointment still meant Jones recorded nearly 1,200 receiving yards and ten scores. Jones gave his owners a few injury frights this season, yet still played all sixteen games. His big play ability and the Falcons pass happy offense led to many high output fantasy games, even when he missed a series or two. Jones’ value is still quite high, though the great seasons of wide receivers like Dez Bryant of the Cowboys and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas have created a larger top tier of wide receivers, in turn slightly lowering the value of Jones. Even if you prefer Bryant or Thomas, Jones is still a top five dynasty wide receiver and could even see his 128 targets increase in 2013 should future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez retire at season’s end.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB ATL
Second year running back Jacquizz Rodgers had another solid season as the backup to Falcons starter Michael Turner. Rodgers was often used in passing situations, totaling over 400 receiving yards to go along with 362 rushing yards. Down the stretch of the regular season, Rodgers often earned more touches than Turner. Although Turner is signed through the 2013 season, it was clear at times this season that he lacks the burst the team often needs. Despite his size, Turner was also ineffective in short down and goal line situations. The situation will be one to watch this off-season as Turner is due $5.5 million in 2013 and will be a free agent following next season. It is possible the team cuts ties with Turner a year early, which would result in a much larger role for Rodgers. Although I don’t see Rodgers as a back who can carry the load, he is explosive and the Falcons obviously like him. He was much hyped last season, but that actually seems to have died down, based on early draft results.
Cam Newton, QB CAR
Sophomore quarterback Cam Newton again finished near the top of the fantasy ranks, yet saw the attention he earned just a year ago die down, thanks to sensational rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Newton’s passing numbers were down from a year ago, though his rushing yards were slightly higher, to the surprise of many. What really hurt his fantasy statistics this season were six fewer rushing touchdowns. It was clear he would regress from the amazing fourteen rushing touchdowns he scored in 2011. His supporting cast was disappointing this season. Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith may have finally lost a step and youngster Brandon LaFell didn’t step up as many projected. The running game was again a fantasy nightmare as DeAngelo Williams struggled most of the season, and Jonathan Stewart was not much better even before his late season ankle injury. Despite all of that, Newton was still an automatic start in fantasy leagues. Much like Julio Jones, Newton’s price may have come down a bit this year, thanks to the availability of other signal callers now considered cornerstones to a dynasty league team. And just like Jones, expect to pay a huge price for Newton. It will be worth it.
Chris Ivory, RB NO
While I would never pretend to understand the NFL game like a coach does, I do not understand the way the New Orleans Saints use explosive running back Chris Ivory. While the Saints backfield is clearly crowded, featuring former first round pick Mark Ingram, speedy pass catcher Darren Sproles and the veteran Pierre Thomas all ahead of Ivory on the depth chart, Ivory has always been impressive when given carries. Ivory’s opportunities were limited again this season, rushing only forty times for 217 yards, including an impressive 7 for 72 game against division rival Atlanta. For his price, which should be cheap, Ivory is a clear “buy” for me this off-season. In fact, he is likely on the waiver wire in shallow leagues. The question is, will he ever get a true chance in New Orleans? He is currently a restricted free agent, but considering he is unlikely to get a large contract offer, the Saints should match just for the insurance he gives them behind their current trio.
Joseph Morgan, WR NO
Another player who fits into the underused Saints category is wide receiver Joseph Morgan. Morgan’s nearly forty yard per catch ratio has been well documented this season, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Among Morgan’s ten catches on the season were plays of 27, 33, 34, 38, 46, 48, 62 and 80 yards. That means he only had two catches of less than 27 yards. The problem is he was the sixth option, at best, in the Saints passing game this season. Looking ahead to 2013 though, his situation should improve. Veteran wide receiver Devery Henderson is a free agent and unlikely to return, opening a spot for more targets and more playing time. Like Ivory, some owners might even find Morgan on their waiver wire, if not now, then maybe around rookie draft time as teams are making room for their shiny new toys.
Mike Williams, WR TB
Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams has been the model of consistency when it comes to his usage and role with the team. Williams burst onto the scene in his rookie year when he caught 65 balls for 964 yards and eleven touchdowns. In his second year, he was called a bust, even though he had the exact same number of 65 receptions. The trouble was his yardage was down nearly 200 yards and he only scored three touchdowns – this made him an excellent value entering the 2012 season in which he enjoyed a career high in yardage with 996. He also improved his touchdown total to nine. Even his targets are amazingly consistent, starting with 128 in 2010, down to 125 a season ago and finally 126 this year, even with top wideout Vincent Jackson now in town. This shows that we can expect a consistent 120 targets and 65 receptions from Williams. Even though he bounced back for his fantasy owners this season, he is still being greatly undervalued, unlike his rookie season when some ranked him among the top five pass catchers in fantasy.
Roddy White, ATL WR
Had I been creating this list a year ago, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White would have made the list, and all he did in 2012 was eclipse 1,300 receiving yards for the third time in his career and break the 1,000 yard mark for the sixth consecutive season. With that said, White is 32 years old and teammate Julio Jones earned more targets this season. In fact, White’s targets and touchdown totals were his lowest since 2008. Although the off-season is often about acquiring the next young stud wide receiver, White still carries great value and could be used to acquire an upgrade at another position, or could just be flipped for a younger option.
Josh Freeman, QB TB
Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman posted a career year in 2012 with career highs in nearly every category including passing yards and touchdowns. Even with impressive numbers, it was actually not the best fantasy season of his career, partially thanks to his fewest rushing yards of his career. That, of course, can be attributed to rookie runner Doug Martin earning plenty of carries. The advice to sell Freeman comes with a note though. I would only sell if he is being valued as a top twelve quarterback. If you cannot get that type of value, it is probably better to keep him. For a contending team, you might only have to add a good prospect to acquire Tom Brady or Peyton Manning if their owners are building, rather than contending.
Vincent Jackson, WR TB
Next week, Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson turns 30 years old, often the time when dynasty owners begin attempting to sell their players at any cost. While I would not go that far with Jackson, I do consider him a sell high. In his first year with Tampa Bay, Jackson achieved career highs in targets (147), receptions (72), receiving yards (1,384), yards per catch (19.2), and most importantly to us, fantasy points (around 260 in PPR leagues). He undeniably had a great season, but that was only good enough for him to be the WR12. Again, that is excellent production, but it would be a surprise if he is able to improve those numbers. Currently, according to early season average draft position data, Jackson is being drafted as the WR16, ahead of younger players like Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin.
Check back next week when I take a look at some “buys” and “sells” from the NFC West.
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