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Dynasty Stock Market: AFC North Off-Season Buy and Sell Candidates

Trent_RichardsonThe weekly Dynasty Stock Market features not only price checks, but provides player features, draft projections, trade values or a variety of other relevant topics each week to make sure we’re covering everything our premium content followers are demanding.

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 fall into either the “buy low” or “sell high” categories.  I am sure many of the players I mention will fit into one of these two groups, 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 AFC North:

Buys

Bernard Pierce, RB BAL

The Ravens chose Bernard Pierce in the third round of the NFL draft and he quickly earned the primary backup role to star running back Ray Rice. While there was never any doubt who would be the primary ball carrier was for the Ravens, Pierce was a very solid contributor to the Super Bowl champions’ offense, especially down the stretch of the regular season. Pierce was at his best during a three game span from week 16 through the Ravens opening round playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. In those three games, he carried the ball 49 times for 315 yards. Overall for the regular season, Pierce finished with 532 yards on just 108 carries, good for nearly a five yard per carry clip. Pierce’s value has risen throughout the season and, according to our dynasty ADP data, he is now being selected in the ninth round of startup drafts. If you are the Rice owner in your dynasty league, acquiring Pierce should top your to do list this off-season, although don’t expect him to be cheap just because he is a backup running back.

Torrey Smith, WR BAL

A year ago, as a rookie, wide receiver Torrey Smith of the Ravens hauled in fifty passes for over 800 yards, giving him a solid 16.8 yards per catch to go along with seven touchdowns. These impressive numbers from a rookie caused many dynasty owners to quickly overvalue the Ravens new deep threat. With top wide receiver Anquan Boldin beginning to show his age and seemingly little threat from the tight end position, it seemed 2012 would be Smith’s true breakout year. Instead, Boldin had another great year and tight end Dennis Pitta emerged as a target hog – that resulted in Smith posting almost the exact same statistics as his rookie season. In year two, Smith caught 49 balls for 855 yards and eight scores. His two seasons have been so similar that in non-PPR leagues, he finished as the WR23 in both 2011 and 2012. Many of the same signs that owners looked at last year are again present. There are already rumors that the champions will part ways with veteran Boldin, which could result in an even larger role for Smith. The best thing that makes Smith a solid buy this off-season is that his price seems to be more dictated by what he has accomplished rather than eager owners extrapolating and projecting what will happen in the future.

AJ Green, WR CIN

After a great rookie season that saw Bengals wide receiver AJ Green catch 65 passes for over 1,000 yards and seven scores, his follow up campaign was even better. In 2012, Green hauled in 97 Andy Dalton passes for 1,350 yards and eleven touchdowns. After being considered the top wide receiver of his draft class and then producing impressive numbers as a rookie, Green was already valued as one of the top wide receivers in dynasty leagues. A season ago, he often was selected in the first round of start up drafts. Now though, that value has been solidified and he is one of the top players to own in dynasty football. Green will likely be off the board in the top half of the first round this year as the second wide receiver behind the Lions’ Calvin Johnson. In fact, many even value Green over Johnson, myself included. As I mentioned above, not all of these are “buy low” options and Green is the farthest thing from that. He will cost you, but if the Green owner in your league is even willing to part with him, make your best offer and make it a strong one.

Mohamed Sanu/Marvin Jones, WRs CIN

Each of the Bengals rookie wide receivers went through stretches where they looked ready to claim the role as second wide receiver alongside starter AJ Green. Mohamed Sanu, the rookie from Rutgers, struggled to even reach the field for much of the season, routinely being listed among the inactives as a healthy scratch. Finally though, in week seven against the Steelers, Sanu began to receive playing time. He responded by catch two-thirds of all his targets over the next five games and by week eleven, he was starting for the Bengals. Just a week later though, Sanu injured his foot and that prematurely ended his season and sent him to the injured reserve list. He finished with sixteen catches for 154 yards in his shortened season. Cincinnati’s other rookie pass catcher, Marvin Jones, also dealt with injuries in 2012, which cost him several games in the middle portion of the season. By the time Sanu got hurt, Jones was just returning to action and he too claimed a starting position from week thirteen throughout the remainder of the season. Jones closed out the season with 21 receptions for 235 yards. Chances are very good one of these two claim the starter’s job and some ideal coverage as Green eats up double teams on the opposite side of the field. While it is difficult to predict which one it might be, the good news is that both are reasonably priced and could be acquired in tandem to cover each other. Sanu is currently being drafted in the twelfth round of startups, while Jones is going two rounds later in the fourteenth.

Trent Richardson, RB CLE

The Cleveland Browns made a big step in correcting their offensive woes last offseason when they made running back Trent Richardson the third overall pick in the rookie draft. Coming off an excellent college career, Richardson was immediately valued among the top running backs by dynasty owners. Even before he had played a snap for the Browns, he was a first round startup selection in many leagues. Nothing that happened during the 2012 season made owners change their mind, even though Richardson did deal with some nagging injuries that eventually caused him to miss the season’s final week. He finished with 950 rushing yards and added another 367 yards receiving – he also scored a total of twelve touchdowns. Like a few of the other players on this list, Richardson will not come cheap, whether you are making a trade offer or targeting him in your startup draft. He is currently being drafted as the third running back off the board and will likely be gone during the first six picks of a draft. Richardson will only be 22 years old when the 2013 season begins and would be a mainstay in fantasy lineups for years to come.

Josh Gordon, WR CLE

Another young player who made a difference for the up and coming Browns was rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon, who took the long way to the league, being selected by the Browns in the second round of the annual supplemental draft. Many questioned Cleveland using such a high pick on Gordon, who had some off the field trouble in college, but the gamble seems to have paid off one season into his NFL career. Gordon had fifty catches for over 800 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Browns in both receiving yards and touchdowns. With former Chargers head coach Norv Turner coming on as offensive coordinator, expect the Browns to improve all around on offense and Gordon to fully claim the role of top wide receiver for the team.  Much like New York Giants running back David Wilson is being highly valued due to his young age and explosive play making ability, Gordon’s dynasty value should increase throughout the off-season, assuming he avoids the previously mentioned off the field concerns. Gordon is still only 21 years old and is another player who could become a weekly starter for several years. Personally, Gordon is my top target in all my dynasty leagues.

Jordan Cameron, TE CLE

While the new coaching staff in Cleveland is expected to have a positive impact on the offense as a whole, perhaps no player gets more of a value bump in dynasty leagues than tight end Jordan Cameron. The young tight end from USC will be entering his third year and has yet to post a monster statistical season, playing both years behind veteran tight end Ben Watson. Now though, Watson is a free agent and is not expected to return to the team and new head coach Rob Chudzinski is well known for getting the most out of the tight end position. Chudzinski has famously worked with Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow II and Greg Olsen the past few seasons. Now, he inherits athletic big man Cameron, who has a career total of 26 catches for 259 yards. Hopes are high for Cameron and the best part is he is not nearly as expensive as some of the other names mentioned here. Cameron is only being drafted as the TE23 in the fifteenth round.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB FA

Would a dynasty owner be interested in acquiring a 26-year-old running back who has two different one thousand yard rushing seasons, along with a third that fell just short, who also happens to be a free agent with a chance for a fresh start with a new team? If so, now is the time to acquire former Pittsburgh Steeler running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall found himself in the doghouse for much of the 2012 season, despite making an impressive comeback from a torn ACL at the end of the 2011 season. This season, Mendenhall only appeared in six games, rushing for 195 yards and one touchdown – those numbers differ greatly from his prior three seasons when he averaged over 1,100 rushing yards and nearly ten scores. Now though, both Mendenhall and the Steelers seem prepared to move on without each other and the former Illini running back will be searching for a new team. Both the free agent and rookie running back classes are below average this year, helping the cause of players like Mendenhall, who will need someone to take a chance on him, even with his solid history of performance. Mendenhall’s dynasty value will be greatly impacted by where he chooses to sign when free agency begins in March, but if you wait that long, it may be too late to acquire him. Now is the time to take a risk and acquire Mendenhall.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR PIT

Sometimes dynasty owners can see a breakout coming. This off-season, many are predicting such a season for Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. In 2012, Sanders played all sixteen games for the first time in his career and that resulted in career highs in targets, receptions and receiving yards. As we look forward to 2013, starting wide receiver Mike Wallace is almost certain to leave town, while tight end Heath Miller could miss a portion of 2013 thanks to his late season knee injury – this clearly opens the door for Sanders to receive increased playing time and targets from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In startup drafts, Sanders can be had around the late eleventh round, while in existing leagues, his asking price should not be more than a second round rookie pick.

Sells

Joe Flacco, QB BAL

Not only did Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco lead his team to a Super Bowl in 2012, but he also set a career high in passing yards with just over 3,800. Flacco has been a model of consistency throughout his five seasons. He has averaged around 3,500 passing yards, twenty touchdowns and eleven interceptions per year during his NFL career and has never missed a game with the Ravens. He has finished as high as QB11, yet has never really been considered a fantasy starter. He is clearly a much better NFL quarterback than fantasy quarterback. While a great number of dynasty owners still seem content to laugh at him when he and his agent beg to be considered among the great in the game, you may find an owner in your league who considers him elite. If so, there are close to twenty quarterbacks I’d prefer over Flacco in a dynasty league.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB CIN

In his first season out of New England, Bengals starting running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis enjoyed a career year with personal highs in carries, rushing yards and receptions. However, it may not be surprising his touchdown total dipped nearly in half from his past two seasons with the Patriots. That is one reason (even with his high number of carries and role as the Bengals every down back) Green-Ellis scored about the same number of fantasy points as he did during his time share years in Boston. Now, there are rumors that Cincinnati will bring in another back to complement Green-Ellis, which would eat into his carries. With wide receiver AJ Green collecting red zone targets, don’t look for his touchdowns to increase much, either. The tough part for Law Firm owners is that even though he was a solid running back for your fantasy team a season ago, he has little value for the future. Green-Ellis will be 28 years old when the 2013 season begins and will likely have another back to battle for snaps and touches. If you can get a second round pick or a young unproven prospect, that might be your best hope to gain any value.

Heath Miller, TE PIT

Another player from the AFC North who enjoyed a career year in 2012 was Steelers tight end Heath Miller. Miller has always been the security blanket for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but this year Miller posted career highs in many receiving categories, including yards (816) and touchdowns (8). It was also Miller’s best season from a fantasy perspective, when he finished as the TE4 in both standard and PPR leagues. Next comes the bad news – Miller will be nearly 31 years old when the 2013 season begins and even worse, he may not be ready for the start of the season thanks to the late season ACL tear that landed him on the injured reserve list to close out the season. We have seen freaks of nature like Adrian Peterson and Demaryius Thomas quickly recover from severe injuries, but something tells me Miller is not in their class athletically. In many leagues, Miller is not even worth trading. Instead, the better move might be to outright drop him and move on. That is obviously dependent on your rules and roster requirements. Also, it is always a good idea to shop a player around, even if you only hope for a late round rookie pick.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB PIT

Following his first two seasons in the league, in which running back Jonathan Dwyer barely saw the field, 2012 was somewhat of a breakout year for the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. In a three way merry go round at the running back position, Dwyer gained 623 yards and scored the first two touchdowns of his career. Although that was a great improvement over his previous two seasons, its just not good enough for a perennial playoff contender like the Steelers. With Mendenhall on the way out and Isaac Redman equally disappointing, expect the Steelers to address the position either via free agency or the draft, maybe even both. It is a long shot that Dwyer would go into week one as the starter in 2013. He’s another player who I would take anything I could get for, focusing on teams that might be in desperate need at the running back spot. Dwyer is also a player who might fit better in a package deal rather than trying to get value out of him on his own.

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Ryan McDowell
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Richard Cuz
9 years ago

Great article~! I would say that since I agree with every one of your positions except Rashard Mendenhall. In my opinion he is a slug.
I love these articles, especially about the mid-level and low-level players.

Chris Howat
Reply to  Richard Cuz
9 years ago

I think Mendenhall could be better this year with more time to heal after last years off season knee surgery

Cyrus Miller
Reply to  Chris Howat
9 years ago

I think Mendy and Moreno will both be better in 2013 because of healing from the injury.

I also think that Mendy was not a good fit for the PIT O-line, and them switching to ZBS (if he stays) or him being on a new team (if not) will make him more productive this year.

Thomas Ksepka
9 years ago

I am a fan of Josh Gordon but I might have to let him go or trade him this summer. I can keep 5 veteran players plus 1 rookie. I can keep 2 rookies but who would I trade and what would I get in return? I would not trade any of my veteran players for any pick next year. I would like to hear some opinions. I know this is a good problem to have. My current plan is to release him on cut down day before the draft and take I’m with my 1.11 pick. Yes, I did lose my fantasy bowl…….to my wife!

Luck
Spiller
McCoy
Marshall
Harvin
AJ Green
J Gordon

Thomas Ksepka
Reply to  Ryan McDowell
9 years ago

Thanks for responding. I can keep two rookies. Yes, Luck is not going anywhere. Although I like Gordon’s potential, I feel that I have to go with a proven vet. I can not give up on McCoy and Marshall is still a beast. I am a little concerned with Harvin’s attitude and injury issues as well as the new teamin his future! I am currently in a wait and see mode but appreciate your opinion.

meroj
9 years ago

Good article. Richardson will only be 22 to start 2013 however.

Josh Gans
9 years ago

Trent and AJ Green are BUYS??? Wow!

Josh Gans
Reply to  Ryan McDowell
9 years ago

I mean it as if..who isnt buying? These are not exactly “hidden gems”…
😉

Ken Widerka
9 years ago

I have been offered V. Brown and the 1.7 in our rookie/fa draft for T. Smith. I am not going to take that, but how much more would it take for you to trade Smith?

Bowser
9 years ago

Thoughts on Antonio brown alongside e. Sanders?

Bowser
Reply to  Ryan McDowell
9 years ago

I have tried to shop him a little this offseason. Despite Wallace leaving and his status as a viable top 15 WR he seems to be a leper in the eyes of of my leaguemates. If you were to try shopping him for a RB who would you be seeking in return? Currently my top backs are Charles, JStew, and DWill. I have a few guys that could step up but would love to have something reliable.

dave hoover
9 years ago

i was reading an article recently, not sure the site, but the topic of the article was mike wallace being a top target for the browns. if that were to happen, how do you think that would affect not only wallace but young josh gordon, also. i currently own both and if this happens, that couldn’t be good for their fantasy values…

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