Fantasy Football Week 1: Buy and Sell Stock Report
The NFL preseason is over, going out with a whimper as it is wont to do every year. The Week 4 games give us little to analyze when it comes to fantasy football because most teams don't play the starters, at least for any significant amount of time.
Still, there were some nuggets of information to glean from those games. More importantly, we have gotten some clarity about depth charts as teams made announcements after cuts.
Here is this week's fantasy football stock report as we head into Week 1 of the regular season.
Buy: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Christmas might be coming early for fantasy owners who took a risk on drafting Rob Gronkowski.
The stud tight end is reportedly practicing with the first team, even donning pads for 11-on-11 drills. That revelation almost came as a shock for a guy who was in danger of being put on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and miss the first six weeks of the season.
Anyone who took Gronkowski in the fourth or fifth round—or even later, in many cases—will cash in on that bet, it seems.
Sell: Zach Sudfeld, TE, New England Patriots
Unfortunately, Rob Gronkowski's unexpectedly quick recovery means fellow tight end Zach Sudfeld loses his value quickly.
Sudfeld will make a good start for a week or two until Gronkowski is all the way back, but he will have far fewer games as New England's starting tight end than expected.
There is talk of Sudfeld putting up Aaron Hernandez-like numbers when Gronk does come back, given the rookie will still be the No. 2 tight end. The problem with that expectation is, he is simply not the same player as Hernandez.
Buy: Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans
With running back Arian Foster ailing, Ben Tate makes for a nice early season fantasy start.
Foster is probably not up for a 25-touch game after missing all of the preseason. Tate, meanwhile, enters the game averaging 5.7 yards per carry in the preseason.
The Texans are playing the Chargers, which could mean they put Foster on ice early if the game gets out of hand. That would mean a lot of garbage-time opportunities for Tate on top of sharing the rock with Foster.
Beyond Week 1, however, Tate is a nice flex option. Houston figures to keep him in the rotation to help keep Foster fresh.
Sell: Arian Foster, RB Houston Texans
One man's gain is another man's pain.
Running back Arian Foster has experienced enough pain to keep him out the entire preseason. It looks like he'll be back for Week 1's matchup on Monday Night Football, but does that mean he will regain his top-five form right off the bat?
Gary Kubiak doesn't think so. And as mentioned in Ben Tate's slide, Foster's stock was already down on efficiency concerns and Tate's likely increased role throughout the season.
Buy: David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
Running back David Wilson's fantasy stock has been on the rise throughout the preseason, but it spiked after last week's game against the Patriots. That's because his main competition for playing time suffered an untimely injury.
Andre Brown broke his leg again while playing a dubious role in a meaningless preseason game, leaving the lion's share of work for Wilson. There is little reason to believe Da'Rel Scott or Michael Cox will reprise Brown's role in a running back committee.
Wilson is now a borderline RB1 in most formats.
Sell: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
Running back Jonathan Stewart is injured.
This seems like nothing new, but we weren't expecting him to potentially miss the season. He is currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but Stewart hasn't been able to do much of anything since he injured his ankle last November.
There is little reason to keep him on your roster at this point.
Buy: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
A couple of weeks after running back Le'Veon Bell suffered a seemingly devastating foot injury, things are looking up for the rookie.
Bell's prognosis was somewhere around six weeks of missed action, but the Steelers were being so vague about his injury that we didn't know just how long he would be out. Now he says he might be back for Week 2.
That might seem like a stretch, but getting him back fully healthy anytime before October will be a boon for owners who snagged him at a discount.
Sell: Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
Despite running back Ronnie Hillman's fumble issues and general ineffectiveness throughout the preseason, Montee Ball couldn't catch him on the depth chart.
Hillman was named the Week 1 starter, and Knowshon Moreno is hanging around to take away playing time in pass-blocking situations. Ball might wind up overtaking Hillman at some point this season, but this wasn't an excellent start for the rookie.
Buy: Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos
In a bit of a surprise out of Denver, Julius Thomas has overtaken Jacob Tamme as the starting tight end.
That means big things could be in store for the third-year tight end. Quarterback Peyton Manning has been known to rely on his tight ends over the years—would Dallas Clark and Tamme have been fantasy-relevant with any other quarterbacks?
Clark was an elite fantasy option when he and Manning could stay healthy. If you are in need of a second tight end, Thomas could be a fantastic pickup, especially in PPR leagues.
Sell: Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Last season was a bit of a disappointment for second-round tight end Coby Fleener. That famed rapport he had with first-round pick Andrew Luck never really materialized, and injuries hampered him as the season wore on.
Fleener was supposed to step into a more prominent role on offense this season. Dwayne Allen's preseason injury was an opportunity for Fleener to take over the role as the team's top tight end. Unfortunately, his exhibition performances were lackluster.
Allen is back from injury now, mitigating Fleener's fantasy value once more. Neither is really worth owning in fantasy leagues at this point.