Fantasy Football Week 5: Breaking Down Struggling Stars to Buy Low

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins walks off the field after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 9, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. The Philadelphia Eagles won, 33-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Week 5 of the 2013 NFL regular season is already here and it’s time for fantasy football owners to start assessing the trade market.

Some of the game's top names have had slow starts out of the gate, so now is the time to take advantage of inpatient fantasy owners who are unhappy with some of their top picks. It’s time to buy low, folks.

All of the following players are not meeting expectations this season, but each has too much raw talent for that to last much longer. Trade for these fantasy stars and reap the championship rewards.

Based on ESPN’s standard-scoring leagues.


OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Oakland Raidersat Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Imag
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

Second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins offense didn’t play well to start the season, and fantasy owners expected huge numbers. With two weeks of disappointing play in a row (14 and 16 points respectively) and a bye this week, now is the time to make a deal.

Griffin is still reacclimating himself to live game action after his knee surgery, and he will eventually begin moving around and improvising more in an offense that made Washington so dangerous in 2012. If you don’t have a top-tier quarterback this season, now is the time buy low on RGIII.

The Redskins have a favorable schedule against the horrid NFC East in the second half of the season. Griffin should begin to rack up the numbers through the air and on the ground as he continues to get comfortable with his repaired knee.

If you can get away with a trade that includes a second-tier QB like Sam Bradford and another player that fits the other owner’s needs, this is the kind of deal that wins league titles.


Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have started the season with three huge losses, and part of the reason the team has failed is because of wide receiver Roddy White’s high-ankle sprain and how long it has taken to heal properly.

White has only 10 receptions for 84 yards and zero touchdowns through the first four weeks of the season, and a tough matchup against the New York Jets Monday night and a bye the following week has his stock plummeting.

Buy low!

This is a player that had at least seven touchdowns in each of his last five seasons in Atlanta and at least 80 receptions for over 1,100 yards in each of his last six seasons. The ankle injury is still clearly bothering White, but he is slowly working back into his elite form.

Expect a much improved and much more valuable White starting in Week 7. With the veteran playing 74 of the 76 snaps in Atlanta’s loss to New England, Matt Ryan and White must rehash their chemistry and once again become fantasy gold.


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens have been utterly disappointing so far this season, and the fact that the running back has amassed only 89 yards rushing and 44 yards receiving through the first quarter of the season has owners frustrated.

Smart fantasy players should look to make a deal to acquire Rice immediately.

Head coach John Harbaugh stated to Chris Wesseling of that Rice will be a much larger part of the team’s offensive plans moving forward, and that means more carries out of the backfield and more catches in open space.

At some point, Rice will break out for a monster game, at which point his value will begin to rise.

With the hype machine working overtime for unproven or inconsistent running backs like Le'Veon Bell or DeMarco Murray, pulling the trigger now on a deal for a player of Rice's caliber could turn a playoff contender into a championship winner.


Dec 30, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have remained tight-lipped on tight end Rob Gronkowski’s status for Week 5 and beyond, and conflicting reports around when the team expects him in the lineup and his own timetable have fantasy owners concerned.

Benefit off this uncertainty and make a blockbuster trade.

If the owner that has Gronkowski sitting on the bench is struggling early in the season or looks to have a serious need at a key position besides TE, now is the time to buy low.

Once Gronk returns, he will immediately step into the role of Tom Brady's No. 1 target. The two have had unprecedented chemistry during their time together, and there's little doubt Gronkowski will be a top-five player at his position the rest of the way once he gets back to the field.

Offering a player that is coming off a solid week or started the season hot that fills the owner's need is the smart move. To sweeten the potential deal, make sure you include a viable starting tight end in the deal as well.

Trading two popular names right now like wide receiver Greg Jennings and tight end Antonio Gates for Gronkowski is an example.