Fantasy Football Week 13: Buying and Selling Breakout Performers from Last Week
Happy Thanksgiving, fantasy footballers.
As Turkey Day approaches and Black Friday lurks, so do the fantasy playoffs. This is the last week before the postseason in many leagues. Hopefully you have a playoff spot secured.
As usual, last weekend had its ups and downs. What can we learn from some of these performances?
It's likely that your trade deadline has passed, so this article will shift away from a traditional "stock market" approach. Instead, we'll focus on what performances to buy and sell as indicators of future success.
Buy: Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
Stats: 6 receptions, 103 yards, 1 touchdown
It had been a while since Kendall Wright had scored a touchdown. Nine weeks, to be exact.
He finally got into the end zone against the Raiders—the right matchup to cure his touchdown ills, to be sure—with a game-winning catch. All in all, his day was good enough for 10th-best fantasy performance last week.
Wright's numbers have been on an upward trend as he has developed a bit of chemistry with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has been targeted 28 times over the past three games, with his yardage increasing in each one.
At worst, Wright should be a solid flex play going forward. He could lead you to fantasy glory.
Sell: Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
Stats: 5 receptions, 127 yards, 1 touchdown
Just when you thought Mike Wallace was dead in the fantasy realm, the speedy receiver came back from the dead to post a huge game against the vaunted Carolina defense.
Wallace had quite the game with five catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.
It was just his third 100-yard game of the season. Fantasy owners have disappointed in every other week, matchup notwithstanding.
It was encouraging to see Ryan Tannehill go to Wallace deep often, but don't buy him as a consistent fantasy option until he proves he can do it two times in a row.
Buy: Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
Stats: 10 carries, 73 yards—5 receptions, 57 yards
Mark Ingram technically got the start, but it was Thomas who helped finish the Falcons.
The oft-overlooked back went for 130 total yards. Even though he didn't get into the end zone, it was a nice night for Thomas.
Thomas has been underrated for years, partially because he has been plagued with injuries. He has been able to stay healthy this year, and it's paying off for him and the Saints.
The 28-year-old has seen at least 15 touches in each of the past three games. He is the best all-around back in that offense, and he's making it harder for the Saints to ignore that with each passing week.
Sell: Benny Cunningham, RB, St. Louis Rams
Stats: 13 carries, 109 yards, 1 touchdown
The Bears have become a glorious fantasy matchup for opposing running backs.
Chicago has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing backs over the past five weeks. The latest to pound the Bears? St. Louis' Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham.
Of course, had Stacy not been knocked out of the game, Cunningham wouldn't have had nearly as many touches.
Don't buy into the big performance. There is a reason he is the backup, and Stacy should be back sooner rather than later. And even if Stacy sits out for a while, the Rams play the 49ers and Cardinals during the next two weeks, both of which play good run defense.
Buy: Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions
Stats: 7 receptions, 77 yards, 1 touchdown
It was a triumphant return to game action for Nate Burleson after recovering from his pizza-saving injuries.
Burleson couldn't save the Lions from a loss, but he did provide a nice boost to fantasy owners who might have started him in a desperate situation. He caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the unexpected loss to the Buccaneers.
Burleson has resumed his role as the Robin to Calvin Johnson's Batman. He won't get into the end zone every game, but it looks like he will get plenty of targets going forward.
Sell: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Stats: 9 receptions, 110 yards, 2 touchdowns
Wes Welker who?
The Patriots took it to the Broncos in the second half of the game last week, and Julian Edelman was a big reason why. He led the Patriots with nine catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, propelling his team to unlikely victory.
Based on the previous several weeks, however, this isn't something we should expect to see regularly.
Edelman totaled six catches for 45 yards in the previous three games. It has been tough to get targets for him since Rob Gronkowski returned, and there are plenty of mouths to feed in that offense. It seems likelier that Edelman returns to his pre-Broncos levels than he will continue producing at a high level.
Buy: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinal
Stats: 26/37, 312 yards, 2 touchdowns
It has been a nice couple of weeks for Carson Palmer, who has avoided throwing interceptions in consecutive full games for the first time since the year 2010.
Palmer saved a lot of fantasy seasons with a huge Week 11—including mine, in several leagues—and followed it up with another great game against the Colts. Is he finally the guy we have been hoping to see in Arizona all year?
On the one hand, Palmer just got in the black—he is now at 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions on the year. That's not terribly promising.
On the other, Arizona plays the Eagles and Rams next, two teams Palmer should shred through the air.
It's unlikely Palmer's interception-less streak will last much longer, but he should keep putting up solid fantasy lines as long as he's upright.
Sell: Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Stats: 16 carries, 63 yards, 1 touchdown—3 receptions, 16 yards
The Falcons made things interesting against their division rivals. A big reason why was a surprisingly good game from Steven Jackson.
But is this the manifestation of what many expected out of Jackson heading into the season, or was it simply an aberration?
Considering Jackson only scored his touchdown after Darrius Johnson came inches short of the goal line on a Matt Ryan pass, the latter is likely true. On top of that, Atlanta's defense is so poor that Jackson seems destined to be underutilized as Ryan and Co. try to catch up by passing the ball.
Buy: Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
Stats: 14 receptions, 237 yards, 1 touchdown
It was a record day for Josh Gordon as he went off for 237 yards and two touchdowns against the rival Steelers. So why should you buy it?
True, you shouldn't expect Gordon to be setting records every week or anything, but Gordon has gone a long way to prove that he deserves a spot in your lineup.
In fact, he has nearly 1,000 receiving yards (988), despite missing the first two games of the year on suspension and dealing with Larry, Moe and Curley at quarterback for much of the season.
The second-year receiver is the real deal. Don't worry about who is starting at quarterback and stick with him in your lineup.
Sell: Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
Stats: 1 carry, 65 yards, 1 touchdown—2 receptions, 39 yards
As with many dynamic players, all it took was one play for Tavon Austin to prove himself a valuable fantasy asset. However, further inspection warrants alarm.
Like in his three-touchdown game against the Colts in Week 11, Austin did his damage in extremely limited duty. Austin had three touches in the game—two receptions to go along with a 65-yard touchdown run—hardly a sustainable scenario. He is more liable to put up a goose egg than give you another big game given his workload.