One of the hardest things to do in sports is adjust to a new level of competition. I saw it all the time playing college baseball, a freshman would come in and would be taken aback by the talent level across the board. They were used to being the best player on their team, at a minimum, and usually in their area and maybe even in their state. Watching how these guys reacted to the increased competition was always interesting. There were some that thrived on it and it helped them step their game up, and there were some that wilted. I was thinking about this on Sunday as I watched games and saw some rookies who really stepped up and some who looked like a deer in headlights. Let’s take a look at this weeks Value Up and Value Down guys starting with one of those impressive rookies.
I watched the entire Patriots-Texans game the other day and came away very impressed with Watson. He looked like he belonged, and more than that, he stepped up his game against the higher level of competition. He made some All-Pro level throws while showing elusiveness and an ability to make plays when there was nothing there. Two or three times in the game a Patriot defender had Watson and he managed to get away while keeping his eyes down the field only to find a receiver. Watson has shown an ability to play his best when the lights are brightest like this past week and against Alabama when in college. While he may never be an elite QB he sure looks like a guy who belongs and isn’t afraid.
Buy, Sell or Hold – I would say hold Watson for now if you own him, and try to buy if you don’t
While Flacco has never been a top tier fantasy QB he has always been a borderline QB1 type guy. However, this year he looks like a guy who father-time has caught up to. I am concerned that the back injury that kept him out of training camp might be hampering him. Flacco’s career yards per attempt is around 7 but this year is down to a touch over 5. This means he is dinking and dunking and I think a lot of that is due to his inability to drive the ball down the field due to his back. He looks like a guy who is trending in the wrong direction.
Buy, Sell or Hold – If you can sell Flacco and get anything for him I would do it. If not, hold and hope he has a good game and then sell as quickly as you can.
Smallwood seems like the most likely to benefit from Darren Sproles being out for the year. With LeGarette Blount being more of a bruiser, Smallwood has the opportunity to pick up the 3rd down work along with some of the early down touches as well. He may even factor in the kicking game which could only further enhance his value in leagues like Dynasty Sports Empire. Really this is an upgrade for Smallwood more than anything due to an increased path to opportunities. In a PPR league he could very easily end up being a 40-50 catch guy by the end of the season. I would think of him as a James White type player who will get some carries but most of his value will come in the passing game.
Buy, Sell or Hold – Buy now while people are still trying to figure out the roles for the Eagles running back, but hold if you have him.
I saw a lot of folks who, after the news of the David Johnson injury, ran out to pick up Chris Johnson thinking he could provide you with RB2 level impact. After watching the Cardinals-Cowboys Monday night game I don’t see it with Johnson. More than anything, the Cardinals offensive line is terrible. Johnson always has a tendency to try and bounce everything outside to try and take it the distance, but it seemed even more pronounced on Monday night. He also seemed to lack any explosiveness. What is important to remember is the Cardinals cut Johnson at the end of training camp. Seeing him average 2.7 yards per carry thus far and not factor in the passing game makes me believe they may cut him again.
Buy, Sell or Hold – Sell to anyone who sees value here due to David Johnson being out.
No-one has ever questioned whether Sammy Watkins has talent. The questions have always been about health and whether he had a QB who could get him the ball. I have to admit when he was first traded to the Rams I was skeptical as to his fantasy value catching passes from Jared Goff. However, Goff has shown himself to be a respectable QB, and playing in an offense run by Sean McVay there is some real upside for Watkins. It seems as though the chemistry between Goff and Watkins is growing as well as evidence by the 6 catches for 106 yards and 2 TDs Watkins had this past week.
Buy, Sell or Hold – I would buy Watkins, or if I owned him I would hold.
How can a guy who has yet to play this year see his value already go down? Simply put, the Saints didn’t miss a beat offensively without Snead. The team was able to get production from their RBs, Tedd Ginn and Brandon Coleman. While I expect Snead to have a role in the offense I don’t think it is going to be as much of a role as people think. With the departure of Brandin Cooks in the offseason, many, including me, first thought this would mean a huge upgrade for Snead. With the way the offense ran the first three weeks without him I just don’t see that now. While I think Snead will be solid I wouldn’t expect WR2 level numbers. This is more of a value down based on expectations.
Buy, Sell or Hold – I would sell Snead if you have him and avoid him if you don’t.
Griffin really benefited from CJ Fiedorowicz being injured. Last week against the Patriots he caught 5 of his 6 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. He also looked to have very good chemistry with Deshaun Watson. The Texans offense under Bill O’Brien likes to utilize the TE and Griffin should be a borderline TE1 the rest of the season.
Buy, Sell or Hold – I would buy or if I had him hold.
I really hate putting Henry here as I think he is going to be a really good player in the NFL. Now just isn’t his time which is clear by the fact he hasn’t gotten a target in two of the first three weeks. For some reason he just doesn’t seem to be a high priority target for Philip Rivers right now. While he did out snap Antonio Gates in Week 3 he seems to be more of a blocking threat than a pass catching one right now. Henry looks to be a guy who will be up and down this season and will be tough to rely on for consistent production.
Buy, Sell or Hold – I would hold if you have him and try and buy low if you don’t.
As always, good luck to all in Week 4.