If you were one of the lucky fantasy owners who started just about any Bronco or Cowboy last week, congratulations. Condolences to those who own Demaryius Thomas, who didn’t get in on all the touchdown fun.
There was much more to last week than the gem of a game Denver and Dallas waged, though. Alshon Jeffery broke out. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a fine day. Cam Newton bombed.
Which players should you be looking to buy or sell after Week 5? Click through to find out.
This article is intended to reflect a “stock market” situation, where you will want to buy a player in a trade at a perceived bargain or sell him for a nice return.
Buy: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
If you were a fan of Breaking Bad, you might know a thing or two about the perils of traveling to the desert. Quarterback Cam Newton can attest to that.
Despite coming off a bye, with plenty of time to plan for the Arizona Cardinals, Newton imploded on the road. Sure, he threw for 308 yards and ran for 25 more, but his three interceptions cost the Panthers any chance of winning that game.
Of course, it’ll take a short memory from his fantasy owner to pry Newton from his or her grasp. After all, Newton had a huge game against the New York Giants in Week 3. But that seems like ages ago after a bye and a terrible game.
Newton’s schedule softens over the next couple of weeks as he faces Minnesota and St. Louis, who were giving up the second- and third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks before Week 5. Now is a good time to get in on the Newton action.
Sell: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have been surprising at quarterback this season. Jake Locker got off to an excellent start before suffering a scary injury to his hip, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a good replacement thus far.
Fitzpatrick practically was Locker last week, rushing six times for 50 yards and a touchdown against a good Kansas City Chiefs defense. But don’t be fooled by this wizardry—Fitzpatrick has pulled the bait-and-switch before.
He gets the Seattle Seahawks on the road this week, and he gets to lick his wounds against the San Francisco 49ers after that. If, for some reason, you have a chance to pawn him off this week, please do.
Buy: Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Running back Giovani Bernard’s stock was on the rise heading into Week 5. He had seen increased playing time and touches while making BenJarvus Green-Ellis look old and slow. Then he took two steps backward against the New England Patriots.
Bernard still got plenty of playing time—he played 35 offensive snaps, one more than Green-Ellis—but a fumble that could have cost them the game got him yanked in the fourth quarter. Whether or not Tom Coughlin phoned Marvin Lewis to advise him on that decision is unknown.
The fact remains that Bernard is far more dynamic, and he represents an upside Green-Ellis simply cannot match. The Law Firm isn’t even breaking 3.0 yards per carry, while Bernard is averaging a healthy 4.6. Then there is everything Bernard brings to the table as a pass-catcher that Green-Ellis does not.
Slip the Bernard owner a lowball offer to gauge his interest before Bernard finally does overtake Green-Ellis for good.
Sell: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
Quick. Send a bunch of offers with Chris Johnson involved and see who bites. It’s not often you will be gifted a 49-yard touchdown reception on a broken play.
Johnson has once again been a fantasy disappointment this season. Take advantage of his nice week to unload him if you can, perhaps in a package for an upgrade elsewhere. A.J. Green, anyone?
Buy: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It has felt like an eternity since receiver A.J. Green went on that nine-game touchdown streak last season.
Green hasn’t been terrible in 2013, but opposing defenses are finding ways to mitigate the damage they take from him. The latest came from the Patriots, who stuck Aqib Talib on him and limited Green to just five catches and 61 yards last week.
Most fantasy owners who have Green on their rosters might be frustrated enough to trade him away at this point. Despite his woes, however, he is one of the best receivers in the game.
Sell: Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
It was receiver Mike Wallace‘s turn to have a nice game again after going through a couple of duds.
The $60 million man has yet to live up to his giant contract with the Miami Dolphins, and it looks like he will be more of a nuisance on your fantasy roster than anything else. These kinds of games leave you chasing points down the line as Wallace posts mediocre games.
Buy: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins
Last Sunday marks the second time running back Lamar Miller has gone for a single stinking fantasy point in a game.
The Dolphins all but abandoned the run game against a stout Baltimore run defense, and Miller was bottled up on the chances he did get. It was a recipe for fantasy disaster.
Miller has been inconsistent enough to frustrate fantasy owners. Even his good games have been relatively low scoring. So why should you trade for such a middling producer?
Well, for starters, the Dolphins might finally realize he brings more to the table than teammate Daniel Thomas. Miller was on the field for 45 snaps to Thomas’ 11 (subscription required), even if that didn’t translate to many touches.
His remaining schedule bounces around between tough and light run defenses, but it’s not too early to look ahead to championship week, when he plays the Buffalo Bills, who just let Willis McGahee run all over them last week.
Sell: Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints finally did something they should have done long ago—give running back Pierre Thomas a big role.
It paid off for any fantasy owners who might have put him in their starting lineup. He scored two touchdowns on passing plays, giving him one of the best lines of last weekend and the best game of his season, by far.
As with Darren Sproles, weekly output will be scattershot for any Saints skill player not named Jimmy Graham. This is particularly true for Thomas, who will have to deal with Mark Ingram’s eventual return.
Buy: Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
It might have been easier to buy low on receiver Danny Amendola when he was injured, but a new window might have opened up after last week.
His uninspiring fantasy performance might have been enough to push his owner to the edge of trading him. But Amendola was making a bit of a surprise start in which he was reportedly limited. Despite that, he received the most targets on his team.
Once he gets to 100 percent and opposing defenses have to worry about a returning Rob Gronkowski, Amendola should become a big-time fantasy producer.
Sell: Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants
It was a breakout party for receiver Rueben Randle last week.
The second-year pro out of LSU had an outstanding game against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching six balls for 96 yards and two touchdowns. But is it a mirage?
Randle had, to that point, caught just 11 passes for 166 yards through four games. He remains third banana at wide receiver, and he won’t get to play that putrid Eagles defense every week.
It’s unlikely Randle is even rostered in your league at this point, but if you happen to own him, now is a good time to package him in a deal.
Buy: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
All in all, it’s been a rough start to the 2013 season for quarterback Tom Brady. That is especially true when comparing him with his longtime nemesis, Peyton Manning, who has gone to a “scorched earth” policy this season.
Brady hasn’t had an awful season so far, but throwing just seven touchdowns through five games might have his fantasy owners in a panic. That’s because they probably used a relatively high draft pick on him, which was ill-advised in some corners of the fantasy football realm.
The good news for Brady is that Gronkowski should be back soon—hopefully this week.
It’s clear that Brady misses his elite target. He also misses the consistency that Amendola was supposed to provide.
Amendola made it back onto the field last week, but it was a bit of a surprise. He was also limited in action.
At any rate, it’s hard to believe Brady’s malaise will continue. Now is the time to strike a deal for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Sell: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Trade Peyton Manning away. Sounds provocative, right?
If you have a solid roster, there is no reason you should be trying to trade the MVP candidate. However, if you have a hole or two to fill, you might not get a better deal for Manning than this week.
Manning is currently playing football on an interplanetary level. He is on pace to shatter every passing record known to the NFL. So he is probably the most valuable asset on your fantasy team.
Of course, trading him away is contingent on a few things. You must have a reliable second quarterback or be getting a top-tier quarterback as part of a package. You will want to take your trade partner to the cleaners, otherwise it’s not worth it.
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