2014 Fantasy FootballFantasy Football

2014 Fantasy Football: Buy and Sell Candidates

Montee Ball
Montee Ball

Buy

Steven Jackson

He is old and injury prone, but he is also dirt cheap and is the bellcow of a pretty powerful offense. On top of that we are looking at some consistency, which, for the cost at which Jackson can be obtained, is valuable in and of itself.

Jackson has had at least 12 touches in every game so far and has accrued 55, 53, and 54 yards in each of his first three games, including a very impressive touchdown run against the Buccaneers last Thursday night. Is five points from running and receiving combined impressive for a running back? No, but again, with the touchdown potential and the lackluster performance from Devonta Freeman so far, knowing you are going to get 12 touches from a player in this offense is valuable.

The real value here is the cost. You could probably trade for Jackson by offering a high upside wide receiver that you would not always be able to get in your lineup. As the bye weeks come up and injuries start to pile up to running backs, Jackson is a useful player to have on your bench as an occasional spot starter or flex option until he gets hurt. If he does get hurt, he is very easy to drop.

This is a very low risk situation given the cost and consistency of Jackson. He is not going to be some powerhouse back, but if you have a team full of stars at other positions and are struggling finding at least some scoring at your running back position, Jackson is a good man to target in trades.

Chris Ivory

Boy can this guy run. Every time you see Ivory on the field you cannot help but utter that or a similar statement. The oft-injured power back has been much more impressive than his counterpart Chris Johnson, which should be a surprise to almost nobody. However, it is not necessarily a bad thing that he is sharing carries due to his history of missing games.

I do expect the committee to start leaning in Ivory’s direction, however. Through three games Johnson has 41 touches to Ivory’s 38, with Ivory producing 244 yards and Johnson producing 146. Ivory also has the touchdown edge two-to-one. The Jets offense has some potential, but they are still 1-2 in a weak AFC East. Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg know they need to win games soon, and I expect they will start giving the rock to the far superior runner more frequently, despite the added injury risk that comes with it. They need to win games to keep in contention and keep their jobs, and Ivory most certainly gives them a better opportunity to do that than Johnson does.

With Ivory the better runner and still in a timeshare, I think he can be acquired for a bit less than the value he will provide going forward. He should not cost a ton to trade for, and he has the potential to be a very solid back going forward once the timeshare starts working more in his favor. At worst he is a solid stash and eventual flex play as the committee starts to lean on him more. At best he ends up being a very impressive RB2 as the Jets utilize a ground-and-pound style to limit their turnovers and utilize their most talented offensive weapon.

Sell

Eddie Lacy

I am a firm believer that Eddie Lacy is a RB1 level talent. However, here are a few things going against Lacy’s fantasy value.

  1. Including the post-season, he actually has a yard per carry average below 4.0.
  2. Over the same stretch, James Starks has a yard per carry average above 5.0
  3. Lacy now has had two concussions and his bruising running style has me believe that these head injuries are not exactly fluky.
  4. As we saw in the first game of the year, John Kuhn is still an additional option in short yardage situations. He only had one rushing touchdown last year, but most of Kuhn’s carries come on extremely short down situations. This could lead to Kuhn vulturing a few more if Lacy’s production does not increase.
  5. Mike McCarthy said, verbatim, that “We’ve seen the film, corrections have been made, our running game wasn’t nearly what it needed to be. Not even close.”
  6. The Green Bay offensive line has been frustrating both in pass protection and run blocking. Even if Lacy holds onto the amount of carries we expected entering the season, the o-line is not doing him any favors, and it is not certain that that will change.

Perhaps the biggest positive with selling right now on Lacy is that most know he is at a low point, and you would not have to sacrifice value in trading him. He has faced some very intimidating run defenses in the Seahawks, Jets, and Lions. You can still trade him at or close to the value you drafted him at, and in my mind that’s a good idea considering all the aforementioned issues with Lacy. I will finish this off by saying I am a Packers fan and an owner of Eddie Lacy in a 0.5 PPR league. I have skin in this game and hope that Lacy improves, but I do not think an owner is being too quick if they are willing to move on from him for a different option.

Montee Ball

The upcoming schedule for Montee Ball after his week four bye week is the Cardinals, Jets, and 49’ers. Currently those are the one, four, and seven ranked run defenses, and judging by the fact that each finished in the top four in run defense last year, I think it is clear that these are stingy defenses against opposing running backs.

Let’s say Ball continues to put up pedestrian numbers through those games. That will put him at far below average production through week eight. To say that is disconcerting for a guy that was likely drafted in end of the first or early second round would be an understatement.

Consider also that Ball, who fumbled on his first carry last week, has now lost four fumbles in under 170 carries, and it is possible that fumble-itis could cause him to lose carries to C.J. Anderson. A team led by a Peyton Manning offense is looking for consistency in the running back position and not all that much else. Ball is supposed to be that type of a back, but if he is continuing to lose fumbles at this rate, I would not be shocked if he were to lose carries to Anderson.

Much like Lacy, Ball is a known “sell low” at this point so in moving him you do not have to settle for much worse than what you drafted him as. He is still Peyton Manning’s running back and after seeing how great of a season Knowhson Moreno had last year, opposing acquirers will be happy to take him from you. Considering his struggles so far, his fumble issues over the past two seasons, and his upcoming schedule after the bye, Ball is a good candidate to move on from at this point.

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1 Comment

  1. AHB
    September 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm — Reply

    Would you trade Montee Ball for Chris Ivory and a 6th round pick for next year? PPR Keeper league (two offensive players, one defensive kept)

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