Fantasy Football: Players to sell high heading into Week 3

9/18/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Hopefully after reading my sell high column last week you were able to unload some of your players for more reliable assets. Players such as Brian Hartline (five catches for 68 yards), Jared Cook (one catch for ten yards), and Anquan Boldin (one catch for seven yards) returned to reality. If you were able to take advantage of an owner in a trade involving one of those players - good for you. If not, here are some more sell high players that you can use as trade bait:

Philip Rivers (QB - SD): There must be some owners in deeper leagues who find themselves lost at the quarterback position at this point in the season. Those owners are who you can take advantage of with Rivers. The Chargers' offensive line has played much better than I expected through two weeks, but I don't expect them to continue playing at that level - they were commonly projected to be the worst offensive line in the NFL, and Rivers led the league in yards lost due to sacks last year. Rivers has not topped an 88.7 passer rating since 2010. With a questionable offensive line and scarce weapons (just lost No. 1 receiver Malcom Floyd to a neck injury), I expect Rivers' current 115.8 passer rating to drop significantly. Trade him before that happens.

Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) runs against Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. The Bears won 31-30. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsMartellus Bennett (TE - CHI): You may be thinking I'm crazy on this one. Of course, you probably would have thought I was crazy if I told you to sell high on Bennett a year ago. Many people are buying into Bennett as a legitimate TE1 after seeing him post a 10/125/3 line through two weeks. However, he had a similar 9/112/2 line through two weeks last season, and was at 15/185/3 by the end of Week 3. Bennett finished 2012 with a meager 55/626/5 line. What makes Bennett even more likely to regress is that he suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday that he said will probably be an issue going forward. There is certainly a chance that Bennett keeps up the stellar production, but if an owner in need of a tight end comes knocking, be certain to give him a listen.

Jermichael Finley (TE - GB): This ultra-talented perennial under-performer has pleased fantasy owners through two weeks, but largely because of his two touchdowns. Finley is averaging just 5.5 catches for 60.5 yards through two games, so he has been relying pretty heavily on touchdowns for his great fantasy production. In addition, there are too many mouths to feed in Green Bay for Finley to produce consistently. He had only 65 yards against the Redskins despite the Packers' 580 yards of total offense. The Packers' offense won't run up and down the field like that every week, so it seems tough to even count of decent production from Finley on a weekly basis.

DeMarco Murray (RB - DAL): He's been a nice asset for those who own him in PPR leagues, but he has not been productive on the ground. If he continues to run at his current rate of 3.5 YPC, Lance Dunbar (who ran once for 12 yards in Week 2) could begin to factor in. In addition, Murray has missed nine games in his two-year NFL career - he's always an injury risk. I wouldn't mind selling him to a running back needy owner.

Darren McFadden (RB - OAK): This pains me as a Raiders fan, but I just don't trust McFadden's health or the Raiders' offensive line. McFadden played a great game against the Jaguars in Week 2 which has owners buzzing about his return to form, but keep in mind that he averaged 2.8 YPC in Week 1 against the Colts, who ranked 26th in opponent YPC last year. McFadden has the ability to rack up fantasy points, but I don't trust the offensive line to consistently pave lanes for him to produce - and even if they do, it's likely a matter of time before McFadden gets hurt. I would not be opposed to selling high on McFadden now, but I will also mention that he plays the Redskins - who rank dead last in run defense and are giving up 5.5 yards per carry - in Week 4. You may want to roll the dice on him staying healthy until then, hope that he lights up the Redskins, then sell super high.

Sam Bradford (QB - STL): I love what I've seen out of Bradford so far under the pressure of what some are considering a make-or-break year. What I don't love, however, are Bradford's chances of maintaining his sensational fantasy production. I understand that the Rams are taking on more of a pass-first approach this year, but they have been forced to throw even more than expected thanks to falling behind in games. Bradford's 46.5 pass attempts per game (which would have led the NFL last year) are not sustainable, and his fantasy production will drop as his pass attempts do. I still believe he's one of the top bye week/injury fill-ins in fantasy football, but if an owner is willing to acquire him as his starter, I'd explore that trade.
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