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NFL fantasy football: Sell high on Cam Newton

  • By Matt "Money" Smith NFL.com
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So here's how it's going to work. Every week I'll post a "Buy Low, Sell High" column somewhere around this very spot, and the idea behind it is similar to the financial markets. Simply put, it's all about value. Week-to-week value, month-to-month value, or perhaps an asset that's being downgraded because of a team's performance that shouldn't necessarily prevent that individual from being a good play going forward.

Sell High


San Francisco 49ers defense

They were likely selected too high in your draft, and while they produced a remarkable amount of points last season, looking at their schedule this year, it's simply not going to happen again. They're a disciplined defense, a defense that's hard to score against. But in standard leagues, unless you're getting turnovers, pick-sixes, or returns for touchdowns, that's just a four to six point weekly performance. While the Rams have provided a fantasy defense bonanza to whomever they're playing, the Cardinals and Seahawks have taken care of the ball, and aren't allowing sacks. Meanwhile the next two weeks against the Jets and Bills, the 49ers are facing teams that have allowed on average just 3.25 and 4.5 points respectively to opposing defenses. Take a look at that waiver wire and see if the Buccaneers, who have a very consistent 11, 8, and 11-point three week trend might be available.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

I've been saying it since August, Newton will come back to fantasy earth this season. The Giants handed out the blueprint to the rest of the league, and when forced to work his progressions, Newton struggles throwing the ball. One of two things can happen after the humiliation suffered at the hands of the G-men. Either Newtown starts handing the ball off more to that cadre of running backs and his numbers decrease, or the Panthers say to heck with it, we just have to let the kid improvise and run all over the place. Making him a pocket passer simply isn't working. I would vote for the former. Newton is being moved in a lot of leagues. Three of the four I'm playing in have seen a Newton trade, and in one Maurice Jones-Drew was exchanged. If you can make a move for a No. 1 running back with Newton, do it now, because the schedule is about to get a lot tougher in the coming weeks for Carolina.

Buy Low


Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

I've been sniffing out Dalton for a couple weeks now, but this past Tuesday, I finally pulled the trigger and picked him up off the waiver wire in two of my leagues. Thanks to a miserable Week 1 (5.94 points) his season numbers aren't overwhelming, meaning a good number of people in your league haven't figured out how well he's playing this season. I think Rhett Bomar was ranked ahead of him after Week 1, but thanks to consecutive top-six performances, he's eighth among all fantasy quarterbacks season. And take a look at his division; The Browns have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, the Steelers have allowed the sixth most and the Ravens are just outside the top-ten. Plus he's still going to face the AFC West, which has been a quarterback points bonanza.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

He's getting the carries (34 in the last two weeks), and while the touchdowns aren't there thanks to the Colts leaning on the arm of Andrew Luck, you can't help but notice the competition he's going to face over the next five games. Take a look at the points allowed to the running back position this season. Except for the Houston Texans, it's all AFC South teams. The Jaguars allow the third most fantasy points to running backs, the Titans allow the fourth most, and the Kansas City Chiefs aren't too far behind. After facing the Titans in Week 14 (start of your fantasy playoffs), the Colts are playing the Chiefs in Week 16 (your fantasy Super Bowl). On a bye this week, you should be able to grab Brown for a bargain.

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Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints

I mentioned Thomas last week while pointing out Mark Ingram should be moved immediately in the "Sell High" portion of this column. Thomas might have had but six carries last week, but the more telling statistic was Mark Ingram's five attempts. After a sixteen carry, mediocre effort against the Panthers, the Saints realized Ingram isn't going to be the feature back they wanted him to be. Thomas was targeted more than Darren Sproles and Marques Colston in the passing game last week, and his 55 yards receiving helped offset a poor rushing day. Thomas is clearly the better back when pitted against Ingram, and that should show over the rest of the season.

Cedric Benson, RB, Green Bay Packers

Plain and simple, Benson is running the ball. The Packers weren't feeding James Starks last year, and they didn't feed Ryan Grant the year before that. But in the last couple games we've seen Benson get a steady diet of carries regardless of production, which lends me to believe the Packers are more committed to a balanced attack this season. If you can find a way to get him on your roster before Sunday, I suspect he'll have a monster week against New Orleans, and the "Buy Low" days of Benson will be a thing of the past.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

That's right, while everyone else is selling, I'm trying to buy CJ2K in every league I'm in. Call it a hunch, but with the trade deadline having been moved back a couple weeks, and with Johnson set to make $10 million next season, I suspect the Titans are going to end the relationship and move the guy. Talking with a few of those in the know, they swear that Johnson's skills couldn't have declined this much, while being this young. If he can get to a franchise with that zone running scheme he excelled in a couple seasons back, look for him to rebound, and rebound quickly.

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