CROW WORTHY

Reinventing Sports Culture. For the fans, by the fans.

Icarus: Fantasy Players to Sell High On

The tale of Icarus is one of caution. Excited by his newfound powers of flight, Icarus flew to close to the sun and his wings fell apart. This led to him crashing and burning. Some fantasy players are flying too high right now. They are almost destined to come back to earth. Here are some sell-high candidates to consider. If you want some names that have started out slow and I think will pick it up, check out my last article

Points Data from FantasyData, assuming half PPR.

Najee Harris

Fantasy football stock watch: Najee Harris up, Ronald Jones down

Najee Harris is currently RB 9 in fantasy, but I’d advise getting out when you can. Harris’ rushing production has been dismal to start his career. Whether that’s because of his running talent or because the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line is putrid (it’s almost definitely the latter) Harris is averaging a horrid 3.1 yards per carry this year. Not many RBs survive with that poor of rushing production, and even with arguably a worse offensive line last year James Conner did better than this.

That’s not to imply that Harris will get replaced anytime soon. He’s still pretty much getting sole rushing equity. It’s something to consider, though. If Pittsburgh keeps losing and their run game keeps on being terrible, it might be surprising for Harris to KEEP such a firm hold and for them not to try ANYONE else out. I can’t really emphasize just how poor 3.1 yard per carry is.

Aerial Assault

The only thing propping up Najee Harris’ value is his ridiculous passing game work. He got an absurd 19 targets and 14 catches in week 3. In PPR or half PPR that’s boosting his points tremendously. I think that Harris is going to be a firm part of this passing game, to suggest otherwise would be asinine, but thinking he’s going to get double digit targets on the regular is also silly. Because Harris’ rushing production is more or less non-existent, he either needs to get 10+ catches or score a receiving touchdown to produce fantasy wise in any given week.

He did manage it two out of the three weeks so far, but how long does that last? How often can you bank on good fantasy days from what is essentially a rich man’s James White or J.D. McKissic? Perhaps I’m being too harsh. This offense is bad and more than many other teams the Steelers are known to dump passes to running backs. If they are down a lot and Ben Roethlisberger is forced to throw 50-60 times, Harris very well could get double digit targets repeatedly, especially with the injuries at WR. 

Unsustainable Target Share

To me though, this passing game usage for Harris is unsustainable. Besides Week 3, he’s gotten five and three targets. Taking the targets at face value, he’s averaging nine per game. If he keeps that up for 16 games, that’s 144 targets, which might be the NFL record (McCaffrey had 142 in 2019). Harris has had two good weeks in a row though, and his value is extremely high. Possibly as high as it can be. I’d let someone else pray for Ben to check down 30 times a game if I can trade Harris for a steadier RB 1. Perhaps someone like Joe Mixon, or Nick Chubb. 

Mike Davis

This one should be obvious to people paying attention to what’s going on in Atlanta, but Mike Davis should not be trusted if possible. Cordarelle Patterson is eating into his usage more as time goes on. I was already shaky about Mike Davis as a talent, but now he’s not even getting all the work and that’s only going to make him less reliable. Patterson is stealing rushes and catches too, which bodes poorly. A man of Mike Davis’ ability cannot handle a 60-40 touches split, which is basically what it’s been so far. 

Davis is averaging a atrocious 3.8 yards per carry this season (which tracks considering he was at 3.9 last year) and someone who’s that inefficient cannot afford to lose touches. At least Harris is averaging 20+ a game. Davis however, is not. Like Harris though, he’s mostly been saved by being involved a decent amount in the pass game, but not enough to really trust him. Mike Davis has gotten around nine points per game all three weeks, so he probably has decent value. That means it’s time to sell high and get what you can before the 4-5 point games arrive, which they will. 

Mike Williams

Chargers' highly paid WR Mike Williams has room to improve - Los Angeles  Times

Overall I believe Williams production is fairly legit, but he’s not going to finish WR 2. I’d put money on him failing to crack the top-12 WRs by the end of the year. He’s been so spectacular though, you might be able to sell and trade him for someone that almost assuredly will. DeAndre Hopkins or Amari Cooper are potential candidates that could possibly be had for Williams. I really believe both will outperform him when all’s said and done. 

To me, Williams has been TOO hot. He has four touchdowns in three games, which is unsustainable. Unless he’s suddenly the second coming of Davante Adams, who scored 18 touchdowns last year, there’s no way he keeps his current pace up. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if this is by far his best three week stretch on the season. Considering how good he’s been, that’s not really an insult, but still. This is Williams’ fifth year in the league and he’s never been close to how productive he’s being right now. I don’t think in the history of the NFL many guys have suddenly turned into All-Pro level receivers this late in their careers. 

Can He Keep it Up?

They are using Williams differently than before, getting him much more involved in the short passing game. This is going to help his consistency, but he’s been everywhere. His pace almost has to drop off, and if he continues to perform one has to believe NFL defensive coordinators will begin to gameplan more to take him away. 

One name that might help temper expectations is Travis Fulgham. In his hot streak last year from weeks 4-8, Fulgham was the top WR and eighth in points per game. Fulgham didn’t get over five points the rest of the season and is now not on a team. Williams is better than Fulgham. Justin Herbert is better than Carson Wentz. But just remember flashes in the pan for average players are possible. Mike Williams will still probably finish out as a WR 2 level player, but you might be able to get a WR 1 for him RIGHT now and that’s something to really consider. 

Terry McLaurin

Your mileage may vary in terms of how McLaurin is viewed, but if he’s still being seen as a WR 1 level player, he might be a prime candidate to sell high on and trade away. McLaurin now has two pretty meh games sandwiching one good one, but I think the meh performances are going to be much more commonplace than the 20+ bombs. Washington is struggling right now, and I’m still not a believer in Taylor Heinecke.

Opposing teams know the only person that is even remotely a threat on that downfield passing attack is McLaurin, and I’m not sure Heinecke has the ability or moxie to try to force it to McLaurin despite heavy coverage. McLaurin himself is good enough to do some damage despite all the attention, but is he transcendently good enough to EXCEL as the only target, like Calvin Johnson or DeAndre Hopkins when he was a Houston Texan? I don’t think so. 

Two out of three games now he’s had less than double digit targets and four receptions. One of those games was against the Buffalo Bills, where they were down by a lot which might be a common occurrence for the Football Team. If McLaurin can’t do well in that situation, that’s a bit troubling. 

Let’s also not forget that despite the preseason hype he was getting that saw him getting drafted in the top-12 receivers, McLaurin has never finished above WR 21 in his career. He’s currently WR 22. I think it’s very possible he stays around here, so if you can get near draft value for him now, it might be time to pull the trigger.