Buy Low for the Playoff Run

This question is tough!

Side effects of Tough Questions include drinking Bailey's from a shoe, Sandstorm, becoming the "Chosen One", hearing the moon talk to you, an irrational fear gorillas, flying carpets and eels.

After a dominating win last week, Harley seems primed for a big time TQ stretch run. The fact that Darren McFadden finally succumbed to an injury last week probably hurt Don’s chances of pulling out the victory. Then readers realized that Jamaal Charles is playing for the worst team in football, which really killed Swedlund’s steam. So while Harley’s argument for Ryan Mathews was not flawless, it was the most flavorful option at last week’s TQ buffet.

With only seven weeks remaining in the competition (including this week) it’s still anyone’s game to win or lose. Much like your fantasy team, runs can be made, rosters can be adjusted, miracles can happen. Here are your standings.

This week the guys explore the miracle of unearthing playoff studs that are not at the peak of value as of right now. This week’s Tough Question is…

What “under the radar” guy can you pick up now (or trade for, for a low price) that you can stash on your roster for a playoff run?

Don’t forget to show the love for your favorite argument by clicking on a circle below and hitting “submit” to vote. We also love to hear comments, complaints and questions, but despise compliments.

Matt Swedlund
This weeks question is essentially the hunt for the “2006 Memorial Ron Dayne Playoff Spoiler” trophy. Let us a take a brief, and painful journey back to December 24th, 2006, Fantasy Championship Week. After being forgettable for most of the season, Ron Dayne put up a career best 153 yards and two touchdown performance, breaking the hearts of many (mostly mine) championship hopefuls. With that agonizing memory in mind, what player could you acquire today for cheap that has high-end potential during the fantasy playoffs? My answer: Shonn Grenne.

Now your body may have naturally shivered out of revulsion upon reading the name Shonn Greene, but hear me out. I am in no way advocating that you start Shonn Greene this week, or really any other time the rest of the season, except for the playoffs. Greene has followed the trend of his entire team and has been mediocre at best this season. His value should drop even lower this week after a tough matchup with Seattle, which will make him all that much easier to pluck via a trade. Why trade for Shonn Greene you ask? Simply put, his playoff schedule has more cake than a bridal convention. Lets break it down:

In Week 14, the first week of the fantasy playoffs, Greene faces Jacksonville, the worst team in the league, and the 4th worst team in points allowed to running backs. They have allowed an average of 123.5 yards rushing per game to opposing backs and only the Buffalo Bills have allowed more rushing scores than the Jaguars 10. It’s not a huge part of his game, but the Jaguars have also allowed the 10 th most receiving yards to running backs so it’s a fantastic pairing all around, like a Cookie’s and Cream Blizzard. (Reminder to stop at Dairy Queen on the way home today…)

In Week 15, Greene and the Jets face the Tennessee Titans who have allowed the 3rd most points to opposing running backs this season. They’ve allowed an average of 125.4 yards per game and eight rushing scores. The Titans also really struggle to cover out of the backfield as they’ve allowed 519 receiving yards and three scores to pass catching running backs. No other team in the league has allowed more yards or receiving touchdowns to running backs so far this season.

In week 16, championship week, the Jets face the Chargers, who have allowed the 16th most points to running backs this season, which puts them in the bottom half of the league. San Diego has allowed six total scores to running backs and an average of 125.75 all-purpose yards per game. The other thing to consider is that in his one career game against San Diego in 2011, Greene tallied 112 yards on 20 carries so he’s had success against them in the recent past.

So there you have it, no matter how sour your past experience may have been, grab a garbage can, fight through the dry heaves and make a move for Shonn Greene in the next week. His value should remain low for at least another week, and if you can get him for a cheap price it could make for a big Ron Dayne (shutter)-like splash come playoff time.

Don Hanson
Buying low in fantasy football can be described many ways.  Some consider it a talent they were born with.  Others look at the process as a skill that is acquired through weeks or years of trial and error.  Still others don’t take it nearly as seriously and happen to fall into the perfect buy-low situation just by chance.  Personally it appears to be a combination of all of the above in my opinion.

When trying to find that perfect buy-low player for your stretch playoff run you need to take two factors into consideration.  Schedule and perceived value!  Both hold equal weight in this equation.  Because of those factors I think I have the perfect candidate for this problem.

Cecil Shorts is my choice as the perfect buy-low candidate for the stretch run.  Granted he doesn’t have the name recognition as other players that may or may not be mentioned in this article, but that is the point.  Understand that I get how challenged the Jaguars are offensively.  The loss of Maurice Jones-Drew, the non-emergence of Justin Blackmon, and the slow progress of Blaine Gabbert have made this team tough to watch.  However, the one under the radar constant on this team has been Shorts.

Prior to this Thursday night’s game, over the last three weeks Shorts has posted a line of 15/251/1.  Unless you are in a TD only or TD heavy league, Shorts probably ranks in the top 35 at his position.  This means that in leagues where you can play the standard two to three WRs or two WRs and a flex, he has been a decent option.  The funny thing is that according to most sites that I have checked Shorts is only owned in about 16% of fantasy leagues.  That is crazy for a guy with this much upside and recent production.

In acquiring a guy like Shorts, it may only cost you a marginal RB or QB to acquire his services.  Players such as Pierre Thomas, Tony Romo, or Steven Jackson come to mind as players that fall into an area that could be valuable enough to acquire Shorts and not significantly damage your squad if you have depth to spare.  You have to think that anyone that does own Shorts added him as a possible injury replacement or bye week filler early in the season and should be benching him for other options in most weeks.

Finally let’s move on to the remaining schedule for Shorts and the Jaguars. After a week 11 game with the Texans, the Jaguars remaining schedule is very good.  In fact according to most schedule analysis tools, it is the easiest in the league.  Their following opponents are the Titans, Bills, Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots.  Keeping in mind that the Jets will be without Darrelle Revis, even the Jets match-up isn’t that bad.  All of these teams except for the Jets have already given up at least 9TDs to the WR position through the first nine games of the season and again all but the Jets are considered to be in the bottom third of the league in pass defense.

If you are in need of a really, really below the radar sort of player to make a stretch run with, then Cecil Shorts could be your man.  Good luck in week 10.

Harley Schultz
This week we were tasked with identifying which under-the-radar player we could either pick up or trade for on the cheap to help with the playoff push. I’ve had my team at the polling places and early exit polls suggest that I can expect an early phone call and concession speech from my opponents on this week’s Tough Question. I was originally tempted to go the easy way and choose Greg Jennings, who due to his injuries and surgeries can be had for a song right now, but we really don’t know when he’ll back and when he comes back he’ll have to share looks with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones.

So instead of doing the obvious I chose a guy who many people blew their FABB budget on a few weeks back only to drop again after three straight dud games sandwiched around his bye, that guy is Brian Hartline. Remember him…he was the Blind Bidding darling of week #5 after going 12-253-1 on 19 targets the week prior. After that blow up, Hartline tallied exactly 100 yards on 8 catches and 11 targets…over the next four weeks. This can be attributed to a combination of a groin injury, two games against top 7 pass defenses, his bye week, and the erratic play of Matt Moore as a substitute for the injured Ryan Tannehill. Last week, Hartline(fully healthy and with a returning Tannehill) reestablished himself as fantasy worthwhile posting a very solid 8-107 line on 12 targets against a decent Indianapolis pass defense.

It’s arguable that no other team has as soft a fantasy schedule as the Dolphins do the rest of the way. Six of the Dolphins final eight games come against teams ranked 23rd or worse in passing yards against, including two each against the defensively-challenged Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots and one against Tennessee. Each of these three teams allow more than 2 opposing passing touchdowns per game, and last I looked Hartline doesn’t really have a lot of competition for the passing yards in Miami. In addition five of their remaining games are at home in Miami, where November and December weather should not affect their passing game and opposing fans won’t disturb Miami’s rookie quarterback.

Following his fall off and with only one TD on the year, Hartline is once again available in 22% of ESPN leagues and 33% of Yahoo leagues, and owners might have gotten frustrated with his performance over the last few weeks. It’s also clear though that Hartline and Tannehill have something cooking again… My Recommendation: Take your talents to South Beach and come back with Hartline (heck maybe convince him to bring to bring Tannehill with too), because he’s going to help lead you to your fantasy title by providing WR2 stats at a WR4/5 price tag.

Who made the most convincing case to support their argument?

  • Matt Swedlund (55%, 38 Votes)
  • Harley Schultz (29%, 20 Votes)
  • Don Hanson (16%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 69

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5 Responses to Buy Low for the Playoff Run

  1. Andy Kinnear says:

    Really – Don only has four votes? Are the rest of you voting because you agree with the posts or just voting your friends up?

    Shonn Greene – are you going to start someone on an offense that doesn’t have a passing game? Even if Greene was talented enough to be able to keep the rock and benefit from 20 carries, it’s not likely the passing offense would keep opposing defenses honest enough to allow for Greene to go off. Yes, he does have favorable matchups in the opening two rounds of the playoffs, but versus the Chargers he’s got a less-favorable matchup than Swedlund makes it seem. The Chargers defense is the fourth-best in the league vs the run, and again, with an offense getting in rhythm – will the Jets have a balanced enough offense to afford to run the ball in the second half. My guess is not.

    Brian Hartline – Brian has definitely had an up and down career. Blew his wad back in that week five game and had trouble since, but unfortunately his offense isn’t high-profile, and Tannehill hasn’t been given the reins to become a gun slinger. On the Dolphins, it’s their defense that sets up their offensive field positions and when you have shorter fields, you have less yardage opportunities. The offense runs through Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Davone Bess, and then Hartline. Can you trust a guy who cannot even be trusted on his own team, in the playoffs?
    Cecil Shorts – his role is more clearly defined on his team. This guy is the field-stretcher, and I like him over Torrey Smith on an otherwise-even team. The Jaguars offense is bad, but they have been targeting Shorts more than any other player on their team. MJD will be back, and when he is, defenses will load up in the box. The play action will be key and Shorts is a nightmare for corners on those long posts and 9 routes. My vote is definitely for Don.

    • i agree with a lot of your take Andy except that it was already made clear last night that L-Rob’s healthy return will take a machete to Shorts’ looks – in fact he didn’t have a catch until Chad Henne came into the game. If Henne remains the starter than Shorts value is higher – but it seemed fairly clear in the first half of last night’s game that Gabbert was locked in on L-Rob

    • Matt Swedlund says:

      Well Blackmon actually has more targets than Cecil, but who’s counting… What I find more suspicious that any alleged voting collusion is your sudden impassioned plea for a third rate WR.

      Someone do a quick internet search on Don’s other pen names. :)

  2. Teamdrew7 says:

    The most obvious answer that none of you came up with…JOSH FREEMAN. Playoff schedule goes Philly(h) , New Orleans(a) & STL(h). Dominant running game, solid wr’s and showing shootout potential with a shaky socondary primes Freeman for a solid playoff run!

    • freeman is a great acquisition but his high end performance overr the last three weeks prior makes him hardly a buy low option – in fact he has moved into top 12 QB conversations already

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