There are generally three types of Buys that a fantasy footballer can take advantage of. The "Buy even though it won't be cheap" type. The "Buy if you're a contender, sell if you're not" type. Finally, the ever popular "Buy low" type. Today we’re going to focus on players to buy if you’re a contender. These are the types of players that still offer high value and solid fantasy contribution in the short term, but not someone you will want to build a rebuilding team around. If you are not in contention for a championship, they probably are not guys you will want to go out and acquire.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford
Before the last two seasons, Matthew Stafford had finished as a top ten quarterback in six of the last seven seasons. In 2018, he played through injury much of the season and in 2019 injury knocked him out in Week 9. Last year was especially rough because Stafford was having a career year, both in real life and fantasy. Despite playing in only eight games, he threw for just two fewer touchdowns (19) than he did in 2018. His passing yards per attempt (8.59), touchdown-to-interception ratio (3.8), and fantasy points per game (22.2) were all career highs. If you extrapolate his fantasy points per game over a full season, he'd have finished with more than 355 points. That's the third-best quarterback season in the last three years. So why is he my top contender buy? While I fully expect Stafford to make a full recovery, the injury risk is a concern. Not to mention, at age 32, it's hard not to look at the current crop of age 27 and under quarterbacks and want to go in that direction. This is why, if Stafford is one of my better assets on a rebuilding team, I am absolutely selling. If I'm a contender, that does not worry me. Going from Jim Bob Cooter to Darrell Bevell lit a spark under Stafford and the Detroit offense, and I expect Stafford to pick up where he left off in 2019. With another year with the Bevell offensive playbook, any offensive weapons added in the 2020 draft, and a maturing Kenny Golladay, Stafford is primed to be a valuable piece on any contending team.
Other quarterback Buys: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan
Running Back: Mark Ingram
All throughout the 2019 season, Mark Ingram was my #1 sell. I figured it was just a matter of time before Justice Hill started eating into Ingram's usage. I was wrong. Ingram proved to be an ideal pair with Lamar Jackson in Greg Roman's innovative rushing attack, finishing as the RB10 on the season, a finish not reliant on any spike weeks. There was only one point all season that Ingram was not a top 12 running back, and that was immediately following Baltimore's bye week. Thanks to Ingram's age (30 years old) and the depth of Baltimore's running back room, his price isn't nearly as high as it should be. DLF ADP has Ingram as the 33rd running back off the board and 93rd player overall. While I don't expect another top ten running back finish out of Ingram, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities to get a solid RB2 finish out of him. The price is low for someone who could be a decent RB2 or fantastic flex play on any championship-contending team.
Other running back Buys: Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell
Wide Receiver: Julio Jones
I can still remember the start-up drafts where Julio Jones was consistently going in the 1st round. However, at age 31, Jones's value has been falling for the last two years. According to DLF, Jones held a top 10 ADP from December 2014 till 2018. Since the summer of 2019, Jones's ADP has plummeted from 14.2 to 31.8. The time to sell Julio Jones has already come, and if you are currently in rebuild mode, I would still try to move him. However, if you're a contender, now is the time to buy. Despite Jones's value decrease in 2019, he still was second in targets, fifth in receptions and second in receiving yards, all while having to compete with Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. With Hooper signing in Cleveland and Devonta Freeman being released, there are 167 vacated targets in Atlanta which aren't all going to be gobbled up by Ridley and Atlanta's new running back(s). There may come a time when Jones's value tanks and he can't even crack your starting lineup, but that’s not for at least another year. He still has top-five wide receiver potential for the foreseeable future, and grabbing Jones at WR13 price (that's still falling) is the perfect win-now move.
Other wide receiver Buys: Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green
Tight End: Travis Kelce
Ho-hum, another number one overall tight end season for Travis Kelce. Kelce has been a dynamite fantasy tight end for the past five years and the only reason he's not seen in higher regard is he's had the misfortune of being in the league at the same time as Rob Gronkowski. However, we've seen tight ends hit a wall over the years. Kelce will turn 31 this year. In 2018 we saw Gronkowski's production fall off a cliff, after finishing as the TE2 in 2017. That kind of drop off can scare some people. He was likely the second (where Kelce is being drafted now) or third tight end off the board in most drafts, yet finished as the TE10 on the season. Kelce is also finally being passed, as the clear TE1 crown has since gone to George Kittle. Will Kelce hit a similar wall like Gronk did? Probably, but not in 2020. Kelce is catching passes from the best passer in the game. Not to mention, the Chiefs' schedule looks promising for Mahomes and Kelce. Not only do they get to feast on the Raiders (29th vs. tight ends in 2019) and Broncos (19th) twice but they get Houston (28th), Atlanta (22nd), and Tampa (23rd) as well. In fact, only four of Kelce's sixteen games will be against teams that were top ten versus tight ends in 2019. All this tells me that, while the cliff may be coming for Kelce, he still has one or two more elite years of fantasy production in him. If I'm a contender, I'm absolutely buying Kelce.
Other tight end Buys: Jack Doyle