Buy Sell Hold - Week 8

by The Football Fix

BUY - J.D. McKissic, Washington

Last week, I suggested you all sell Antonio Gibson because of his injury concerns.  Naturally, it would make sense to then buy J.D. McKissic, especially after what we saw from the Washington backfield this past Sunday.

McKissic out-snapped Gibson 46-30 against the Packers in a game where Gibson was healthy, or at least as healthy as he’s going to be for the rest of the season.  Although McKissic saw just 4 carries, he ran a season-high 30 routes and saw 6 targets.

McKissic already ranks 5th amongst all backs in both targets and routes run, but it looks like his usage could even be on an upward trajectory moving forward.  At the very least, Gibson will be limited for the rest of the season which means more work for McKissic.  We already saw evidence of that last week.  There’s also a very real chance that Gibson just goes on season-ending IR at some point this season, which would lock in McKissic for even more work.

Satellite backs can be volatile week-to-week, but I could see McKissic having a much bigger role in this offense moving forward, which should hopefully flatten the curve of his production volatility.  Even if he’s still a little bit volatile, his usage in the passing game is valuable enough in PPR leagues to the point where we could start seeing him produce as a weekly RB2 from here on out.

SELL - RB Elijah Mitchell, 49ers

This isn’t anything against Mitchell as a player, because he looked pretty good last Sunday night.  He carried the ball 18 times against the Colts for 107 yards and 1 TD.  Solid stuff.

Mitchell’s rushing usage in one of the better ground attacks in the league is good, but his lack of work in the receiving game will always limit his ceiling.  Mitchell has seen just 4 targets in 4 games this season, which is super low.  JaMyCal Hasty’s return to the lineup last week saw him take over much of that work in the passing game out of the backfield.

It’s also worth noting that Jeff Wilson Jr. is set to come back into the mix soon, who Kyle Shanahan seems to really love.  Wilson could add even more uncertainty to the mix, especially if he returns as the goal-line back for the Niners like he was for a chunk of last season.

Mitchell can still produce RB2 numbers going forward, but this backfield has the potential to get very messy in the following weeks.  Selling Mitchell on the back of his impressive display on a primetime island game might be the best course of action.

HOLD - WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons

We all know that Calvin Ridley has been super frustrating this season in a year where most thought he was going to totally melt faces in fantasy.  Ridley ranks as just the WR26 in weekly fantasy scoring, which leaves a lot to be desired.

However, it’s important to remember that opportunity is king in seasonal fantasy leagues.  Ridley is still seeing 10+ targets/game, he has the 4th most Red Zone Targets amongst all wideouts, and ranks 10th in Air Yards Share.  The Falcons also rank 3rd in Team Pass Plays/Game and 22nd in Game Script, so they’re passing a lot while also frequently chasing games.

Ridley’s efficiency just hasn’t been there this year, with a Yards/Reception, Yards/Target, and Catch Rate that all rank outside of the top-70 receivers.  He also has just 2 TDs in five games this year, which has been a big reason for his more timid fantasy outputs.

At the end of the day, we know Ridley is a talented receiver who’s the No. 1 option in an offense that likes to pass the ball a lot.  He might not be the elite fantasy receiver that many hoped he would be this season, but he will still likely improve on the production numbers that we’ve seen from him in these first 7 weeks.

BUY - WR Tee Higgins, Bengals

Ja’Marr Chase’s rapid ascension to stardom has dominated the headlines amongst Cincinnati receivers, making Tee Higgins a bit of a forgotten man.  With that being said, Higgins is still seeing enough opportunity to make me think he could have a boom coming in his own right, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

A lot of people were concerned about Higgins’ target opportunity when Chase was first drafted by the Bengals, but so far this season, his 27.4% Target Share is the 8th highest amongst all wideouts.  This past Sunday, Higgins saw a whopping 15 targets against the Ravens, but was only able to convert those into 7 receptions.

The point is, his opportunity is still there.  Chase’s absolutely insane efficiency in 2021 is a stark contrast to Higgins’ efficiency, as he currently ranks outside of the top 85 receivers in Yards/Reception, Yards/Target, True Catch Rate, and a host of other efficiency categories.  I don’t think we can chalk that up to saying Higgins is bad though, because he had a very good rookie year and was a highly rated prospect coming out of Clemson.

Higgins’ recent struggles are likely just due to variance.  You have to think that defenses are going to start keying into Chase a bit more for the rest of the year.  It’s also important to note that Higgins still has a higher Target Share than both Chase and Tyler Boyd, so the opportunity is firmly there.  Opportunity leads to production, which makes Higgins a great buy right now.

SELL - RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders

Josh Jacobs ranks as the RB18 overall in PPR fantasy points/game, so he’s been a solid RB2 whe healthy.  Having said that, I don’t like HOW he’s been producing because it doesn’t seem sustainable.

In the five games that Jacobs has played in this season, he’s scored 5 touchdowns.  He’s doing all of that on just 12.2 Weighted Opportunities/Game, which ranks 25th amongst all running backs this season.  When a player ranks top-10 in total TDs but just 25th in Weighted Opportunities, that’s a problem.

Jacobs saw only 6 carries this past Sunday against the Eagles in a game where Kenyan Drake had the largest backfield role.  Even Jalen Richard had a part to play in stealing some snaps and valuable receiving work from Jacobs.  He simply hasn’t been used as this team’s workhorse like many hoped he would.

Still, Jacobs managed to salvage his fantasy day with a touchdown, as he’s done many times this season.  But as we know, touchdowns aren’t stable and are very hard to predict.  Once those touchdowns stop coming for Jacobs, and they likely will given his levels of opportunity, then he’s going to end up being a liability in fantasy lineups.

Trade Jacobs while you still can.  You’ve been giving a TD-driven window of opportunity to ship him before it’s too late.

HOLD - QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

This might seem obvious, but it’s hard to tell what the actual public sentiment of Patrick Mahomes has been this season.  Social media seems to be digging into Mahomes a whole lot more than ever and after his truly poor performance last week against the Titans, that criticism is at an all-time high.

Just looking at things from a real-football perspective for a second, Mahomes still ranks 4th amongst all quarterbacks in EPA+CPOE Composite Score this season and 6th in QBR, so he’s still playing like a top-5 quarterback.  From a fantasy perspective, he’s also still producing okay, as he ranks 6th amongst all quarterbacks in Fantasy Points/Game.

Mahomes was never a good pick in the early-rounds to begin with, but he should still produce as a top fantasy quarterback for the rest of the season.  The Chiefs defense stinks, which means more shootouts for Mahomes and company.  We like shootouts in fantasy.  We also know that Mahomes is a generationally talented quarterback, so he’s likely to produce more often than not.

Hold Mahomes in all formats with diamond hands and if any of your leaguemates are being extra reactionary about his recent poor performance, you could even try to buy low.

Check back every Wednesday or Thursday for more BUY SELL HOLD with @thefootballfix.

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