“It’s just business. Everything is just business with us: Buy for a nickel, sell for a dime.” – Spiros “Vondas” –The Wire
In my opinion, no quote could ever better encapsulate the meaning of “Buying Low and Selling High” than the one posted above. Whereas Vondas was referring to something else entirely, this quote always comes to mind when pondering the trade market.
Buying an item when it is at its lowest cost and inversely selling an item when it has reached its apex value is one of the first things you learn about when you begin playing fantasy football. Whether it be selling off an RB who fell into a starting role and thrived in that role based on strong line play and replacement level efficiency or buying a WR who underperformed due to poor quarterback play are prime examples of this process.
It doesn’t matter which part of the fantasy football season we are in; there are always values to find and profits to be made. Below we’ll discuss which Defensive Linemen to buy and which to sell:
Kony Ealy, Carolina DE – The former Missouri Tiger has not had the impact most have expected in his first three years in the NFL. At 6’4”, 275 pounds, Ealy has all the tools to be a stud DE, but he still hasn’t really performed up to his potential. The 2014 2nd round pick showed signs of life later in the 2016 season, registering five sacks in his final nine games of the year. At 25 years old, Ealy is now in his prime, and heading into the final year of his four-year rookie contract; he will be motivated to make this season his coming out party. If you need DL help, make the move for Kony Ealy, you will be a happy owner next season.
Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville DE – The Jaguars spent their 2015 1st rounder, 3rd overall pick on a defensive end to torment quarterbacks for years to come (Dante Fowler), but they may have found their true pass rushing threat a year later in the 3rd round. Yannick Ngoakoue, out of Maryland, surprised a lot of people last year for the Jaguars, contributing eight sacks in his first NFL campaign. At 21 years old, Ngakoue has a ton of upside, and in Jacksonville, he will likely spend plenty of time on the field making plays. As he matures, the 2nd-year man will get even stronger, making him a solid buy candidate with upside for the next 3-5 years.
Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia DT – Fletcher Cox got his huge contract prior to the 2016 season. Unfortunately, he did not live up to the expectations. He took a step back in tackles, sacks, and turnovers in last season, finishing with 44 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two turnovers. So, why is Cox a buy?! He is a huge dude at 6’4”, 310lbs, he is relatively young at 26 years old, and he is uber-talented as shown by previous seasons. 2017 could be the perfect time to make a move for the former Mississippi State star, as he will likely be motivated to get back to his elite production similar to 2014 and 2015.
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants DE – JPP has been a beast in the NFL for a long time, and 2016 was not an exception. The guy produced 54 tackles and seven sacks in only 12 games last year. However, if you dig deeper into his season, you will notice that nearly half of his production came in just two games against the Bears and the Browns. Additionally, Pierre-Paul ended the season with a groin injury that required surgery in December. All in all, JPP still has plenty of value, but I predict his production will begin dwindling quickly, so now is the time to sell the 27-year-old star DE.
Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati DE – Dunlap has been a truly consistent force for the Bengals his entire career. However, there are some red flags rearing up with the former Florida Gator. First, he is about to turn 28 years old and will be starting his 8th season in the NFL, aka a long time to play 900 snaps every season. Second, 2016 was the first year Dunlap’s sack totals went down since 2011. Third, a bunch of Dunlap’s 2016 production came in the form of passes defensed, which is an anomaly. Overall, I still think Dunlap is an IDP starting caliber defensive lineman, but an intelligent owner should be able to squeeze value out of him now before his tread wears out.
Nick Fairley, New Orleans DT – Nick Fairley had an excellent 2016, putting up 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks from his defensive tackle position. However, playing for a contract motivates a guy like Fairley, so I am in the camp that 2016 was a flash, not a fad. If Fairley signs a multi-year deal this offseason, expect him to revert to his former self, producing average to below average IDP numbers in the coming years.
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