The new year is upon us, but fantasy football redraft leagues have concluded. While we have to wait nine months for season-long matchups to return, there is still plenty of fantasy content through the playoffs, free agency, NFL draft, and summer to prepare for 2019. Plus, some people will be playing daily fantasy over the next few weeks, and dynasty owners are always looking to scheme in the offseason. With that, here is the first fantasy football stock report of the calendar year.
Stock up: Josh Allen, BUF
In the 11 games that Josh Allen started this season (which includes a week he left early), the rookie averaged 17.0 fantasy points per game, which would have made him the No. 11 fantasy quarterback on the year—ahead of Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Kirk Cousins, among others. Considering the supporting cast and inexperience, Allen should be a fantasy superstar in 2019 when more pieces are added around him, but some early rankings don’t even have the 22-year-old as a low-end QB2. Buy low while you can.
Stock down: Andy Dalton, CIN
After 16 years, head coach Marvin Lewis is finally out in Cincinnati, and that could lead to not only a new head coach, but also a new starting quarterback. If he lands a starting job elsewhere, Andy Dalton will need to learn a different system, and I doubt he would end up surrounded by the talent that he had with the Bengals.
Stock up: Derrick Henry, TEN
It’s not an exaggeration to say Derrick Henry had perhaps the best performance in the fantasy playoffs ever, as it seems almost impossible to do what he did in such a short amount of time (Henry entered Week 14 with just 474 rushing yards and finished the year with 1,059 yards). The six-foot-three, 247-pound runner will be impossible to keep off the field next season, and he could be a real threat for 1,500-1,800 yards and 15-18 touchdowns.
Stock up: David Johnson, ARI
This is all about the coaching change, because while Steve Wilks had endorsements from Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson, the team simply didn’t show any improvement, particularly when it came to featuring David Johnson and stopping the run defensively. Based on talent, Johnson is probably a top-three back in the league, and we can only hope a new staff takes advantage of his superstar skillset. I would invest in DJ before the Cardinals potentially hire a promising offensive mind.
Stock down: Leonard Fournette, JAX
Despite being the No. 4 overall pick of the NFL Draft just two years ago, Leonard Fournette seems to have already worn out his welcome in Jacksonville, and his attitude/personality could quickly derail his career. Plus, based purely on what we’ve seen on the field, Fournette has now averaged 3.9 yards per carry (2017) and 3.3 yards per carry (2018) through two seasons. It might seem like a buy-low opportunity, but I think the value could get even lower, and I would rather put stock in players that can be trusted.
Stock down: Ronald Jones II, TB
Tampa Bay invested an early second-round pick in Ronald Jones II last April, but he handled just 30 touches as a rookie, rushing 23 times for 44 yards (1.9 YPC) and one touchdown with seven receptions for 33 yards. I thought Jones was better served as a change-of-pace runner that handles 12-15 touches per game, but the fact that he couldn’t even see the field to do that is very concerning for his long-term outlook. The Bucs could be a team that decides to upgrade via the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes.
Stock up: James Washington, PIT
All the turmoil surrounding Antonio Brown could lead to James Washington going into 2019 as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver—which means fantasy gold for investors. Washington earned the trust of Ben Roethlisberger down the stretch with a couple 60-yard performances, and he would likely be a WR2 next year if Brown leaves town.
Stock up: Julian Edelman, NE
There was definite reason to be concerned about a 32-year-old Julian Edelman coming off a torn ACL, but on a per-game basis, he had his best statistical season to date after returning from his four-game suspension. Over a full 16-game schedule, Edelman would have gone for a 99/1,133/8 line this season, and there’s no reason to expect him to slow down after another potential Super Bowl run.
Stock up: Jordy Nelson, OAK
Jordy Nelson had just five grabs for 36 scoreless yards in a five-game stretch before December, but in the final month of the season, he went for lines of 10/97, 6/48, 6/88, 7/75, and 9/78. Remember, Jordy was injured during those midseason struggles, and he quietly finished his age-33 campaign with 63 receptions for 739 yards and three touchdowns. Even if Oakland gets a top-flight WR1 in 2019, Nelson should be undervalued in drafts next summer.
Stock down: Antonio Brown, PIT
Pittsburgh is always encircled by drama, but this Antonio Brown story seems different, especially after he fanned the flames on Twitter. Ending up in San Francisco would probably be a best-case scenario (Oakland would be another tremendous landing spot), but the chemistry between AB and Big Ben won’t be replicated overnight.