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Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Auction bargain hunting

The fantasy football auction draft season is finally here.  That means drastically damaged work productivity as real football and all of its splendor returns. The prime-time fantasy draft season is just around the corner. When focusing on one of the many different league dynamics, the auction league is my favorite by huge margins.

Fantasy football auction strategy is something you need to have prepared heading in.

The fantasy football auction draft and live selection process is a different animal than most. Whether the players you are targeting are heading for a Bull or a Bear season, you have to do your due diligence ahead of the opening bell.

A prepared player realizes that there are no football “rat-holes” to help you weasel your way to profitability like Jordan Belfort’s entourage did, which was captured brilliantly in 2013’s Martin Scorsese directed and Leonardo DiCaprio led, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

What Belfort did, through DiCaprio’s portrayal, was swindle thousands out of millions of dollars. Have no fear this piece is much less vicious and not at all illegal. It should only hurt various groups of 11 people or less.

Here, I’ll simply show you a few stocks to target for $1 at the tail-end of your fantasy football auction process. Will one of them or perhaps a few become Blue-Chip in a few weeks? I believe some very-well could, and if not, at least you aren’t heading for the same place Belfort’s crony “rug-rat” and crew did towards the end of the film…and in real-life.

So pound your chest and recite your pre-auction, mantra-like Matthew McConaughey, and get ready to be bullish. I promise I won’t lead you to a crash as he experienced in the late-1980s.

So just before the sounding alarm of your fantasy football auction draft, paraphrase (and clean-up the wording a tad) what McConaughey’s character, Mark Hanna, said at the beginning of his trading day…

“Let’s Bid!”

Robert Foster, WR, Buffalo Bills

In his rookie season last year, Robert Foster showed big-play ability with his 20.0 yards per reception. That 20.0 yard per catch average puts him in elite company within that statistic. In terms of league-leading at that mark, he didn’t qualify to do so with just 27 receptions on 44 targets.

Should he have gotten to 30 catches, he could have qualified to become 2018’s yards-per-catch leader, ahead of DeSean Jackson‘s 18.9 and Josh Gordon‘s 18.0 mark. Mike Evans (17.7) and Tyreek Hill (17.0) were also among the NFL’s home-run hitters last season. Foster could be poised for a huge year as the Buffalo Bills’ young signal-caller develops with him.

He was very limited in action in the first half of last season and only appeared in 13 games. However, he turned it on late for a fourth-quarter yearly earnings spike and was targeted from quarterback Josh Allen 25 times in Buffalo’s last four games. That led to 19 catches and a pair of scores for Foster and two of those games had him eclipse the 100-yard mark. His first 100-yard receiving game was a few games prior to his end-of-year splurge.

Look for Foster to continue that momentum as Buffalo needs to find a true number one target on their roster, and the Alabama product could be it. Safely bid $1 for him when it comes time to add your last skill player.  Foster can be a fantasy WR5 who can be a huge bye-week filler or even better.

Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals

This is my fantasy football auction rookie $1 play of the year. First-year wide receivers are usually tough proposition plays in fantasy football. However, in auction leagues and dynasty leagues, they are potential gold for the price of tin. Andy Isabella, the University of Massachusetts product, is lightning-fast and can be a point-per-reception asset that could start vesting for you immediately.

He is a player to nominate late when you have $10 left for your bench. With the Arizona Cardinals trading Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins to select Isabella 62nd overall, you can imagine they have plans for him to produce right away.

The Cardinals have the second-easiest WR schedule in the league, and Isabella can be a very nice safety-valve for rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray.

Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

Yes, the Buffalo Bills have LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon. If you want to pay for either of the first two, I would heavily advise against it. If you must, handcuff Devin Singletary, who may win that job come midseason or sooner.

The rookie out of Florida Atlantic has been getting solid reps with the first unit in camp and is out to prove his less-than-stellar combine means nothing as opposed to what he can do on the field wearing pads.

Forget what the “Quotron” may tell you about his IPO value. This stock will explode through the roof if one of those veterans misses time. Imagine if both do.

Target Singletary for a single George Washington, and if an opponent in the auction room has that handcuff idea with him at a buck, make it a $2 special and watch the ticker head north come the mid-year revenue report.

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Remember Netflix before anyone knew what Netflix was? Whoever bought in early hit the jackpot, and we have a golden-ticket type candidate in Dallas to shatter both the box office for the Dallas Cowboys as well as the bank for fantasy owners.

Incumbent Pro Bowler Ezekiel Elliott is heading towards another recession, I mean, holdout and this bull-market brewing with Tony Pollard is about to burst some bubbles.

As Belfort says in a memorable scene: “Because by the time you read about it in the Wall Street Journal… it’s already… too… late.”

Having said that, luckily for us over at Pro Football Network, our very own “financial analyst” or draft guru Tony Pauline, called this before most did and set the market for the rookie out of Memphis.

There is still some time for those bidding soon. However, the buying window is closing.  Should your fantasy football auction draft be this week, you are in luck.

As Pauline describes, Pollard is reminding people in Dallas of what Alvin Kamara does in New Orleans. So if Pollard is not called out while benches are being filled at a dollar a pop, make sure you include him in your portfolio this season, regardless of whether Elliott returns or not.

Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears

All Anthony Miller did last season was catch touchdowns. Seven scores on just 33 catches. That’s basically a score every five catches.

Miller made the most out of his 54 targets and converted a large percentage of those into pay-dirt. Miller is exactly what quarterback Mitchell Trubisky needs to provide that safe target when guys like Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen are being accounted for in different areas of the field.

The seven TD mark is a bit ambitious to pen in, but the receptions will sore and yardage totals will warrant Miller to be a very capable $1 selection. He can even be a weekly potential flex-play in deeper leagues.

Ideally, he acts as a cheap bench play to attempt lightning-in-a-bottle and can be a tolerable and economic “last receiver” on your roster, especially with a banged-up Robinson coming off an injury. In terms of formats, the standard scoring fantasy football auction league is where Miller should be the most popular.

Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen is a terrific player, but the legs have a massive amount of mileage on them.  Ian Thomas is a sneaky $1 bench TE as Olsen is not a safe bet to appear in all 16 games.

From 2012 through 2016, Olsen didn’t miss a game. Over the past two years, however, he has played the equivalent of one year missing 16 games in that stretch. Thomas is ready when called on, and so should you be when you need him.

Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

I am not sure what else this guy needs to do to get more believers, but Nick Foles is in a very solid situation to fly under the radar in Jacksonville.

The former Philadelphia Eagles’ player had a great rise in both the team and city, and now the Jacksonville Jaguars are welcoming him as a potential savior. He need not worry, as the Jags faithful are more forgiving than those Philly folks, so look for Foles to have a solid season utilizing new targets like Dede Westbrook.

Westbrook is a lot like Alshon Jeffrey and I see a great defense and solid ground game which can make life easier for Foles. More so than it could have been for many other players to succeed immediately in their new digs.

Spend $1 to make Foles your backup, especially if you have a top-end QB who will face a stellar defense a few times a year. We all know what Foles can do as a spot-starter.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets

Quincy Enunwa is a beastly-bodied receiver who had a few years worth of injury woes. Back in 2016, he showed promise with 857 yards on 58 catches. He spent the 2017 season away from football while recovering from a neck injury, and in 2018, had another fight with his body.

However, Enunwa is as tough as they come and penciled in as the bookend wideout across from Robby Anderson. Young quarterback Sam Darnold needs to get both receivers heavily involved in the offense as most defenses will be concerning themselves with Le’Veon Bell.

Anderson himself is a solid purchase at a tolerable cost, say $13, but Enunwa can be the “pink-sheet” in New York that sets your own personal stock-ticker north while folks on Wall Street smile ear-to-ear in their new shades of green.

These are just some names to head into your fantasy football auction selection party with. And with this ammunition or your “harpoon” as Belfort tells his minions, you are going to catch a whale or two this fantasy football season, and some of these pink-sheets will be a reason why.

Jason Sarney is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football and Gambling. Jason is also a co-host on the Against the Spread podcast here at PFN. You can follow him @JSarney_PFN365 on Twitter.

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