Home Columns Stock Watch with Hayes: Thoughts for a New Year

Stock Watch with Hayes: Thoughts for a New Year

by Chris Hayes

We’ve been waiting for it since March, and it’s finally here. 

As I write this, it’s still 2020 – otherwise known as the year from hell. But as you read this, my friends, it’s a brand new year. A fresh start. The calendar has officially flipped to 2021 and all the hope and promise it could bring. 

We all know the disturbing details by now, but 2020 was not an easy year for anyone on planet Earth. While many of us may have been fortunate enough to find intermittent moments of joy, all of us experienced pain, as well. It was a year we will never forget, but it’s time to put the past behind us and look forward.

Weirdly enough, New Year’s has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Growing up, I always enjoyed the lead-up to midnight. My family and I stayed up playing board games and cards, watching marathons of sitcom reruns and talking about the excitement of a brand new year. When the ball dropped in New York City, it felt like a clean slate; a perfect chance to reprioritize my aspirations. 

Now, did all of my New Year’s resolutions come to fruition? Not by a long shot. In fact, I’d say most of them fell by the wayside fairly quickly. I used to be like any other person, claiming I would hit the gym consistently or start eating healthy meals most nights. But, as so often is the case in life, obstacles get in the way. You get caught up with work or feel unmotivated for only one night, and the routine is gone. It’s so tough to get it back.

But heading into 2021, I’m not following my normal New Year’s protocols. Like almost everything else these days, I’m going to adapt a little bit. I’m not planning on setting any grand, tangible goals for myself this year. Instead, I’m going to focus on the day-to-day challenges life presents. I want to find something beautiful or meaningful every day, no matter how big or small it may be. I want to be more positive. I want to learn and pursue ways to get better, both personally and professionally.

I know I won’t accomplish these things overnight. It takes time. And I’m sure there will be days when I’m just not feeling it, and that’s OK. Because life, like fantasy football, is about the journey. It’s about getting a little better every day. The mission is never really complete, but we can end up in a much better place than where we started. In my mind, that’s more than good enough.

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2021.

And now, it’s time for the final edition of “Buy or Sell” for the 2020 fantasy football campaign. Since most fantasy playoffs have concluded, I’ll be focusing on players to target or offload in dynasty formats. Last time, I covered wide receivers and running backs, so I’ll be taking a look at quarterbacks and tight ends here:

BUY: Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions)

Matthew Stafford was a forgotten man in fantasy this season, checking in as the QB16 at year’s end. While he’s suffered a few significant injuries, the main culprit for Stafford’s disappointing 2020 campaign was his supporting cast. Top receiver Kenny Golladay missed the lion’s share of the season due to injury, and former head coach Matt Patricia didn’t exactly put Stafford and Co. in positions to succeed in Detroit. 

So why is Stafford a dynasty buy? Well, there’s a decent chance the former No. 1 overall pick has taken his last snap for the Lions. He has a few years left on his contract, but with the Lions once again in full rebuild mode and boasting a top-10 draft pick, it seems likely they’ll take a quarterback and begin a new chapter in the Motor City. There are already rumblings of Stafford, who is still only 32 years old, ending up in San Francisco in 2021. A marriage between Stafford and quarterback whisperer Kyle Shanahan? Sign me up.

SELL: Matt Ryan (QB, Atlanta Falcons)

Like most Falcons seasons, 2020 has been flat-out weird for Matt Ryan and Atlanta. We’re all used to the blown leads and missed field goals, but I started to see some signs of regression from Ryan this year. Couple that with future Hall-of-Fame wideout Julio Jones missing time with injuries and the future doesn’t look too bright for the Falcons offense.

Ryan was the top pick in the 2008 draft, one year before Stafford was taken in the same spot. I’ve always found myself comparing the two because of this, and also because they’re both named Matt, a very quarterback name. Anyway, the similarities end there. Ryan will almost certainly be back in Atlanta in 2021 and beyond. However, he’s 35 years old and beginning to show it, plus his favorite receiver of the last decade may be past his prime. Ryan’s had a great run, but I’m trying to sell him in dynasty formats before it’s too late.

BUY: Jonnu Smith (TE, Tennessee Titans)

If there is a Jonnu Smith fan club out there, I would like to be a part of it. I’ve always been a big believer in Smith’s talent, and he proved me right at the beginning of the year, snagging five touchdowns in the first four games of 2020. Since then, Smith has faded into the background of Titans’ offensive weapons, often doing more blocking than route-running due to injuries on the Tennessee offensive line. As a Smith owner in most of my leagues, I was bummed.

The good news is that Smith will be a free agent at season’s end, and given his age and athletic ability, I think teams will take a chance on him. Maybe a team like the New York Jets, who will be overhauling their offense, could sign him and make him an integral part of their passing game next year. If so, it’s wheels up for Smith diehards like me.

SELL: Robert Tonyan (TE, Green Bay Packers)

Robert Tonyan has 50 receptions, 568 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Robert Tonyan was completely unknown heading into 2020. But in a year in which there was an enormous gap between the top two tight ends and the rest of the field, Tonyan emerged as a top-five option at the position. Thanks in part to an MVP-caliber season from Aaron Rodgers, Tonyan caught 50 balls for 568 yards and 10 scores, making him the fantasy TE4.

It was an undoubtedly excellent season for Tonyan, who is just 26 years old. However, tight end is the most volatile position in fantasy. Every year, we see a player who was excellent the previous season end up faltering the next year. Will Tonyan be that guy in 2021? Nobody knows, but I believe it’s a risky proposition to fire him up and expect TE4-level production again next season. I’d sell high now and try to get a massive haul in return.

Lastly, whether you’ve stuck around and read my columns all year or if this is your very first one, I’d like to say thank you. It means a lot that people take time out of their busy days to read the work of myself and my colleagues here at In-Between Media. I’ve had so much fun writing these, and I’ll be back for more next season. Until then, keep on buying low and selling high!

Thanks for reading. For more takes, find me on Twitter @Chris_Hayes8.

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