Stock Watch with Hayes: Transition Time

I accepted a new job this week. 

It’s been in the works for a little while, but now that it’s actually happening. It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. I’ll be exiting the only job I’ve ever known – a place at which I’ve worked for about 2.5 years. There have been some fun moments and some frustrating ones, but I’ve learned a lot about both the working world and myself along the way. 

Oddly enough, I don’t think I’m the only one going through a transition period right now. If you think about it, this time of year represents a season of change for just about everyone. Fall is turning to winter, the holidays are practically upon us and the fantasy football playoffs are lurking just around the corner. So, now more than ever, it’s important to maintain foresight and stay prepared for what’s ahead. 

I don’t need to tell you about the raging virus that’s been a part of our lives for the better part of a year now. I don’t need to tell you that so many people in our country and around the world could be all alone this holiday season. And, of course, I don’t need to tell you that you should be laser-focused on finishing strong down the stretch of the fantasy season. 

Obviously, the latter statement isn’t nearly as important as the prior two, but the point remains the same. Change is upon us once again, and it’s our collective responsibility to adapt and evolve with the situations and challenges presented to us. We can control so little in this world. But the things we can control have the potential to be truly life-changing. 

It’s a time of uncertainty, but it’s also a time of opportunity. If you want things to alter for the better in your life, keep working hard and staying positive. Good things will happen, I promise. We will get through this pandemic, even though we’ll need to make some sacrifices along the way. We will find unique ways to enjoy the holiday season, even if it’s a modified version this year. And we can all have some fun these next few weeks as we push toward the postseason. 

OK, you know the drill. Time for some “Buy or Sell” action. I’m keeping it simple this week and spotlighting two running backs and two receivers:

BUY: Miles Sanders (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)

Miles Sanders is averaging 15.8 Points Per Reception (PPR) fantasy points per game this season.

I’m the furthest thing from an Eagles fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ride-or-die for Miles Sanders. So far in his young career, he hasn’t quite lived up to the high expectations Philadelphia fans set upon him. But it’s really through no fault of his own.

Sanders has been hit hard by the injury bug, as he returned last week from a knee injury. While fellow Eagles backs Boston Scott and Corey Clement vultured touchdowns away from Sanders, the second-year back still received 80 percent of the running back touches and looked healthy and fresh along the way. 

The matchup this week against Cleveland isn’t ideal, but Sanders is still a borderline RB1 in the contest. And looking ahead, he gets some favorable matchups against Seattle, Green Bay and Dallas. Sanders has the potential to be a sneaky league-winner.

SELL: Rex Burkhead (RB, New England Patriots)

While he may not be the name you were expecting in this slot, Rex Burkhead has given fantasy managers plenty of reasons to celebrate in 2020. After all, he’s found paydirt six times this year, including twice just last week against the Ravens. But if you’ve been reading these columns all season, you know what I’m about to say. 

Is Burkhead going to keep this up down the stretch? No. Is last week going to be one of his best fantasy outputs of the season? Most likely, especially since Damien Harris is the clear lead dog in this backfield and Sony Michel is set to return soon. So, of course, it’s time to sell high. There are almost certainly desperate managers in your league who need running back depth. If you’ve got nice depth at the position yourself, look to unload Burkhead for supplemental depth at another position before the playoffs begin.

BUY: Michael Thomas (WR, New Orleans Saints)

I don’t own Michael Thomas in any of my leagues this season, and I don’t envy those who do. It’s been nothing short of a nightmare for the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year. Safe to say folks who grabbed Thomas in the first round of their drafts weren’t expecting nagging injuries and attitude issues from the Saints stud. Now, just as Thomas is set to return and finally make an impact for the Saints, star quarterback Drew Brees goes down, too. 

Enter Jameis Winston

Wait, enter Taysom Hill?

While the styles of Hill and Thomas don’t seem mesh too well, you have to believe Hill, who has been in Sean Payton’s system for four seasons now, will be targeting Thomas often, especially in two of the next three weeks against a poor Falcons pass defense. And in Week 16, Thomas gets to feast against Minnesota. If the Thomas owner in your league has had enough, it’s time to make your move.

SELL: Adam Thielen (WR, Minnesota Vikings)

Poor Adam Thielen. Nobody talks about him anymore! Yes, Justin Jefferson is the shiny new toy for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, but that doesn’t mean Thielen isn’t making an impact. He’s still the PPR WR10 on the season, for goodness sake. He’s also coming off a two-score game against a good Chicago Bears defense. Oh, and he gets the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. That’s juicy.

It’s likely that Thielen (and Jefferson) put up big-time numbers this week. And next week against Carolina. And probably the week after that against Jacksonville. However, after those matchups, the Vikings face Tampa Bay, Chicago and New Orleans in weeks 14, 15 and 16. That’s also known as the three-week fantasy playoff period. Not exactly what you want for your WR1. You can either hold on to Thielen and see what happens or pull the trigger over the next few weeks and grab a receiver with better matchups down the stretch. Not an easy decision, but that’s why we love this crazy game.


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