Stock Watch with Hayes: What They Don’t Teach Us
If you’ve been following along with this column all season, you know that two of my passions are movies and sports. When I share that information with friends, family or even strangers, sometimes they ask, “Oh, well you must really love sports movies then, right?”
The answer is, well, of course, I do. Sports movies are educational, thrilling, heartwarming, inspiring or all of the above. A few of my favorites that immediately come to mind are “Miracle,” “Hoosiers,” “Rudy” and “Rocky,” but there are countless others that are just as good.
So what’s the common theme throughout all of these great movies? The protagonist (individual or team) faces a difficult challenge that threatens to derail his or her chances of success and glory. The climactic battle ensues, and our hero – or heroes – emerge victoriously. Celebratory music plays as the final scene draws to a close. Everyone cheers. All is well as credits roll.
It’s rare, if ever, that you get a sports film in which the protagonist is soundly defeated. We all know why: It’s not very exciting. Who wants to watch a movie that ends like that? Sports movies thrive on drama and stakes.
As much as we wish it was, real life isn’t like a movie. Sometimes we get happy endings, but we’re also bound to struggle through dark times. Life is a rollercoaster ride of joyous highs and frustrating lows. All we can do is be kind, work hard and trust ourselves to do the right thing when we get out of bed every morning.
At the end of the fantasy football season, only one person in the league goes home happy. The months we spend researching data, listening to podcasts, watching videos and setting our lineups could result in a prompt first-round exit or maybe even missing the playoffs altogether. If that sounds unfair, that’s because it is. But hey, that’s life.
I lost all three of my first-round playoff matchups last week, and it gave me the opportunity to stop and reflect on my fantasy season as a whole. At first, I was angry. How could this happen? I had done more preparation than ever this season, and on paper, my teams were good enough to make a run.
However, after the initial emotions died down, I realized I could still take pride in my effort this season. I overcame various challenges and never stopped fighting. Sometimes you just run into a better team. Not every year can be your year.
Unlike Rudy from Notre Dame, I won’t be riding off into the sunset after an incredible upset victory. Maybe you won’t, either. But just because this season wasn’t a total success doesn’t mean it’s a failure. A movie may end, but life goes on.
Once again, it’s time for “Buy or Sell.” But we’ll be doing things a little differently this week. I’ll be focusing on dynasty leagues, naming two players to buy and two to sell as we head toward the fantasy offseason:
BUY: Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
It hasn’t been the season anyone envisioned for Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. Injuries to quarterback Dak Prescott and numerous members of the previously elite Dallas offensive line have hampered the Cowboys all season, and the person who has suffered most might be their prolific running back.
Elliott hasn’t been as bad as some people have made him out to be this year. He’s the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB7 on the season, after all. But he hasn’t come close to the sky-high expectations he’s managed to meet or exceed in every season prior to 2020.
Yes, he’s not getting any younger, but with Prescott likely headed back to Dallas and a healthy offensive line next season, Elliott should be eating again in 2021. I’d recommend buying low on him this offseason.
SELL: James Robinson (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)
James Robinson has been the lone bright spot in Jacksonville this year. Last week against the Titans, the running back became the fastest undrafted rookie in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards. To accomplish that feat for a 1-12 football team with a below-average offensive line? Pure craziness. Robinson deserves a ton of credit, but fantasy managers should be selling high at the end of the year.
Why? Because the consensus seems to be that Jacksonville will either bring in a veteran free agent or draft another youngster to compete with Robinson in the backfield. Personally, I believe Robinson is more than worthy of the starting gig moving forward, but maybe the Jaguars want to bring in another back to spell him or compete with him next year. Either way, I’d play it safe and sell. It’s likely that Robinson’s value will never be higher than it is right now.
BUY: Denzel Mims (WR, New York Jets)
We all know it’s been a nightmare season for the Jets, but it’s been a frustrating year for rookie wideout Denzel Mims as well. After battling injuries at the start of the year, Mims returned to the field in Week 7 and has modestly contributed to a reeling Jets offense.
While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, the Baylor product has seen seven or more targets in four of his six outings. That trend should continue next year and beyond, as it’s looking increasingly likely that New York will select quarterback phenom Trevor Lawrence in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. With a new quarterback and hopefully coaching staff next season, look for Mims to blow up. Buy him low before it’s too late.
SELL: Robby Anderson (WR, Carolina Panthers)
Robby Anderson has enjoyed the kind of season that many fantasy analysts expected from D.J. Moore, the other elite Carolina receiver. Through 13 games in 2020, Anderson checks in as the WR14 in PPR leagues. He’s been the preferred target of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the majority of the year, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue.
But…how long will Bridgewater be around in Carolina? He has two years left on his contract, and Anderson’s got one year to go on his. Nobody can rule out the possibility of the Panthers taking a shot and drafting a signal-caller in this year’s draft. And even if they don’t, Bridgewater has a sad history of injuries. Sure, Anderson could be here to stay moving forward, but are you willing to risk it? Could he be the WR14 at this time next year? The jury is out.
Thanks for reading. For more takes, find me on Twitter @Chris_Hayes8.