Buy Low Sell High: The Steelers Backfield

Everyone wants to know it, so I can’t just go and ignore it. What do we do about Le’Veon Bell and James Conner? It is really a shoulder shrug situation. Conner put up big time numbers in his first start and Bell is a complete unknown.

Everyone’s situation is different.

  • If you lucked into a great team, even without your first round pick Bell, keep him. Hopefully he is back soon so if you can tread water, do it; you will want him come playoff time.
  • If you are already lacking a strong roster one week in you are going to want to move him. Personally I would be surprised if he was back before week five, and if I had to put money on him sitting out 10 games or him sitting out less than 10 I would bet on 10.

In 10-team leagues and shallower I am trying hard to get Bell. Replacing him is a little easier and having studs is a lot more beneficial than having balance.

If I had Conner I would keep him and keep rolling. He is a borderline top-10 back every week Bell is out. The Super Bowl betting odds have Pittsburgh as the fourth best team, and that hasn’t changed even with Bell being out and Conner replacing him. While many will say sell high, you don’t need to trade him to profit. If he is a RB1 for 4-5 weeks and then Bell comes back, you just go back to starting what you planned on starting.

The only way I move Conner is if I can get a borderline RB or WR 1/2. If you have both, keep both. Don’t trade them worrying about a split workload when Bell gets back.

This year I am going to change things slightly. I used to feature roughly 50/50 buys and sells, but I think the buys are much more valuable to everyone than the sells.

First of all, you may already know (for example) Ryan Fitzpatrick is a sell high, but also know no one is really going to buy it. Throw into the fact that if you don’t own that player, that chunk of text is an easy skip. By including an extra few buys you will have more players to target, and maybe there is a player you though about selling that I listed as a buy and it changes your mind.

So this year we will be primarily buy based with the sells being more notes than a breakdown.

Without further ado, here are your week one buys and sells.


LeSean McCoy

It was bad… like really bad. But what changed from preseason?

Sure, we didn’t expect 3 points and them not being able to move the ball at all, but were we expecting the Bills to be a high-flying offense this year? This game was over in a hurry, and McCoy barely played in the second half.

McCoy is the focal point of the offense and there will be more games of 20 plus touches than less than 15.

His owners are likely jumping ship, but little has changed for me in the past week. Also don’t forget that it was announced he probably isn’t getting charged in his off the field stuff. That said, it doesn’t mean he won’t be suspended.

McCoy is a buy for me everywhere.

Kelvin Benjamin

Similar to McCoy, but on a much smaller level. Benjamin is the top passing target on a bad offense. He should not be an every week starter, but as your first receiver off the bench he should be fine going forward.

Than being said: that group of receivers I am “fine” with as a first man up is like 30 deep. Like McCoy, things will get better.

Go get Benjamin for dirt cheap as a WR3/4 on your bench.

Zach Ertz

Ertz had the opening night island game and didn’t do much with the spotlight. He had a few drops that could have amounted in another few points. The passing offense also struggled as a whole, but Ertz did get 10 targets which was tops among tight ends before Cook’s big game Monday night.

Ertz doesn’t have that sexy big time upside or appeal like a Gronk or Kelce, but there will be really nice production. The teams that drafted a tight end early are typically hurting a little more at running back or wide receiver. Maybe you can get Ertz in a package where you take a small downgrade at running back to get Ertz.

T.Y. Hilton

Hilton was fine Sunday, but I still think there is a lot of room to get better. Luck looked pretty healthy and that should be enough to make Hilton a high-end WR2 if not a WR1 this season.

I think some out there will panic because Luck threw over 50 times and Hilton only turned it into 46 yards and a touchdown. For those trying to buy that touchdown makes it harder (although it shouldn’t) to knock a round or two off of Hilton’s value.

David Johnson

Yes the Cardinals looked bad, but the overreaction to David Johnson is a but much. Check out this tweet.

Johnson was the guy basically all game. Edmunds got some work in the 4th when it was 24-0, but as the team got a drive going Johnson was back on the field.

Barring a blowout Johnson isn’t someone that gets taken out of the game. He is a great pass catcher and is in there to catch-up, and he is obviously a great running back.

What killed him this game was the fact that the Cardinals just never had the ball. Washington controlled the clock 38 minutes to 22. I haven’t seen a quarter by quarter breakdown, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the disparity was greater and the Cardinals really closed the gap in the fourth.

Any first or second round pick

If anyone in your league is already panicking about a top-30 type player – go get them. Every situation is different, obviously, and while I don’t feel as good today as I did on draft day about Devonta Freeman, I am willing to bet I am not panicking as much as the Freeman owner is.


Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders had a huge week and I am all in. He was banged up last year and hasn’t had a legitimate quarterback since Peyton Manning.

Keenum will do more than enough to keep Sanders as a sneaky mid level WR2. I think people are still viewing him as more of a WR3 with some WR2 weeks mixed in. You might get them thinking they are selling at peak value while I think he was just a draft day bargain.


I am going to try to avoid the super obvious sells here, or the ones that help no one. The Ryan Fitzpatrick one as an example, 99% of leagues aren’t going to get someone to buy high on Fitzmagic. I am going to try to get some guys that might be controversial sells in this area.

  • Stefon Diggs – he might be more of a 2 than a 1A in Minnesota. The targets weren’t there and health has always been an issue. With so many in the WR2 range, see if you can move him.
  • Mike Evans – He was super efficient on his targets – caught all 7 for 147 and a TD. He hasn’t had much success as a high level receiver with few targets
  • Adrian Peterson – Let’s see how long his body can handle a big workload.
  • Golden Tate – I don’t think they can keep three receivers viable on a weekly basis. Tate will have his role in the short passing game, but I still don’t think the weekly upside is there and I see more sub 50 yard games coming this year than in years past.


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Andy Germani

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I am a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan and a graduate from Penn State. Baseball was my first love and I still play to this day in an adult baseball league. I always love helping people with their questions on Twitter so feel free to follow me and ask questions.