Sam Howell A Buy Low or Sell High in Fantasy Football? | ESPN Trade Deadline Edition

by Aaron St. Denis · Trades Buy/Sell
Sam Howell Commanders QB

Is Commanders QB Sam Howell a Buy Low or Sell High in fantasy football? In this article, we identify players from each position group who are Buy Low or Sell High candidates.


BUY LOW: Sam Howell | Washington Commanders

The Commanders are off to a 4-7-0 start through Week 11 and are clinging to slim playoff chances. As poor as their record is, it’s far from indicative of how good their sophomore quarterback has been. Howell is essentially a rookie as he made only one start in his actual rookie season (2022). He started the Week 18 finale against Dallas last season, and threw for only 169 yards and one touchdown, but chipped in an additional 35 yards and one touchdown on the ground, totaling 24.1 fantasy points.

Sam Howell Commanders QB advanced stats and metrics profile

Sam Howell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Howell has carried over that solid outing with a breakout campaign in 2023. He has been erratic and inconsistent at times, but he is talented and has a cannon of an arm. Through Week 11, Howell leads the NFL in Money Throws with 23.

He also provides a rushing floor that makes him a consistent producer even when he turns the ball over (which he does often). Howell is currently ranked QB15 on Keep-Trade-Cut (KTC) but is QB4 according to ESPN Fantasy standard scoring. His propensity for turning the ball over in big spots has hurt his reputation among fantasy managers, but Howell is far more valuable in fantasy than he is in real life.

My player comparable for Howell is a dollar-store version of Josh Allen, but for now, we will go with the PlayerProfiler player comparable for him (Sam Darnold) and tell you that “Everything is Awesome

Other Notable Buy Low QBs: Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson

SELL HIGH: Justin Herbert | Chargers

Despite a roster of fantasy studs, the Chargers fell to 4-6-0 this week and sit at third to last in the AFC. Justin Herbert has been solid in the majority of weeks this season but with Brandon Staley not expected to survive Black Friday as head coach of the Chargers, this offense could be in store for some major changes.

An aging cast of injury-prone weapons has limited Herbert’s ceiling. He is only going to go as far as Keenan Allen can take him. Herbert currently ranks QB5 on KTC and sits in the same slot in ESPN rankings. The issue with Herbert is that he has been the beneficiary of a bevy of injuries to other quarterbacks that have allowed him to be pushed up the rankings despite the Chargers’ struggles.

Justin Herbert Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The schedule for the Chargers for the remainder of the season is also going to be a problem. Not only does Herbert get the Baltimore Ravens this week, who are currently the worst fantasy matchup for quarterbacks, but in the fantasy football playoffs he faces the Raiders, Bills and Broncos. That is the 6th most difficult strength of schedule for any quarterback.

Other Notable Sell High QBs: Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen


BUY LOW: Brian Robinson | Commanders

Brian Robinson is currently RB4 on the year in PPR scoring and no one seems to care. Despite being a legitimate league-winner through the first half of the season he is valued as RB23 on KTC. He is facing a similar issue to that of Sam Howell in the sense that no one wants players on bad teams, but in the case of the Commanders, they are on bad teams with solid offenses.

Robinson has been the RB1 on two separate occasions this season and it has gone completely unnoticed by most. He is doing it on a combination of solid rushing volume and a modest number of targets in the passing game. The Commanders have phased Antonio Gibson completely out of the offense and Robinson has emerged as their guy.

Brian Robinson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Over the past month, Robinson has averaged 13.25 carries and 4.75 targets per game. Week 10 and 11 were also the highest receiving yardage totals of the year for him and an injury to Gibson has sent his production even higher. Robinson is boring and is not a highly sought-after asset in fantasy, so go buy him low and bore yourself into a fantasy championship while your leaguemates pay higher prices for inferior production.

Other Notable Buy Low RBs: Tony Pollard, Isiah Pacheco, Joe Mixon, James Cook

SELL HIGH: Bijan Robinson | Falcons

This one is painful and is in no way a reflection on Bijan Robinson himself. Instead, it is a reflection on the inability of Arthur Smith to properly use his skill players. Last week, Robinson topped 15 rushing attempts for the first time since Week 2. In the two games where Smith gave Robinson a heavy workload, he managed to produce more than 20 fantasy points in both. The problem is Arthur Smith is almost certain to not repeat that workload.

Bijan Robinson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Robinson has been efficient when he gets the ball, but has been splitting touches with Tyler Allgeier most of the season. After starting the year with five or more targets in each of his first four games, Robinson has had only two such games over the past six.

Robinson is an elite talent who should be nearly untouchable via trade in dynasty leagues, but in redraft leagues, he is currently valued as RB3 on KTC despite operating in a timeshare. At this point, Robinson’s reputation and talent are keeping his redraft value afloat even when the production hasn’t been there. So, trade him away for a haul of players producing at the level Robinson was supposed to.

Other Notable Sell High RBs: Jahmyr Gibbs, Devin Singletary, Saquon Barkley


BUY LOW: Nico Collins | Texans

Nico Collins has seen his breakout season hampered by injuries. He has finished as a top-12 receiver in three different weeks this season and has been a key cog in the Texans offense. Collins is currently valued as WR21 on KTC and is WR39 in PPR scoring. That’s what makes him a prime buy low target. Many fantasy managers will just look at his full-season ranking, see that he is WR39 and won’t look any deeper. For those who do look deeper, they will notice Collins is averaging 15.51 fantasy points per game when he is on the field. That’s a higher points-per-game total than Devonta Smith, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Davante Adams, Jaylen Waddle and Cooper Kupp.

Collins is currently WR15 if you rank according to points per game data and is a sneaky steal due to missed games. The Texans have been one of the most high-flying, pass-happy teams in the NFL this season and with CJ Stroud looking like a lock for offensive rookie of the year, the fantasy points are sure to keep flowing. Go trade for Collins now for a bigger name like Terry McLaurin and enjoy your free money.

Other Notable Buy Low WRs: Chris Olave, Romeo Doubs, Davante Adams

SELL HIGH: Adam Thielen | Panthers

Adam Thielen was left for dead heading into the 2023 season. He was on a new team that was projected to have a terrible offense (they do) and was readily available in the final rounds of most fantasy drafts. So it was a pleasant surprise to managers who drafted him when he was a top-ten wide receiver through six games.

Well, it was good while it lasted. After three top-five finishes in four games, Thielen has come out of the Panther’s Week 7 Bye ice cold. He has finished as WR31, WR48, WR39 and WR20 over the past four weeks and, despite seeing similar volume, has seen his touchdown luck undergo regression and dry up altogether. He has failed to get into the end zone since Week 6 which is also the last time he broke 100 receiving yards,

It took fantasy managers roughly a month to buy back into his Carolina resurgence and managers are equally slow in adjusting to his demise. Despite being unplayable over the past month, he currently ranks as WR28 on KTC. While that value is not high, his early-season production is still enough to get you a decent return. Sell now, before the bottom falls out altogether.

Other Notable Sell High WRs: Christian Kirk, Rashee Rice, Devonta Smith


BUY LOW: Trey McBride | Cardinals

For my tight end Buy Low, I’m going to piggyback off a colleague because he got it right a few weeks ago. In his Buy Low or Sell High column, Nathan Hartunian suggested Trey McBride as the prime tight end target and he was 100-percent correct.

An injury sidelined Zach Ertz in Week 7. In the four subsequent games after that Week 7 contest, McBride had five or more targets in every one. During that timeframe, McBride also finished as TE3 or higher on two occasions.

McBride currently ranks TE18 on KTC and is a massive steal. He sits as TE16 in PPR scoring and has risen to that rank on essentially six games of work. When fantasy managers finally begin to acknowledge that McBride is here to stay and is a bona fide stud, he is going to shoot into the top-10 in value.

Trade away tight ends David Njoku, Cole Kmet, Evan Engram and Kyle Pitts to acquire McBride, as he is expected to outproduce all of them through the end of the season. The cherry on top of this sundae is matchups with the Bears and Eagles in the fantasy semi-finals and finals. Those two matchups rank as No. 1 and No. 6 best for tight ends and could make the youngster a fantasy playoff MVP.

Other Notable Buy Low TEs: Kyle Pitts, Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson

SELL HIGH: Cole Kmet | Bears

This season Kmet has managed to firmly entrench himself in the mid-range TE1 conversation. Currently, he holds the eighth position in value on KTC, even though his scoring rank is eleventh among tight ends. Uncertainty combined with an array of injuries to various tight ends has propped up his value well above where it should be.

Perhaps the most concerning numbers for Kmet are not his rankings but his splits with Tyson Bagent vs Justin Fields. In three full games with Bagent, he was averaging 7.0 receptions on 8.3 targets for 59.7 yards. His numbers with Fields are not nearly as impressive as he fell to 4.3 receptions on 5.5 targets and 41.8 yards per game.

Cole Kmet Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Kmet’s lowest weekly finish with Bagent at quarterback was TE13 while his lowest finish with Fields at quarterback was TE35. He still has the potential for the occasional boom game with Fields, but his floor becomes non-existent in a quick hurry.

Kmet was my preseason pick for a monster breakout, and as good as he has looked so far, I don’t believe it’s going to last. If you can flip Kmet for the aforementioned Trey McBride you should do so without giving it a second thought.

Other Notable Sell High TEs: Sam LaPortaDalton Kincaid, Evan Engram

Take all of these Buy Low and Sell High candidates into consideration — they just might be league-winning moves.