At The Motley Fool, we poke plenty of fun at Wall Street analysts and their endless cycle of upgrades, downgrades, and "initiating coverage at neutral." So you might think we'd be the last people to give virtual ink to such "news." And we would be -- if that were all we were doing.

But in "This Just In," we don't simply tell you what the analysts said. We'll also show you whether they know what they're talking about. To help, we've enlisted Motley Fool CAPS, our tool for rating stocks and analysts alike. With CAPS, we'll be tracking the long-term performance of Wall Street's best and brightest -- and its worst and sorriest, too.

And speaking of the worst ...
Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and how low has the Crisis laid the heads of the Wall Street Wise. As recently as January, Jefferies & Co. ranked among the best stock pickers on the Street. But after a series of disastrous calls -- or fine calls, driven to disaster by a global recession ...

Company

Jefferies Said:

CAPS Says:

Jefferies' Pick Lagging S&P by:

NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX)

Outperform

*****

35 points

Evergreen Solar  (NASDAQ:ESLR)

Outperform

***

35 points

Arch Coal  (NYSE:ACI)

Outperform

*****

33 points

Nabors Industries  (NYSE:NBR)

Outperform

*****

33 points

... Jefferies now ranks in the bottom 20% of investors tracked by CAPS, its reputation torpedoed by a record of 40% accuracy, and dogged by this humbling statistic: The average Jefferies pick lags the market by more than five percentage points!

And now we learn that yesterday, Jefferies up and recommended buying Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD). Lousy news, right?

Not necessarily. Fortunately for Buffalo Wild-ers, none of the mistakes named above have much to do with the restaurant industry. So perhaps the run of bad luck that's plagued Jefferies elsewhere in the market, will leave this wingding of a recommendation unscathed.

Buffalo takes wing
According to Jefferies, Buffalo Wild's stock has several things going for it. For one, the stock's taken a huge hit these past couple of months, dropping 64% of its market cap into the trash container out back. Jefferies thinks that's "an unwarranted discount". After all, the chicken wing prices that sent Buffalo Wild's cost of goods sold flying have finally stabilized. The company is sitting on $45 million cash and short-term investments, which allows it to be "100 percent self-financing." Jefferies sees the company growing its profits "in the mid-teens," thanks in large part to the fact that Buffalo Wild has "the healthiest unit growth story in the sector."

And Jefferies should know. It's picked both good and bad restaurateurs in said sector -- Panera (NASDAQ:PNRA), which held its own in a declining market after Jefferies recommended it in May, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB), down 70% since Jefferies picked it in March.

Personally, I expect we'll see Buffalo Wild Wings perform more like Panera, and a whole lot less like Red Robin. Why? Simply put, the price is right. (Yes, even after yesterday's astounding 25% leap in the share price.)

Consider: Right now, Buffalo Wild trades for a modest 15.2 P/E -- a tasty multiple indeed if the company achieves the 24% long-term annual earnings growth that most analysts predict for it. But even using Jefferies' more conservative projection of "mid-teens" growth, the stock appears fairly priced today.

Foolish takeaway
If I had my druthers, I'd much prefer to own Buffalo Wild at the price it was fetching Friday, than shell out to reach its present perch. Even so, I'd happily order up a few shares at the current menu price. (Save for the fact that the Fool has a 10-day cooling off period before I can buy anything I've written about. Here's hoping the shares go on sale again between now and then.)

Panera Bread is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt pick. NYSE Euronext is a Rule Breakers selection. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Hidden Gems recommendation and the Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any companies named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 1,362 out of more than 120,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.