Originally posted: September 20, 2016
The purpose of this column is to help readers take advantage of perceived and anticipated player values for trading. What we try to do here is isolate players whose values are currently down but could go up, and vice versa. What we are not trying to do is advise you to trade or trade for these players at any cost. It’s important to get proper value in trades and to remember to avoid making a trade unless it measurably improves your team.
We will also from time-to-time suggest trading players that we like a lot. When we do, it’s often because the player was drafted as a backup and isn’t exactly needed; therefore, the goal is to improve your team in another area.
Players to Trade for:
Eli Manning (QB, NYG)
After Eli managed just 18.0 FP in the most anticipated early-season fantasy matchup (Saints at Giants), it’s a great time to buy on him. After all, while Eli went without a TD pass in the game, he still threw for 368 yards on 32/41 passing. The fact that he didn’t get one in the end zone is a total fluke (the Giants had a bunch of turnovers, just one of which was Eli, on a fumble). Moreover, he now has a very good 1-2-3 at WR with Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard. With some decent ancillary pieces like Shane Vereen and the Larry Donnell/Will Tye TE rotation, Eli’s ceiling is even higher than it was last year. Coming off a “disappointing” day that was very close to being a huge day, we’d make a move to get Manning, who currently leads the NFL in completion percentage (73.9%).
Todd Gurley (RB, LA)
At this point, this likely seems like our Eddie Lacy overtures of last year, overtures that never really paid off. While Gurley plays in a far worse offense than does Lacy, he’s also far more gifted and in far better shape. Gurley has just 2 receptions on the year, and more alarmingly has just 98 total rushing yards despite 36 carries. The entire hope is that the Rams manage to keep games close enough to get Gurley carries, and Gurley is able to create on his own. He has the talent to do that, but he has no help. So the strategy here is to target a frustrated 0-2 Gurley owner who drafted Gurley as a foundation player and clearly isn’t getting a return on that investment. What we’d try to do, if dealing from a deep team, is swing two lesser players who have actually been productive for a potential league-winner in Gurley. Gurley has a lot of questions, but if you’re acquiring him, you understand those questions. Over the long haul, talent is still a good bet to win out here – as dire as things seem now.
Jamaal Charles (RB, KC)
We don’t think Spencer Ware is going anywhere, nor should he, but Charles is nearing his return from his ACL surgery, and we still don’t want to discount Charles’ game-changing ability. Instead of being a Ware owner and targeting the Charles owner for a potential WR trade, why not try to pry Charles away from his likely frustrated owner? More uncertainty about Charles’ status has emerged early this week, and he’s not a lock to play Week 3, so it may be an ideal time to try to pounce for pennies on the dollar. We never expected him to get more than 15-16 touches a week, anyway, and he can produce fine totals with that fairly minimal workload.
Theo Riddick (RB, Det)
RB Ameer Abdullah appears to have avoided a broken bone in his foot after X-rays came back negative, but he is going to visit with a foot specialist in North Carolina, which isn’t a great sign. That means that Riddick will be the primary back with rookie Dwayne Washington also factoring in for at least the near future while Abdullah is out of the lineup. Riddick saw a huge uptick in playing time (65%) in Week 2 after Abdullah went out of the lineup, carrying 11 times for 37 yards and adding 4/28 receiving on 5 targets. The Lions have been using Riddick more like a true RB, and he’s shown some juice in the running game dating back to the preseason. It’s looking like Riddick will be the top back for as long as Abdullah is out of the lineup, and he’s locked in as a RB2 for PPR formats during that time. Riddick didn’t have a great game in Week 2, and his fantasy owner might seem as just a passing back, but he’ll be more than that for as long as Abdullah is out of the lineup.
Mark Ingram (RB, NO)
Through two games, Ingram has only played on 49.6% of snaps. He played on nearly 63% of Saints snaps in 2015. But it’s not like anyone’s nipping at his heels in the running game. The Saint OL has been slow off the mark, and they have been too quick to abandon the run. Ingram may lose some PPR juice to Travaris Cadet, but his role as the bell-cow runner is secure, and his lack of production makes him stand out as a nice buy-low guy.
Chris Ivory (RB, Jac)
To put it nicely, second-year RB T.J. Yeldon has been completely underwhelming as the lead back. In Week 1, he finished with 21/39 rushing for 1.9 YPC and in Week 2 he had 8/10 receiving for 1.3 YPR, so he hasn’t been much help to offense. This is why they brought in Ivory. Ivory has been out the last two weeks with a mysterious illness, but he was released from the hospital last week. He’s expected to get back on the practice field this week and be ready to play in Week 3. The Jaguars need some kind of spark for their sputtering offense, and Ivory will likely become their featured back this week and for the future, if he’s up to the task health-wise.
Jeremy Hill (RB, Cin)
The Bengals couldn’t get anything going with their running game in sloppy conditions against the Steelers in Week 2. They basically abandoned the run in the second half while playing from behind, with Andy Dalton dumping check-down passes to Giovani Bernard to move the offense. Hill doesn’t have the easiest matchup against the Broncos this week either, so his fantasy owners may be ready to cut bait on a player who has just 53 rushing yards so far this season. Hill also had a scary matchup against the Jets to open the season, and he came through with a rushing TD, scoring on a powerful 12-yard run in which he carried defenders with him into the end zone. He’s run well dating back to the preseason, and he’s averaged .65 TDs per game in his career. His schedule will lighten up significantly after facing three of the best run defenses in the league to start the year, so he could get well soon for in non-PPR formats. The Bengals are struggling a bit with their running game, which is a concern, but Hill himself has looked good.
Derrick Henry (RB, Ten)
The Titans backfield has played out exactly how we expected it to this preseason, with DeMarco Murray working as the clear lead back and Henry working in as the clear #2 RB. Henry hasn’t brought any fantasy value to his current owners through the first two weeks of the season, so if you are a Murray owner, it might be time to swing a trade for his handcuff. If one of these backs goes down at any point, the healthy back will be a foundation piece and log the vast majority of snaps in a given week.
Allen Robinson (WR, Jac)
Talk about the most obvious “trade for” guy of the entire week, and perhaps of the entire year moving forward. After two tough opening draws versus the Packers stout secondary (6/72 on 15 targets) and stud Chargers’ CB Jason Verrett (3/54 on 5 targets), Robinson’s schedule opens up considerably in the coming weeks. Over the next six weeks, Robinson faces absolutely cake secondaries mixed in with a bye (vs. Ravens, vs. Colts, bye, at Bears, vs. Raiders, at Titans). Note here that three of these five contests are at home in Jacksonville, so though the “Gus Bus” may have a few flat tires, we think the A-Rob train is about to get rolling. We’d willingly trade our RB1 for him.
Mike Evans (WR, TB)
He’s been doing pretty well, so he won’t be cheap – but we can see Evans’ value and cost in a trade rising considerably in the coming week. Evans leads all receivers in targets through two games (24), and watching Vincent Jackson the last two weeks, there is something up with the veteran. This could be the beginning of the end for V-Jax, so we would not be surprised at all if Evans – whose hands have been much better this year – had a ballistic statistical showing in 2016.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, Ind)
He hasn’t done anything special yet, so his value is down. However, he’s seen 25.5 (Week 1) and 27.5 (Week 2) percent of Andrew Luck’s passing targets so far, both very high numbers that could go up if Donte Moncrief misses time. Hilton’s chemistry with Luck is excellent, so he should start heating up soon.
Golden Tate (WR, Det)
We definitely liked Marvin Jones a lot this summer, and in fact we were ahead of the Jones curve dating back to the spring. But we also liked Tate quite a bit, and we still do. He’s been unusually quiet thus far, but “quiet” for him is 7.5 targets per game, and he actually has more targets than Julio Jones through two weeks. We’re not sure if he’s going to his 90 or more catches again, but we do know this: his value has plummeted the last 15 days, so we like him as a buy-low guy. Things should even out here, and Tate will get his. In fact, he should have gotten his in Week 2. Tate had a DB get flagged for PI on an endzone target, almost made a spectacular catch running down the sideline, and has 2 steps for a potential 50-yard YD (bad throw) against the Titans. Updated: 9/20
John Brown (WR, Ari)
So far this year, Brown has been out-produced in the passing game by the likes of Jaron Brown, Jermaine Gresham, and Darren Fells. Ugh. But we also have to keep in mind that he missed nearly all of the preseason with a concussion, and is still working his way back into game shape. Having just 2 catches in two games is obviously no path to success, but we also have to remember that this remains one of the NFL’s most explosive passing offenses with one of the league’s most aggressive throwers at the helm in QB Carson Palmer. And last year, Brown was one of the most efficient receivers in the entire NFL. Last year, Larry Fitzgerald told us about Brown’s importance in this offense, and while Fitz has been the go-to guy for Palmer thus far, Brown and Michael Floyd will eventually get theirs. Brown is as cheap as possible for a guy in this desirable offense, so you may be able to get him for next to nothing at this point.
Eric Ebron (TE, Det)
It looks like we’re going to be very, very wrong about Coby Fleener this year, but before he got hurt in the preseason, Ebron was really our favorite TE sleeper or value, and he’s showing signs of really coming on in what is looking like a great passing game. Ebron has scored already, and he also had a TD taken off the board in Week 2. He’s not yet reliable, but his talent is off-the-charts and a breakout season does seem forthcoming with a strong QB in Matthew Stafford. If you need a TE, before Ebron’s value goes up, the time to get him is now.
Players to Trade
Matt Ryan (QB, Atl)
Ryan looked fantastic in Week 2, torching the Raiders defense to the tune of 396 yards and 3 TDs with just 1 INT. He has the chance to keep it going this week against a terrible Saints secondary, but the Superdome could be raucous for the 10th anniversary game of when the Saints returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Ryan also has absolutely brutal matchups waiting for him after Week 3, with a home game against the Panthers and road trips to Denver and Seattle after that. We also have concerns about Julio Jones holding up for the entire since we’re two weeks into the year and he’s already dealt with ankle and calf issues. Ryan’s value might not get any higher than it is right now, so take advantage of his increased value now.
DeAngelo Williams (RB, Pit)
If you are a D-Will owner and don’t have Le’Veon Bell, now might be the time to get a little return for the 33-year-old RB. DeAngelo will get one last game to run as the workhorse this week against the Eagles before Bell returns off his suspension in Week 4. Williams is a must-start RB1 when he gets to work as the top back, but he’s not guaranteed to get another crack at the starting job. It’s better to get a player for him now who will help you the rest of the season, than to potentially let Williams rot on your bench. Also, any Bell owner who has seen D-Will dominate the first two weeks of the season may pay up for the extra protection.
Latavius Murray (RB, Oak)
Whether or not you think Murray is worth trading is entirely dependent on how you view his performance so far this year. He’s scored 2 TDs in two games, and on his 29 touches, he’s averaged 1.25 FP/touch, an incredibly efficient number that’s nearly double than the 0.67 FP/T he averaged last year. But his opportunities and snap share are both down by about a quarter from last year, as the Raiders are working in rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard into the backfield. Murray has given the Raiders no reason to go away from him as the leader in their committee, but the guys behind him have also given the Raiders plenty of reason to keep the committee going. So which Murray is the real guy? The TDs have skewed the efficiency in his favor, but he’s also gotten a lot of check-downs, most notably this past week with the Raiders trailing. Their offensive line has improved too, which gives him a little bit extra juice. Ultimately, we think he’ll settle into being a headache, and would love to move him for a high-end WR if possible.
Corey Coleman (WR, Cle)
It didn’t take long for QB Josh McCown to get hurt again playing behind this lousy Browns offensive line. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that McCown’s non-throwing shoulder injury could cost him multiple games, which means that the only alternative right now is third-round rookie QB Cody Kessler. The former USC QB was a major reach as many experts had him as a UDFA prospect, and Adam Schefter reported last week that Kessler was “not close to being ready to play.” It’s a major blow for everyone in this passing game, especially for the rookie Coleman who showed some real juice in Week 2. He finished with 5/104/2 receiving on 8 targets against the Ravens, scoring from 31 and 11 yards out. Coleman has shown plenty of big-play potential, as he’s averaging 24.7 YPC so far, but there is real downside with Kessler at QB because he doesn’t have a big arm and won’t cut it loose downfield. Getting a player of note for Coleman after his big game is great idea because this Browns passing game could be putrid with Kessler.
Source: Fantasy Guru
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