Originally posted: October 10, 2017
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
Derek Carr (QB, Oak) – If you were lucky enough to get a guy like Deshaun Watson off the WW, you’re good and you don’t need a QB. But if you’re in a competitive league and are still struggling, Carr’s worth a look. His price tag is obviously down, and while the offense has been underwhelming, keep in mind that things were looking good here just 3-4 weeks ago. Carr’s expected to return to the lineup Week 6, and while his back situation is obviously worrisome, and I don’t see the upside I saw just a month ago, I’m not ready to throw an entire off-season of analysis out the window based on one injury and six bad quarters of football. His upcoming matchups don’t look wonderful on paper, but as a whole his remaining slate of games is a positive, as the Raiders currently rank as the 5th-easiest schedule for the pass the rest of the way. Amari Cooper can only get better, Michael Crabtree is still balling out, and Jared Cook has been very good, plus they can’t run the ball all that well, so Carr’s attempts should be in the 35-40 range most weeks.
DeMarco Murray (RB Ten) – I’ve had him on here a couple of times as a sell guy, but with his value down even further, I’m ready to buy if I need a RB. Murray’s value, at this point, is on the rise, and he crushed Derrick Henry in snaps (49 to 11) and carries (14 to 4) in Week 5, marking a significant change compared to Week 4 when Murray carried the ball seven times and Henry handled six totes. Murray should get the ball and do well this week at home against a shaky Colt team, and after that we should have Marcus Mariota back. I spoke with Rishard Matthews last week and he told me this whole offense isn’t even close to peaking here in 2017, so things may be looking up in Tennessee in a couple of weeks.
Ty Montgomery (RB, GB) – This is a weird column these days because things change so quickly in the NFL for fantasy, and I’m finding myself looking to buy players I didn’t love a week/month ago. I was the guy on staff preaching caution with Montgomery, but as much as I love what I see from Aaron Jones, who has clearly earned more opportunities to play and touch the ball, it’s not like he’s going to be Ryan Grant circa 2008 with 300+ carries. That said Montgomery should have a large role no matter what, so if the perception is that he’s in big trouble, he’s a viable trade for guy because I can still see him netting 12-14 points per game on average even if Jones emerges as a 15-carry back.
Buck Allen (RB, Bal) – Terrance West (calf) is expected to miss multiple games, and that’s been confirmed with their signing of veteran Bobby Rainey. I do like Alex Collins and the juice he brings to the table, but he’s also fumbled twice, and this offense has no margin for error. That probably explains why Allen had 21 carries and played 71% of the snaps in Week 5. Allen is mediocre, but he can be a terrific PPR asset with volume, and they are running out of bodies.
Alshon Jeffery (WR, Phi) – I listed Jeffery here as a guy to trade a few weeks ago, but that was mainly because of his upcoming schedule, with matchups against guys like Janoris Jenkins, Casey Hayward, and Patrick Peterson. It’s been slow going, but the schedule eases up considerably, especially with Josh Norman likely out for their Week 7 matchup. Jeffery still has Denver in Week 9, but five of his next six matchups look solid (at Car, vs. Was, vs. SF, vs. Den, at Dal, and vs. Chi), so I’m expecting Jeffery’s production to pick up. It’s a good time to buy him at a slight discount and ideally plug him in as your WR3. He’ll produce nicely from that slot on your personal depth chart, and he could easily produce as a solid WR2.
Amari Cooper (WR, Oak) – As a general rule, I’m first and foremost for this column searching for players whose values will likely head north or south in the near future, and it’s hard to find a better high-end player whose value can only go up than Cooper. And another general rule when trading is to acquire as many high picks as you can, ideally by moving 2-3 marginal players for the one “stud.” As pointed out above, the Raider schedule is pretty solid (top-5 the rest of the way for QBs and WRs), and Cooper’s set to get Derek Carrback this week. There are some good corners on his schedule, but at some point defenses will have to start rolling coverage and/or sticking their top corners on Michael Crabtree, who continues to shred defenses. Cooper’s hit rock bottom and he’ll likely crawl back to respectability starting now.
Sterling Shepard & Evan Engram (WR/TE, NYG) – The Giants are in trouble, but with Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall done for the season, these two need to step up, and based on what they’ve shown this year, outside of Shepard’s injury issues, they are more than capable. With OBJ and Marshall gone, it opens up over 16 targets a game, and Shepard and Engram were each already averaging 6-7 targets a game, anyway. Shepard is currently injured, so there’s some risk but also a buying opportunity. Once he’s right, which could be in only 1-2 weeks, he’ll likely average 10+ targets a game on a team that can’t run it, and his PPR potential from the slot is very high. As for Engram, he’s been great, and even though he went 0/0 (four targets) in Week 5, his snap rate (83%) and routes run per drop back (81%) remained high.
Jarvis Landry (WR, Mia) – DeVante Parker is up to his old tricks, and this offense is dying, so it only makes sense to home in on Landry, who has clicked pretty well with Jay Cutler with a 70% catch rate. Landry has also received 10.7 targets a game, so he’s been active. Landry is a solid 17th in terms of red zone targets on the season, as well.
SOME OTHER OPTIONS
- Mark Ingram (RB, NO) – I had him here three weeks ago and speculated that Adrian Peterson may not be on the final roster by season’s end, and he’s now gone. Most of the focus on the Saint backfield is on impressive rookie Alvin Kamara, but Ingram’s snaps and touches are on the rise, too, and he’s looked good. He’ll be highly motivated in what could be his last year in New Orleans as well.
- Joe Mixon (RB, Cin) – He’s still not doing much behind their mediocre (to be kind) OL, so I still think his value is on the rise, as the OL should improve. Most encouragingly, from our guy Graham Barfield on his usage under Bengals OC Bill Lazor (Week 3-5): Snaps: 53%; RB Carries: 67%; RB Opportunities: 63%; Inside-10 Opportunities: 67%. These are positive numbers.
- Rob Kelley (RB, Was) – I don’t like him at all, but if I were starving for some RB help, I’d be looking at him. He should be healthier and rested coming off the bye, and Samaje Perine is not cutting it. The Redskins D is also better than expected, which can help the running game and Kelley’s opportunities.
- C.J. Prosise (RB, Sea) – He’s expected to return to action as the teams third down back after the Week 6 bye, and lord do they need him. He’s available in some leagues on the WW, but in a larger/competitive league, he can be a contributor, and they may even try to run him more, since Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls have offered nothing.
- Doug Baldwin (WR, Sea) – Baldwin is averaging 1.73 yards gained per route run this year, which is down from 2016. But it’s only down a little, as he averaged 1.92 YPRR in 2016. This Seahawk offense is driving me a little crazy (again), but I still have faith in Baldwin, and his value is down, possibly way down.
- Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE) – It’s certainly risky, but Gronk was back at practice this week, so I’d expect him back in Week 6. The TE position is horrific right now, so an advantage can be gained by dominating the position with Gronkowski, whose value is likely down after last week’s missed game.
- Delanie Walker (TE, Ten) – TE is a mess, so any chance to get Walker on the cheap is a good idea. Marcus Mariota (hamstring) is still considered day-to-day and may be trending toward a game-time decision for Monday night’s game vs. Indianapolis, but he’s nearing a return. Walker, by the way, had a long TD called back last week.
- Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) – The Chargers are underwhelming, so it’s time to use this stud more. We may have seen the start of a renewed commitment to him in Week 5, when he set season-highs in snaps (76%), routes run (per PFF) and he out-targeted Antonio Gates eight to three.
PLAYERS TO TRADE AWAY
Alex Smith (QB, KC) – He’s been a noted “anti-Gurrite” for years, and that’s not just a humorous stigma to attach to him for a joke; he really has been a pain in the ass for a decade. Smith is balling this year for sure, and he’s presently leading the league in YPA (8.8). But he was only 15th in 2016 (7.2 YPA), and while I love Tyreek Hill, we’re bound to see some regression from Smith, who did lose a starting wideout in Chris Conley this week and isn’t guaranteed to have stud TE Travis Kelce, either. This has got to be the best time to sell high on Smith in his 10+ year career, and I’m more than fine with it if you have another solid option.
Tarik Cohen (RB, Chi) – Welp. That was cool while it lasted. The main reason we didn’t push Cohen hard a late pick this summer was because we just didn’t know for sure what his role would be early in the season due to the presence of Benny Cunningham. I thought Cohen would be an early-season waiver wire guy, but he exploded in Week 1 and did well through Week 3. But since then? Not so much. Here’s his snap rate over the past month: 63% > 43% > 27% > 28%. That’s not a good look, and over the last two weeks Cunningham has played 22% of the snaps, just below Cohen’s 24%. That’s a significant chunk of playing time, and it’s been more than enough to completely ruin Cohen’s fantasy potential. I would not look to sell him at any cost and he can be otherwise sat down for now. But if someone is willing to pay a higher premium for Cohen, we’re okay with it.
Will Fuller (WR, Hou) – It may actually be a solid idea to move Deshaun Watson if you don’t really need him, since it’s going to be tough for him to keep up his ballistic pace, and one of those games came against the lowly Patriot defense. But with 4 TDs in his first two games back, Fuller’s fantasy value has probably already peaked. If you picked him up off the scrap heap and can parlay that move with a trade that helps you elsewhere, we see Fuller’s value and production only going down from here on out.
Jimmy Graham (TE, Sea) – Whenever Graham shows signs of life, I’m ready to sell, and he showed signs of life in Week 5. They’re off this week, but I still think Graham’s week-to-week in terms of his role and effectiveness. The bottom line they don’t really draw up plays for Graham like they did in New Orleans. Instead, Russell Wilson just runs around and makes some plays, and that’s not a good environment for Jimmy. That’s one of the reasons why he’s so up-and-down. Graham, by the way, is averaging 1.16 yards gained per route run this year after averaging 1.91 YPRR in 2016 even though he’s “a thousand percent healthier this year.”
Kyle Rudolph (TE, Min) – I actually had him here last week and he had a surprisingly good game against the Bears with Case Keenum. But Keenum is not reliable, and the body of work in 2017 is not encouraging for Rudolph, so I don’t think this is the start or a return to prominence for the underwhelming TE. We don’t know who the QB will be week-to-week, and that’s not good.
Source: Fantasy Guru
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