Originally posted: October 18, 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
Kirk Cousins (QB, Was) – If you’re in a league in which most teams are rostering two QBs, then the pickings may be a little slim on the waiver wire. Perhaps you’re a little disappointed with someone like Carson Palmer and are looking for insurance. Cousins could come pretty cheap. First of all, he hasn’t played great this year, though his numbers have been improving overall. And with Jordan Reed injured, Cousins’ owner may be more likely to sell low on him. But aside from a matchup with Minnesota, Cousins’ second-half schedule is looking pretty juicy, including the surprisingly poor Panther defense in Week 15 and the Bears in Week 16. And despite Cousins’ struggles, he’s turned in four games of 20 or more FP to this point. Again, he’s not someone you’re giving up a big package for, but the numbers have started to return, and if you can get him thrown into a bigger offer, that’s all the better.
Devonta Freeman (RB, Atl) – We absolutely love Freeman and the way he’s played this year, and we’re not going to sweat the fact that he had a pretty poor game against the Seahawks in Week 6. Overall, he remains one of the NFL’s most deadly efficient RBs, averaging .47 fantasy points per snap, well above the league average of 0.31 for RBs. And though Tevin Coleman has cut into Freeman’s workload considerably (especially in the passing game), Freeman has still played more snaps than his backfield mate in every single game this season. Moreover, Freeman has an excellent schedule for much of the remaining season, including San Francisco and Carolina in Weeks 15 and 16. It may seem early to start thinking playoffs, but remember, the fantasy regular season is basically halfway over at this point. Now is the time to start thinking playoffs.
Giovani Bernard (RB, Cin) – Bernard has become the top back in the Bengals backfield the last two weeks, as he out-snapped Jeremy Hill for the second straight game (66% to 31%) in Week 6. He put up a solid fantasy performance against the Patriots last week, but it could’ve been a much better day. He got tackled just short of the goal line and stuffed twice at the goal line, so he’s still without a rushing TD this year. Hill has certainly taken a couple steps back since his 2-TD game against the Broncos in Week 3, and Bernard has averaged 15.7 touches per game the last three weeks, so he’s been extremely active. Bernard is the only Bengal RB to use with any confidence right now.
Duke Johnson (RB, Cle) – RB Isaiah Crowell has predictably come back to earth – we told you to get out there and sell after Week 4! – and it’s not surprising that Duke is starting to come on with Crow struggling. Crow still out-touched Duke 11 to 8 and out-snapped him 57% to 48%, but Duke has simply been more effective recently, averaging 1.15 fantasy points per touch. Duke could be even more active going forward with Terrelle Pryor suffering a hamstring injury coming out of Week 6, so Duke could suddenly be their top receiving weapon the next couple weeks until Pryor and Corey Coleman get healthy. The game scripts will continue to work in Duke’s favor going forward with the Browns really struggling to keep pace with their opponents, so he’s certainly on the rise.
A.J. Green (WR, Cin) – Green didn’t have the easiest matchup against Malcolm Butler and the Patriots secondary in Week 6, but like he does most weeks, he came through with a solid performance. He posted 6/88 receiving on 10 targets, and he just missed two scores, getting tackled short of the goal line and missing a connection with Andy Dalton on a fade in the end zone. Green has two huge games to his credit in which he combined for 22/353/2, but he has just 20/253/0 in his four other appearances. He could check off another huge game this week going against a bad Browns defense in Week 7, and Dalton still needs him more than ever with a lack of beside him with Tyler Eifert’s status uncertain going forward.
Stefon Diggs (WR, Min) – Diggs (groin) is expected to be back this week after missing their Week 5 game before a Week 6 bye. The second-year WR had a bit off a coming-out party on Sunday Night Football in Week 2 against the Packers, but he’s been a little too quiet since then. He’s posted just 5/87 receiving in the two games the last four weeks, but he’s still averaging an impressive 2.03 fantasy points per target since Week 2. Diggs is still an incredibly important part of this passing game for Sam Bradford, even with the likes Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson factoring in more. Now is the time to buy Diggs at potentially his lowest value before he erupts, as the Vikings have the 11th best remaining schedule for WRs.
Brandon Marshall (WR, NYJ) – Games like Week 6 on Monday night are the stuff of nightmares for Marshall, because not only is he going up against an elite CB like Patrick Peterson, but he also has to battle his own QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick has been awful, and there’s a big chance in the near future that Fitz gets benched. The good news is that Fitz’s play and Marshall’s quiet game against the Cardinals may well knock his price down. Moreover, Marshall’s schedule is glorious moving forward. His toughest matchup is New England twice, and there’s not anywhere left on the schedule in the same stratosphere as Peterson. The Jets stink, but Marshall doesn’t. He’s as good a buy-low option as there is.
DeVante Parker (WR, Mia) – We’ve never been huge fans of Parker since he came out in 2015 because of durability issues and struggles with consistent play. He continues to battle with those concerns early in 2016, but there’s no debating his immense talent and intriguing frame (6’3”, 213 pounds). Parker had a lot of momentum coming into the 2016 season, and he got off to a promising start in his first two games. However, he’s come crashing back to earth the last three weeks. He dropped an easy TD in the end zone last week, and he now has just 9/118 receiving the last three games and hasn’t hit double-digit FPs in any of those contests. At least Kenny Stills has gone invisible, with just 3 catches in that same period. Parker is a highly volatile WR3 at this point because of the hot-and-cold nature of Ryan Tannehill behind a shaky O-line. However, the entire Dolphins O-line finally played together in Week 6, so Tannehill and Parker could start to get hot very soon. It’s tough to find talents who are as cheap as Parker is right now.
Will Fuller (WR, Hou) – Fuller (hamstring) is expected to be fully available in Week Seven’s Monday night game at Denver after being active and not playing at all in the Week Six game vs. Indianapolis. The extra day and extra week should have Fuller close to full speed to face a tough Broncos secondary, which is a matchup that could (and should) scare off a Fuller owner in desperate need of a win. Don’t forget Fuller looked like a world-beater in September, and there are myriad good matchups forthcoming on the schedule. Fuller can likely be had for pennies on the dollar right now.
Willie Snead (WR, NO) – Snead has been very quiet for almost a month now, but Snead is the most reliable option for Drew Brees in this offense, and that’s huge for a guy like Brees. When Snead is healthy and ready, Brees will be going to him – a lot.
Donte Moncrief (WR, Ind) – He might now be only 1-2 weeks away from returning, and while it’s risky to trade for an injured player, imagine how quickly his stock will rise if he returns and produces, as he will when he does return and is right. They’re using some really low-end guys right now, and Phillip Dorsett isn’t very good. You may have only one more week to get him at a steep discount.
Corey Coleman (WR, Cle) – In deeper leagues where Coleman is actually rostered, it may not be a bad idea to try to pry him away as an extra piece in another deal, as he could be back from his broken hand before Thanksgiving. The Browns’ passing offense has surprisingly been far from useless, and Coleman could return in a week or two to provide even more upside alongside Terrelle Pryor. His schedule isn’t too bad either moving forward, including a Week 16 draw with the Chargers, though Week 15 against Buffalo is a little tougher. Again, he’s an extra piece in a deal who could provide a good roster with some extra depth.
Tyler Lockett (WR, Sea) – This time of the year, we’re mainly looking at viable assets whose values are destined to go up, especially if they can only go up from here, like Golden Tate listed here last week. Lockett fits the bill. There’s a reason all the fantasy hipsters and numbers guys were into him this summer (us, not as much): he’s a ball player. He’s now also getting healthier, and his snap counts are on the rise. If strong WR3 producers are in demand, even if they are a little boom or bust, Lockett stands out right now as a solid trade for value.
PLAYERS TO TRADE AWAY
Marcus Mariota (QB, Ten) – If you need him, keep him around because his upcoming schedule is wonderful. But if you don’t really need him, someone in your league likely recognizes that he’s averaged 32 points a game the last two weeks, and that he was the #2 pick of the draft in 2015. The thing is, we’ve learned this year that he’s not particularly good as a passer, and while Kendall Wright’s emergence was needed because he actually had some juice, this is still a mediocre receiving corps. And this team is still coached by fantasy-squad-killer Mike Mularkey. Selling high now isn’t a bad idea if you don’t really need him.
Jonathan Stewart (RB, Car) – Hey, he scored 2 TDs against the Saints and was a top-10 RB in Week 6. So he’s got that going for him and it’s something that raises his value for sure. Opportunities to sell high on this injury-prone guy are few and far between, and even if he does manage to stay healthy the next two months, the Panthers are a mess and currently have one of the worst secondaries in the league. That’s a factor that could limit Stewart, since he’s at his best usually when they are in closer games and/or have the lead.
Dion Lewis (RB, NE) – You have to read between the lines when it comes to the Patriots and injuries, and doing that right now with Lewis, the vibes aren’t great. For one, James White is being talked up by the team and those who cover the media. They also signed RB Tyler Gaffney back onto their practice squad this week, which may not be a great sign for Lewis, who is eligible to come off PUP this week but is still unable to practice with his knee. White is expected to remain heavily involved in the offense for the foreseeable future, and it’s still uncertain when Lewis could be activated. He has until Week Eleven to start practicing, so selling him now before his value drops further looks like a move that you won’t regret much.
Dez Bryant (WR, Dal) – Dez (knee) told NFL Media that he fully expects to return to action in Week Eight after being close to suiting up in Green Bay in Week Six. The Cowboys wanted to give him a little extra time to heal with the passing game humming with other players, but that’s one key point: they haven’t needed his “veteran presence” to go 5-1. Dez has shown terrible leadership this year, being late for multiple meetings, while two rookies have led the team to impressive win and after impressive win. And the fact is, we’ve probably seen the best Dez has to offer at this point, and he remains a major injury risk. With his return pending, his value should be up and we’ve have no problem moving him if the returns are solid. Dallas has been getting by just fine with Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Brice Butler and you might as well without Dez.
Jordan Matthews (WR, Phi) – He looked like a solid buy-low guy a month ago, but he’s fallen flat the last few weeks. He’s now dealing with knee tendinitis. It’s affected him more in practice than in games, as he’s been able to stay on the field. But they are spreading the ball around to a host of other receivers, and he and the offense have a brutal matchup this week against Minnesota. Matthews hasn’t hit 100 yards since Week One and hasn’t scored since Week Three, so we’re okay moving on from him.
Source: Fantasy Guru
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