The point of this article is very simple: it’s a buy-low and sell-high piece. I’d like to think it’s a lot more nuanced than that, but that’s really the crux of the article: isolating players whose values are likely to rise in the coming week, and those whose values are a good bet to drop. The entries won’t always be blatantly obvious, though. I’m not, for example, going to list a guy as a sell just because he had a big game, but there will be some of that.
Basically, I’m just looking for any and all angles that make sense to me in terms of finding players whose values should rise and whose values should drop in the near future, and I’m passing any recommendations along to you here each Tuesday.
Here’s what I got this week….
PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Jared Goff (QB, Lar) - I did love Goff Week 1 and he came up small, but it’s not like he played poorly. In fact, there were times during the game against Dallas where the offense looked ready to dominate, thanks to the stellar play of Robert Woods and some serious flashes by Tyler Higbee and rookie Van Jefferson. And how about that OL? It looked pretty darn good in the opener, which is huge for Goff. With a very solid schedule and nice weaponry, it sure does look like the Rams will regain their 2017-2018 mojo under HC Sean McVay, so if you’re unhappy with your QB and are looking to roll with another option, Goff makes a lot of sense.
Daniel Jones (QB, NYG) - He’s going to turn the ball over because he’s not afraid to force throws, but all things considered, like the extremely difficult matchup and the absence of Golden Tate, I thought Jones looked fantastic on many key plays in the opener, and his arm seems to have more zip on it this year. He’s good, people! He’s going to have some huge games against lesser defenses when he has to throw a lot.
Miles Sanders (RB, Phi) - The OL concerns are serious and can’t be taken lightly, so make sure any trade partner with Sanders knows that and is willing to bake that fact into the asking price for Sanders and lower his or her asking price - at least a tiny bit. The main point here is Sanders was very, very close last week, so while extremely frustrating this past weekend, barring a setback, you can expect to see Sanders in the lineup Week 2. I’m not saying to get Sanders at all costs, especially since he has a nasty stretch of games upcoming (SF, Pit, Bal Weeks 4-6), but if you need a RB and can get him at a slight discount, his versatility should help him overcome their OL issues, assuming the entire Eagle offense doesn’t fall apart to these problems upfront.
D’Andre Swift (RB, Det) - Hopefully, his owner is focused on Swift’s dropped game-winning TD catch, Adrian Peterson’s high touch total, and the fact that Kerryon Johnson officially started the game. I’m not ignoring the fact that Swift dropped what would have been a huge catch that would have won them the game, but the point is that he had a promising 5 targets, and Kerryon had 0. Swift also actually led the backfield in snaps, even though Peterson had more opportunities. Peterson isn’t going away and is probably getting 220+ carries this season if healthy, but the reason I really warmed up to Swift this summer was because I thought that Kerryon might be toast. He did “start” the game, but he finished with 8 yards on 3 carries with no targets. That seems to back up my preseason opinions on Kerryon, so there’s probably a small buying opportunity for Swift, who really impressed the coaches with this overall and with his work in the passing game before missing a good amount of time with a leg injury. By the way, that’s also a positive spin on Swift: he did miss a lot of valuable time in August, so he’s a little behind.
Mark Ingram (RB, Bal) - There is no doubt JK Dobbins is a major threat to Ingram, as we saw in Week 1. But TDs can be flukey, and Dobbins had only 7 carries (0 targets) and 22 yards, while Ingram, who played 2 fewer snaps, had 47.6% of their backfield touches with Dobbins at only 30%. Maybe Dobbins scores every week or chips further away at Ingram’s snaps and touch totals, but I do know this: Ingram’s value took a major hit perception-wise in Week 1, and I do not believe he will become irrelevant anytime soon. I think there’s a small buying opportunity for the veteran.
David Montgomery (RB, Chi) - I may have overrated Tarik Cohen this summer. For him to get only 2 targets with them mostly playing from behind is a bad sign. Meanwhile, Montgomery actually had 3 targets and looked solid. Montgomery played fewer snaps and had a higher percentage of their backfield touches, and he’s still coming back from his injury, so his workload should be increasing in the coming weeks - along with his value.
Cam Akers (RB, LAR) - I understand why people are making a big deal out of Malcolm Brown this week, but to me the most surprising thing was not his role; it was how good he looked. I fully expected him to have a role and gave him 10 touches in our projections. I gave Akers 14, and he had 15. Obviously, Brown seriously out-played Akers, so he took over. But let’s keep in mind it was Akers’s first pro game with no off-season, and he did start the game and got more work in the first series, and his 15 touch total was still promising despite the poor production. It’s questionable Brown can look as good all year, and keep in mind they drafted Akers to be the guy and they were happy with him all summer. People I spoke to all summer were fully prepared for Akers to slowly grow into the primary role, so I’d be looking to buy-low on him. He played a decent 24 snaps and touched the ball a healthy 62% of those plays, so he’s hardly an afterthought.
Diontae Johnson (WR, Pit) - I know he’s one of our guys and all, but I’m actually encouraged by Week 1. Sure, it could have gone a lot better, but his first half Monday night was one of the worst I’ve seen from a receiver in a while - and the guy still caught 6 balls. With JuJu Smith Schuster, Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Eric Ebron all making plays in that ugly first half, Ben Roethlisberger could have just called it a day with Diontae and he could have just thrown the ball to those other guys. But he did the opposite, and Diontae led their WRs in snaps, targets, and target share. That showed me they kinda view him as the one, and they even treated him like he was Antonio Brown in that regard. Yes, there are a lot of mouths to feed here, but it’s clear they think he can be special, so if his owner is worried, I’d be happy to take him off their hands.
Breshad Perriman (WR, NYJ) - I had very low expectations for Perriman in Week 1, given his time missed and his brutal matchup against CB Tre White and the Bills - and he did diddly poo. He will have other tough matchups upcoming vs. NE, NE, Buf, plus two matchups against Mia that could be problematic. But we’re told his knee issue is okay and that he doesn’t have a tricky knee (he banged it against a teammate’s) and we’ve received glowing reports on Perriman otherwise. He’s not going to be a league-winner or anything like that, but the perception on him is off right now, and he does offer a great buying opportunity with his value plummeting based on the bad vibes that really have little to do with him.
Mike Williams (WR, LAC) - I kinda liked Williams this summer but couldn’t push him too hard the final 2-3 weeks of camp due to his shoulder injury, but my thoughts on him did get confirmed in Week 1. Keenan Allen played 12 more snaps, but Williams out-targeted him 9-to-8, and Allen had a lame 4/37 line while Williams made some plays and was better with 4/69. Williams won’t be a high catch rate guy, but he fits better with Tyrod Taylor and probably also with Justin Herbert, since both QBs lack touch, timing, and anticipation, which is a killer for Allen. Both QBs also throw the ball down the field well, also good for Williams, who is due to start getting lucky in terms of TDs, and he did almost score in the red area in Week 1.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF) - The bottom line here, with Deebo Samuel out two more weeks at least, is that they need Aiyuk big time. The 49ers were hoping to get him back Week 1, but they held him out to be safe. And on Monday, HC Kyle Shanahan said he would be “surprised" if the rookie isn't ready to play this week.
Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR) - It was a little bit of a weird game for the Rams in that Jared Goff played well, yet didn’t even get a TD pass and he fed the ball to Robert Woods because Woods was balling. Higbee had only 4 targets and 3/40, but that was way better than Gerald Everett, who had only 1/7 on 2 targets with a drop. Most encouragingly, Higbee played 89% of the snaps as opposed to 33% for Everett. That could change depending on the opponent, but my intel on the situation (backed by Adam Caplan’s) has me feeling really good about Higbee. In other words, if you want him, now is the time to get him.
Evan Engram (TE, NYG) - His Week 1 was odd in that he played a whopping 94% of the snaps, yet he had only 2/9 on 7 targets. He got some late looks in garbage time, so I’m not worried about the terrible catch rate. The report and vibes I got on him were very positive this summer, and he won’t likely face a tougher opponent than the Steelers, so with Daniel Jones showing well in the opener (all things considered), I’d be interested in acquiring Engram if unhappy with my TEs.
Antonio Gibson (RB, Was) - He came up small in Week 1, so his value took a hit. I did temper expectations with his projection, but he was hard not to give love to in DFS, since he was so cheap. The team has big plans for him, for sure, and they put a lot on his plate this summer and he handled things relatively well. In Week 1, they simply used his in-game performance and those of their other backs to dictate his playing time, and he wasn’t very good. But Peyton Barber is a JAG, and JD McKissic is the scatback/third-down version of a jag, so the cream will rise to the top. They want to get younger in their backfield and more explosive, and that’s Gibson.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Drew Brees (QB, NO) - It’s only one game against a very good defense, but Brees after Week 1 is in the “Derek Carr and Drew Lock range” in terms of your season leaders, and that’s a bad start. And now Michael Thomas is banged up with a high ankle sprain that could bother him for weeks. Perhaps most worrisome, his arm looked to be lacking pop in the opener, and that’s been a lingering concern for Brees for a number of seasons. You may regret moving him, but I’d guess you won’t if the return is solid. Keep in mind he ran for negative yards last year, so he has to do it all with his 41-year old arm.
Nick Chubb (RB, Cle) - We know Chubb is great, but we also know that Kareem Hunt, also good, out-produced Chubb in PPR formats in six of his eight games, and so far in 2020, Hunt is 1-for-1 besting Chubb. In fact, he nearly doubled him up in terms of PPR points. As we reported all summer, the Browns absolutely love Hunt, which is why they took the chance to sign him to a new deal this summer, and they showed their love in Week 1. Hunt out-snapped Chubb (49.3% vs. 47.9), had a higher rushing percentage for the game (36% vs. 29%) and he killed Chubb in target percentage for the Browns in Week 1 (16.7% vs. 2.9%). In other words, if Chubb doesn’t score, you’re screwed. I may be overreacting a tad based on one game, but I’m also not surprised at all things played out this way. As usual with high-end players, I’m not selling low after one game. But if I can fetch a decent return for Chubb, I’d love to get him off my roster so I do not have to worry about this mess.
David Johnson (RB, Hou) - My jaw dropped when I saw Johnson’s TD run early in the game in the opener, as he actually made two jump cuts (2 more than he had last year, probably) to get into the endzone, and he did look spry. Plus, Duke Johnson got hurt. Right now, things are set up for Johnson to have a massive role in a good spot, so his value is on the rise. It’s entirely possible, though, that it may have already peaked. If Dookie is back, he will get some of those targets that David got (and it was only 4), but the real question is whether or not David can stay fresh and nimble as he looked last week. It’s certainly possible, but if I didn’t necessarily need David, I’d be looking to sell high already. Otherwise, I’m using him every week and hoping he can stay in one piece.
Odell Beckham (WR, Cle) - I’m trying not to panic after one bad game against a top defense, especially since I felt all summer the Browns would bounce back, but man that looked bad. Baker Mayfield once again seemed to force the ball to OBJ, and while he did not get him the ball on a potential TD, the vibes are already horrible and trade rumors are already floating around. I’m sure things will get better, and I’m not giving him away in a trade, but if I can get something close to fair value for Beckham, I’d be out, and I’d never draft him again. As for Baker, it’s only one game in Week 1, but he was part of the problem, not the solution.
TY Hilton (WR, Ind) - I’ve been a little concerned about TY dating back to last year, and I didn’t see much in the opener to remove my concerns about the aging Hilton. He was out-snapped by Parris Campbell, and Campbell almost doubled Hilton up in terms of his touch percentage in the opener. And, of course, Campbell out-produced him in PPR 14 to 9. Hilton looked okay, so I’m not panicking. But Campbell looked great - and he’s a similar player who can line up everywhere, and I know they love rookie Michael Pittman and want to run the ball a ton, so TY could be a little aggravating, and I do worry about his health, his body wearing down, etc.
Sammy Watkins (WR, KC) - He did look very good in the opener, so I may regret this entry, But Sammy also looked great in the opener last year, scoring 3 TDs only to not be heard from again until the playoffs. This week, Mecole Hardman would be the receiver of choice, so Sammy will likely remain frustrating.
Robby Anderson (WR, CAR) - I don’t automatically put a player here coming off a big game, and I could be wrong for adding Robby because perhaps he only needed to get away from Adam Gase. But I’m putting him down here after his big game because I still think consistency will be an issue with a shakier QB and two other dynamic WRs in the mix who were both ahead of Anderson this past weekend in terms of WR target percentage (14.5%). Perhaps he can no longer be called Fantasy Santa because he’s now produced in September, as opposed to the end of the season, but I’d be willing to take my chances moving him if the payout is solid.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) - He was great, but that’s a defense he knows well and one working in three new top corners, and Rodgers had some blowup games last year, so his performance wasn’t shocking. If you drafted him as a QB2 and can move him in a larger deal and/or for help elsewhere, I’m not against it.
Allen Robinson (WR, Chi) - We all love the player, and we also love his massive role. But in Week 1, that role wasn’t that massive, as Anthony Miller had a higher target percentage and rookie Darnell Mooney (who they love) was close behind A-Rob. Robinson is a free agent in 2021 and he’s apparently sick of the situation, since he’s removed all mentions of the Bears on his social media accounts. Or maybe he’s sick of playing with mediocre QBs? Or maybe it’s both. Either way, I’m concerned and while it’s early, I’m willing to get out if the getting is still good.