What I’m doing with this article is to try and isolate players whose values are likely to rise in the coming weeks, and those whose values are a good bet to drop. I’m not going to list a guy as a sell just because he had a big game, but there will be some of that. And if I list a player as a player to consider trading, I’m not saying to sell at any cost (if I want to convey that, I will).
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
Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC) — Remember this guy? We’ve covered what’s going on in KC with defenses playing more zone and keeping the Chief speedsters in front of them while forcing Mahomes to stay patient. He’s handled it relatively well, but teams are also daring the Chiefs to run the ball, and they are. Mahomes does have three games with 40 or more attempts this year, but he also has three games with 29 or fewer attempts and four with 32 or fewer. It’s seemingly taking a little while, but Andy Reid has seen how teams are playing them, and since he’s great and all, I’m expecting them to make their adjustments and remain potent. Things tend to even out and balance out in the NFL, so I’d bet on Mahomes heating up soon. Other than Tampa Bay Week 12, I see nothing on their remaining schedule that scares me, and, in fact, I’m encouraged, especially by NO and Atl weeks 15-16. There’s no reason to seek Mahomes out and pay a hefty premium for him with guys like Justin Herbert outproducing him off the scrap heap, but he does stand out to me as a guy whose value is potentially at its lowest point and will only be rising in the coming week.
Josh Jacobs (RB, LVR) — I know they had a recent bye, but I have to be honest: I actually forgot Jacobs existed for a little while there the last 1-2 weeks. He did score 2 TDs back in Week 5, but his YPC on the season is sitting at a sad 3.4 YPC. Now, the OL has had some issues with Covid-19/injuries, but things may be stabilized right now. And HC Jon Gruden, who was asked about Jacobs after Week 7, swears he’s healthy. I had no expectations for Jacobs on the ground last week because no one runs well on the Bucs, period. Jacobs did play only 49% of the offensive snaps, including no snaps on third downs, so there may be something going on here, which means you should trade for Jacobs using only depth pieces, if possible. But Jacobs had at least 19 opportunities in every other game this year, and their remaining schedule does not look threatening at all. Bottom line, Jacobs stands out as a player whose value will be rising in the coming weeks.
Nick Chubb (RB, Cle) — Chubb will not play in Week 8, and the team has a bye in Week 9. But after that, Chubb should be good to go, since he’s made good progress and is on track to return on schedule from his MCL injury suffered in Week 4. He’s not a lock to help you, since he’s averaging only 1 target per game, which often makes him TD dependent, but he’s also at 5.9 YPC, and excluding Week 1 when he had only 10 carries in an ugly loss in Baltimore, and also leaving out Week 4 when he got injured, here’s Chubb’s rushing lines from his other two games: 22/124/2 and 19/108/2. Clearly, Chubb was rolling. If his owner is in desperate need for help now and may miss the playoffs with 1-2 more losses Weeks 8-9, it’s time to let them know that you’ll be happy to trade away some quality depth in exchange for Chubb. Just don’t use the word “depth,” because that denotes less than stellar quality. Use a cool word like “assets” or something like that.
Zack Moss (RB, Buf) — Shhhhhhh. Let’s keep this note between us, but the Bills may be ready to pull the plug on Devin Singletary in terms of him having a major role. It’s time for them to see what their offense can be like with a solid running game, something they may have a better chance of having with Moss, based on what Singletary has shown this year. And it’s clear QB Josh Allen needs a lot more support from his running game. A greater commitment to running the ball may result in surprising success, since defenses are keeping their safeties back looking to prevent the big play, yet the Bills aren’t making them pay for that with their running game. After missing three games, the Bills eased Moss back in his return in Week 6 and Singletary out-snapped Moss (40 to 13) and out-touched him (11 to 5). In Week 7, Moss’ role grew noticeably with 47% of the snaps and 10 opportunities (7 carries, 3 targets). Singletary’s snaps were down to only 54% with 13 opportunities, and that trend may continue this week with Moss getting even more work. Moss isn’t going to be a league-winner type most likely, but for those in leagues where RBs are hard to come by, Moss presents a nice buying opportunity right now. Keep in mind he’s a better interior and short-yardage runner than Singletary, and Moss is more than fine in the passing game (they were nearly equal in routes in Week 7 with 19 and 18), so he has a 3-down skillset.
Terry McLaurin (WR, Was) — I know his value went up last week, but everyone liked him against Dallas, so it wasn’t a surprise. His owner may be thinking of selling high right now, since his QB situation is less than ideal. However, Per SIS, Kyle Allen has been on-target on 83% of his throws — which is the second-best rate in the league. Allen has also been on-target on 58% of his throws of 10+ air yards so far. Dwayne Haskins was on-target just 39% of the time. The offense is now going in the right direction with Allen, and things could continue to improve as he gets more and more reps with the ones. His role is huge, so if Allen can play fairly well, McLaurin is a fantastic asset. He and DeAndre Hopkins are the only two WRs who have seen 7 or more targets in every game so far this season.
Marquise Brown (WR, Bal) — I don’t mean to be stubborn and list some of my favorite preseason players here repeatedly, but when I do it, things usually work out, like D’Andre Swift and Diontae Johnson, who lived in this column the last 5-6 weeks (and Johnson was here again last week). Brown’s been here a few times, and he’s had a couple of good games, but also some poor ones. But every single data point on the guy points to him being a good buy-low guy still. Most of those points are about his role in terms of target share, air yard share, etc. All the numbers point to him being an incredibly prominent player in his team’s passing game. And here’s another point from Graham Barfield’s Stat Pack last week: Brown is one of 8 wide receivers that have seen 6 or more targets in every game so far this season. The Ravens do have some tougher spots on the schedule upcoming, like Pit, Ind, NE, and then Pit again, but the Steelers have been shaky on the back-end this year, as have the Patriots, who do not have anything close to the shutdown defense they had this time last year (thanks in large part to their terrible offense). But Baltimore’s fantasy playoff schedule looks pristine starting Week 13: Dal, Cle, Jac, NYG, Cin. Last week was the last call on Diontae in terms of a buy-low, and this week it could be the last call for Hollywood.
Jarvis Landry (WR, Cle) — Jarvis has been a shell of his former self and he continues to get banged around, so he’s not a must-have guy on the trade market. But if you’re looking to get over on someone even just a little, the OBJ injury will obviously help Landry’s volume, and a lack of volume has been the biggest issue other than Baker Mayfield, who has mostly been very bad this year. OBJ left behind a 26% target share and a 40% air yards share through the first six weeks of the season, and Landry is by far the best bet to lead this passing attack going forward. Baker has clicked well with Landry dating back to 2018, so there’s positive history, and for whatever reason, Baker just seems worse with Odell Beckham in the lineup, a point that is backed up by the numbers. The vibes did get a lot better once OBJ left the game
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
Lamar Jackson (QB, Bal) — There’s no major evidence to suggest Lamar will play better and produce better fantasy numbers right now, but he did take off an run 9 times in Week 6 and he racked up 108/1, which put him at QB6 for the week despite throwing for only 186/1. Jackson gained 75 yards on designed runs in their last game, which was a new season-high and a clear sign there’s nothing physical preventing him from running. I don’t think he will get any worse throwing the ball, and Lamar may get a little sharper by the week with the season well underway, and with better ball location and placement on a few select throws the first 5-6 weeks of the season, his struggles may not even be a conversation. Jackson’s passing touchdown rate this year is 6.2% (13th among QBs), down from his 9% TD rate led the league. I think he can get over 7% the rest of the way, which will help. The Ravens do have some tougher spots on the schedule upcoming, like Pit, Ind, NE, and then Pit again. But their fantasy playoff schedule looks pristine starting Week 13: Dal, Cle, Jac, NYG, Cin.
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — In their last two games Jordan Wilkins’ snaps have been down below 5 total, so it may be slowly sinking in to these coaches that Taylor needs to be a foundational player in this offense. And it was nice to see Philip Rivers play well in Week 6, since he looked horrible the week before. League. Winner.
JK Dobbins (RB, Bal) — Dobbins’ value took another hit in his last game, but Mark Ingram did get banged up in the game and may not be ready to go this week (no one knows as of 10/27). My main point on being out on Dobbins at his preseason ADP was the presence of Gus Edwards, and Ingram’s situation obviously helps Gus, too, but Gus may continue to ruin Dobbins’ potential. So I’m not selling the farm to acquire Dobbins, but I do have some interest in buying him at rock-bottom pricing on the chance that something pops into place for him that changes his current status of being in no man’s land for fantasy. I still do also believe Dobbins will be a #1 pick in 2021.
SOME OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE INTERESTED IN TRADING FOR THIS WEEK:
Aaron Jones (RB, GB) — The Packers are usually conservative with injuries and err on the side of caution by holding guys out (see DeVante Adams earlier this year), so it was not a surprise to see them hold Jones out last week. But Jones playing Week 7 was still in play very late in the week, meaning he may be good to go this week. Before that’s clear, it’s a good time to trade for Jones
Will Fuller and Brandon Cooks (WRs, Hou) — They are on a bye this week, but if their owners have issues and can’t afford to lose, you should be able to get either at a discount. Since Bill O’Brien was let go, Cooks has quietly led the team in targets (30) over Fuller (25), Fuller, though, has scored in five straight games. After their bye this week, they get to face the Browns (second-most fantasy points allowed to WRs) and the Jaguars (13th). They do have Ind, Chi, Ind Weeks 13-15, which is tough, but they also have Det Week 13 and Cincy Week 16.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF) — His value is up for sure, but it could soar in the coming week because he’s quickly putting it all together and he’s now had four good games for fantasy in his last five, with 3 TDs scored. Deebo Samuel has looked good the last two weeks, but he can’t avoid injury right now, so Aiyuk is critical to the 49ers right now.
Mark Andrews (TE, Bal) — See Lamar Jackson above. If Andrews’ owner really needs a win this week, they should be able to sell at a discount after last week’s debacle. Andrews is not himself this year, but stud TEs are extremely rare, and he can still be a stud even if he’s not showing us his best in 2020.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Dal) — I never, ever want to sell low with a player, but sometimes it just has to be done. Sometimes, you’re selling low, but before the bottom falls out of an asset’s value. In Zeke’s case, yes, you’re selling low, but it feels like you could be selling a lot lower in 1-2 weeks. Losing several of their excellent O-lineman and Dak Prescott has crushed them, but Zeke isn’t making a bad situation better; he’s making it worse. Elliott this year has just one carry for 15 or more yards, he leads all RBs in fumbles (5), and he’s tied for the league lead in drops among RBs (4). Oh, and Dallas has two great defensive lines coming up on the schedule in the Eagles in Week 8 and the Steelers in Week 9, and then they have their bye, so Elliott could be a league LOSER these next three weeks and knock your ass out of the playoff race. On the positive side, Dallas expects top G Zack Martin (concussion) back this week, but now we’re also looking at freakin’ Ben DiNucci potentially starting this week, so there’s not much hope. Zeke is an unusual cat, obviously, and he’s been coddled, pampered, and entitled for a long, long time, so it’s anyone's guess as to where he’ll be in 4-5 weeks if the ugliness continues. If I could net a solid return for Zeke, I would do what Randolph Duke is advising here in this clip.
Ronald Jones (TB) — I have never been a Jones fan, but even I have admitted that he’s been running very hard between the tackles and has been breaking tackles well and piling up the rushing yardage. But here’s the problem with Jones: You can make a definitive statement about him (at least for fantasy) and it could be either overwhelmingly positive or negative, and you’d be right 40-60% of the time regardless of which side you took. Jones looked like he had the backfield on lockdown after he ran for 100 yards in three straight games headed into Week 7, but then a healthy Leonard Fournette returned and Jones promptly needed a cheap TD to avoid a terrible fantasy day (and it was weak even with the TD). But if you’re in a PPR or even a .5 PPR league, Fournette is a major problem. Fournette is now their “hurry-up” back, and their primary receiving back, which is a killer for Jones, whose stone hands they are clearly sick of. This new element to their backfield could make Jones TD-dependent and maddening for fantasy. And as good as Jones has looked this year, he’s playing behind a very good OL with the freaking G.O.A.T. so maybe, you know, Fournette would also flourish with volume. I actually believe Fournette, at his best, is better than Jones in all areas, so I’m not ruling out Fournette taking over almost completely.
Devin Singletary (RB, Buf) — See Zack Moss above. And then get out there and sell Singletary before Moss has a coming out party game, which is coming.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, Pit) — I could obviously be wrong here, but I’m looking at Week 7 as more fluke than a sign of things to come. Heading into Week 7, JuJu hadn’t reached 50+ receiving yards since Week 1, and he topped out at 5 targets over the course of his previous three games. His aDOT was sitting at a lowly 5.0 yards (he had an aDOT of 8.7 yards with Big Ben back in 2018). JuJu was all over the place last week with 14 targets, but he still averaged only 9.4 YPR, so his production was mostly about volume with Ben Roethlisberger throwing it 49 times. Going into that game last week Big Ben had attempted 36 or fewer passes in four of his five games, so I don’t want to rely on volume for JuJu, who led the team with 49 routes. However, Chase Claypool ran a route on 66% of Big Ben’s dropbacks, so he was not irrelevant. In this case, I’d lean on his body of work Weeks 1-6 to convince me to sell and will use his massive involvement to my advantage to sell for considerably more than JuJu would have fetched just days ago.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
DeVante Parker (WR, Mia) — Full disclosure, I am a Parker hater. But I’m a Parker hater because he’s insanely talented, yet he’s let me down too often. I missed out on his fifth-year breakout in 2019 because I usually give up on young receivers after 3-4 years, yet I wasn’t that inclined to give him love this summer, either. He has been pretty good this year and is currently WR26, which is right around where we had him. But he hasn’t been without some issues and some bumps and bruises. In fact, he suffered a groin injury in Week 6. Parker is also off this week, so he can’t help you in Week 7 if you need a win. Most important, we have no idea how rookie Tua Tagovailoa will perform and who he clicks with. That uncertainty alone is enough for me to be willing to move on from Parker (but again, I am a hater).