PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Aaron Rodgers (GB) — He’s a complicated fella, you know? And also, Florida, man. Week 1 was a burn-the-tape game for the Packers and Rodgers, whose history in Miami is not very good. But it will be a distant memory after he slays the Lions this week. That will cause his value to rise considerably. He’s at SF and then vs. Pit the following two weeks, which could be tricky, but the matchups look good otherwise.
Justin Herbert (LAC) — I did not like Herbert in Week 1 and he was outside the top-20 - but seeing the Chargers and Herbert play in the opener, I already regret my stance that I was out on Herbert at his ADP around 75 overall this summer. I thought that was too pricey related to the other QBs on the board, but Herbert may be worth it. The OL looked incredible, and Herbert didn’t check it down to Austin Eckler for good reason: he had a clean pocket and guys were open down the field. Mike Williams looked great, and Keenan Allen always looks great. Herbert and the Chargers should crush it against the Cowboys this week, so before his value soars, this is the week to get him.
Baker Mayfield (Cle) — I was disappointed he didn’t get any TDs in Week 1, but he did complete 75% of his passes for a ridiculous 11.5 YPA, and he didn’t have Odell Beckham. I was shocked to see rookie Anthony Schwartz make plays in the opener, but it bodes well for Baker, who has 6-7 viable pass targets this year. The TDs may not come as often as we like, but I do think Baker and the Browns passing game will do well.
Ezekiel Elliott (Dal) — I’ll admit I panicked after Week 1, and part of me is still worried about Zeke’s value on this team, but there were too many elements in play that were against Elliott, so I think he fits here. Zeke played on a promising 83% of the snaps against the best run defense in the league, and he did it without stud G Zack Martin, who will return this week. Zeke couldn’t beat a cornerback to the end zone out in space at the goal line in the early third quarter, but he did look good otherwise, and this team should score a lot of points most weeks, so he can produce high-end RB1 totals even if Tony Pollard remains more involved.
Javonte Williams (Den) — It’s already looking like I oversold Williams this summer the way I oversold Jonathan Taylor last year. You know, the guy who was a league-winner and who put up 24.3 FPG as the RB3 the final six weeks of the season. Melvin Gordon popped off that long run, and he looked good doing it, but before that play, Williams was the more effective back for much of the game. He had 15 opportunities in a tough matchup, and he equaled Gordon’s 33 snaps. Gordon ran 19 routes while Williams ran 15, which is very encouraging. Patience is needed, and ideally he’s your RB3 until he inevitably moves up your own personal depth chart. I’m also listing him because he could do something big this week with a tasty matchup against the Jaguars.
Najee Harris (Pit) — Granted, Jonathan Taylor has a great OL, but remember when people thought he stunk last year? I said at the time that he just needed reps, and his OL just needed to gel a little, and that was the case. Harris is talented enough to produce with his massive volume, even behind a poor OL, but not until he gets some reps under his belt. Harris never left the field on Pittsburgh’s 58 offensive snaps, which is incredible. He’s a no-brainer for this article after Week 1, especially with the Raiders and Bengals the next two weeks.
James Robinson (Jax) — Hey, I’m not giving up much for him, but maybe if I emerged from Week 1 with an embarrassment of riches at WR, I can trade a 7th round type for Robinson. Regardless, I think an overcorrection may be coming and he will start getting the ball. We all knew Urban Myer was going to use Carlos Hyde a lot, but it’s insane that Hyde out-touched Robinson 12-to-8. I also know Duke Johnson is lurking and potentially takes away from Robinson in the passing game, which is key because Robinson plays over Hyde in that role. There are definitely concerns here, so I wouldn’t want to give up a starter for him, but I also do believe the cream will rise to the top and Robinson will hold solid value as an RB2.
Trey Sermon (SF) — Raheem Mostert is done for the season, and while there’s obviously competition in San Fran with Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty, I’d be interested in acquiring Sermon on the cheap - as long as I didn’t have to give up another solid or better RB to get him. HC Kyle Shanahan is known for showing certain players tough love by being critical of them in the media and doing high-profile things like making a presumed factor in their backfield inactive for the opener. Sermon has dug himself into a hole, and Mitchell may be the answer for SF and hold the job, but I still think Sermon is a viable buy-low. He may be an even better buy-low guy in 2-3 weeks, keep in mind, so there’s no rush.
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — Let’s be clear: Deebo Samuel is the #1 right now, but for all the hub-bub about Aiyuk, he still finished second on the 49ers in routes run (15) while Deebo led the team (25). He’ll only go up from here, so he’s a good buy-low guy with people panicking out there.
Marquez Callaway (NO) — That was a big surprise, seeing Callaway get just two targets in the game, but Jameis Winston threw for fewer than 150 passing yards, and we do like him this week against a Panthers defense that gave up 5/97/2 receiving to Corey Davis in the season opener. He’s more appealing in a larger league, since 10-teamers probably don’t need to worry about this guy for now.
Tyler Higbee (LAR) — As stupid as I felt by taking Higbee over my guy TJ Hockenson in the FP startup dynasty draft back in May of 2020, I actually thought I could get Hock a couple rounds later - but more importantly I was going for Higbee’s upside in a great offfense. Last year was really discouraging, but it may be happening this year. Higbee ran a route on 26 of Stafford’s 28 dropbacks (93%), a huge uptick from last season, and Higbee moved all around the Rams formation, lining up in the slot 29% of the time, out wide 25% of the time, and on the line of scrimmage on 46% of his routes. I’ve always said he has some Travis Kelce in him, and Matthew Stafford may unlock it, so get him before he goes off.
Kyle Pitts (Atl) — What a buzzkill Pitts was in Week 1, but it wasn’t all bad. His 8 targets tied for the team lead with Calvin Ridley, and he ran 31 routes on his 37 pass-play snaps. He also lined up out wide or in the slot on 78% of his routes, so he is, in fact, a big WR. I’d have to guess the Falcons’ offense will get better, since it can’t get any worse than the opener.
OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE WILLING TO TRADE FOR NOW BEFORE VALUE GOES UP:
Josh Allen (Buf) — He looked like a rookie Week 1, and he may even struggle this week in Miami, but I can’t believe Allen will take a step back this year. He may statistically, but he’s still a juggernaut, and this is still a pass-happy offense. Buffalo went 68% pass-heavy on first-down, which was the second-highest pass rate of Week 1 behind only Dallas (71%).
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — I’ve struggled with CEH all summer, and he was NOT someone I pumped up because I wasn’t sold on his ROI at his ADP. I’m still not sold that he can perform like a second round pick, but today you might be able to get him for a third or fourth round value, and that’s not bad. CEH still had 17 opportunities and 72% of the snaps, and he is due for some positive regression playing in one of the league’s best offenses.
Sony Michel (LAR) — This is a long game with Michel. Clearly, he’s not ready for a large role, but that will come, and I still think he can handle half their backfield touches once he’s settled in. I also still think Darrell Henderson is a good bet to wear down/get hurt, so if I could get Michel at a song this week or in future weeks, I’d like to do it.
AJ Dillon (GB) — You may be able to get him for a song after their Week 1 debacle. It means very little, but he did get only 2 fewer touches and .6 fewer fantasy points than top-12 pick Aaron Jones. But Dillon could do some serious damage this week against the Lions, and his value will soar if he does.
Mark Andrews (Bal) — Very disappointed in Andrews’ output in the opener, and Lamar Jackson’s play, for that matter. But his role was encouraging, since he was on the field for 95% of Lamar’s dropbacks. Last year, it was 82%. He’ll be fine.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Melvin Gordon (Den) — Sure, that was a nice 70-yard run in the opener, but Javonte Williams outplayed Gordon up until that point, and if you take away Gordon’s long run, he was outplayed by Javonte Williams. Maybe Gordon hangs on all year and the presence of Williams brings out the best in him. But even if that’s the case, he’s still looking at just 50% of the snaps because the coaching staff isn’t going to deny Williams his touches, which he earned since joining the team.
Christian Kirk (Ari) — I’ve actually always been a Kirk apologist, but it’s been a roller coaster ride the last two seasons. I wasn’t that into him this summer, but his performance in the opener was encouraging, as he ran most of his routes from the slot and had a solid 16% target share. Still, while he could be on the verge of a breakout season, I’m not giving up just yet on AJ Green, and I know they love rookie Rondale Moore. I can see Kirk continuing to be volatile, so if you can get a good return, I’d bet you won’t regret moving him after his value was boosted in Week 1.
OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE WILLING TO TRADE FOR NOW BEFORE VALUE GOES DOWN:
None of note.