PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Justin Fields (Chi) — Obviously, his value is on the rise, but it will rise further if he’s named the starter and he puts up numbers these next couple of weeks against Cleveland and Detroit. And he will eventually put up strong fantasy digits when he’s settled in as the starter, which should happen sooner rather than later. Fields made some rookie mistakes in Week 2, but he also dropped a dime down the field to Allen Robinson, who let the ball hit him in the chest, dropping a sure 35-yard TD pass. That was an indication of what we’re looking at with Fields: excellent ball location on downfield throws. Oh, and he’ll run. Per Graham Barfield’s Week 3 Stat Pack, Fields has played on 139 snaps so far. which is a little over two full games worth, and he has accumulated 22/126/2 as a runner. Uh, yeah.
Joe Burrow (Cin) — It’s no surprise that Burrow’s off to a fairly rocky start, but what’s also no surprise is the fact that Ja’Marr Chase has scored in his first two pro games, and all Tee Higgins does is produce with Burrow. Higgins has gone over 60 yards or scored a TD in 9-of-10 games with Burrow, which is insane. And as predicted, Tyler Boyd showed serious signs of life in Week 2, so Burrow still has one of the 2-3 best starting WR groups in the league. Burrow does have a tough matchup against the Steelers this week, so you may want to hold off a week to get better value, but he’s got a nice string of games after that, starting in Week 4: vs. Jax, vs. GB, at Det, at Bal, vs. Cle, and at LV.
Antonio Gibson (WFT) — As covered in Graham’s Stat Pack on the site, there are data points that are positive with Gibson. Gibson has run a route on just 46% of Washington’s passing plays, which is only 26th among RBs, but it’s still an increase from 2020, when he was involved on 35% of Washington’s passing plays. JD McKissic is still out-snapping Gibson on third downs (19 to 6), but last year McKissic out-snapped Gibson on third downs by a huge 197 to 22 margin last season. I think a big problem is the switch to Taylor Heinicke, who is not nearly the checkdown charlie Ryan Fitzpatrick is. But Fitz isn’t dead just yet, and the cream (Gibson) will rise above these challenges because the coaches do love him.
Mike Davis (Atl) — I didn’t expect to write something positive about Mike Davis when I woke up today, but with all the hubbub about Cord Patterson, it’s clear there’s a opportunity (if you so choose) to get Davis at a discount. Despite all the Patterson headlines, Davis’ 62% snap share was still much higher than Patterson’s 33% last week. Patterson may stay involved all season, but I’m not truly buying into him as a 17-game factor.
Robert Woods (LAR) — Let’s not just give up on Bob Trees just yet. For one, there’s no way Cooper Kupp can hold on to his NFL-leading 38% target share. And also, so much for Tyler Higbee’s big breakout with Matthew Stafford. It could still happen, but the man (Higbee) had only one more target than I did last week despite playing 100% of the snaps. As for Mr. Trees, his target share improved from 15% in Week 1 to 30% in Week 2. HC Sean McVay can’t quit wide receivers, so Woods is a nice buy-low guy right now.
Darnell Mooney (Chi) — Both Mooney and stud Allen Robinson are rolling with a healthy 24% target share through two games, but Mooney has caught 11 of his 15 targets with A-Rob hauling in only 8 of the 15, and Robinson had a measly 4 targets in Week 2 while Mooney was catching 6-of-8 targets. On the season, Mooney’s catch rate is 73%, and Robinson’s is 53%. Both guys are averaging under 8.5 YPR and under 6.5 YPT (yards per target). Mooney is better than A-Rob early on in all categories, and Mooney didn’t drop a 35-yard TD from QB Justin Fields like Robinson did in Week 2. Yes, I’m all-in on Mooney this year, and while the first two weeks have been frustrating with Andy Dalton, you have to love Mooney’s usage, and he’s about to get a massive upgrade in Fields, who can actually get him the ball deep.
Jakobi Meyers (NE) — It’s only a matter of time until Meyers starts heating up with Mac Jones. He has seen at least 20% of the Patriots targets in 12-of-13 games, and Nelson Agholor can’t string together two consecutive good games here, most likely.
Laviska Shenault (Jax) — I was not personally in on Shenault as a target this year, and through games I’m glad that’s the case. However, Shenault does have a solid 16 targets in two games, and they need him as an offensive weapon, so the arrow should be pointing up soon for him.
Michael Thomas (NO) — Some risk here, but holy crap do they need him. Thomas may only need to miss the next three games, since his PUP stint is by weeks, not games. There’s a chance he’s traded because he’s disgruntled, but if so he’ll be traded to a good team with a viable QB, or else why bother?
George Kittle (SF) — This guy may just be a pain in the ass between his injury history and volatility, but TE is a wasteland yet again, and he’s clearly the best buy-low guy out there. He’s only ninth among all TEs in target share (16.1%), which can’t continue.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT STILL GOOD BUY-LOW GUYS:
Josh Allen (Buf) — I’m definitely concerned with his slow start, but as a general statement, he’s a buy-low guy. He’s had two tough matchups, which eases some concerns, and his schedule clears out nicely starting this week vs. WTF, vs. Hou, at KC, and at Ten, so the next month should be fruitful for Allen.
Justin Herbert (LAC) — They do need to get their red zone woes fixed up, but Herbert is still a man amongst boys on the field, and his OL is good.
Javonte Williams (Den) — It’s still a backfield that is divvying up the touches damn near 50/50 with Williams and Melvin Gordon. They are even in touches with 29 each, and Gordon has the edge in snaps (74 to 61). However, you take away that 70-yard TD run against a worn down Giants defense in Week 1, and Gordon has 23 carries for 62 yards, or 2.6 YPC. Williams is out-performing Melvin, so Williams owners need to be patient. It’s not easy to do that, though, especially if you’re not winning your fantasy matchups, so the Williams owner may already be willing to sell at a loss for immediate help.
James Robinson (Jax) — I’m still worried, but I had Robinson here last week expecting a correction to their dumb-ass approach in Week 1, and we got it in Week 2. Robinson out-touched Carl Hyde 14 to 2 in Week 2, and Hyde played on just 25% of the snaps and Robinson’s snap share was 73% against Denver. If that trend continues, he should start producing solid totals.
AJ Dillon (GB) — I should have known better than to back Dillon this early in the season. It seems as if all running games are struggling early in the season, which is typical, but Dillon’s outlook should improve as the weeks pass, and then the weather will be getting colder, which is when he’ll heat up. He’s also an RB1 if Aaron Jones misses time.
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — The Aiyuk owner in your league can’t start him right now, and if he/she is 0-2 or even 1-1 with a shaky team, they may start panicking. Take advantage of that because it’s a long season, and Aiyuk is probably just one big game away from seeing his value soar in a matter of hours on a Sunday afternoon.
Mark Andrews (Bal) — An underwhelming start, but Lamar Jackson may be back on track, and it’s only a matter of time until Andrews heats up.
OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE WILLING TO TRADE FOR NOW BEFORE VALUE GOES DOWN:
Kareem Hunt (Cle) — We’ll see the rookie Demetric Felton get more chances now with Jarvis Landry on IR and out at least three weeks, but I’d think we’ll also see them use Hunt a little more. Nick Chubb has actually run more routes (28) than Hunt (25) through two games, but I’d bet that changes while Landry is out.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Brandin Cooks (Hou) — I may be a Cooks hater, which is sad because he used to be my guy, and I loved him coming out back in 2014. Still only 27 (28 late this month), Cooks has been ballin’ out, and he’s the WR11 currently on the season, so I do regret not even considering him on this bad team. That said, I don’t think anyone expected Tyrod Taylor to maintain a high level of play all year, and it’s a moot point, anyway, since Tyrod is on IR and out at least three games. Rookie Davis Mills wasn’t awful in relief, a testament to their coaching staff, and he did target Cooks on half of his 18 passes, which is nice. But if I didn’t need Cooks per se, and got fair value, I’d like to move him for help elsewhere. I’m not talking about depth because Cooks should be dealt only to help your starting lineup, but he fits the bill for this article in that his production is about to take a hit.
Rondale Moore (Ari) — It’s early, and his role could easily increase, but Moore’s playing a little over his skis right now as the WR17 in fantasy through two games. He also got 42% of his yardage total on the season on one play last week - a busted coverage. Moore has been on the field for 38 of the Cardinals 79 pass plays and only Deebo Samuel has more yards gained per route run ((5.42 vs. 4.82). It’s scary to move a rookie off to a hot start, especially since Kyler Murray is balling. But if you need to sweeten the pot on another deal by throwing Moore in, flipping him now for help elsewhere will likely go down as a good move, at least for the short-term.
Robby Anderson (Car) — It’s only one bad game for Robby in Week 2, so his value probably didn’t take a big hit. But it could in 1-2 weeks if current trends prevail. Those trends are the complete opposite from 2020, when DJ Moore was the Panthers primary deep threat with an average depth of target 13.6 yards, but in 2021 that aDOT is down to only 9.5 yards, so Moore’s going to clean up and rack up a ton of high-percentage targets. As for Robby, his aDOT is 21.9 yards, so he looks volatile in this Panthers offense. As improved as he looks this year, I really don’t want to rely on Sam Darnold getting the ball deep to Robby on a consistent basis, especially since they have a lot of ancillary weapons involved, including their two TEs.
Michael Pitman (Ind) — I love the kid and I actually know him a little, but this week might be a good week to get out of the business of relying on a Colts receiver, who of course has to rely on Carson Wentz, who is clearly unreliable. We’re looking at a big dropoff even this week if Wentz can’t play, as Jacob Eason is not ready for prime time. It was fairly shocking how good Pittman looked last week, so don’t give him away.
Henry Ruggs (LV) — Due mainly to his affordable price tag and possible nice ROI on the investment, I did list Ruggs as one of my players to target this summer, and one of my top-75 favorite picks at ADP. So I’m mainly hoping that Week 2 was the start of something resembling a breakout. But I’m not buying it just yet, and I shudder at the prospect of having to use him until he settles in as a reliable option. I’m definitely not sold that we’re there yet, so I’d be willing to include him in a trade or just straight up sell high this week on Ruggs. I think Bryan Edwards is the guy to look at here.