PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Christian McCaffrey (Car) — While everyone was panicking the morning after CMC’s injury, our resident orthopedic surgeon (and former NFL player) Mark Adickes was painting a more optimistic picture of McCaffrey’s timetable to return. Even early this week, when most assumed CMC would miss another game, HC Matt Rhule gave an encouraging update on McCaffrey’s status on Monday, stating that they hope CMC can practice this week and then, per Rhule, they will “see where he is football-wise.” So basically, we’re looking at only one more game missed, if that. If the CMC owner is panicking at 1-3 or 0-4, it’s time to pay him or her a visit to talk business.
Javonte Williams (Den) — The Broncos are a bad 3-1 team, and their running game has not been great, so Williams isn’t a brilliant choice and is more of a projection for the rest of the season. Melvin Gordon is hanging in there, but Williams has consistently outplayed him and 28% of Gordon’s rushing yards this season have come on one 70-yard run against a worn down Giants defense in Week 1. Take that run away and he has 50 carries for 178 yards, or 3.6 YPC. Gordon’s still only 28, but he’s in year seven, and he’s missed 14 games his first six seasons, and the body tends to break down with age and usage, so if you’re a Williams person, you’re hoping Melvin wears down and/or misses time, which is likely. Even if that doesn’t happen, Williams should get better and better, and he should take control of a larger piece of this backfield. In short, while acquiring Williams may not work out wonderfully, I think his value will only increase the rest of the season with Gordon going the other way.
Deandre Hopkins (Ari) — This one’s just common sense, since D-Hop is one of the league’s premier receivers playing with a young QB whose game has been elevated to an MVP level this year, and it’s not about Kyler Murray’s running. He’s really had only one bad game that’s worrisome, since he was limited by Jalen Ramsey in Week 4, plus he was banged up heading into Week 3. He may have a health issue that we’re not aware of, but it just “feels” like Hopkins’ value has dropped more than a little bit these last two weeks, so he’s here to try to take advantage of any discount. Christian Kirk is still inconsistent, AJ Green is no spring chicken, Rondale Moore is still a part-time player, and Maxx Williams hasn’t had more than 16 catches since 2015.
Marvin Jones (Jax) — With DJ Chark on IR and done for the season, Marvin’s targets should be going up, and Trevor Lawrence and the offense showed signs of life in Week 4. Marvin had a bad game in Week 4, but he was tied for the 14th-most WR targets after three weeks, so you can expect 7-8 balls at least to be thrown his way each week starting now. Other than a couple of tricky spots (Buf in Week 9 and the LAR in Week 13), Jones’ schedule looks nice - starting this week against Tennessee.
Jarvis Landry (Cle) — Remember way back on September 12th, when it looked like Baker Mayfield was good? Baker threw for 320 yards on only 28 attempts, good for a fat 11.6 YPA. Since then, Baker’s YPA has gone from 10.1 to 7.9, to a pathetic 4.7. Not that Jarvis can solve all of Baker’s problems (Baker missed a long TD to OBJ in Week 4), but he clearly misses Landry, who caught all 5 of his targets for 71 yards along with a rushing TD in the opener. Landry may need another 2-3 weeks before he’s ready, but he’s eligible to come off IR after Week 5, and this is a guy who missed only one game due to injury his first seven seasons. In deeper PPR leagues, he’s a nice asset to get now at a nice discount.
Calvin Ridley (Atl) and Kyle Pitts (Atl) — It’s time now to buy low on these guys because Matt Ryan hasn’t been the problem, and the new coaching staff clearly has a clue, given how much they have gotten out of Cordarrelle Patterson. But there’s a direct correlation between what Patterson is doing and what Ridley and Pitts are not doing, which is producing at a level that we fairly expected before the season. Things should shift back to normalcy soon, since Patterson’s production is not sustainable, so Ridley and Pitts, both with good usage so far, fit the bill for this article well.
Robert Tonyan (GB) — I was not personally high on Tonyan this summer, but I understood why others on staff wanted to see him inside our top-10 at TE this summer. For one, Aaron Rodgers seriously trusts him these days, and Tonyan from all reports had a great preseason and camp. Especially with Randall Cobb making big plays in Week 4, this is probably an ideal time to target the 2021 TE29 before he starts scoring TDs again.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT STILL GOOD BUY-LOW GUYS:
Lamar Jackson (Bal) — The Ravens may no longer be a running team other than Lamar because all their RBs stink. That’s a mild concern, but Lamar’s really throwing the ball well this year, and all of a sudden they are fairly loaded at receiver with James Proche helping out, and Rashod Bateman set to make his NFL debut this week.
Antonio Brown (TB) — AB dropped a longer TD in Week 4, or else his stock would be higher. He may be a tad frustrating, but he has WR2 upside each week, and no Gronk for a few weeks will help.
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — I will list him until his value rises, because it will rise.
Robert Woods (LAR) — Even HC Sean McVay admitted this week that he has to do a better job of getting Robert Trees the ball, and simply due to the law of averages, Woods’ activity has to increase.
Laviska Shenault (Jax) — I had him here last week, and his value did rise with a big game in Week 4 along with the DJ Chark injury (out for the season). But his usage was very encouraging, especially his downfield target 50 yards down the field. His value is still rising now due to the increased volume alone.
Michael Thomas (NO) — Thomas may only need to miss one more game, since his PUP stint is by weeks, not games. They are hopeless without him.
OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE WILLING TO TRADE FOR NOW BEFORE VALUE GOES UP:
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia) — This is on the very low-end, but Tua at least fits the profile of a guy whose value is likely rising soon. He’s expected to return to the lineup in Week 6, and man do they need him because Jacoby Brissett has been bad. The outlook on Tua doesn’t look nearly as good as it did a month ago, but Miami does have the Jags, Falcons, and Texans Weeks 6, 7, and 9 (Bills in Week 8), so Tua could get a nice boost in production, thanks to a nice upcoming slate of games.
Sony Michel (LAR) — There is no doubt Darrell Henderson looked tremendous in Week 4, but Michel’s touches may have been way down because he was coming off a tough 23-touch outing against the tough Bucs defense. Regardless, there’s little doubt that Sony is not worth using for fantasy while Henderson is healthy. I just have little confidence in Henderson staying healthy, so I’m interested in Michel right now because his cost just dropped considerably.
A.J. Dillon (GB) — I got a little too excited about him this summer, but a lot of that was his low price tag around 100 overall. My excitement was for the whole season, though, not September, which I would have guessed ended up being his worst month. Dillon’s not a September guy, but he could be a big-time November and December guy, and he’s a possible RB1 if Aaron Jones misses time. He has a catch in every game, and his carry total has risen in each of the last three weeks (4>5>6>15), so he’s trending in the right direction. He’s not necessarily reliable right now, but it will take only one big game for his price tag to rise considerably.
CeeDee Lamb (Dal) — It’s early, but it appears Dak Prescott is going to his TEs a lot more than expected because that’s what the defenses are giving him, which means Lamb should be fine, as defenses start to pay more attention to Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin. Lamb’s upside may be less than we thought, thanks to their improved defense, but I’d still want to take advantage of any discount available right now with Lamb.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl) — If you’ve read this column for a number of years, you should know the drill by now: if you have Patterson at RB and you need him, by all means, roll with it. But if he’s a luxury item and you’re deliberating weekly as to whether or not you should start him, then he’s probably a good sell-high guy. Patterson has been incredibly efficient with his opportunities, playing on just 30% of the snaps last week with Wayne Gallman getting involved for the first time with a 13% snap share, but his production isn’t sustainable with his low snap numbers, and defenses will start paying more attention to him and game planning to stop him, so I don’t think selling high will go down as a mistake as long as you get something nice back. At this point, he should be able to net a return in the CeeDee Lamb or DeAndre Hopkins neighborhood.
Leonard Fournette (TB) — He had the big game we expected in Week 4, good for him. But I still don’t trust him, and apparently, neither does Bruce Arians, who will not commit to Fournette publicly as his top back (not that he has to). It’s possible Lenny settles in as a strong weekly contributor, but I doubt it. The playoffs are three months away still, you know. Adding up his positives and negatives, I’d rather sell high than have to deal with his volatility and tough lineup decisions with him. When you’re considering whether or not to start him, it’s usually a tough decision, and that’s the problem.
Kenyan Drake (LV) — Adam Gase was right. It didn’t take long, but the Raiders now hate The Drake, and it’s already obvious they overpaid for him. He didn’t get a target in Week 4, and he’s literally worthless if he’s not getting love in the passing game, and even then he’s nothing special. Accept whatever you can get for Drake that’s within the realm of viability.
Corey Davis (NYJ) — I did like Davis this past week like a lot of people did, and it was nice to see him come through. But I never have a problem flipping this guy coming off a big game, because he’s always been matchup-needy in terms of when he produces. The Jets still have a bad OL, a rookie QB in need of a lot of seasoning, and multiple wideouts who are more than capable of commanding targets, like Jamison Crowder, who quickly re-established himself in Week 4.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT STILL GOOD SELL GUYS:
Mike Gesicki (Mia) — He did have a big game in Week 4, but I still do not trust him. He seems to be better off with Jacoby Brissett, who is likely looking at only one more start.