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
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. I’ll say that I don’t think he will get any worse throwing the ball, and the fact that he ran this past week is a great sign overall, since it proves that there’s nothing serious keeping him from running. 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. Most importantly, if the Lamar owner is struggling heading into his bye, this is the time to take him off his or her hands if you’re looking for a high-impact QB. I’d bet that his owner is in desperate need of a W in Week 7, you can get Lamar at a nice discount. Lamar and 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.
T.J. Hockenson (TE, Det) — He did score last week, but it’s also officially ridiculous how little action this guy gets and how crappy a job they do utilizing him. But TJH does stand out a little at his position simply because it’s been the same carnage at TE we’re used to, so reliable assets are hard to come by. I don’t want to proactively overpay for a Lion, but just like D’Andre Swift (who’s been here as a “trade for” guy for a month), perhaps they may actually look to get him the ball more going forward. Or maybe it’ll happen by accident. The ghost of Marvin Jones isn’t cutting it and no one else is really stepping up alongside Kenny Golladay, so maybe Matthew Stafford will just start looking for him more because no one else outside of Golladay is doing anything. He also has a very good matchup this week against Atlanta. They are healthier on defense right now, but they did give up 3 TDs to Bobby Tonyan two weeks ago.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — I’m just going to keep listing him until he has a big game. If it takes listing him here every week until I stop doing this column around Week 14, I’ll do it. That’s two weeks in a row now that Jordan Wilkins’ snaps have been down below 5 total, so it may be slowly sinking into these dum-dum 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.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, KC) — I was actually not afraid to list him and talk him up last week as a player to trade for, even knowing Le’Veon Bell was on the way, and I really did like him in Week 6. He’s not getting a lot of targets and he’s proven to be a poor short-yardage back, so don’t go crazy here, but I’m still not that worried about Bell. If CEH costs about what a mid-range RB2 would normally cost (say, a low-end WR1 or a strong TE1), then I’d certainly be interested in getting what should still be a healthy piece of this offense in Edwards-Helaire.
JK Dobbins (RB, Bal) — I had a “gut” feeling that he would make a play in Week 6, but I think that feeling was actually indigestion. Dobbins has been a nightmare, but if you drafted him around his ADP this summer, you went against my advice. However, while I jumped the gun last week and listed him, the fact is Dobbins’ value took another hit this past week. Mark Ingram did get banged up in the game and may not be ready to go after the bye, which could certainly help Dobbins. Of course, 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. Obviously, 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 believe Dobbins will be a #1 pick in 2021.
Diontae Johnson (WR, Pit) — Yet another missed game in Week 6, which means Johnson’s stock has dropped further. Granted, the more Chase Claypool plays, the higher his stock goes, which is not great for Johnson. But I do still believe Johnson is the #1 here, if they have a #1. It’s surely not JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is as good as gone as a free agent in 2021, and TE Eric Ebron is up to his old tricks again coming up small. Johnson might be had for pennies on the dollar right now, so I’d love to get him on the cheap and see what I see. The fact that he was able to practice on 10/20 is a very good sign for his Week 7 status. Do not forget: they love Diontae.
Tyler Lockett (WR, Sea) — Lockett’s last two games were poor, but he’s a streaky player who is too good to be contained for long. It’s not like they have been throwing the ball much to their other receivers, as David Moore has yet to see more than 4 targets in a game.
Deebo Samuel (WR, SF) — Deebo did have a really nice game in Week 5, so his value shot up, but while risky, if healthy, he’s probably just getting started. Again, as his head coach told me in February, he’s still got a long way to go in terms of having a full understanding of their offense. He should begin now to be less and less reliant on gadget plays, but we’ll still see them, which is good.
Dallas Goedert (TE, Phi) — Welp, I took a long, long time two weeks ago to write up Zach Ertz and point out how alarming his play was, and now he’s on IR and out at least three weeks. I also listed Goedert as a guy to trade for last week, but his value is now rising with him eligible to play Week 7 (but more likely he’s targeting a Week 8 return). As soon as he makes a play and/or has a good game, his value will rise considerably, so time is running out to get Goedert at a discount. He’s not a 100% lock to deliver, just keep in mind, since they have a lot of other weapons returning soon, and Ertz isn’t officially in the dirt for 2020.
SOME OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE INTERESTED IN TRADING FOR THIS WEEK:
Christian McCaffrey (RB, Car) — McCaffrey is out Week 7, and if his owner in your league does not have Mike Davis and is in dire need for a win this week, it’s time to come knocking. Thanks to Davis’ stellar play, we can be confident that when CMC does come back, he's truly ready and healed from his high ankle sprain (which could very well be Week 8).
Alexander Mattison (RB, Min) — This entry is really only for those Dalvin Cook owners who didn’t get Mattison in their draft. If this is you, I’d venture to guess Mattison’s owner was highly perturbed by his Week 6 flop, and Mattison can’t be used this week because they are on a bye. In other words, Mattison may feel worthless to his owner if he or she doesn’t own Cook, who could be back for their next game and once again make Mattison a longshot play only. This is a good opportunity to right a draft day mistake if you took Cook and missed out on Mattison.
Boston Scott (WR, Phi) — In a competitive 14-team league I’m in, I took Scott late in the draft for depth, and he’s been a dead spot on my bench since he came up so small in Week 1. So on 10/20, I packaged him to an owner in dire need of a win in Week 7, and I feel like I got a great return on Scott, who looks horrible this year behind their horrible OL. Also, if you have Scott and don’t have Miles Sanders, this is a great time to send him on over to the Sanders owner for 2X what you’d get for him if Sanders was healthy.
Chris Godwin (WR, TB) — It was pretty clear to me last week that they needed him majorly in this offense, and after their struggles in Week 5, it’s even more clear. Mike Evans isn’t exactly being peppered with targets, which tells me a healthy Godwin will.
Davante Adams (WR, GB) — Still an obvious choice, but his value is still down after a poor showing in Week 6. Adams’ value will absolutely rise considerably if he has a big game in the near future. In fact, he may go off this week against the Texans. And keep in mind, he’s already had his bye. Also keep in mind their other WRs still stink.
Note: Removed John Brown on 10/21, he’s back on the injury report.
Noah Fant (TE, Den) — Fant is a good bet to return for their next game, and they desperately need him. Fant didn’t even do much Weeks 3-4 with 10/81/0 receiving, yet through four weeks he was the TE4 for fantasy, thanks to two very nice games to open the season. He was looking like THE breakout star at the position working with fellow 2019 rookie Drew Lock before things imploded.
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.
Jimmy Graham (TE, Chi) — He didn’t have a big game Week 6 and rookie Cole Kmet scored, so Jimmy’s value took a hit this past weekend. But Graham was second on the team with a healthy 8 targets, and no one else is really stepping up in the passing game after Allen Robinson, so Graham may be a decent guy to trade for now right now if you’re hurting at TE.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones (QB/WR, Atl) — I can’t say I’m buying that they’re back, at least Ryan as a top-10 fantasy option. I’ve seen it a hundred times the last half-decade or so: a player’s vibes are terrible for whatever reason (injuries, poor coaching, poor supporting cast, etc.) and then he feasts on a bad defense and people forget the concerns that were present just days earlier. That will probably be the case for these guys, who also got a small boost due to the fact that there was a major change with the head coach and GM let go. Those types of moves always seem to help teams initially, but most of their issues are still present. As usual, I’m not selling at any cost and I’m not giving either away. The fact is, they have Det, Car, and Den their next three games, so Julio and Ryan may stay hot. But after that, their schedule down the stretch looks nasty, and I’m not convinced the Falcons are good enough to matriculate the ball down the field consistently against good defenses. Starting Week 12 they have NO, LV, NO, LAC, TB, KC, and TB to end the season. The Saints defense has been shaky, but I do think they’ll get it together, and the rest of that run is pretty nasty.
Kenyan Drake (RB, Ari) — LOL. The Drake. The Drake did it again. Here’s the deal with Drake: he’s alive and well and his hold on the early-down work and the RB carries in Arizona is strong. But he’s also TD-dependent with very little action in the passing game. I’m in a league that’s 14-teams with two flexes, and in that league I start Drake every week without hesitation. If your situation is similar and you’re not really deliberating weekly as to whether or not you should start Drake, then I’d stick and stay with him, plug him in ideally as an RB3/flex, and I’d accept his volatility because, as we saw in Week 6, when he hits, he hits big. But if he’s a weekly lineup decision type for me, I’d rather not deal with Drake. And obviously, with his value up, now’s certainly a good time to make a move.
A.J. Green (WR, Cin) — Is AJG back? I’m not ruling it out, but there’s one simple factor that tells me we are not out of the woods with Green: Tee Higgins. It would be one thing if Green posted 8/96 on 11 targets as he did with Higgins coming up small. But Higgins out-produced Green with 3 fewer targets, posting 6/125 on his 8 targets. Higgins has clearly gained a high level of trust from QB Joe Burrow, as has slot man Tyler Boyd, so it would not surprise me in the least if Green went back to being a ghost in their next game. Green still won’t net much of a return, so I wouldn’t give him away, but I’d like to move on from him with his value at least on the upswing. If he was dropped in your league, you can also try picking him up this week and then trading him.
Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry (WRs, Cle) — Odell is still losing his temper on the sideline, but he’s not the problem in Cleveland, and neither is Landry, who has toughed it out with multiple injuries. The problem, other than their conservative offense, is Baker Mayfield, who has been very bad this year, and especially lately. I’m not giving either away, especially OBJ, but right now it looks like these guys need planetary alignment with everything going perfectly for them to do anything of note. But the vibes are very bad right now, almost entirely due to Mayfield, so a full implosion could occur. So if I could get out of the Browns receivers business at a fair price, I’m aborting the OBJ or Jarvis mission and I’m selling off quickly. Only then will I sleep well at night.
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 importantly, 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).
Hayden Hurst (TE, Atl) — I still don’t know why, but Hurst, for the most part, has looked like a lost cause for most of this season. He can’t throw it to himself, and Matt Ryan simply doesn’t look for him consistently. If you can use his fluky performance in Week 7 (15.7 PPR points with 4/57/1) to your advantage and sell him off, I’m all for it based on what I’ve seen from Hurst more often than not, which is him being only the fourth option in the passing game, and it’s a distant fourth.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
Mike Evans (WR, TB) — I wrote last week that Tom Brady will be looking for Chris Godwin plenty once Godwin returned, and Godwin saw 7 targets last week. That’s not a ton, but all other Buccaneer WRs, including Evans, of course, combined for 5 targets. Something is going on with Evans, who had only 2 looks last week, and he may still be bothered by the ankle injury he sustained a couple of weeks ago (although he was taken off the injury report late last week). Honestly, if I get positive word on his health in a week and he has another poor game, I may actually revert to being willing to buy Evans, so try not to sell too low on him. But for now, I still think the smart money is on moving Evans, not acquiring him.
Darius Slayton (WR, NYG) — Again, Slayton is Jones’ guy, no question about it (that’s one of the main reasons I pushed him this summer), but he’s now had three great games and three bad games with 6, 7, and 8 PPR points Weeks 2-4. He’s certainly capable of evening out the production and posting good numbers more consistently, but at some point, someone needs to step up in the passing game, and that could be Sterling Shepard, who Jones also clicks well with. To reiterate: this is not a sell-at-all-cost recommendation, but if I could benefit from his strong performances in Weeks 5-6 by moving him in a trade to help myself elsewhere, I’d be fine with it.