Fantasy Football Day Trader: Week 1 Newsletter
Welcome to the Fantasy Football Day Trader, where the writers at The Fantasy Footballers team up to present our favorite players to invest in as well as those to fade. Fantasy football is a lot like the stock market, and this article series is meant to assist you with your investment portfolio. We’re here to present our fantasy opinions for your consideration, and I can tell you firsthand that we preach what we praise. This article series will present fantasy players that we’re looking to move and the price tag that we think is fair. You should always try to assess your trade partner’s valuation of players before jumping to a price tag that you assume is fair. If you’re new to fantasy or if you’d like a refresher on general trade strategy, we have an evergreen article from last year to help: The Art of the Fantasy Football Trade.
Fantasy Day Trader: Week 1 Newsletter
After an offseason of fantasy football narratives and projections, we saw the chaos that is Week 1. Some players like Calvin Ridley far exceeded expectations while other players like Michael Thomas disappointed this past weekend. Don’t overreact to a single game, because a lot can change over the next 15 weeks…We’re just getting started. However, as each week of the season progresses, we gain a little bit more information. There is a lot of chaos and uncertainty early in the season, especially for players in new circumstances (rookies, players on new teams, etc). This presents fantasy GMs with a huge opportunity to diversify their portfolio. Now, let’s get to it!
Investments (Trade For)
The Ravens had two red zone rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line in Week 1. Both of them went to J.K. Dobbins, who was drafted in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. He converted both of his red zone attempts into touchdowns. So you’re telling me the league’s highest-scoring offense from 2019 gave their red zone touches to a rookie over Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram? Take notes, folks. While we shouldn’t expect him to be the sole red zone threat, this speaks to the team’s confidence in Dobbins. Let’s take a closer look. Does he have the draft pedigree? Check. Clear path to fantasy relevance? Check. Upside to be an elite fantasy RB if the chips fall the right way? Check. Talented pass-catcher? Check. Secured role in the offense? Not guaranteed, but it’s looking good. While it’s not for the faint of heart, I think J.K. Dobbins is an excellent player to target in trades. He delivers immediate flex value and has the talent to become the lead dog in Baltimore if he continues to impress…But to be clear, it’s Ingram’s role to lose. Dobbins is an admittedly risky trade target with immense upside. Price Tag: Flex (WR3/RB3)
If you follow me on Twitter, you knew this was coming. Taylor is obviously a hot ticket right now, but I still don’t think he’s being valued where he should be. His underlying metrics on Sunday were outstanding, and he caught a whopping 6 balls which is something usually reserved for elite workhorses. Rivers hammers his running backs with targets, and the offensive line in Indy is one of the best in football. His film made it obvious that he’s a man amongst boys and his combination of speed, vision, and relentless downhill attack should prove to be RB1 worthy without many concerns. With Marlon Mack out of the picture, Taylor is going to absolutely feast. Nyheim Hines will keep his role, but there is plenty for Taylor to do in that offense. I’ve been aggressive in targeting him, trading away guys like Joe Mixon, Todd Gurley, and even Austin Ekeler. Taylor is the rare example of a “invest high” since he has genuine top-five upside. If your leaguemates are asking for a lot, that’s fine. The only guys I’d have above him right now are Barkley, CMC, Zeke, Kamara, Cook, CEH, Henry, Jacobs, and maybe Miles Sanders pending health. Taylor is a league winner, and this may be the last open window to get him for a price that’s still worth it.
I’ll admit, OBJ had a rough opening week. His three catches left a lot to be desired but the good news is that he was targeted 10 times. He also drew three defensive penalties on throws that don’t show up on the stat sheet. At this point, Beckham’s fantasy value is at rock bottom. He has more favorable matchups over the next three weeks, so if you have even a shred of faith left in OBJ as a fantasy asset, now is the time to invest. Price Tag: Low end WR2/RB2
As fantasy managers, we were all excited to see the new Joe Brady-led Panthers offense in action. However, for D.J. Moore, it was far from a perfect start to the season. He led the Panthers receivers in targets, but only hauled in 4 receptions for 54 yards. That stat line does not instill any excitement. So why should you buy into D.J. Moore? He still accounted for 26.5% of the team’s targets and 35.6% of the team’s air yards, which would both be career highs if sustained. In addition, his Yards after Catch (YAC) per reception of 2.0 was quite a bit lower than his career average of 5.84. The volume is there, and his efficiency is bound to improve. Go acquire D.J. Moore! Price Tag: Mid WR2/RB2
Sanders only caught three of five targets for 15 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Buccaneers. This translated to 9.0 fantasy points (half PPR), good for the overall WR36. Sounds about right, since most figured he’d only be a fringe fantasy WR3 as QB Drew Brees’ third or fourth option–at best. But did you know that four of his five targets were in the red zone, one of which resulted in the team’s only offensive TD from someone not named Alvin Kamara? And did you know that those four targets were the most red-zone targets received by any offensive player in Week 1 (tied with Aaron Jones)? Keep in mind, this was accomplished before star WR Michael Thomas injured his ankle. With Thomas now expected to miss a few weeks, all receiving options should see a bump in targets. They also have great matchups on deck against the Raiders, Packers, and Lions. Sanders is a cheap acquisition that could boost your lineups with his potential upside as Brees’ new top wideout. Price Tag: Flex (WR3/RB3)
Fades (Trade Away)
All offseason, fantasy analysts were debating who would become the alpha receiver for the Giants. Would it be Slayton, Tate, or Shepard? Or Engram? It was difficult to predict who would emerge as the most fantasy-relevant player because every one of them missed a notable chunk of the 2019 season, so we hadn’t seen them on the field enough at the same time to make accurate predictions. Well, Slayton was clearly the most productive offensive player in Week 1. But you have to remember that Golden Tate will be coming back soon. And what if predicting the Giants’ most productive receiver every week turns into the same drill we play with Patriots running backs? Slayton should continue to be productive as a fringe WR2/WR3, but he has a history of being a boom/bust player. For reference, Slayton finished as the WR35 overall in 2019 (points-per-game basis)…granted as a rookie. He’s coming off a top-5 WR performance in Week 1. Cash in that spike in value if you can! Price Tag: WR2
I like Evans as a talent but his preseason ADP kept me from drafting him anywhere. I’m a huge Tom Brady fan but I’ve been trying to tell people for three seasons now that he is not the same guy he used to be by any measure. The fact that he’s still succeeded despite the physical decline is a testament to the greatness of both Tom and the Pats organization. I listed him as my top landmine at QB during draft season for a reason. Brady’s arm strength has been declining for a significant time now, Bill just knew how to cover it up. His ability to push the ball down the field isn’t just worse – it’s an afterthought for Tom. Evans makes his living in the red zone and on downfield throws where he can win matchups at the point of catch. Brady has always targeted the crisp route runners and relied more on continuity and field awareness, that’s why he’s made receivers that had no business being superstars into household names. Evans is not the kind of player that meshes well with Brady historically. We already saw concerns in week one with Evans, but chalked them up to the matchup with Lattimore – which is fair. This is exactly why you trade him away, because people may still believe he’s a top tier fantasy receiver who just had a tough matchup. When in reality, I expect this to be closer to the new normal. Godwin certainly fits the mold for Brady, but Evans doesn’t. Godwin is a borderline low investment opportunity for these same reasons. The people that think Brady upgraded this Tampa Bay receiving corps from a fantasy standpoint are going to have a long year, so if you were/are one of them – jump ship on Evans if you can.
Mostert finished as RB6 in Week 1 with 23.1 fantasy points. But here’s the thing, he scored over half of those fantasy points (14.1) on a single play. I understand that you can’t take that play away from him, but let’s just say you did. He would’ve finished right between Josh Adams and Myles Gaskin on the week. We’ve seen how unpredictable the 49er backfield can be under Kyle Shanahan, trade him away now before it’s too late. Price Tag: High end RB2/WR2
Chris Carson was expected to lead this backfield in rushing attempts and be a focal point of a run-heavy offense. Surprisingly, he only accounted for 37.5% of the RB carries (6) against the Falcons, being outrushed by both Carlos Hyde and Russell Wilson. He did catch all of 6 of his targets, with two of them resulting in touchdowns. He would finish the week with the 2nd most fantasy points over expected (+10.8) at the RB position. Generally, that can be viewed as positive if the workload is substantial. But if he continues to receive minimal touches, we might be looking at a TD dependent RB. Field offers around your league and do not hesitate to trade him away if the right offer comes along. Price Tag: High WR2/RB2
Crowder absolutely exploded against the Bills, hauling in seven catches from a whopping 13 targets for 115 yards and a TD. He totaled 21.0 half PPR points, making him the overall WR8 this week. Simply put, Crowder was the only saving grace in a dreadful Jets offense. But remember: he’s done this before. In last year’s opener, he caught 14 of 17 targets for 99 yards plus a four-yard rush, finishing with 17.3 points. Then he ended the season with an average 9.9 fantasy points per game, or as the overall WR31. He will certainly have some more boom games, but why not trade him away now after his “boomiest” performance and while his stock is likely the highest it will be all year? Note that most of his production this past Sunday came from a lumbering 69-yard score. This will not be a common reoccurrence, especially with a stout 49ers defense up next. Trade him away high now and avoid having a share in Adam “b-hole” Gase’s offense. Price Tag: WR2/RB2
Who are you trading for/away in fantasy football? What else would you like to see in this article series moving forward? Feel free to contact me or the other writers on Twitter with your thoughts! -Jeff | @TheFantasyEng. Happy trading!