Fantasy Football Day Trader: Week 3
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 3
We’re off and running! We now have two weeks under our belt, so we’re starting to see the early stages of teams and players taking form. If you’re 0-2, don’t freak out! If you’re 2-0, you still have a long way to go so keep grinding. Before we unveil our writers’ investment portfolio for the week, here are three trade tips for your consideration:
- Think about what your trade partner wants. Before approaching another leaguemate, look at their team to identify their strengths and weaknesses. What NFL teams do they root for? What NFL jerseys do they own? Who was on their team last year? If you’re in another league with them – who’s on their team? What kind of player are they – do they lean RB heavy or prefer having an elite TE? Whether your first communication is an actual trade offer or a text to start a conversation, you should always be thinking “what are they going to get out of this trade?”. While we always want to “win” our trades, it’s critical that the other leaguemate receives something of value in return…Especially if you want to trade with them again in the future.
- Look at other leaguemates’ benches. This gives you an idea of how they value that player. If they have DJ Moore, Jamison Crowder, and Robby Anderson in their lineup and AJ Green on their bench – Green is probably relatively easy to acquire. Conversely, if they have CeeDee Lamb in their lineup over Cooper Kupp, Lamb is probably going to be difficult to acquire.
- Stay water. Don’t be afraid to change your opinions, especially early in the season. Many fantasy GM’s hold on to pre-season expectations for too long – I know I’m guilty of it sometimes. Savvy owners are able to adapt quickly with new information. For example, I was low on Aaron Jones this offseason because I didn’t trust his workload. Green Bay’s actions this offseason indicated that they wanted a committee backfield. However, Jones has been given a heavy workload so far this season. Jones has now seen 20+ touches in five of his last NFL games. While I’m not admitting defeat just yet, I like Jones a lot more now than I did this offseason. You might find that a player you disliked this offseason could become a screaming value as the season progresses. Always be willing to adapt.
Investments (Trade For)
David Johnson (Jeff Greenwood – @TheFantasyEng)
David Johnson looked great in Week 1 (@KC) but struggled in Week 2 against a stout Baltimore defense. Through two games, he has received exactly 11 rushes and four targets in each game. The Texans have struggled so far this season, especially considering the lack of weapons surrounding Watson. Will Fuller isn’t healthy, and he and Brandin Cooks have both missed significant playing time in recent years. I expect David Johnson to see more touches as the season progresses, and we should expect the Texans to favor the run more when they’re in easier matchups than the Chiefs and the Ravens. Keep in mind that Bill O’Brien traded for David Johnson and received a lot of criticism…O’Brien should give DJ every opportunity to succeed so that it looks like a good trade in retrospect. In Week 3, David Johnson faces the elite Pittsburgh defense that held Saquon to 6 yards on 15 carries, although Melvin Gordon had more luck with 70 yards on 19 carries. Pro Move: Reach out to the person who rosters DJ this week and make an offer below what you’re willing to give up… If it doesn’t work, try again next week if/when DJ has a modest outing against the incredible Steelers Defense, hoping the price drops from Week 2 to Week 3. Price Tag: Mid-range RB2.
A.J. Green (Peter Chung – @FF_Hypeman)
I could easily have put T.Y. Hilton here instead. Both are aging wideouts with prolific histories in Fantasy Football. Both also have unfortunate histories with injuries. Both are being targeted heavily by their new QBs. Both are also not producing real or fantasy results. But when it comes down to it, I’d rather chase targets supplied by the “new hotness,” Joe Burrow, than aging vet Philip Rivers. In just two games, Green saw nine targets against the Chargers and a whopping 13 targets against the Browns. His combined 22 targets are tied for fifth-most in the league in ALL offensive positions. Incredulously though, he’s only caught eight of those targets (36.4%) for 80 scoreless yards. But remember – he’s working with a rookie QB after a truncated offseason and no preseason games to build their rapport. His chemistry with Burrow is still a work in progress, though it’s encouraging to not only see his target count increase, but also his targeted air yards (14.7 to 16.8). In fact, his 15.9 average targeted air yards is currently the 12th best in the league. His 43.4% share of the team’s air yards is 5th best in the league. He’s clearly getting opportunities with valuable targets. It helps to know that he had a TD called back for debatable reasons in Week 1, and received two Red Zone passes in Week 2. Green will resurge as a volatile WR3 with WR1 upside once his chemistry with Burrow is ironed out. Make sure you trade for him at a discount now before that happens. Price Tag: WR3/RB3
Welcome to my Week 2 TED talk entitled
AJ Green: A Target Montage
subtitle: "Just Out of Reach" pic.twitter.com/xBUaLEL4Wt
— Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) September 18, 2020
D.J. Chark (Aaron Larson – @aalarson)
Chark has had an underwhelming two weeks to open the season, but he still sits as the WR33 on just seven targets. He still leads Jacksonville in receiving yards despite being the fourth-most targeted player. His 15.6 yards/target is currently the fourth-highest in the NFL, so you can have optimism that once the targets inevitably increase, the fantasy production should take off. Last season we saw the types of explosive weeks Chark is capable of producing and there’s no reason to believe that there aren’t more of those to come, likely sooner than later. Price Tag: FLEX WR/RB3
Diontae Johnson (Marvin Elequin – @FF_MarvinE)
Heading into the season, we all expected Juju Smith-Schuster to be the lead WR for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But through two weeks, Diontae Johnson has been the leader in targets (23), receiving yards (149), weighted opportunity rating (0.70), and expected fantasy points (35.5, per Rotoviz) for this passing offense! Ben Roethlisberger continues to look his way as evidenced by his 31.9% target share, and I expect that to continue as the season progresses. Diontae is currently the WR16 in PPR points per game, despite pacing as the WR4 in targets per game (11.5). If his TD rate improves relative to the targets he has received, we could be looking at a low-end WR1 for the rest of the season. Considering Juju’s name value, it is possible he is still valued higher than Diontae. Take advantage of that and try to acquire Diontae Johnson, who could very well be the WR1 of this offense. Price Tag: Low WR2
Fades (Trade Away)
Michael Gallup (Jeff Greenwood – @TheFantasyEng)
On draft day, Gallup looked like a screaming value. He was incredibly productive at the back half of last season, and even his coaching staff was referring to Gallup as a number one receiver. Many of us expected Gallup to be productive again this year despite the addition of CeeDee Lamb. I mean the Rams supported three wide receivers a couple of years ago, why can’t Dak? Well, Gallup has received fewer targets and fewer air yards than Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in both games so far this season. Furthermore, Zeke and Dalton Schultz (TE) received more targets than Gallup in Week 2. Now I do think that we’ll see Gallup bounce back, but I don’t think we’ll see consistent production from him. We may not see consistent production from any Cowboys receiver, but through the first two weeks, it’s clear that Dak prioritizes Lamb and Cooper – especially when the Cowboys need to score. Don’t trade Gallup away for pennies on the dollar, but I’d shop him around to see if there are any truthers in your league. It may be wise to wait until Gallup has a productive week, but in a season with incredible volatility…I want wins. NOW! Price Tag: Low-end Flex
John Brown (Peter Chung – @FF_Hypeman)
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, a.k.a. Andy’s surprise MVP pick, has been remarkable, to say the least. Although billed as a mobile QB with a strong but inaccurate arm, Allen has rebuked naysayers by shockingly supporting two WRs with top-10 fantasy results: newly acquired Stefon Diggs (WR4 in half PPR) and returning veteran John Brown (WR10). He’s done that by being 5th in passing attempts, 4th in completions, and 1st in passing yards. But here’s the rub, they’ve only played the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. Those defenses have given up the 9th most points and 3rd most yards to opposing teams, respectively. In his games against them last year, Brown exploded with finishes as the WR10 and WR1, respectively. They’ve both allowed four passing TDs (tied for 9th most) and three rushing TDs (T-6th). These two teams are an example of why the “sample size is too small” argument is uttered after every early season stat-line Tweet. The Bills’ next opponent? Jalen Ramsay and the Los Angeles Rams, who are 28th in points allowed and 15th in yards allowed to opposing teams. Don’t get me wrong, I love John Brown and I’m confident he’ll continue to succeed under “The Stallion.” But I just don’t think Allen can continue to support two fantasy WR1s consistently, and my bet is that it starts unraveling a bit on Sunday. Brown’s trade value is at the highest it will ever be, so my advice is to trade high now before the cracks start showing. Price Tag: WR2/RB2
Josh Allen (Aaron Larson – @aalarson)
Allen has been phenomenal through the first two weeks of the season, as evidenced by his current status as the QB2 overall in fantasy football. It can’t possibly get any better for Allen, and that’s exactly the point. He isn’t likely to keep up the torrid scoring pace he enjoyed against the Jets and Dolphins. If you’re a believer in the late-round quarterback draft strategy, you should also believe in trading away quarterbacks at peak value. It’s certainly possible that Allen finishes the season as a QB1, but if you find the right trade partner you could flip Allen for a low-end QB1 AND another usable fantasy piece. Price Tag: Low-End QB1 + WR2/FLEX RB
Keelan Cole (Marvin Elequin – @FF_MarvinE)
Keelan Cole has been a surprise for many fantasy managers. Not only has he led Jacksonville in targets through two weeks, but he is also the WR19 in PPR points per game (16.7). However, his volume has been slightly concerning as he is only 43rd in total targets (12), 41st in receiving yards (105), and 53rd in weighted opportunity rating (0.38) among all WRs. In addition, the Jaguars are currently 23rd in the league in passing plays per game (37.5), which means his volume will likely remain low. Cole has relied heavily on his TDs to produce for fantasy, scoring one in each of his first two games. Unfortunately, that pace is likely unsustainable, which is why I would much rather have a volume heavy receiver such as Robby Anderson or even Russell Gage. And lastly, I still believe that D.J. Chark is the most talented WR in this offense, so I do expect his target share to increase, which will likely come at the expense of Cole’s volume. Price Tag: High-End Flex WR