Fantasy Football Day Trader: Week 4

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Welcome to the Fantasy Football Day Trader, where I present my 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.  I’m here to present my fantasy opinions for your consideration, and these are players that I’m actively trying to trade for/away in my personal leagues.  This article series will present fantasy players that I’m looking to move and the price tag that I 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 2019 to help: The Art of the Fantasy Football Trade.

Before getting into this week’s article, I’d like to get into some things that have been on my mind nonstop since Saturday.  WARNING: I’m going to get a little bit serious here.  If you are on Twitter and follow ANYONE in the fantasy football world, you probably saw that industry legend Mike Tagliere passed away over the weekend after a long battle with Covid.  Absolutely tragic.  He was a family man with a loving wife and two children.  By all accounts, he was a kind soul who was living his dream life.  Although I listened to his podcasts and read his articles, I’ll admit that I didn’t know Mike firsthand.  His story is not mine to tell, but it’s a story worth listening to.  There are hundreds of people who have amazing things to say about him, and I suggest you take the time to read some of the beautiful stories and pay homage to Mike.  You can do so by searching Twitter for “#TagsStrong”.  I think this tribute by JJ Zachariason is beautiful and eloquent:

While I didn’t know Mike firsthand, he was a large influence for me and someone I held in high regards….I wanted to mention how he influenced me in this tiny little article series.

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To be honest, Mike was the very reason I got into writing this article series about trading in fantasy.  He would release a monthly Dynasty Trade Value chart on FantasyPros.  I lived by this.  It was my favorite tool in all of fantasy football.  I always had this chart up as one of two or three open tabs on my phone.  In fact, when I type the letters “dy” on my phone, google autofills with “dynasty trade value chart Mike Tagliere”.  He did a fantastic job quantifying the value of rookie picks in dynasty, and he would grow the chart over time – i.e. adding a column for superflex value.  His ability to quantify rookie pick values helped me a lot when I first got into dynasty – I was fortunate to build a couple of very strong dynasty teams – mostly because of Mike’s advice.  Mike was a very accurate analyst who was excellent at quantifying fantasy value in simple terms.  That’s harder to do than it sounds.

So, fast-forward to 2019.  I wanted to be the “trade guy” at The Fantasy Footballers.  I wanted to build something like what Mike Tagliere built for FantasyPros (understanding I would never come close).  This is what I am most passionate about, and anyone in my home league will tell you I’m relentless with trades.  Like the bull in a china shop that I am, I just forced my way into it here at The Fantasy Footballers.  I didn’t tell anyone I wanted to write articles about trading, I just started doing it.  After Week 1 in September of 2019, I wrote an article titled “Week 1 Fantasy Football Trade Targets & Ammo” and submitted it to our Editor, Kyle, for approval.

Kyle didn’t know this was coming.

But Kyle let me write this on the side all season in addition to my regular article at the time.  This sounds weird, but writing this article series was like therapy for me and I am deeply thankful for Kyle being so supportive.  It gave me a place to write my thoughts, and my thoughts only.  I could escape into this fantasy football world and forget the things that were going on in my real life.  I didn’t belong in the fantasy football world (and I still don’t), but my favorite podcast in the world took a shot on me – and it helped me get through some hard times.  You see, my wife and I were navigating through a battle in which we knew nothing about.  My middle daughter was born in January and had several physical and developmental issues.  After many doctor’s appointments, labs, and scans – we were finally going to find out her diagnosis on a trip to Boston Children’s hospital almost one year after she was born (to the day).  I remember that morning like it was yesterday.  My wife wasn’t feeling good, but there was no way she was missing this appointment.  On the drive there, my wife started feeling worse and ended up throwing up everywhere in the car.  But there was absolutely no turning around.  We were determined to make it to that appointment one way or another.  As we literally pulled into the parking lot 60 miles from home, my daughter started puking.  I had to jump out of the car and yank my daughter out of her car seat because she was choking on it.  We knew the appointment would have to wait, and so began my rush to drive home before I started feeling symptoms myself.  I remember how heartbroken we were, knowing that the doctors had a message for us…a message we had been waiting a year for…but it would have to wait another couple of weeks.  Eventually, my daughter was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, one that fewer than 50 people had been diagnosed with before in the world.  Fortunately, now that two and a half years have passed…we are pretty confident she’s in the less severe category among those with this condition.  She’s a rock star and a blessing.  Still, it’s a lot to manage, but we have a lot more answers than we did on that drive to Boston in January of 2020.

Plenty of people struggle with things way beyond what I’ve had to struggle with.  This story isn’t about me.  But I’m sharing this story because I’ve been very reflective over the past few days.  Having a fantasy football writing gig and a persona on Twitter has given me the opportunity to escape.  I’ve spent countless hours diving into data, watching film, or looking through Mike Tagliere’s dynasty trade value charts and then making an offer to a leaguemate.  Everyone is fighting a silent battle that you know nothing about.  For me, my tiny part in the fantasy football world has worked wonders for my sanity, health, and ultimately – my ability to grind day in and day out as a father, husband, employee, friend, etc.

I would NOT be in the position I am today without Mike Tagliere.  Without Mike, I would not be writing this trade article.  He didn’t know who I was, but he still had a major influence on my life and how I spend my time.  I’m deeply saddened by his passing, and I wanted to share my personal story.  My truth.  About how Mike Tagliere influenced those he didn’t even know.  How he influenced me.  How he HELPED me and gave me an incredible distraction at a time that I was struggling.  I imagine I’m not alone.  RIP to a legend that brought positivity to hundreds of thousands of people on a weekly basis.

I strongly recommend that you consider donating to the GoFundMe account setup for the Tagliere family as I have.  A little bit goes a long way.

Alright, well let’s dive into this week’s trade article.  In honor of Mike.  #TagsStrong.

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Investments (Trade For)

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (WR, Ravens)
Hollywood had two drops in Week 3, his first ones of the season.  Both would have been touchdowns.  Hollywood is a talented wide receiver on a low passing volume offense.  People were burned by Hollywood last year, and no one was excited to draft him this year.  In fact, he was drafted in the double-digit rounds in August.  But when you look closely, Brown has been sneaky productive in recent games.  Before this past week (6.3 pts), Hollywood had been on fire in recent regular-season games…he was averaging 7.1 targets per game, 14.9 fantasy points per game, and had surpassed 10+ fantasy points in each of his prior eight games.  That’s better production and consistency than Tyler Lockett has given you over that span.  I’m not saying that Hollywood is better than Lockett, but I’m saying they’re closer in production than you’d think.  With Hollywood, talent is never in question.  AND he’s getting the valuable end zone looks instead of Mark Andrews so far this season.  Will that last?  Can Lamar throw enough to make Hollywood a weekly starter?  Time will tell, but why not gamble on a player that is viewed as a throw-in piece?  The cost to trade for Hollywood is incredibly low.  In fact, there are probably managers looking to shed him right about now.  I’m throwing out offers for Hollywood as a low-cost option with upside to be a WR2. Price Tag: Flex | Risk Rating 3/5 (Medium)

D’Andre Swift (RB, Lions)
Swift is my favorite player in the NFL.  He is an elite talent on an underrated Lions team with a very solid O-line.  He finished as an RB2 last season with only 40% of the touches in the backfield.  This season, he’s splitting carries with the talented Jamaal Williams.  I think they can both be weekly plays, which is a wild thing to say about a team that’s 0-3…but the Lions have grit.  And they scheme around their running backs.  Swift is averaging 11 rushes a game and 7.7 targets a game.  To put that in perspective, he averaged 16.2 fantasy points per game in 2020 when he saw 10+ touches.  So far this season, he’s eclipsing that production rate.  In fact, he’s a top-3 running back through Week 3.  He’s literally a Swift Lion.  Does that even mean anything to you?  Because I like the symbolism behind it.  Swift is a top-5 running back.  But he’s also injured (groin), plays on a “bad” team, splits work with another talented player that’s not going anywhere, and he was drafted as the RB19 overall (ADP 3.11).  Swift carries risk, but he’s a league winner in my opinion.  He’s going to be hard to trade for in savvy leagues.  Price Tag: High-End RB2 | Risk Rating 2/5 (Medium-Low)

Jonathan Taylor (RB, Colts)
Taylor is currently ranked RB32 overall through Week 3.  He’s only eclipsed eight fantasy points once so far this season, yet he was drafted as the RB9 overall as the 10th pick overall in ADP this preseason.  Furthermore, teammate Nyheim Hines has scored more fantasy points this season despite the lower volume.  These are all huge reasons to be concerned.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Now for the positives.  Taylor has zero TDs so far this season, but he, Derrick Henry, and Aaron Jones are leading the NFL in red zone rush attempts (13).  The Colts face four bottom-10 ranked defenses in a row starting next week (based on fpts/g given to opposing RBs).  Taylor is a talented player and is averaging 17.7 opportunities per game (rush attempts + targets).  I think Taylor bounces back soon.  And if I were the fantasy manager of Taylor, I’d be freaking out right now.  I think this presents a buying window.  Price Tag: High-End RB2 | Risk Rating 4/5 (Medium-High)

Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, Colts)
I don’t really care for the Colts, but here I am with two of them in my “trade for” section.  Pittman was an offseason darling for people like Mike Wright for a reason: he’s good.  Pittman was injured for the majority of 2020 and only managed to play in three games.  He averaged 10.3 fpts/g last season, and he’s reached or exceeded that mark in 2/3 games so far this season.  Pittman was a player drafted in the double-digit rounds a month ago, and he’s been solid so far.  In fact, he’s seen 24 targets total over the past two games.  Pittman has upside as a high-end WR2 and he’s viewed as a throw-in piece in fantasy.  Price Tag: Flex | Risk Rating 3/5 (Medium)

Fades (Trade Away)

Alexander Mattison (RB, Vikings)
This was Mattison’s first big game in the NFL.  He played a great game in Dalvin Cook’s absence with 26 rush attempts for 112 yards & 6 receptions for 59 yards – good for 20.1 fantasy points.  Mattison is a great player, but he is exclusively a backup for Dalvin Cook.  If you have Mattison on your roster but NOT Dalvin, I would be trying to trade away Mattison to the person that rosters Dalvin.  The return timeline for Dalvin is unclear, but it’s likely quicker than 3 weeks otherwise the Vikings would have put Cook on the IR.  Mattison is an ELITE handcuff/backup RB…don’t get me wrong.  BUT, Cook is the alpha when healthy.  I’m trying to cash in on the “life insurance” for Mattison to the person with Dalvin CookPrice Tag: High-End Flex | Risk Rating 3/5 (Medium)

Melvin Gordon (RB, Broncos)
Javonte Williams (rookie) szn is approaching.  Williams has more rush attempts inside the 10-yard line.  However, Melvin Gordon has been the more productive fantasy player so far this season.  Gordon has been great, but he’s a risky asset.  I think Williams will takeover at some point this season, and I’d rather be a week early on that take than a week late.  Price Tag: RB2 | Risk Rating 3/5 (Medium)

Comments

Jeff says:

Thank you for the comments about Tags; could not agree more about his dynasty trade value chart, especially his research on valuing rookie draft picks. Has also been invaluable to me as I’ve dipped my toes in dynasty the last couple years.

Dave says:

This is a good article, and I didn’t even read the ff advice yet.

Cody says:

Jeff:

My wife and I drafted last year from the neonatal ICU days after my son was born with complications. Spending hours in a hospital room with the looming questions and wondering about outcomes, fantasy football was an escape for us as well. Thank you for including that personal story along with this article. I’m glad your daughter is okay. I know how helpless it feels to want the answers SO BAD because this new human in your life immediately became more important than life itself the second after birth. I’m happy to say my Son is doing great and after he left the hospital, we spent hours pushing his stroller with my phone in the cupholder listening to The Fantasy Footballers.

Take care and thank you for all your articles!

Chris says:

^^ Good idea Richard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (FART NOISE) ^^

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