Fantasy Football Day Trader: Week 9
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 Football Day Trader: Week 9
We’re past the halfway point in the season, and most leagues start playoffs in Week 14 or Week 15. Look at the standings and how many teams make the playoffs in your fantasy league. Where do you stand? Are you “locked into” a playoff spot? Are you trying to scratch and claw your way into the playoffs? Is your team better/worse than your record? Which fantasy GMs do you play in the coming weeks and what is their record? Will you have a chance to knock a good team out of the playoffs if you win in Week 12? These are THE most important questions to consider as you start planning your roster moves in the coming weeks. How likely is it that you make the playoffs?
- Elite fantasy contender (6-2 record or better). In leagues where I’m a strong playoff contender, I’m working to build an elite best playoff roster by trading for injured players (coming back) or players with strong playoff schedules. I also like to plan ahead with defenses, and I often roster two defenses that complement one another over a several week span. As far as trading goes, here are some examples of players that I want to trade for if I need to improve at a position group: Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, David Montgomery, D’Andre Swift, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Tyler Boyd, Tyreek Hill, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Christian McCaffrey, Raheem Mostert, Austin Ekeler, Nick Chubb, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, and Michael Thomas. That being said…If you have an elite team, don’t get cute and force a trade.
- Middle of the pack (Record between 3-5 and 5-3). Winning now is important in order to make the playoffs. I would be focusing on the next four games. Additionally, you should be willing to take on more risk. There are likely a few stronger teams than yours, so don’t be afraid to shoot your shot. Who can help you win now? Here are examples of players that I think can help you win now: Chase Edmonds, David Johnson, Justin Jackson, Miles Gaskin, Travis Fulgham, Corey Davis, Diontae Johnson, Evan Engram, and Antonio Brown.
- Things are bad (2-6 record or worse). You might still have a chance to make the playoffs. If so, I’d be targeting risky players with a ton of upside like Antonio Brown, Chase Edmonds, J.K. Dobbins, etc. However, if you are in any kind of keeper league or dynasty league, you should actively be trading away any assets you can to better yourself in the future. For example, I would be trading for players like Saquon Barkley, Dak Prescott, Odell Beckham Jr., CeeDee Lamb, J.K. Dobbins, etc. NOTE: You have every right to tank, but you still need to set a reasonable lineup where you’re still trying to compete. There’s nothing worse than a fantasy GM who stops setting their lineup in the back half of the season because it skews the outcome – which is especially concerning in a money league.
Investments (Trade For)
Corey Davis (Jeff Greenwood – @TheFantasyEng)
Corey Davis is quietly the WR14 overall on a points-per-game basis. The targets are there, and he’s producing at the same level as AJ Brown. AJ BROWN! The only difference through Week 8 is their touchdown total. Corey Davis is averaging 5.8 receptions on 7.8 targets for 74 yards & 0.6 TD per game (13.9 fpts/g). By comparison, AJ Brown is averaging 5.4 receptions on 7.8 targets for 71 yards & 1 TD (15.8 fpts/g). Corey Davis is an every-week starter until we see otherwise. Keep in mind he was drafted with a very high first-round pedigree, and he’s in his 4th NFL season. Coming into the league, people were talking about Davis the same way we were with CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy this offseason. We’ve been disappointed by Corey Davis in the past, but could this be the breakout? Time will tell, but I’ll take the shot on him. If Davis started producing at this level in Year 2 or Year 3, we would be talking about him the way we talked about Calvin Ridley last season. No one wants Corey Davis, which means he’s affordable! Price Tag: Flex | Risk Rating: 2 (medium-low)
Terry McLaurin (Marvin Elequin – @FF_MarvinE)
Terry McLaurin has been one of the few bright spots for the Washington Football Team this season. Despite the inconsistent Quarterback play, McLaurin has continuously produced for fantasy managers. He is currently the WR1 in weighted opportunity rating (0.77), accounting for 30% of the team’s targets and 46% of their air yards. But despite seeing WR1 volume all season long, because of the offensive inefficiencies, McLaurin is only the WR18 in PPR points per game and the WR4 in unrealized air yards (437 – per PlayerProfiler). An aspect of his game that continues to boost his production is his excellent yards-after-catch ability, as he is currently the WR4 in total YAC. So while the offense as a whole has struggled, McLaurin has proven that he can produce in a multitude of ways. In addition, he now enters the second half of the season with a very favorable schedule, per the Fantasy Footballers’ Strength of Schedule tool. Washington will face teams such as the Giants, Steelers, Lions, Cowboys and Seahawks – all ranking in the bottom 13 in fantasy points allowed to WR position. Now is the perfect time to trade for McLaurin as he is coming off of a bye week. If you can trade for McLaurin in exchange for a player like Mike Evans, who may be fighting for targets with Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin, I would absolutely make that trade. Price Tag: Low-End WR1 | Risk Rating: 1 (low risk).
Marquise Brown (Peter Chung – @FF_Hypeman)
Gross. That’s how most fantasy managers feel when they see Ravens WR Marquise Brown on their starting lineups. The electric first-round pick was expected to breakout this year as Lamar Jackson’s lead receiver and primary target. Instead, Hollywood has been a complete bust, averaging a paltry 6.3 targets per game and 9.1 fantasy points per game (half PPR), making him the WR43 on the season. Brown was previously a trade target with the assumption that he’d see more looks after the bye. Instead, he only caught one of a measly two targets for a three-yard score. It’s encouraging that he’s being targeted at the goal line, though it’s simply not enough. But not all hope is lost. Brown still leads the team in targets. Even with the clunker against Pittsburgh, he’s averaging the 13th most air yards per game (97), and the 7th best average depth of target (aDOT; 15.5) among pass-catchers with five or more targets per game. He has the 12th most total air yards (674), which is more impressive considering he’s only played in seven games. His average 2.16 yards of separation per target is the 11th best in the league. After trudging through a fairly difficult first half that was ranked as the 13th hardest slate for WRs, he gets to enjoy the 3rd best remaining schedule. His next matchup at Indianapolis isn’t ideal, but they just gave up 113 yards to undrafted practice-squad mainstay Marvin Hall and two TDs to Marvin Jones. Brown will continue to have volatile production, but his upside is too tempting to ignore. Best of all, disgruntled managers will likely offload him for peanuts. Target him now while his value is at its lowest before this squeaky wheel gets doused with grease. Price Tag: Low RB3 or WR3 | Risk Rating: 3 (medium risk)
Jalen Reagor (Ryan Weisse – @TheFantasyFive)
The player I’m telling you to get was in just 25% of rosters at the start of this week. Go check your waivers/free agency right now, he might not cost you anything but the worst player on your current roster. If someone else did snag him, make them an offer, since he is on bye in Week 9 anyway. Reagor was 2nd on the team in targets this week and scored a TD. He gets to play the Giants, Browns, and Seahawks in weeks 10-12, plus a rematch with Dallas in Week 16, or what some call the fantasy championship.
Text. Price Tag: A Proven, low-upside RB3 or WR3 | Risk Rating: 0 (no risk)
David Montgomery (Aaron Larson – @aalarson)
The name isn’t flashy. The fantasy numbers won’t blow you away. But David Montgomery is the running back you need on your fantasy roster for the rest of the season. In a running back landscape decimated by injuries, muddied by backfield committees, and ripe with touchdown vultures, Montgomery is getting all of the running back touches in Chicago. That isn’t hyperbole. He’s getting ALL of them. No other running back has touched the ball for the Bears since Tarik Cohen tore his ACL in Week 3. Wideout turned gadget running back Cordarelle Patterson is the second-leading ball carrier on the team with 26 rush attempts on the season, compared to Montgomery’s 117. While he hasn’t set the fantasy world on fire, he has finished as a top 24 running back in four straight weeks. Those finishes should start trending up as the Bears have the softest schedule for running backs for the rest of the season. Price Tag: Mid WR2 | Risk Rating: 2 (Low)
Fades (Trade Away)
Tom Brady (Jeff Greenwood – @TheFantasyEng)
Brady has been a productive fantasy player this season, which is incredible considering he’s twice as old as Justin Herbert. So far this season, Brady has played well in easy matchups, but he’s played poorly in tough matchups. I mean my 3 year old could look at the matchup color code (indicating easy or difficult) and predict how Brady will do. Brady has a GREAT matchup at home against New Orleans this upcoming weekend….but then he faces three tough defenses followed by a bye week. If you need to scratch and claw your way into the playoffs, Brady is someone I recommend trading this week or next week. To be clear, Brady is a great start this week – so hold off until next week if you can. But keep in mind that your league-mates will see positive narratives about Brady this week but negative narratives next week, so you could probably get more in return for him now. Weigh your options!
Now here comes the curveball… Tom Brady has EXCELLENT matchups in the playoffs from Weeks 14 – 16 (MIN, @ATL, @DET). If you have a record of 6-2 or better, I would actually be looking to acquire Tom Brady in a trade in the coming weeks if you can “weather the storm” (i.e. you have a high probability of making the playoffs). More specifically, Brady will be less expensive in the Week 10 – Week 12 timeframe when he’s in the thick of tough matchups. I hope this write-up is helpful…I wanted to illustrate the point that players mean different things to different fantasy GM’s. The trade targets for 3-5 teams are very different than the trade targets for 7-1 teams. Price Tag: Flex player | Risk Rating: 2 (medium-low)
Curtis Samuel (Marvin Elequin – @FF_MarvinE)
As we have mentioned in previous weeks, it is important to capitalize on the highs and lows of the trading landscape. As a result, Curtis Samuel is a great “trade high” player as he is coming off of two very productive games. Against the Saints and the Falcons, two very favorable matchups, he finished as the WR24 and WR11, respectively, averaging 19 PPR points per game. Before those two games, however, his best week was a WR36 finish against the Falcons in week 5 – where we saw D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson outproduce him. It is evident that Teddy Bridgewater continues to spread the ball around, which means Samuel’s big games will remain unpredictable. In addition, during the fantasy playoffs, the Panthers will face three teams who have been very stingy against the WR position, two games being on the road against Green Bay and Washington. Therefore, if I can trade Samuel now, I would capitalize on that opportunity. A couple of players I would target in a trade would be Tee Higgins or even Brandin Cooks, two players who may have a safer floor due to their volume. Price Tag: Low-End Flex WR | Risk Rating: 2 (medium risk)
Zack Moss (Peter Chung – @FF_Hypeman)
Bills rookie RB Zack Moss just put on a clinic during an AFC East victory over the Patriots. He was the week’s RB5 after rushing 14 times for 81 yards and two TDs – all of which were career highs. Moss has firmly established himself as the goal line back for Buffalo’s capable offense. But all that glitters is certainly not gold in the “City of Light.” His scoring upside will always be capped by Josh Allen, who has nine rushing attempts inside the 10 compared to Moss’ eight. Moss also benefited from a close divisional match with horrendous weather that forced the Bills to lean on the run game. In fact, Allen was limited to just 18 passing attempts, which is less than half the amount he’s averaged this year (37 passes per game). Week 8 may have been a sign of things to come, but I’m more inclined to believe that it was the exception and not the norm. Here’s how Moss finished in his other games: RB25, RB59, RB68, RB25. That is not the consistency you want. To put salt on the wound, he’ll also have the 4th WORST playoff schedule to look forward to. He’s also not used in the passing game and needs to contend for touches with lead RB Devin Singletary. Try to offer Moss to desperate managers who are hypnotized by his perceived upside from his lone week of fantasy relevance. Price Tag: Low RB3 or WR3 | Risk Rating: 2 (low risk)
Marvin Jones (Ryan Weisse – @TheFantasyFive)
There probably aren’t many of you that still have Marvin Jones on your roster but if you do, send him a thank you note and trade him NOW! Jones scored two TDs this week and the Lions also lost Kenny Golladay for what could be a few games. People will start to salivate over what could be with him as the WR1 in Detroit. It won’t. Golladay missed the first two weeks this season and Jones had 78 total yards and one TD in those two games. He hasn’t capitalized on any of the “plus” matchups he’s seen recently and this week was more fluke than a glimpse of the future. Price Tag: A high-upside anything, maybe a WR, maybe Jalen Reagor | Risk Rating: 2 (medium-low risk)
Cooper Kupp (Aaron Larson – @aalarson)
Cooper Kupp is coming off his highest yardage total of the season but, as mentioned in my Weekly Target Report, it took him seeing the highest single-game target total in the NFL so far this year. It also took Jared Goff throwing the ball 61 times, something Sean McVay probably doesn’t want to make a habit of in the Rams offense. Goff was only averaging 31.9 pass attempts/game prior to Week 8. Kupp meanwhile has been inconsistent all season. Here are his weekly finishes so far in 2020: WR60, WR33, WR8, WR15, WR39, WR74, WR45, WR16. Consistency is tough to come by with fantasy wideouts, but Kupp isn’t offering the same ceiling this season that could still be associated with his name. Now is the time to leverage one of his better performances of the season and get out before he puts up another series of stinkers. Price Tag: RB2/FLEX | Risk Rating: 3 (Medium)
BONUS – My Favorite Trade from Last Week
This is a super-specific example of how I made a fair trade and still won. Sometimes we receive feedback asking to dive into the details, so here we go! My main fantasy football league is a 12-team ½-PPR keeper league where fantasy GM’s can keep a maximum of two players (max 2 years per player). Player “cost” is essentially their draft cost from the prior year minus one round, and first-rounders cannot be kept. There are some nuances here, but I’ll just leave it at that. I wanted to trade for Davante Adams. I have Jonathan Taylor on my team, who I drafted in the third round this year. I’m in first place in that league, and there’s a decent chance I end up keeping him next year for a second-round pick. Meanwhile, the fantasy GM who rosters Davante Adams is in 11th place and was looking to tank for 2021. We worked out a deal where I essentially traded him my 2021 2nd and 2021 7th for his 2021 2nd and 2021 13th (so we swapped second-rounders). In this example, I’m gambling on myself keeping Jonathan Taylor (sidenote: doesn’t look as great after Week 8!). If I keep Jonathan Taylor, I lose nothing by moving back in the 2nd round because I’d use that pick to keep Taylor anyways! Meanwhile, in our league format – the difference between the 2.01 and 2.11 this year was essentially Tyreek Hill to Mark Ingram. So it was a win-win trade that gives the other fantasy GM two top-13 picks in 2021, and I really only lose a 7th rounder (unless I don’t in fact keep Taylor). There is a lot of value to be had by being attentive to detail and maximizing what your partner receives while minimizing what you give up. In keeper leagues like mine, not enough people trade back in the rounds that they’re keeping players – this is an underrated and extremely valuable strategy.