Trade Targets For Week 3

Author:  Marc Schwartz (@fantasyfballOG)

Dumpster Diving vs. Street Hustle

This week, I thought it would help to go over what you can expect from the Trade Targets weekly articles.  There’s a method to the madness, as I’ll explain.   As far as the basic setup is concerned, each week I’ll list the players you should target, and I’ll include at least one player you might want to think about trading away under “Trade Bait.”

The two types of players we go after either fit into the dumpster diving or street hustle strategies.   We go dumpster diving on players whose value is extremely low, so long as there are stats, data, and schedule information to support such a move.

But when we absolutely love a player, even though he is off a good performance, we go with the street hustle.  This is when we give the team owner the illusion that we let him “sell high” on us.  Little do they know, the data supports this last good game or two being just the tip of the iceberg.  It’s been a particularly effective strategy in recent years because casuals are frequently told to sell high off of good performances, and they are often too quick to do so.

Lastly, I’ll be including a general trade advice TIP in some articles, so be sure to look out for that.  



Trade Targets

Dumpster Diving

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Dion Lewis –  It was a down week for running backs across the board in week 2.  So you might want to take advantage of team owners’ overreacting.  Dion Lewis a prime target.  Off of a big game in week 1, Dion Lewis struggled in week 2 with only 43 total yards on 15 touches, including just a single reception.  The game was simply set up poorly for him.  The Texans are good against the run to begin with, and the Titans got out in front, and gave their bruiser, Henry, 18 carries to try and protect the lead.  However, Henry wasn’t effective, and is now averaging just 2.9 yards per carry this season.  Meanwhile, in a game where everything went wrong, Lewis still saw 15 touches.  We can identify that as his floor.   In week 1, trailing against Miami for much of the game, Dion Lewis had 21 touches, including 5 receptions. 

The Titans are a bad team, and it was a head scratcher to see them win so ugly on Sunday.   We won’t see many games like that this year.  Lewis is a proven commodity, and he has a reasonable floor.  He also has plenty of upside in any higher scoring games or in games where the Titans are trailing.  In 33 career games, Derrick Henry has only rushed for more than 65 yards 4 times.  He might break the occasional big run, but he’s not as good or as versatile as Lewis.  The fantasy news media was hard on Lewis and all Titans players this week.  I think he’s a 4th round value in PPR, and I think he can be had for a 7th round price tag at this time.   Be sure to remind the person you’re trading with that Lewis is playing against Jacksonville this week.

Corey Davis – Another Titans player?   Well, we’re getting our hands dirty in the dumpster, so yes!  Coming into the season I was down on Davis because I wasn’t sure he was ready to take a big step forward, and I thought the Titans QB play would be mediocre.   The QB play has been significantly worse than mediocre, but Davis has received a lot of targets, and he looks very capable.  His 22 PPR points through 2 games doesn’t jump off the page, but his 20 targets do.  Davis has prototypical tools, and it looks like he’s putting them together. 

Gabbert and Mariota have thrown for a combined 220 yards passing through two games.  There is no way that will continue.  Even the worst teams will have 3,000 passing yards.  Keep in in mind that the Titans were somehow nursing a lead for much of week 2, and I think we can expect better game scripts than that for Davis most weeks.  There won’t be many TD’s here, but I think Corey Davis will be a decent WR-2 in PPR, with a respectable floor thanks to his target share.   People are ready to throw the towel in on Davis and the entire Titans offense.  I like the idea of putting together a trade where the team owner you’re trading with adds Corey Davis in a 2 for 1, as a throw-in. 

David Johnson -    What I think is clear is that Johnson probably isn’t going to be a top 4 RB like he was pegged for in drafts.  However, there’s no reason why he can’t provide middle to lower end RB-1, late 1st round draft value.  So if that’s about what his sticker price is, and if that’s all you’re looking for, you can certainly make your move for him.  If someone in your league is willing to bail on David Johnson at this stage for a 2 for 1 consisting of something like:  Lamar Miller and Amari Cooper, or anything less than that, I think you do it.

The Cardinals are bad, but David Johnson is a premier receiving threat at the running back position.  The Cardinals were only a 7 win team the year that David Johnson was the #1 fantasy RB, so he doesn’t need to be on a good team to put up numbers.  They won’t be playing at the Rams each week, and if the coaches learned anything, it’s that things don’t go so well when you don’t get David Johnson involved.   The Cardinals coaches are bad, but they don’t all have major learning disabilities.  He’s going to get a full workload form here on  out.


Street Hustle

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Matt Breida – I’m going back to the 49ers offense, after singling out their tight end last week a street hustle.  He was a non-factor this week, but I’m confident that this is an offense progressing towards being very capable.  It’s not quite there yet, but it’s getting there.  By the time Goodwin comes back to stretch the field, with Garcon a very capable possession receiver, and Kittle being a force in the middle of the field, I think the stage is set for Breida to absolutely explode, and be everything that people thought Mckinnon would be, back when he was a late 2nd round pick.  Breida didn’t do anything exciting in week 1, but he did average 4.2 yards per carry against Minnesota on 11 carries.  That was telling.  And so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that he took the same number of carries, 11, for 138 yards and a touchdown in week 2 against the subpar Lions. .   He also had 3 receptions on 4 targets for 21 yards. Breida showed flashes all of last year and had respectable efficiency numbers in the run game.  He’s an incredible athlete, and it looks like he’s putting it all together this year.   Everyone is chasing this year’s Alvin Kamara, and truth is that there probably won’t be one.  The Saints offense has been special for a decade; incredible things happen there.  But I think Breida has a shot to be the closest thing we get to him this year, for a guy who was barely being drafted a few weeks ago.  And I don’t think most people believe in him yet, not even off of the big game against the Lions.  If you’re in dire need of an RB-2 in PPR, give up some WR depth for Breida.



Trade Bait

Antonio Brown – I know; ridiculous, right?  Let me be clear: I don’t think Antonio Brown will be anything near a bust this season.  He’s going to be heavily targeted, as he has through 2 games, and he’s going to have impressive numbers by season’s end.  But there’s a decent amount of other receivers we can say the same thing about.   Things are starting to get a little weird with Brown and the Steelers, and it’s clear that he’s frustrated.  JuJu is breaking out, which brings Brown’s ceiling down by a hair.

If you can get a Godfather deal on Brown, I think it’s worth looking into.  I don’t think Brown is decidedly better than any of a handful of other receivers right now.  Michael Thomas is the clear #1 WR in fantasy, with Hill, Hopkins, and Diggs not far behind.  Brown fits in there somewhere, but he’s no longer the obvious #1.  So if you can trade Antonio Brown for overall WR-1 value, I think it makes sense to do so.   In a year where so many receivers have “HIT,” trading Brown may also just be a sensible roster construction move.   I see many teams who are loaded with WR’s, and could get away with trading their best one. 


Brandin Cooks – Cooks is a fine NFL player, but I wanted to use only receivers as trade bait in a week where running backs badly underperformed.  Ideally you can trade Cooks in a package that nets you an undervalued running back.  Cooks has had a fast start this year, up to 246 yards in the first two games.  The Rams have looked unstoppable, and Cooks’ field stretching ability is just what the Rams needed to balance their offense.  But the Rams have had the softest opening schedule of any team, feasting on Oakland and Arizona. It won’t always be that easy.

With Tom Brady throwing it to him, Cooks had 1,087 yards and 8 TDs last year. Do we really expect Goff to keep pace with Brady’s MVP season stats from last season?  It’s not like the Rams don’t have other good weapons to throw to – Kupp, Woods, and Gurley will all get their fair share of targets this year.  Cooks is very good at what he does, but he doesn’t have many other dimensions to his game.  There will be weeks where he doesn’t connect on a big deep ball, and he doesn’t have a lot of other ways to put up #’s.  This is a classic sell-high, at a position you probably have depth at, in a week where you can steal an undervalued running back. 


Tip:  Team owners are much more likely to accept a trade with you if you give them a breakdown of why you think the trade makes sense for both teams.  At the very least, it can start a dialogue, which could lead to future trades.  If you’re in a league with people you know, send informal emails first to gauge interest, prior to sending an official trade offer.  Even if you don’t know the people in your leagues, but you can send them private messages or emails through your league dashboard, you should try that route rather than offering deals cold.

Marc Schwartz