Trade Targets Following Week 1

Author:  Marc Schwartz (@fantasyfballOG)

Peyton Barber

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Barber’s ADP finished in the early 7th round neighborhood.  I felt like he was a solid RB-3 value at that price.  The narrative seemed to be that Barber looked sharp in the preseason, but would be hard to trust on a terrible offense, in what would probably end up being a semi-committee.  With one week in the books, none of those issues seem to be the case.  And yet, Barber’s perceived value is probably even with what it was before the game, if not just a bit lower.

Barber didn’t get any looks in the passing game, but saw 19 carries for 69 modest yards.   The other Tampa Bay running backs had a combined 3 carries for 7 yards, and 1 reception for 2 yards.  This is not a committee.  And so much for this offense being terrible!  Many of us realized that Tampa’s pass catchers have a chance to be special this year, and they certainly looked the part on Sunday.   Their offensive line isn’t great, and they’re never going to get better quarterbacking than they did against the Saints.  But they have too many explosive and polished pass catchers to have a terrible offense.  Barber isn’t going to see many stacked boxes. 

So we have a capable running back, who has looked great all off-season, and looked fine on Sunday.  He’s not playing in a committee, and he’s on a decent offense.  That sounds like a solid RB-2, one that should have a late 4th round ADP.  But because he was so badly overshadowed by the passing game fireworks against the Saints, you don’t have to pay anywhere near that price for Barber right now.   Barber has a rough matchup against the Eagles this week, so that is something you want to be sure to point out to the team owner who has him. 

Royce Freeman

Phillip Lindsay received all of the headlines following the game against the Seahawks.   To some it seemed like the Broncos unleashed their secret weapon.  Lindsay, an undrafted free agent, rushed for 71 yards on 15 carries, and had 2 receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown.   He looked slippery at times in the run game, and he seemed comfortable in the passing game.    He’ll likely be added in most leagues come Tuesday.  While people are preoccupied with him, go ahead and get yourself a deal on Royce Freeman!

Freeman was quiet early on in the game, but he came on late and had a couple of big runs to help ice the game.  He wound up matching Lindsay’s 71 yards on 15 carries.  He wasn’t targeted in the passing game, but we weren’t expecting him to get many targets this year anyway.   What matters is that Freeman has the makings of an elite runner, and nothing that happened on Sunday changes that.   When the game was on the line, the Seahawks couldn’t bring him down.   He’s a force, and the Broncos would be well served to get him into a groove every week.   

Lindsay might have taken over the change of pace, passing down role that was supposed to be Booker’s.  But Freeman’s role is safe, and I think the Broncos are easing him into 15-20 touches per game.    Royce has a decent floor and a high ceiling this year, and I think you can pry him from someone who isn’t properly evaluating him.  The popular fantasy evaluators skewed negative on Freeman, citing his 39% usage, and the effectiveness of Lindsay.  Royce was going in the 3rd round of most leagues right up until the games on Sunday.  If there were drafts today, I think he’d have more like a 5th round ADP, and that makes him a nice target.

Kareem Hunt

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This is a little bit of a reach, so don’t expect to get Hunt for pennies on the dollar.  But if you struck out on a sure-fire RB-1, getting Hunt now might be your only chance to fill that void.   Hunt had a quiet day with just 49 yards on 16 carries against the Chargers, and it was his first game as a pro without a reception.  Nobody is going to give their late first round pick up for nothing after 1 quiet game.  But if you have two legitimate pieces to offer in exchange for Hunt, like an Ajayi/ Josh Gordon combo, there’s a chance you get a bite. 

Hunt’s biggest question marks coming into the season were:  If the offense would crumble under 1st year starter Mahomes, whether Spencer Ware would get a decent amount of looks, and if there would be as much checking down to the RB’s without Alex Smith.  Those first two are no longer a concern.  The offense is legit, and Ware had just 4 touches.   However, Mahomes probably isn’t going to check down to Hunt as often as Alex Smith did, and so I think we can take 20 targets off of his projected total this season.  But Hunt should more than make up for that playing with positive game scripts, and having a dynamic offense around him to keep defenses honest.

It should also be noted that the Chiefs had two rather goofy touchdowns on Sunday near the goal line, where Mahomes shovel passed it after a fake to Kareem Hunt.  I don’t think we’ll be seeing that play very often near the goal line, and I think it was a bit fluky that Hunt didn’t have a TD.  He’s going to put up big numbers in a big time offense, and this is probably your only chance to get him without destroying your team to do so.

Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben had a nightmarish 5 turnovers, which killed his fantasy day against the lowly Browns.  I think people realize that the weather was awful in this game, and most people know that Ben isn’t great on the road to begin with.  But if there is a team in your league that tried to make a go at the season with only Ben at QB, this could be a good opportunity to trade down to them, and scoop Ben + a piece for your higher profile QB.  With this game and the issues with Bell, you might get a favorable deal.  Ben’s ceiling is absurd with Antonio Brown and Juju Smith Schuster playing as well as any receiver duo in the league.   And despite the weather, the interceptions, and playing with a lead for most of the game, Ben still had 335 yards and a touchdown.

 

Julian Edelman

Edelman’s stock goes up with each week closer to his return.  But just a week into his suspension, you can still get the discounted price on him, with the luxury of only having to sit him for 3 weeks, rather than 4.  If the team in your league with Edelman has issues, they may take what they can get for him now rather than waiting.  The Pats offense could really use him; Dorsett and Patterson aren’t scaring anyone, and they both saw plenty of snaps.  Hogan is at his best when there is another WR on the field the defense prioritizes coverage for.   I think Edelman is the key to this offense hitting the high gear.  Prior to last year, he averaged just about 10 targets per game played for 4 straight years.   He’ll be a rock solid PPR WR-2 when he steps in, and the asking price is considerably lower than that right now.

 

George Kittle

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When we’re targeting the ideal players to trade for, we usually hone in on anyone whose perceived value is low thanks to a poor performance we believe to be an aberration.  However, sometimes you have to be willing to go and get “your guy,” even if it means paying a slight premium.   Kittle’s box score was solid on Sunday, with 90 yards on 5 receptions.  That is the kind of performance that that makes anyone who drafted him feel good about their late round selection.  But in a lot of cases, Kittle is just a backup for a team with a more solidified starting tight end.   You can give those teams the opportunity to “cash in” on a player whose value is high coming off a good performance.  Because in the end, I think Kittle is going to be a difference maker.

As good as Kittle’s stat line was, it should have been even better.  He had a drop on what would have been a huge play, and Jimmy G. missed him two other times when he was wide open, one a horrendous throw to Kittle in the end zone.  Targeted 9 times, Kittle looked like he’s going to be a real problem for defenses.  Minnesota was the #1 defense against tight ends in fantasy last year, and their best answer to Kittle was to just hope for a drop or a bad throw.  Kittle finished on a high note last year with Jimmy G. at the helm, and the two have only built on that chemistry. 

The targets and yards were there on Sunday.  The touchdowns should follow soon enough.  With no other player on the team even remotely suited for red zone and goal line targets, Kittle should lead the team in TD receptions.  He may turn out to be what many of us thought Trey Burton would be this year. 

Marc Schwartz