Thanks to the Buffalo Bills’ two trades on October 11th, 2017 many players now have different fantasy values than they did before the trades. With Sammy Watkins now a member of the Los Angles Rams and Jordan Matthews now in Buffalo, let’s take a look to see how their fantasy value has changed along with their new teammates.
Los Angles Rams
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 12, 2017
Many people believe Watkins is stuck in wide receiver hell now that Jared Goff is throwing him passes. I disagree; while the situation didn’t improve for Watkins it could have been worst. Goff should show improvement under new head coach Sean McVay, but I’ll get to Goff shortly. The biggest reason why fantasy owners were scared to draft Watkins is because of his injury history, I believe that is behind him. Other receivers have had the same foot injury as Watkins, and after they had the season surgery they returned to old form. This offseason Watkins underwent that second surgery and according to reports looked good in Bills camp.
In Buffalo, Watkins was the focal point of the passing game and a great deep threat. That fit perfectly with the Bills run heavy offense as they would use Watkins’ speed to keep defenses from stacking eight defenders in the box and if they did burn them with Watkins deep. While his former quarterback Tyrod Taylor was one of the most underrated deep ball passers in the league, Goff has a serviceable arm that should still allow Watkins to be a deep threat. Obviously there is a downgrade at quarterback for Watkins, but he is still a boom or bust player each week and shouldn’t be lowered in fantasy rankings too much. For me he is currently WR16/21 (standard/PPR) and I would be comfortable taking a risk on him in the early fourth round in 12 team leagues.
Sammy Watkins, Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Gerald Everett, John Sullivan. The Rams have worked hard to help Jared Goff. — Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 11, 2017
Everyone wants to call Goff a bust and condemn Watkins to wide receiver hell; hold on to that thought. Goff is NOT fantasy relevant this season in part cause of the depth at the quarterback position, unless you are in a deep two quarterback league. However, I expect Goff to turn some heads this season under new head coach Sean McVay. The Rams spent all offseason improving the team around Goff. The team brought in two starting offensive lineman including All-Pro Andrew Whitworth. They signed Robert Woods in free agency, who now reunites with Watkins, and then spent three of their first four draft picks on receivers for Goff.
All this signals that the Rams are all in on Goff. Then after sending thier 2018 second round draft pick to the Bills for Watkins, they added icing on the cake for Goff. While all these acquisitions are nice, Goff will need to take a step forward this season as there are no longer any excuses for his lack of development. The 2017 season is boom or bust for Goff and I’m thinking there will be more boom than bust. While Goff has no value in standard re-draft leagues, he is a quarterback you should target in dynasty leagues.
#Rams updated skill group:
QB Jared Goff
RB Todd Gurley
Z Sammy Watkins
X Robert Woods
SL Cooper Kupp
TE Gerald Everett/Tyler Higbee
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) August 11, 2017
Robert Woods & Cooper Kupp
Not much has changed for these two players. I was never high on Woods as the Rams number one receiver and felt he was overpaid in free agency; and that opinion remains the same. Now Woods won’t face the pressure as the team’s number one receiver and won’t be double teamed at all with Watkins on the other side and Todd Gurley in the backfield. Woods is currently my WR70/72 (standard/PPR) and shouldn’t be drafted, unless you’re in deeper leagues.
On the other hand, Cooper Kupp has gotten major hype in training camp and should be the team’s opening slot receiver. I have Kupp as one of my sleepers in PPR leagues and believe he will finish as the team’s number two scoring wide receiver in fantasy this season. Goff doesn’t have a proven tight end on the roster he can trust as a security blanket, so expect Kupp to get plenty of three and four yard dump off passes this season. Kupp is my WR61/49 (standard/PPR) and should be targeted in the 11th round in PPR leagues.
Just a friendly reminder that it’s been 610 days since Todd Gurley has rushed for more than 85 yards in a game… — Dynasty Fife (@Fife1919) August 16, 2017
I am a believer in Gurley and expect a bounce back season from him. With the improvements to the offensive line, Gurley won’t be stopped in the backfield nearly as often. Last season Gurley accused former head coach Jeff Fisher of running a “middle school offense”, that won’t be the case this season under McVay. The addition of Watkins now means Gurley will face less eight man boxes than he did last season. Gurley’s position on my running back rankings didn’t change with this news as he still sits as my RB10 in both standard and PPR leagues; however, I have more confidence in him. A talented runner who had a sophomore slump thanks to the poor team around him should rebound this year. I recommend taking Gurley in the mid to late second round.
Before the trade, Matthews wasn’t happy with his contract situation in Philadelphia and at the same time was losing his starting spot to Nelson Agholor. With the trade Matthews finds himself in an odd spot; looking to have a career season in a contract year, he is now stuck in a Bills offense that features three receivers who are best in the slot. Now Matthews has a chance to be a high volume targeted receiver this year, but he will have to fight off Bills’ rookie second round pick Zay Jones.
On top of the trade and now being in a misfit offense, Matthews suffered a sternum fracture in his first practice with the Bills and is expected to miss some time. Assuming he doesn’t miss any regular seasons games with the injury he is currently WR42/38 (standard/PPR) and is a player I would recommend letting a league-mate take instead.
There are only 6 RB’s that won’t be in committee.
— The Football Factory (@FBallFactory) August 10, 2017
Between the Watkins trade and the Ezekiel Elliot suspension, McCoy was the biggest fantasy winner from Friday’s trades. While Watkins did lighten the box for McCoy, the team will now focus even more on the running game and feature McCoy in the offense. Assuming McCoy can stay healthy, a questionable if, the team could feature him with 25+ touches per game.
Given McCoy’s pass catching ability, it shouldn’t surprise fantasy owners if he finishes with 80 catches this year; his career-high is 78. With the high expected volume, McCoy has moved up to my RB4/3 (standard/PPR) and should be considered a mid-first round pick. My only concern for McCoy is his age, 29, and his career workload, 2,280 career touches. However, it’s worth the risk given his upside.
The biggest loser in these trades was Taylor, who needed a big year to get a new contract this offseason. Obliviously the loss of Watkins hurts a lot but it isn’t a deal breaker for Taylor. In six point passing touchdown leagues, Taylor’s value is minimized. However, in four point passing touchdown leagues, Taylor proves an added bonus with his legs. Last season Taylor tied for first among quarterbacks with six rushing touchdowns, and in part finished the season as QB9 despite only having Watkins for eight games last season, and a fully healthy Watkins at that.
After the trade Taylor fell to QB18 for me in four point passing touchdown leagues. Taylor is still a nice QB2 that you can use as a bye week filler or to pair with an injury prone quarterback. Taylor should not be drafted as a QB1 and therefore shouldn’t be drafted till the very last few rounds, if at all.
Over the past few weeks, Jones’ value has been like the ascend of a roller coaster. After the trades, Jones should be the Bills receiver you target in your draft. With Matthews’ injury concern and Anquan Boldin’s age, Jones could be featured as the team’s number one wide receiver by mid-season. Jones is currently my WR46 in both PPR and standard leagues, but with a good preseason he could climb up in my rankings. Jones should be a ninth round pick in re-draft leagues and should be a late first round pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
Jordan Matthews to the Bills. Which players draft stock is on the rise?
– Jordan Matthews
– Alshon Jeffery
– Nelson Agholor
– Zach Ertz
— Fantasy FB Polls (@SitStartPolls) August 14, 2017
With Matthews in Buffalo, Agholor has the inside track on the starting slot position. However, reports state that Agholor hasn’t secured the job yet. Just being in a battle for the starting slot position is great for Agholor considering a month ago there was talk of him being on the roster bubble. Currently Agholor is my WR52/54 (standard/PPR) assuming he wins the starting slot job. While being the starting slot receiver helps Agholor’s fantasy value, I don’t think he will reap a lot of the benefits of Matthews’ departure.
Many people aren’t talking about it, but Ertz is the big winner from Matthews being traded. Last season Ertz quietly finished as the TE8/6 (standard/PPR) and finished the year with 78 catches. Ertz works the middle of the field and so did Matthews. If Agholor is the new slot receiver the team will want to use his speed, allowing Ertz to get more of the targets in the middle of the field. Ertz is currently TE9/7 (standard/PPR) for me and is a sleeper to grab if you want to pass on one of the elite fantasy tight ends.