I love talking trades, no matter what type of league. I want to think about and ponder the tough deals you’re thinking about, so if you’d like to engage on the Twitter machine, I’m available at @MillerBadger.
Before we dive into the targets this week, let’s take a quick look at my takes from last week:
Last Week’s Buy Low List:
- Doug Baldwin – He’s back from his bye. Hopefully you snagged him last week and get to slot him in as a regular starter the rest of the season.
- Stefon Diggs disappointed once again. Clearly, Adam Thielen is the guy to own.
- Deshaun Watson was another big loser this week* (Week 7, not last night). It also came out that he’s dealing with a bum lung, meaning I want nothing to do with trades for him now. Sorry for that advice. That’s sports gambling for you. If you did get him two weeks ago, last night probably made up for last week.
- Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks, and OBJ all found the end zone in week 7.
- Gronk was hurt, which means you can buy him for even less this week.
And the Sell High List:
- Chris Carson was on bye. Hard to judge this until we see how they come out of it. Will Carson maintain the starting job, or will he cede time to the rookie, Rashaad Penny?
- Jordy Nelson will not benefit from the Cooper trade. I’d argue it hurts him, as he’ll now see #1 CBs rather than the #2s he was seeing with Cooper attracting the attention. He’s a TD-dependent guy whose team just got worse.
- Amari Cooper was traded to Dallas. Personally, I don’t think he’s in any better shape there to produce for you consistently. In fact, the reason I was so high on him was his proposed place in the offense before the season kicked off. That said, Scott Linehan has been known to trust a WR1, and Cooper should step into that role in big D.
- Tarik Cohen – See below, as he was a sell high / hold opportunity in last week’s trades discussion.
Buying Pumpkins, Hot Cider, and These Play-Makers:
Josh Gordon has a lot of numbers screaming a breakout is coming. For one, he’s been ramped up in the offense, jumping from a 24% snap rate in weeks 4 & 5 to an 88% rate in weeks 6 & 7. He also leads the Patriots in my favorite fantasy football stat — Air Yards — despite having a max pass of just 34 air yards, meaning he’s consistently targeted in the mid-to-long-range zones, giving him a strong weekly ceiling. He has also certainly caught Brady’s eye, garnering 16 targets in the past two weeks, second only to James White for Pats pass catchers. While Julian Edelman will be trusted in most short yardage situations, Gordon’s big play role will only grow.
My biggest miss this year is also a buy low, once again. It’s David Johnson time. He’s still fourth in RB snap rate, playing on 84% of Cardinals plays. This only trails Christian McCaffrey (96%), Ezekiel Elliott (89%), and James Conner (85%). What’s better is Mike McCoy was fired this week, so the pounding runs up the middle should be coming to an end. I’m not sure how he’ll do, but I like Byron Leftwich’s chances as an offensive coordinator. He wasn’t super mobile and didn’t have a great arm, but he won games in this league thanks the bits between the ears. I’m looking forward to better opportunities for Johnson, and he’s dirt cheap right now. I know this because I’m benching him. But if you can get this workhorse on the cheap, he’s healthy and change is a coming.
I have really enjoyed the backfield tandem that is Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, but the former is the one I want to own for the rest of this season. Freeman is banged up and doesn’t look to be a go this week, which means Lindsay is in line for his first big workload. Can he hold up? Has he benefited from running in non-running situations more than Freeman? Both questions are hard to answer, but Lindsay has looked great live.
Another player I’m looking to buy/add is Sterling Shepard. His schedule alone is worth adding him, as he sees Washington, SF, TB, and Philly in the next 5 weeks — all positive match-ups. His expected TD total this year is another, as deeper data analysis revealed he has only scored in half the opportunities he should have. Julio, Jarvis, and Odell are three others that should be catching more touchdowns… but who didn’t already know that? #NeverJulio
I stand by buying Gronk. Even now. Especially now. It’s a Bills game at Buffalo — Gronk gets up for those close to home games. Now is the time to buy. And yes, I took the stroll down narrative street… but I’m running out of reasons to buy Rob. #AlwaysGronk
Next week, I’ll take a look at playoff schedules and who to buy based on the key games that determine your season’s success or failure. It’s never too early to be targeting those guys.
Selling Phone Hackers and These Over-Achievers:
Tarik Cohen was featured last week, as a sell high with a “hold for higher selling” option. If you held him you’re in luck, as he did indeed score another TD. That’s 3 weeks in a row, and we all know TDs are hard to count on. If you can sell him for a higher volume guy, now is the time. If you’re in PPR, I’d be holding as his role looks to be fairly well defined in that regard. However, with so many talented offensive players, the TDs will be spread out.
If you needed a bye week filler two weeks ago and snagged Tyrell Williams off the wire, he’s turned a great profit for you. In fact, his minimal targets and opportunity place him on the top 10 list of players likely to regress moving forward. Williams has basically doubled his expected fantasy output, proving extremely efficient. Sell him while you can.
James White is an interesting sell again this week. He’s a top RB6 in scoring in PPR leagues, averaging over 20 points per game. He’s also scored seven touchdowns on an expected 4.1 opportunities. That efficiency is bound to return to the average, meaning White’s time in the end zone is likely coming to an end soon. I bet you could flip White for David Johnson right now, and I’d do that with the coaching change in AZ.
He’s been in this column on both sides, but with the recent Will Fuller torn ACL news, Deshaun Watson makes the sell list. His splits without Fuller are crazy — albeit in small sample sizes. In just 4 games without Fuller, Watson averages 1.5 less touchdowns, over 115 less yards, and 12 less fantasy points per game. His passing yards per attempt also drops from 8.75 to just 5.98, moving him from the top echelon to a bottom-of-the-pack passer. Fuller is a legitimate deep threat that Watson will miss. Capitalize on this 5 TD game and sell now.
No conclusion for you reading overachievers, I just leave you with a simple good luck. And as always, go tell your friends… or don’t.