Sometimes it takes a few weeks for the “trade bug” to bite. It’s an inevitable part of the fantasy football season. There’s plenty to consider when it comes to formulating trade proposals. However, early on, team record and emotion can have a lot of influence. With that said, throwing out trade offers across your league to sell high or buy low on certain players is worth getting an idea of where the market’s at.
It’s worth noting that “selling high” on a player doesn’t necessarily mean returning the value of the round you selected a player in. Rather, it’s getting a return on a player that’s comparable to, or maybe a bit more than, what they’re worth at the current moment of the season, often after a big scoring week. On the flip side “buying low” is targeting a player in a trade who may be in a rut, and available for less than they should be, but you believe will bounce back.
Each week, Justin Dunbar and I will nominate trade candidates at running back, wide receiver, and tight end to sell high and buy low on.
If you can’t help but browse your leagues in your free time, looking at trading opportunities, let this be a guide on which players to consider acquiring or moving any given week.
For any specific scenarios or further elaboration on the ideas surrounding the inclusion of these players in your trades, find Justin and me on Twitter at @TalkMVP and @LincoCammytan!
For more of our work, check us out at @Fantrax today! Now let’s get to it.
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Players to Consider in Sell High or Buy Low Trades Ahead of Week 3
Devin Singletary; Running Back, Buffalo Bills
Dunbar: Due to their pass-heavy tendencies, the Bills aren’t an offense that generally feature a high-end fantasy running back. Now, with Devin Singletary having the full share of the workload in Week 1, he was able to profile as a low-end “RB2” with 9.5 PPR points, while he benefited from a long touchdown run and blowout-induced run-heavy game script en route to 16.5 PPR points in Week 2. However, moving forward, he’s not a player I’d be looking to start so it’s a good time to sell high.
In addition to splitting carries with Zack Moss, he is third behind Moss and quarterback Josh Allen in the pecking order for goal-line carries. This significantly limits his upside. Consider this a return to his pre-draft valuation, which wasn’t even as the top running back in this offense.
Mike Davis; Running Back, Atlanta Falcons
McTamany: Mike Davis is going to have a role all season in Atlanta’s backfield. I just don’t think it will suffice to warrant a weekly start, which may sting for those who bought in on him early on during draft season.
While Davis has dominated the snap count so far with the Falcons, wide receiver/running back hybrid, Cordarelle Patterson, is just as involved, especially as a pass-catcher. Patterson is just shy of Davis’ touch totals each of the first two weeks. However, he’s been the one to find the end zone once as a runner and once as a pass-catcher.
Again, selling high on Davis doesn’t suggest that Patterson is the player from this backfield you want on your roster. It does mean, though, that Davis’ potential as an every-down back will be limited, if not non-existent. Ask around and see what you can get for Davis if you can afford to move a running back this early in the season.
Adam Theilen; Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
Dunbar: With 19.3 PPR points per game over the first two weeks of the year, Adam Thielen has been an excellent contributor in fantasy football. The problem? I’m skeptical this remains the case moving forward. With the Vikings’ going to more three-receiver sets this season, Thielen faces more competition for targets. He’s lucked out thanks to the Vikings playing in two close games, including a shootout in Arizona, but his target share is slightly down from a year ago.
Mainly, though, I’m betting against his touchdown luck. Yes, he had 14 touchdowns last season, which was supposed to be the reason to fade him this year, but he now has three touchdowns with just two end-zone targets. His 1.54 yards/route run to start the year would be the worst of his career, as would his 65.8 PFF receiving grade. I know it’s early, but while he’s had such great touchdown production, now would be the time to trade him.
Deebo Samuel; Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
McTamany: Normally, I wouldn’t advise trading away the receiving yards leader during the fantasy football season. Yet, just two weeks in, now might be the highest Deebo’s value will be this season.
Deebo is currently averaging 24.5 fantasy points per game. That’s something only one wide receiver achieved over the course of 17 games last season: Davante Adams (25.6). It’s only a matter of time before that production levels off.
So, if you make Deebo available to your league, and hold out for an RB1 or WR1 in current comparative value, I would sell high and not think twice about it. Just make sure you have the wide receiver depth to manage such a move.
Rob Gronkowski; Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dunbar: I really hope I’m wrong about this one as Rob Gronkowski scoring touchdowns continues to be such a consistent joy to watch even at this point in his career. However, do we really expect Gronk to continue to average two touchdowns per game? Rather, we expected Tampa Bay to rotate their tight ends to keep Gronkowski fresh this season. He ran a route on just 60% of the team’s passing plays in Week 2.
That makes him even more touchdown-reliant when he’s already competing against wide receivers, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown for red-zone looks. Considering the types of tight ends you might be able to acquire by trading Gronkowski, it’s probably a wise move to look to sell high and move the 32-year-old sooner than later.
George Kittle; Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
McTamany: Realistically, it’s going to be hard to bring yourself to trade a player like Kittle. You probably spent one of your first three or four picks on him. Which means, so far, you’ve been incredibly disappointed by his 8.8 fantasy points per game average. Yet, moving on from Kittle means you’re likely streaming tight ends the rest of the way.
Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers have been leaning on the run game more so than passing in each of their first two games this season. Furthermore, in their Week 1 victory, where they scored 41 points against the Lions, Kittle saw just four targets and has seen just nine total. In fact, he’s only run 43 total routes this season. Comparing that to Darren Waller’s 91 routes, Kyle Pitts’ 74, and even TJ Hockenson’s 55, Kittle is simply not seeing the volume you expected.
I wouldn’t force a Kittle trade. He’s still been on the field for 95% to 100% of the snaps each week. However, if you feel comfortable streaming tight ends the rest of the season and need, as well as, can get a top running back, wide receiver, or package of such in return, sell high to a manager who wants Kittle’s name recognition locked into their tight end roster spot each week.
James Robinson, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Dunbar: Robinson has shared carries with Carlos Hyde over the first two weeks. However, don’t lose sight of an improved role for the second-year back in the midst of Jacksonville’s 10-point loss to the Broncos. With 73% of the team’s rush attempts, he’s also the clear receiving back with nine targets thus far. That’s useful for a team likely to be trailing often. Facing PFF’s second-worst run defense in the Cardinals, this might be the week to buy low and acquire him before he continues to see his role and production expand.
Javonte Williams, Running Back, Denver Broncos
McTamany: So far in Denver, this backfield is a near-even split. The snaps, carries, targets, and overall opportunity is a committee between veteran, Melvin Gordon, and rookie, Javonte Williams.
After two games, Gordon is the RB13 in PPR scoring. Williams is RB44. However, just 16.2 fantasy points separate the two backs in total fantasy points rankings. What’s significant about that is that Gordon had a 70-yard touchdown run in Week 1, worth 13.0 fantasy points. I’m not here to take that away from him, but one run is the difference of almost 29 spots in the aforementioned rankings.
With that said, those who snagged Williams somewhat early in their fantasy drafts may be underwhelmed by the rookie thus far. There’s still a lot of football left. If you want to confidently add some depth to your bench at running back, buy low on Williams now.
Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
Dunbar: With Andy Dalton expected to miss Week 3 due to a bone bruise, it’s officially “Justin Fields season” in Chicago. Whereas Andy Dalton has an average depth of target (aDOT) of 4.6 yards this year, Fields is an aggressive quarterback with a 10.5 aDOT. Naturally, that would be excellent news for Darnell Mooney, the team’s top deep threat. In Week 2, his ADOT increased by four full yards, while he had 14.8 expected fantasy points, per PFF. He could be due for a “boom” week soon, so you’ll want to acquire him before that happens.
Kenny Golladay, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
McTamany: Towards the end of the summer, Golladay’s ADP had fallen toward the lower end of the top-30 wide receivers. I can’t imagine many fantasy football managers have had him in their lineups so far this season. Regardless, for a $72 million dollar receiver, he’s yet to turn in anything above an average stat line so far in 2021.
On Sunday, Golladay and the Giants host the Atlanta Falcons, who just allowed Tom Brady to throw five touchdowns last weekend. I, as well as others at Fantrax, love this matchup. Given Golladay’s dependable snap count and target share, I expect Daniel Jones to look for the team’s top free-agent acquisition this Sunday. From there on out, the two will hopefully generate some chemistry for the remainder of the season. Buy low on Kenny before this weekend if you’re thinking about doing it at all.
Mark Andrews, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Dunbar: It hasn’t been the ideal season for Mark Andrews thus far, with just 11.7 PPR fantasy points and 10.6 expected points over the first two games of the season. However, he’s run a route in 91% of the team’s passing plays this season, a much higher rate than in previous years. Given the fact that the team invested $56 million in him right before the season and his overall talent, I’d expect him to see more targets over time. Remember that this is a player who has finished as a top-five tight end in back-to-back seasons. Now is the perfect time to buy low on Andrews.
George Kittle; Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
McTamany: I know what you’re thinking. Yes, that’s also me, if you scroll back up, suggesting Kittle as an ideal sell-high trade candidate if you’ve been underwhelmed by him thus far in 2021. This consideration is for the managers who are already feeling the effects of streaming tight ends and want some sense of security in their lineup.
As I mentioned before, Kittle has been on the field for an average of 97.5% of the snaps after two games. The Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the teams you expect Jimmy Garoppolo to lean on Kittle for in the passing game. Next up for San Fran, however, are the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. The last two of which are crucial divisional games.
Depending on how the current manager with Kittle on their roster feels about the return on investment through two weeks, now may be the best time to strike and buy low. Don’t hesitate to inquire within and get a top talent at the position in your lineup ahead of a stretch in the schedule where said talent will be needed.
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