It’s Tuesday 14th September 2021. Week 1 is in the books. 50% of your league are 0-1 (unless you bare witness to the annoying miracle that is a fantasy tie). 50% of your league are 1-0. If you are the former, commiserations. It’s a long season, keep your head up. If you are the latter, it’s time to get prowling the trade market.
Here we want to identify next week’s potential trade targets using the following criteria:
- Fantasy manager is 0-1
- Player on said manager’s roster underperformed in week 1 due to tough matchup/circumstance
- Bonus criteria – said manager’s roster was overall underwhelming in week 1
Season after season we see week 1 panic trades for a player that had a tough start. Depending on how competitive your league is, it opens up an opportunity to snag a potential star for your roster at a reduced price. To be clear, I am not endorsing ripping anyone off, but if you can see someone is wobbling, it’s worth sliding into their DMs.
Here’s my top 3:
Ezekiel Elliott (@ Bucs)
By Zeke’s standards, 2020 was a down year. Career lows in rushing yards (979), YPC (4.0) rushing TDs (6), FPPG (11.4) and career highs in fumbles (6) and fumbles lost (5). But this year is different – Dak is back, the O line is back and as seen on Hard Knocks, he’s in the best shape of his career. All of this has vaulted him back into top 5 consideration in drafts, BUT…a week 1 road matchup vs the Bucs ferocious run D is on tap and we’ve now learnt the ‘Boys will be without All-World Guard Zach Martin. Just how good is this defensive line? Let’s take a look:
- 82.7 rushing YPG (1st)
- 14.1 std FPPG vs RB (2nd)
- 8 rushing TDs total (T-3rd)
- 73.8 rushing YPG (1st)
- 11.3 std FPPG vs RB (2nd)
- 8 rushing TDs total (T-7th)
‘But this is Ezekiel Elliott! Not some random scrub running against brick walls, Zeke will eat!’ I hear you say…lets take a look at how some of the most efficient runners in the league faired up in 2020:
Alvin Kamara – 21/56 rushing (2.6 ypc), 10/60 receiving (over two games)
Aaron Jones – 10/15 rushing (1.5 ypc), 3/26 receiving
Christian McCaffery – 18/59 rushing (3.2 ypc), 4/29 receiving
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 11/37 rushing (3.4 ypc), 1/2 receiving
David Montgomery – 18/59 rushing (3.2 ypc), 7/30 receiving
Now, this is not to say Zeke can’t be the exception – Dalvin Cook ran for 100+ yards and 1 TD last year, and a couple of these guys managed to score touchdowns. But outside of that, there is absolutely a world in which we see Zeke get 15-20 touches, underwhelms with an ugly yardage total and doesn’t dive into the end zone. And if that happens, it’s time to trade.
Allen Robinson (@ Rams)
Unfathomably, Andy Dalton will be starting week 1 for the Chicago Bears, in a road matchup vs the LA Rams. Equally as unfathomable, is that this is Allen Robinson’s BEST QB he’s EVER played with. And until we see Justin Fields takeover (which could be as soon as week 2 if the Red Rifle does his best Mitch Trubisky impression) that will still be the case.
But this is not an ‘Andy Dalton sucks’ segment, it’s not even a ‘buy low before Fields lights up the league’ segment. It’s a ‘Jalen Ramsey will shut you DOWN’ segment. And that is who A-Rob will likely have shadowing him for 4 quarters this Sunday. Here’s what Jalen Ramsey done to some of the toughest, alpha receivers in the league in 2020:
In the whole of the 2020 regular season, he allowed 32 receptions…32! Hipsters will say he’ll shadow Darrell Mooney to get revenge for the off season trash talk. But let’s be real, A-Rob is going to get shut down and if his situation meets our criteria outlined above, he may be available at a discount from a troubled, tilting manager.
D’Andre Swift (vs 49ers)
I advise to proceed with relative caution on this one.
Firstly, I am not that high on Swift this year – everything has pointed towards Jamaal Williams being more involved than we’d hoped, he’s opened up the season with a lingering groin injury, plus the Lions are poised to stink up the joint, which will make it very difficult for Swift to provide weekly consistent value.
Secondly, Swift fell down draft boards into the 4th maybe even 5th round, at which point whoever scooped him up may not be feeling too good about the pick, taking him because the value seemed to good to pass up. And you may have whiffed on him too.
But thirdly, week 1 is a matchup vs the 49ers staunch run defence that in 2020 allowed:
- 10 rushing TDs to RBs (T-9th)
- 19.75 rushing attempts per game to RBs (5th)
- 74 rushing yards per game to RBs (5th)
- 15.9 FPPG to RBs (7th)
Swift has been declared good to go for week 1, but it’s easy to imagine he’s limited and Williams takes the bulk of the carries. Even if that is not the case, Swift will need to uber efficient or score a TD to turn in any sort of satisfactory performance.
What I’m saying is, it’s extremely viable that the Swift owner’s fears are all realised post week 1 and is willing to get out ASAP. And although the situation, the injury and the team is not ideal, if you could swoop in and nab a RB as talented as Swift for someone that popped in week 1, like the Lizard King himself, Sammy Watkins, that’s money in the bank. I’m not suggesting you roster Sammy Watkins and offer to trade him to the Swift owner…but roster Sammy Watkins, watch him pop week 1 like he always does and offer to trade Watkins plus your RB3 (e.g. Ronald Jones, Mike Davis, Melvin Gordon) and see what happens.