Let’s Make a Deal: 10 Players to Target in Trades in Week 3 (2020 Fantasy Football)
With a week that saw more high-profile fantasy injuries than perhaps any other since fantasy football began, fantasy managers have been flocking to the trade market. Whether it’s to buy low, sell high, or simply bolster a depleted roster, trading activity was at a high since Week 2 ended.
How high? The chart below shows the number of trades completed in leagues of teams that have incorporated their teams into MyPlaybook from Monday through Thursday of this week:
|RANK||PLAYER||# OF TRADES (9/21-9/24)|
|1||James Robinson (RB – JAC)||2,397|
|2||Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)||2,097|
|3||Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)||2,060|
|4||Cam Newton (QB – NE)||1,959|
|5||Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)||1,868|
|6||David Montgomery (RB – CHI)||1,858|
|7||Todd Gurley (RB – ATL)||1,825|
|8||James Conner (RB – PIT)||1,722|
|9||A.J. Green (WR – CIN)||1,664|
|10||Mark Ingram (RB – BAL)||1,651|
The number of trades for the top-10 most traded players increased significantly from the same period last week. Last week’s most-traded player, Michael Thomas, was traded 1,472 times from Monday through Thursday. The top-10 most traded players this week were all on the move more than Thomas was last week.
With fantasy managers seemingly desperate to deal, everyone should be on the lookout for buying opportunities. As always, consult the trade analyzer and trade finder. But in this article, I’ll use our weekly trade value chart to come up with a few deals to propose.
Well, Robinson’s value will certainly continue to trend up after Thursday night’s two-touchdown performance. The young running back has garnered at least 17 touches in each of the Jaguars’ first three games this year.
Robinson will likely continue to be one of the most traded running backs in fantasy this week, as managers rostering him look to sell high on his massive performance. But, truthfully, this is more like a buy-high situation.
Robinson is locked into his role and is trusted around the goal-line. While Chris Thompson may factor in a bit more as he did last night, don’t fool yourself. Robinson should be valued as a locked-in RB2 going forward, and needs to be valued now in the James Conner/Kareem Hunt range, higher than he was last week.
Feel free to swap any borderline WR1 going forward, including D.J. Moore. Robinson’s value will be rising on next week’s trade chart.
It’s hardly a surprise that Fournette is on the move so much after his two-touchdown performance against the Panthers. Even on this week’s start/sit episode of the FantasyPros Football Podcast, Mike Tagliere and I strongly disagreed over Fournette’s value versus that of Ronald Jones just for Week 3, let alone the rest of the season.
If you’re looking to make a deal for Fournette, I’d do it now, unless the fantasy manager rostering him has inflated expectations. The general sense that I get, however, is that fantasy managers are buying Bruce Arians’ favorable words toward Jones.
I wouldn’t be. If you can swap a running back who may have more perceived immediate value, like Mike Davis or Jerick McKinnon, for Fournette, I’d certainly do it. Ditto for an unspectacular wide receiver like Brandin Cooks.
If I’m rostering Fournette, however, I’m holding steady, unless my proposed trading partner is willing to value him as the clear RB1 in Tampa Bay. Otherwise, I’d simply enjoy Fournette’s production and wait for him to officially assume that mantle.
Like Fournette, Mixon’s inclusion on the list of most-traded players is not surprising. Fantasy managers spent a first-round pick on Mixon who, through two games, is the 37th running back in half-PPR formats.
There is reason to be concerned. Mixon is running behind a poor offensive line and his team is likely to be playing from behind often. And Gio Bernard plays much, much more than he should when the Bengals are in catch-up mode.
But Mixon has 20 touches in each of his first two games, and although the explosive plays are likely to be few and far between, that type of workload will result in fantasy points. That’s especially true as opposing defenses begin to respect the Bengals’ passing game more as Joe Burrow matures.
Don’t value Mixon as the top-10 back he was expected to be in the preseason. But be willing to part with a low-end WR1 like JuJu Smith-Schuster or D.J. Moore if necessary (though I’d start lower with my offers). Running backs with Mixon’s volume don’t grow on trees, and they’re getting fewer by the day.
Newton is a player who fantasy managers are now understanding was undervalued heading into draft season. Not only is he the Patriots’ goal-line back, but he showed with his 397 yards passing and consistent downfield shots against the Seahawks that he’s plenty capable of contributing with his arm.
Newton should be considered an absolute, rock-solid QB1 going forward. But, and this is simply the way fantasy football works, that shouldn’t be worth all that much. Last year, the QB6 and the QB20 from a points-per-game standpoint had a difference of roughly six fantasy points. That’s not insignificant. But are you willing to give up an RB2 or a WR3 for that gain when your alternative is legitimately to use a quarterback who may be on waivers right now?
If you can trade Newton for something significant in a single-quarterback league, you should do so. An RB2 or a WR3 or better is more than fair value. But there’s no rush. Newton will continue to hold his current value for much of the season, so when you’re ready to trade him away, there will be trade partners ready.
I do not have an answer for you as to why Hunt is being traded so often. Perhaps it’s that fantasy managers rostering him viewed him as a sell-high candidate after his two-touchdown performance on Thursday against the Bengals.
They shouldn’t. Hunt may never receive 20 touches in a game absent a Nick Chubb injury, but he doesn’t need that volume to be successful. His involvement in the passing game, and the Browns’ run-first philosophy, will lead to plenty of production.
If you’re trading for Hunt, you can value him as a strong RB2, particularly in PPR formats. That equates generally to low-end WR1 value, and if you can flip another RB2 who might have higher perceived value, such as Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley, you should do so.
Montgomery was one of the most traded players discussed in last week’s article, and I wrote: “Those looking to acquire Montgomery, however, may be able to buy low – but they likely need to do it now before this weekend against the Giants.”
The buy-low window should have closed, given Montgomery’s 19-touch, 127-yard, one-touchdown performance against New York. But perhaps fantasy managers, who seemed unwilling to fully buy into Montgomery before the season, are still hesitant.
Don’t be. Montgomery is a locked in RB2 who can be started each week without hesitation. Sell high on a solid but unspectacular receiver like Julian Edelman or John Brown, the former of which was a trade that went down in one of my leagues three days ago. Montgomery is the one you want in those types of deals.
Gurley isn’t a buy low candidate, and he’s certainly not a sell-high one, either. His 21 carries for 61 yards against the Cowboys was a major disappointment, as is his one receiving yard on the season.
But Gurley being one of the most traded players makes perfect sense this week. With fantasy managers losing mainstays like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Raheem Mostert, running backs who are locked into a workhorse role have an awful lot of value. And fantasy managers rostering Gurley are likely frustrated with his performance, and more than happy to move him for a usable piece elsewhere.
Running backs with Gurley’s volume don’t grow on trees, so managers rostering him shouldn’t trade him for anything less than a Stefon Diggs or D.K. Metcalf type of receiver. But those looking to trade for him should start with a lower offer. The manager rostering him is likely ready to entertain offers.
Conner bounced back from his ankle injury to total 121 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. It wasn’t perfect, of course. Other than a late 59-yard run, Conner averaged just 3.1 yards per carry on his other 15 rush attempts.
Still, the most important takeaway was that Conner got nearly all of the running back touches for the Steelers, and re-established himself as that solid RB2 that he was drafted to be.
Most likely, Conner’s inclusion on the list of most-traded players is for similar reasons as Gurley: running back-needy teams after major injuries are searching for any reliable back. Conner is worth more than Gurley, and should only be swapped for someone in the low-end WR1 range, such as Adam Thielen or Mike Evans, or better.
Green is the perfect trade candidate. Talk to 10 fantasy managers about Green’s value, you’ll get 10 different opinions. One the one hand, he’s seeing a high number of targets with an incredible amount of air yards. On the other, he’s caught eight of his 22 targets for just 80 yards, and has looked . . . less than spry at times.
Some fantasy managers are trying to buy low. That is, in my opinion, the correct approach. The entire Bengals offense, Green included, will be better as the season progresses. The impact of the lack of preseason games and typical camps cannot be overstated at this early point in the season.
Ingram fits into the Todd Gurley box where fantasy managers who roster him aren’t satisfied with his production while running back-needy teams are desperate for consistent touches. In other words, like Gurley, Ingram is the type of running back who you’d expect to be moved frequently this past week.
Not much should have changed with your evaluation of Ingram heading into the season. He was always going to cede touches to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, and he was going to rely on touchdowns to prop up his value. Still, 21 touches and barely over 100 total yards through two games is jarring for fantasy managers.
Don’t let it be. Ingram is worth more than Dobbins, Joshua Kelley, Tyler Boyd, and Michael Gallup. Wide receiver remains deep, and the lead running back on a team that will likely be the most run-heavy offense in the league is valuable. He’s a fine target if you’re reeling at running back.
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