Dynasty Trade Advice – Players to Buy, Sell, and Hold: Week 3 (2021 Fantasy Football)
In-season trade value columns are always complicated, especially this early in the season. The value of players fluctuates dramatically, and it’s hard to determine what performances are flukes or real long-standing value changes. But now that we have two fantasy weeks under our belts, we can start getting a better picture of our roster deficiencies and plan how to address them.
For this weekly column, I hope to provide you with actionable takeaways on players. Making the right moves early in the season can give you a chance to win your league and help you have a better long-term outlook in dynasty leagues. The worst thing you can be as a fantasy manager is a middle-of-the-pack team that just sits stagnant. Making moves is essential for your rosters. So let’s dive into some buys, sells, and holds so far this season.
The 2021 season has not been kind to Aiyuk managers in fantasy. Last season, Aiyuk finished as WR31 while playing 12 games and seemed to be the clear WR1 on the 49ers roster. Before the year, everyone was touting Aiyuk as the best value in drafts. He started camp off on fire, then suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss a week, then we saw his usage in Week 1 plummet entirely. Aiyuk barely saw the field and didn’t receive a target. Whether he was in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse or his performance was due to lack of reps in pre-season, he was a non-factor. In week 2, he saw more snaps but had just one catch on two targets. He logged 54 percent of offensive snaps after being limited to just 30 percent in his first game.
With all that said, Aiyuk should be just fine this season. I’m in the camp that Aiyuk’s usage is due to his injury, not off-field issues. If that’s the case, we should see him back to his usual self by week four. This is the cheapest it will be to acquire Aiyuk in dynasty formats. Most managers out there are getting frustrated with Aiyuk, and now might be the time to capitalize. Remember Aiyuk scored double-digit PPR points last year in eight of his twelve games. He can be a solid WR2 option in fantasy, and I’m looking to add him to my dynasty rosters right now.
Verdict – Buy
Brandin Cooks was the best value in dynasty leagues this off-season. He was cheap in startup drafts and on the trade market. Most managers were scared off because of the Deshaun Watson impending court case and lack of weapons outside of Cooks. However, Cooks already has fourteen receptions for 210 yards and a touchdown in just two games this season. He also leads the Texans in targets with twenty-one through two games and averages 20.5 fantasy points per game in PPR formats. Even with the uncertainty of Tyrod Taylor’s health, Cooks is a buy for me this year. If you are contending, he’s the safest option out there right now at the receiver position. Many managers out there may be trying to off-load Cooks because they think they are selling high. Take advantage of that strategy. Cooks could solidify your starting lineup and provide that consistent scoring you’ll need week-to-week on your dynasty rosters. There’s also a slim chance that Deshaun Watson ends up playing for the Texans this season. If that does happen, Cook’s value will shoot through the roof, and you now have a significant chess piece that can be used to help win your leagues.
Verdict – Buy
I want to preface this by saying that I love Tyler Lockett. He has been undervalued his entire career and has got off to an absolute monster start this season. He has twelve receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns this year and is averaging 28.9 fantasy points per game. Lockett has been dominant in the first two weeks of the season, but if you were ever to sell Lockett, now is the time to do it. His value is at its highest it will be all season. At 29, he is a declining asset in dynasty formats, especially at the receiver position, which is over-saturated with talent across the board. This could be the final time to move Lockett for substantial dynasty pieces in your league if you are rebuilding. If you could get a first in either the 2022 draft or the 2023 draft, you have to do it. I would also argue that getting two players back for Lockett is the right move if you are contending.
Lockett always seems to have a great start to the season but then fade away. Last season after putting up his historic fifty-three point night in Week 7, Lockett only had one game where he scored more than thirteen fantasy points in PPR leagues. D.K. Metcalf is also still on this roster and won’t be a non-factor all season. His knee injury seems minor, and I expect we see him get more targets than Lockett as the season progresses. Now is the perfect opportunity to sell high on Lockett.
Verdict – Sell High
Mark Andrews may be the most disappointing fantasy asset in this early part of the season. He only has eight receptions for seventy-seven yards and no touchdowns and has not been as efficient as we have grown accustomed to in the past. He is also third on his team in targets with just ten. Sammy Watkins (15) and Marquise Brown (16) are ahead of Andrews. The Ravens should also be getting 1st round pick Rashod Bateman back from injury in the next couple of weeks which could also hurt his target share. One golden rule I have for tight ends when it comes to fantasy is I want them to have a chance to finish in the top two for total targets on their team. Andrews, as of now, seems to be on the outside looking in. While that’s concerning, I feel like these first two games were outliers for Andrews’s season.
Since 2019, Andrews has caught 122 receptions on 186 targets for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns. He finished 2019 as the TE5 (13.8 ppg) and 2020 as the TE6 (12.2 ppg). There’s no reason to think he can’t get back into the top six. Last year he received a team-high twenty targets in the Red Zone, catching thirteen of those attempts and scoring seven touchdowns. We should expect Andrews’s Red Zone targets to increase this season and look for him to score seven touchdowns again in 2021. That would put him back in contention for a top-6 finish for fantasy tight ends. For me, Andrews is a hold if you have him on your roster or a buy depending on your league. If you could trade Dallas Goedert plus a minor asset for Andrews, I wouldn’t oppose that deal. Look for Andrews to bounce back in the next two weeks.
Verdict – Hold/Buy
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