The Trade Market: Fantasy Football Targets & Players to Sell (2021)
If anyone has ever told you that you can win your fantasy football league at the draft, they were straight-up lying to you. It’s simply fiction that someone will have the same roster they did on draft night at the end of the season.
Injuries happen, roles change in NFL offenses, and some players simply don’t progress the way we anticipated going into the season. For various reasons, the team you selected will not be the same one that you win a championship with in your league. You need to adapt and be prepared to adjust as the season progresses.
This article will seek to help you do just that each week moving forward. I’m going to be highlighting several players that have moved up and down my rest-of-season rankings, which can create some unique buy-low or sell-high opportunities. Additionally, I’ll look at several popular searches in our Who Should I Trade tool and seek to provide my thoughts and analysis on which side I prefer.
Let’s dive in.
Rest-of-Season Rankings Risers
Damien Harris: Harris has done nothing but perform well with his opportunity this season and this Patriots offense is leaning on him. Even while battling through an injury, he’s delivering for fantasy purposes. He moves up from RB23 to RB19 in my ROS rankings.
Michael Carter: All off-season, I talked about Carter and how you would have to be patient with him to start the season if you did end up drafting him, but the production would happen eventually. It took a little bit longer than fantasy managers anticipated, but Carter’s now here to stay. Yes, the offense is atrocious, but volume is king in fantasy football and Carter’s now getting plenty of it. He had 20 total opportunities (targets + carries) in week seven and he rewarded fantasy managers that were forced to start him due to bye weeks, injuries, etc. Carter moved from RB37 to RB26 in my ROS rankings.
Khalil Herbert: Herbert has looked like the best offensive player on the Chicago Bears this season. In a matchup against Tampa Bay where he’s not supposed to do anything, Herbert showed out and proved that he’s worth keeping in the rotation at RB. Herbert moves up from RB43 to RB38 in my ROS rankings, but this is still going to be David Montgomery‘s backfield when he returns. Herbert will be a change-of-pace option though in that instance, so we shouldn’t overvalue him.
Ja’Marr Chase: What more does this kid have to do? This is insane what he’s doing on the field to start his career and there’s no way we can keep him out of the top-tier of WRs. He’s WR6 in my ROS rankings.
AJ Brown: Remember when we were all panicking over Brown and his start to the season? He’s moving quickly back up my ROS rankings and he’s now at WR14.
Michael Pittman: What more does Pittman have to do on the field to prove that he’s a star WR in the making? He moved up from WR28 to WR22 in my ROS rankings.
Mike Gesicki: Gesicki’s usage in week one had me panicked, but since that point, he’s been one of the best fantasy TEs out there. He’s now TE5 in my ROS rankings and up from TE9 a week ago.
Rest-of-Season Rankings Fallers
Chase Edmonds: Edmonds brings a safe floor each and every week, but he has now gone 95 touches this season without finding the end zone. The upside simply isn’t there with him from a fantasy perspective and he’s dropped to RB23 in my ROS rankings.
Mike Davis: What is the purpose of even rostering Davis at this point? He’s been inefficient this season, he’s barely seeing touches in this offense now, and he’s being dramatically out-produced by Cordarrelle Patterson. Davis takes a tumble all the way from RB28 to RB36 and there’s the potential that he falls even further by this time next week.
Damien Williams: Williams is simply being outplayed by Khalil Herbert in this backfield. When Montgomery returns, we could see Williams moved completely to the bench. He’s all the way down to RB51 in my ROS rankings now.
DJ Moore: Is Moore still a very good WR? Yes. Is he delivering top-5 production with the current state of this Carolina offense? Absolutely not. We have to adjust our expectations now with Moore and recognize that he’s a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 versus a locked-in top-5 play every week. He’s at WR10 in my ROS rankings and he could move down further by this time next week if Carolina doesn’t figure this out.
Calvin Ridley: Ridley just has not lived up to the hype this season. We thought that he was going to be able to deliver top-tier production without Julio Jones in town, but Ridley is seeing players like Patterson and Kyle Pitts do more with their opportunity in the same offense. Even though he found the end zone last week, it’s time to be worried about Ridley for fantasy. He’s now WR16 in my rankings versus WR11 a week ago.
Odell Beckham Jr: Yikes. We knew that OBJ was banged up coming into last week, but it just is not happening here in Cleveland for him for whatever reason. He’s still talented and getting open at will, but the chemistry and connection with his QBs just doesn’t work. He’s now at WR41 in my ROS rankings and he’s getting dangerously close to the territory where I’m just willing to outright drop him.
Noah Fant: Fant’s certainly involved in the Denver offense, but is this an offense that we should be excited about him being involved in? With the reports that Jerry Jeudy is close to returning, Fant’s target volume could disappear pretty quickly and that should have us worried as fantasy managers. He’s TE13 in my ROS rankings now.
Buy Low Players
DJ Moore: Buy low windows are created when reality doesn’t meet expectations. Just a few weeks ago, fantasy managers believed that they had 2021’s breakout player of the year and that Moore was going to be a key piece in delivering them fantasy championships. Unfortunately, the Carolina offense has crumbled in recent weeks and Moore’s fantasy stock has taken a hit as a result. However, it’s important to remember that he is still an incredibly valuable fantasy asset and that he has yet to really hurt your lineup, despite the offensive woes. There may be someone in your league who is frustrated that Moore’s not delivering the top-tier performances anymore and that creates a window to buy low. Plus, what happens if Carolina trades for Deshaun Watson at the NFL trade deadline?
Trey Lance: The rain was coming down in sheets on Sunday night, but it doesn’t excuse the performance from Jimmy Garoppolo. At this point, we know who Jimmy G is and it’s not someone who is going to help lead the 49ers to a playoff spot. Lance is the future of this team and there’s a strong possibility that we see him come out as the starter for this offense once he’s fully healthy again. We’ve seen already what Lance can be for fantasy football in his performance against the Cardinals where he had 16 rush attempts and he was merely an inch away from being a top-12 QB in his first-ever NFL start. The 49ers don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon and that means that they should get Lance the reps he needs. I believe the time is coming where he’s going to be starting and that means that this is one of the last buy low windows for the fantasy football cheat code QB.
Antonio Gibson: Has Gibson lived up to the lofty expectations we placed on him coming into the season? No, he has not. However, he’s also been playing the majority of this season with a stress fracture in his shin. While Gibson should probably just be allowed to rest up and get his body right, he’s fighting through it and still providing decent fantasy numbers in the meantime. Washington has a matchup against Denver this next week and then their bye is in week nine. This is the moment where Gibson is going to be able to rest up and come out of the bye week healthy and ready to roll, which makes this the perfect time to buy low when fantasy managers are frustrated with the output. If you’re a team that looks to be contending for a playoff spot, Gibson’s a perfect investment where he can be had for a lot cheaper right now than what his production is going to be down the stretch.
David Montgomery: This is a bit of a risky move due to the fact that we don’t know exactly when Montgomery is going to come off of Injured Reserve. However, he should be returning within the next couple of weeks and we know that he’s going to be given a heavy workload when he does return. Fantasy managers that have Montgomery sitting on their bench right now are likely in need of an immediate replacement, so if you have an expendable option at the RB position, it’s worth engaging in trade talks to see if you can acquire Montgomery cheap right now to bolster a deep playoff run.
Tee Higgins: Higgins has been a bit of a disappointment since coming back from his injury and there are plenty of fantasy managers in leagues that just look at the Fantasy Points column in lineups versus studying what the surrounding context was. Higgins finished with just a 7-62-0 stat line in week seven, but it’s incredibly important to note that he had a shocking 15 targets! This total was enough to lead the entire team last week and it’s notable that that was double what Tyler Boyd saw in this game. Plenty of fantasy managers chase touchdown production or unsustainable yards per reception efficiency, but volume is what matters the most in fantasy football. If you can find someone in your league who’s only focusing on the production the past few weeks versus the opportunity, it’s a perfect time to strike.
Jerry Jeudy: This is simply just a notice to go out and acquire Jeudy for cheap before he comes back into the lineup. He should step right back into being the number one target in this Broncos offense and should be a valuable low-end WR2 moving forward. If you can find someone who isn’t viewing him in that light, it’s worth acquiring him for cheap before he bursts back onto the scene as early as week eight.
Sell High Players
Jalen Hurts: This trade is more centered around Superflex leagues, but it revolves around the possibility that the Philadelphia Eagles could be involved in the Deshaun Watson trade conversation. Let’s face it, Hurts has been terrible as an NFL QB. He’s getting the job done each week for fantasy football due to playing in garbage time for the majority of the fourth quarter, but eventually, Philadelphia is going to be forced into doing something about the quality of the play. From a fantasy totals perspective, Hurts is crushing it and has plenty of trade value in Superflex formats. If you can move him for someone with more job security – that also comes with plenty of upside – it’s a move worth considering.
Myles Gaskin: Gaskin’s fantasy football production has been a yo-yo this season. He’s finished each good game with a bad performance and followed it right back up with a big outing, which is infuriating for fantasy players. He’s coming off a blowup performance in week seven, so this is the chance to ship him off for as high a cost as you can get and save yourself the headache. It’s really as simple as that.
Michael Carter: Carter’s coming off of his first big performance in the NFL and there’s every reason to believe that his usage is here to stay. With that being said, he still plays for the New York Jets and an offense that is going to struggle to move the ball against any opponent. If you are able to take Carter and flip him for an RB that has a similar guaranteed workload and plays in a better offense, that’s probably the right call.
Calvin Ridley: It’s just not happening for Ridley this year in Atlanta. Even though he’s seeing plenty of targets in this offense, it’s not translating to the fantasy production that we were all hoping for. Coming off of a game in which he found the end zone, this might be the perfect opportunity to see if you can sell “high” on Ridley and get someone who we have a little bit more confidence in from a fantasy perspective. For example, a trade I would be looking to make if I have Ridley is going after DK Metcalf. Metcalf’s disappointing a little bit here without Russell Wilson in the lineup, but we know that that’s going to change eventually. We don’t know that Ridley’s production is going to increase as the season moves along.
Robert Tonyan: Tonyan now has had five games so far this season where he has scored two or fewer fantasy points. There’s a possibility that what we saw from Tonyan and the Packers is here to stay, but there’s the more likely possibility that it was a fluke performance and he’s going to go back to barely being involved. If I roster Tonyan still, I’m taking whatever I can get for him.
The Trade Market
Each week in this article, I’ll look at our Who Should I Trade tool that we have here at FantasyPros and some of the most popular searches to offer my thoughts. Check out this amazing free tool and receive expert analysis immediately!
DeAndre Hopkins or Nick Chubb: This one’s super close, but Chubb should be back this next week and the value being placed on top-tier RBs right now is incredible. If you have a top-tier RB, you’re most likely winning your week.
Looking for advice tailored to your team? Check out our awarding-winning My Playbook tool. My Playbook allows you to sync your team for free in seconds. It offers personalized advice for fantasy owners, including a Start/Sit Assistant, Waiver Wire Assistant, and Trade Analyzer. My Playbook will also send you news and alerts specific to your fantasy players. Join over 1 million teams that have been synched for custom advice, rankings, and analysis!