Each week, new players emerge, giving them trade value, while others put up dud performances, making them strong buy low performances. Last week, we saw Corey Davis have a breakout game, which had Twitter buzzing. After being a 3 week disappointment, people now think of Davis as a rock-solid WR2 with legitimate WR1 upside just a week after he was a "drop" candidate in many leagues. Players like Davis have huge trade value following a strong outing, allowing you to get a guy who may have underperformed that week (JuJu for example) but is still a great option. This week, you guys hit me up with more trade questions, so here are my thoughts on them and my opinion on which side is getting the better deal. Let's get this paper.
Marvin Jones and Alex Collins for Cooper Kupp (.5 PPR)
On one side, we have two players, who, although have produced, are looking to be somewhat relegated in their respective offenses. Let's look at Alex Collins first.
Last year, Collins was an incredible value off waivers, finishing as a top 12 RB in 5 of the final 9 weeks of the season. This season hasn't been as great for Collins, though, as he has only finished inside the top 22 once, in week 3, where he commanded 21 touches. Outside of this game, he hasn't recorded more than 11 carries or over 4 receptions. The main problem with Collins is two-fold, he's splitting snaps with Javorious Allen and Buck is also stealing his goal line work (3 goal line carries for Allen, 2 for Collins). Allen is getting 11.3 touches per game, and has produced well, scoring 4 touchdowns in as many weeks. He has proven to deserve touches, and after Collins fumbled on the 1 yard line last week, Allen has a strong chance of now dominating short yardage looks. This year, Collins doesn't look like that safe RB2 he was drafted as. In no way is he a bad option, but he just isn't a trustworthy top 24 option.
As for Marvin Jones, it's clear Golden Tate is the primary option in this offense, and Kenny Golladay looks to have overtaken the #2 role. Thus far, Jones hasn't topped 70 yards, 4 receptions, or a top 20 finish thus far, all marks that his teammates have surpassed. Despite this, he looks like a prime candidate for positive regression, as he has seen 7 redzone targets (31.8% of his team's RZ market share), good enough for 13th most in the league, 10 endzone targets, 2/3 of his team's endzone target share (2nd most in the NFL), and the 9th most air yards in the NFL (448, 13 more than teammate Kenny Golladay). Him and Stafford have missed on multiple long TD chances, and as more of these are completed, he'll likely become a top 25 wideout.
On the other side we have Cooper Kupp, fantasy's #6 WR in points/game. Thus far, he's finished as a top 24 wideout in 3/4 games, and looks to continue this streak on one of the league's most dominant offenses. He's seeing the least amount of targets out of the Rams' top 3 receivers, trailing Woods by 2 and Cooks by 1, so even though he looks to be last in line, it isn't by much, at all. This passing attack is super concentrated, so he's still seeing a near-24% target market share, which is 19th best. He's shown to produce last season, and so far in 2018, it's been no different. All 3 Rams' wideouts should finish the year as top 24 options, but I think Kupp may have the safest floor of the three.
VERDICT: If you're RB needy, take the Jones side. If not, I'd take Kupp since he is seeing volume, and is producing while the 2 on the other side of the trade aren't seeing the volume they'll need to produce weekly.
LeSean McCoy for Josh Gordon
I wrote my thoughts on LeSean McCoy in last weeks' article regarding trade questions, and my sentiments remain the same. He still isn't seeing any volume, ranging from 5 to 9 carries and topping out at 4 receptions. He will finish nowhere near his 346 targets from last year, which, due to his inefficiency, would be needed for him to produce any kind of fantasy value. Buffalo is running the 5th fewest plays per game (60.0), and with them typically playing from behind, he doesn't really get chances to carry the ball. McCoy is nothing more than a back end RB3 at this point due to the lack of volume and early season injury concerns.
As for Josh Gordon, he hasn't had a clean bill of health thus far, but he is on the Patriots. That alone should give him more value than McCoy. Gordon's already played this week, putting up 2/50/1 line on only 18 snaps. He has been limited since the Pats are a smart organization, and don't want to reinjure what could be a nagging pain in his hamstring. What bodes well for him is, one, he now has 10 days to recover, and two, he already produced despite not playing at 100%. Gordon legitimately looks like a tight end out there and his touchdown against the Colts was reminiscent of Randy Moss. In no way am I comparing the two, but Gordon is an athletic freak, certainly the best size/speed/talent combo the Patriots have had in a while, and definitely this year. This week, Gordon showed promise, and with 10 days to rest up before drawing an awful Chiefs secondary, this is the prime time to buy on Gordon, as he likely won't get any cheaper.
VERDICT: Josh Gordon
Melvin Gordon and Evan Engram for Le'Veon Bell (PPR)
I wrote up my thoughts on Melvin Gordon last week, as well, and my thoughts about him are the same. He is a legitimately top 3 runningback this season, especially in PPR leagues. He's seeing 8.5 targets per game and hasn't seen less than 4 in a contest thus far. He has also posted 5 touchdowns over the past 3 weeks. His lowest weekly finish has been 13, and that was against the Rams, where he put up 84 total yards and a score with his lowest reception total. Outside of this game, he has been finished as a top 5 option. Honestly, there are very few players I'd be willing to trade Gordon for in a 1 for 1 deal, and the fact that Evan Engram is included in this trade should give you a good hint as to which side I prefer.
The Gordon side also includes Evan Engram, who had a return timetable of 2-4 weeks. He will not play Sunday, meaning he's going to have missed 2 games when week 5 is all set and done. If the injury timetable is accurate, then he'll likely have a chance to suit up week 6. If and when Engram returns, he's automatically a weekly top 10 tight end, as the position is absolutely depleted. With Walker, Olsen, Howard, Doyle, and Eifert all banged up, the tight end position has become extremely scarce, so it's worth going after players at the position who are injured with a chance of returning. Before his injury, in weeks one and two, he commanded 12 total targets, which is all you can ask for at the tight end position. As long as his recovery goes according to plan, he's a nice buy low candidate.
On the other side, we have Lev Bell. For this season, I have nothing to analyze for Bell, as he's sat out thus far. We know what type of player he is; he's a top 3 runningback and is extremely valuable in PPR formats. Last year, he led the league in rushes and receptions, but even if he returns, I don't expect this type of volume. James Connor has stepped in during Bell's absence, and although he is nowhere near Lev's level, he has done well. If Bell returns, I'm not sure they completely phase Conner out of the offense. Along with this, Bell isn't returning until at least week 8 anyway, and last year, when Bell held out, he didn't produce well until week 3. If this happens again, that would mean you wouldn't be getting much out of Bell until AT LEAST week 10. Because of this, I wouldn't recommend trading for Bell unless you're 4-0, 3-1, or have incredible RB depth and get him for cheap. In this scenario, I don't know this person's record, but you certainly aren't getting him cheap.
VERDICT: Melvin Gordon/Evan Engram
Carlos Hyde for Leonard Fournette
Let's start with Carlos Hyde. He has received the most carries thus far (83), the 4th most red zone touches (14), and the most goal line carries (9). Because of this volume, he's been able to produce, scoring at least one touchdown in every game and has recorded the 5th most rushing yards in the league (285). With this production, you'd think Hyde is a locked and loaded weekly RB1, but he has only finished inside the top 20 once, where he scored 2 tuddies and finished as fantasy's RB3. I'm in no way saying Hyde isn't a great option, he is, in fact, he hasn't finished outside the top 24. My only cause for concern is Hyde's volume, as it just doesn't seem sustainable. He is currently on pace for 332 carries while Nick Chubb is only seeing 2.5 carries per game. I'm not a prisoner of the moment, and last week's performance by Chubb isn't the only reason I expect him to see more touches going forward. Even if we take out last week, where he had 2 incredible TD runs, Chubb was still averaging 5.86 YPC over the first 3 weeks, although on limited touches. Chubb is also an extremely athletic runningback who was a proven producer in college, and the Browns invested an early 2nd rounder on him. I expect him to see 5-7 carries a week going forward, which will inevitably lower Hyde's volume. Hyde is still a solid RB2, but if I had the chance, I'd sell him high.
As for Fournette, I'm not sure there are many trades where I'd favor his side. Thus far, he's suffered a hamstring injury week 1, missed 2 weeks, returned last week, and now reinjured his hammy. As of now, it looks like his recovery time will be AT LEAST the same as it was earlier this year, meaning he likely won't be back until week 7. Even when he does return, I have two major concerns for him. Firstly, there's no guarantee he will see the volume he was set out to get entering the season. T.J. Yeldon has been great, recording the 2nd most evaded tackles this season and is a far better pass catcher than Fournette. Also, Corey Grant hasn't done much this season, but he will still be sprinkled in as a change of pace runner. The second concern I have is a more obvious one: his injury. If a player gets banged up, returns, and aggravates that same part of his body again, forcing him out of games and missing time, then I don't have much confidence in that guy's ability to stay on the field until he's 100%. At this rate, I'm not sure that will happen this year unless they hold LF out for a multitude of weeks, and at that point, his fantasy value is greatly hampered.
VERDICT: Carlos Hyde
Marshawn Lynch for Alex Collins and Kenny Golladay (PPR)
Let's kick this off with Marshawn Lynch. Thus far, Lynch has been held out of the endzone in only one game, yet rushed the ball 20 times to the tune of 130 yards. Beastmode has been a top 15 option in 3/4 games and has yet to finish outside the top 24, making him one of the few ultra-consistent runningbacks in 2018. Also, in every category outside of the touchdown column, Lynch has shown improvements every week, increasing his carry totals (11, 18, 19, 20), targets (2, 2, 3, 5), receptions (2, 2, 3, 3), total yards (49, 68, 86, 157), yards created (11, 34, 41, 80), and evaded tackles (3, 8, 13, 17). The guy is 32 years old, but looks as strong as ever, and over the past 2 seasons, no runningback has been more elusive. In 2017, Lynch evaded 99 tackles (2nd most), which gave him the highest juke rate 43.6%) in the NFL. This year, through 4 games, he has already evaded 41 tackles, giving him a 52.6% juke rate. If you were to only look at this season's metrics, you'd think he's due to regress, but through 15 games last year, he proved this is just who he is, an elite runningback. Lynch is on pace for a 272/1,200/12 statline with an additional 40/240/0 (on 48 targets) through the air. Lynch is only averaging .1 more yards per carry this season than last year, so it's not like this year's been an anomoly. He's been seing more touches, and produced with them, and if this continues, Lynch is a fringe RB1 in all formats
On the other side, we have Alex Collins and Kenny Golladay. I've already written about Collins (earlier in this article), so if you want my thoughts on him, scroll up a bit.
As for Golladay, I've written about his teammate Marvin Jones, but for 2018, I think Kenny G has a higher floor and ceiling than his fellow Lion. Why is this? Well first off, just watching him play, he honestly look like A.J. Green. The guys is huge, or "an absolute UNIT", as my fellow millennials would say, and he is an athletic freak. He seems to catch every ball thrown his way, no matter how terribly Stafford throws it to him, and last week, in his "dud" performance, he made one of the most impressive catches this year (click here to see this wild shit). Aside for my love for Kenny G, he has actually been one of the league's most consistent wideouts thus far. Through 4 weeks, he has posted either 74 yards or a touchdown in every matchup, despite playing 3 teams who rank inside the top 7 in time of possession per game (New England [1st], Dallas Cowboys [6th], New York Jets [7th]) so far this season. Because of this, he should see atleast the same volume he has gotten up to this point as the Lions start to have more time on the offensive side of the ball. Looking at his target numbers, you may be concerned about Golladay, as his targets and routes run have decreased every week, but so has Golden Tate's (and Marvin Jones' targets have been at 6 over the past 2 weeks after 8 and 9 in week 1 and 2, respectively). Tate has only outsnapped Golladay once (week 2), but Kenny still dropped some knowledge to the tune of 6/89/1 (9 targets). This offense has enough firepower to support 3 wideouts, similar to the Rams, which certainly allows for Kenny to be a WR2 this year.
VERDICT: Marshawn Lynch UNLESS you are shallow at WR and decent at RB. Golladay could act as a starter and Collins is no slouch as a bye-week fill in.
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