There are lots of things to love about fantasy football. For me, constructing a trade is one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole experience. Fun fact – last year, I somehow pieced together three separate trades in which I either received or gave away DeVante Parker – all in the same league. That’s a story for another day.
The first step in a good trade is, of course, finding the right targets – and that’s what this piece is all about.
Some of these players will be on the trading block because fantasy GMs have not seen a player’s true value yet. Others will be here because of a poor week one performance that triggers a knee-jerk reaction. All of the players on this list will – if you construct the trade properly – make your fantasy team better.
Enough preamble. Let’s get to the action.
Aaron Jones – Running Back, Green Bay Packers
A messy backfield got even messier after Green Bay’s showing against the Chicago Bears in week one. Jamaal Williams was given the lead role, with Aaron Jones being suspended for the first two games, and he missed the opportunity to stake his claim for a workhorse role, posting just 47 yards on 15 carries for just 3.13 yards per carry.
Jones has the privilege of avoiding the Minnesota Vikings defensive line, and will come into Week Three with fresh legs and, if Williams struggles again, the chance to win the starting role in Aaron Rodgers’ offense. This Packers backfield will likely remain messy for a few weeks, but make sure you buy Jones now whilst his price is still cheap.
Kenny Stills – Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins
There was plenty of hype surrounding Kenny Stills this offseason. His situation improved more than perhaps any other receiver in the league, with Jarvis Landry and all 161 of his targets moving to Cleveland, and DeVante Parker’s struggles continuing through the preseason.
Stills managed to deliver on the hype, converting 4 catches into 106 yards and 2 touchdowns in his usual efficient fashion. Whilst Landry was still in Miami, Stills was used primarily as a deep threat – not anymore. He is being utilized as the number one option for Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins, and with Parker suffering from a broken finger and unable to catch passes, you want Stills on your roster. Do it.
Alex Collins – Running Back, Baltimore Ravens
The box score for Alex Collins was not pretty against Buffalo, and he disappointed plenty of fantasy players after gaining just 13 yards on 7 carries. Even his touchdown run was offset somewhat by losing a fumble.
There will be fantasy players who will fall victim to the panic-sell, offering you the chance to swoop in and capitalize on their nerves. The Ravens decimated the Bills, and benched the majority of their starters – including Collins – after scoring 40 points by halftime. Game script, unfortunately, went against Collins on Thursday night against Cincinnati, but the positive spin is that he was the lead rusher with 9 carries for 35 yards and with Kenneth Dixon expected to miss multiple weeks with a knee injury, Collins’ competition for carries is dwindling. BUY.
Trey Burton – Tight End, Chicago Bears
Ready for another panic-sell? The hype balloon for Trey Burton popped significantly in Week 1 after he grabbed only 1 catch for 15 yards against the Packers. Those are scary numbers for those of us who were counting on him to cash in against a susceptible Packers defense.
Here are some other numbers, though, that will make you feel better about Burton. He was on the field for 87.6% of Chicago’s offensive snaps. Of Chicago’s 39 pass plays, Burton was on the field for 85% of them. And, despite only securing one catch, Burton was targeted 6 times – just one target less than Allen Robinson. You shouldn’t be worried about Burton – be sure to steal him from fantasy gamers who are.
Emmanuel Sanders/Demaryius Thomas – Wide Receivers, Denver Broncos
It doesn’t matter which of the two Broncos receivers you choose to target. Both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas saw 10 or more targets – something no other team managed to replicate in Week One. They both scored a touchdown, and both posted 60 yards or more.
In short, even with Case Keenum tossing three interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks, Sanders and Thomas are both set up for significant workloads in what could end up being their final seasons for Denver. Factor in two games against both the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs defenses, and you’re cooking with some tasty fantasy spice.
Bonus Target – Dion Lewis – Running Back, Tennessee Titans
Dion Lewis was a league winner last year, ascending from a piece of a very Belichickian committee to an every-week starter, to earn a big free agency move to the Tennessee Titans, and a tidy contract in the process. The only obstacle coming into 2018 for Lewis? A 6-foot-4, 247 lb. running back by the name of Derrick Henry.
It turns out Lewis is pretty good at avoiding obstacles. While Henry toiled to rack up 26 yards on 10 carries, Lewis burst out of the blocks in his Titans debut for 75 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, adding another 35 yards on 5 catches. More importantly, Lewis was on the field for 49 snaps, whilst Henry only managed 20.
Yes, the “lead back” for Tennessee will probably be determined by game script, but this Titans defense looks overrated if their performance against the Dolphins was anything to go by, opening the door further for Dion Lewis to win your fantasy league for you again.
By Ben Barton – @Baron_Barton