Fantasy Trade Targets: Buy Low On Jonathan Taylor & Julio Jones, Sell High On Adam Thielen, More For Week 4
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Seahawks’ Marquise Blair up a pass intended for Titans’ Julio Jones
- Only three weeks into the season, there are still plenty of opportunities to buy low or sell high on fantasy football players off to hot or cold starts.
- Our analyst identifies the best trade targets heading into Week 4 of the NFL season, featuring Colts RB Jonathan Taylor and Titans WR Julio Jones.
- She also examines players who have over-performed and could make appealing trade chips for your leaguemates, such as Vikings WR Adam Thielen.
A crowded injury report left many rosters quite lean heading into Week 3, forcing some to turn to less prominent players like Taylor Heinicke, Alexander Mattison, Davis Mills, Peyton Barber, Braxton Berrios, Donovan Peoples-Jones and K.J. Osborn for fantasy production
The biggest fantasy news of the week was the loss of Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey, who exited Thursday night’s game early with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields made his first NFL start with Andy Dalton sidelined and was completely routed by the Browns‘ pass rush. The Giants put up very little fight against the Falcons and lost receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton in the game. The Broncos remain undefeated, but lost wideout K.J. Hamler for the season with a torn ACL. And Year 2 running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had another costly fumble in the Chiefs‘ second straight loss.
As we approach Week 4, here are the trade targets who saw their value shift after the last three weeks of games.
Buy-Low Week 4 Trade Targets
Below are 10 Week 3 underperformers, or players whose value may increase over the next few weeks whom you should target via trades.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
Taylor’s season has been disappointing thus far after going in the first round of many drafts this year. He is currently RB29 through three weeks — six spots behind his pass-catching counterpart, Nyheim Hines. I do think his inefficiency has been a product of this underwhelming Colts offense, which should improve once quarterback Carson Wentz’s health improves. The team is also looking to deal Marlon Mack, meaning Taylor will have even less competition out of the backfield moving forward. He is an interesting buy-low candidate with the Dolphins on deck.
Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos
Williams has certainly taken a backseat to veteran Melvin Gordon this season in terms of fantasy production. Gordon is RB10 through three weeks in half PPR while Williams is RB39. Their attempts and targets are nearly identical, however, and Gordon does have the benefit of one 70-yard touchdown in Week 1. I think this will be a split backfield with Williams’ role increase as a function of time.
David Montgomery, RB, Bears
Montgomery came out hot in Week 1 with a 100-yard rushing game and a touchdown, finishing as RB7. He’s been much quieter with Justin Fields under center, which is a bit shocking given Fields’ style of play should benefit the run game. I see it as just a matter of time before either 1) Matt Nagy learns how to wield Fields as an offensive weapon and stops trying to make him into a pocket passer behind the Bears horrible offensive line, or 2) Nagy gets fired. Montgomery should benefit from either of those things happening and flourish in a Fields-led offense.
Zack Moss, RB, Bills
Devin Singletary appeared to have this job locked down after Moss was a Week 1 scratch, but Moss returned in Week 2 and was utilized heavily on the goal line. The pattern repeated itself in Week 3 with Moss seeing 13 carries to Singletary’s 11 and scoring on a passing touchdown. This feels like it will be a committee with Moss at the forefront.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens
Bateman began the season on injured reserve after suffering a groin injury in training camp that required surgery. The 2021 first-rounder is set to return to practice this week, according to head coach John Harbaugh, and is eligible to return as early as Week 4. He’s definitely a name to stash or keep an eye on, especially in light of the numerous drops from Marquise Brown in Sunday’s nail biter against the Lions.
Julio Jones, WR, Titans
Jones popped off against the Seahawks in Week 2 and finished as WR16, but has been largely underwhelming otherwise and has yet to find the end zone this year. He may see an uptick in workload with A.J. Brown’s lingering hamstring injury and has the Jets and Jaguars on deck, which should be favorable matchups. Check to see if his manager is panicking in your leagues.
Allen Robinson II, WR, Bears
Pretty much a copy-paste argument from above regarding Montgomery. I believe better days are ahead for Fields and Robinson, who has managed to survive poor quarterback play his entire career. He is currently WR67 in half PPR, meaning you can likely get him for a fraction of his draft cost right now.
Will Fuller V, WR, Dolphins
It’s easy to forget that Fuller was on-track for 1,278 receiving yards last year before his suspension. He missed the first two games this year and had a quiet debut for the Dolphins in Week 3 with three catches for 20 yards. Fuller’s value does take a slight hit with Jacoby Brissett under center while Tua Tagovailoa recovers from his rib injury, but with everyone fading the Dolphins, now would be a good time to buy low.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons
Pitts is a great buy low, and no, this is not just me doubling down on my preseason Pitts love. He is currently TE15 in half PPR, which certainly isn’t great given he was drafted consensus top six at the position, but he has looked good in flashes. It’s clear this offense has struggled through three weeks under Arthur Smith, though the team did pick up their first win on Sunday against the Giants. I foresee the chemistry between Matt Ryan and Pitts growing as a function of time over the course of the season. He should easily finish top 12.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
I’m not sure if one bad game can qualify a player as “buy low,” but Hockenson was extremely quiet in Week 3 against the Ravens. He caught two of two passes for 10 yards after scoring and catching eight passes in each of the prior games this season. This Lions offense isn’t stellar, but Hockenson is the centerpiece and will remain Jared Goff’s top option moving forward.
Week 4 Trade Targets To Sell High On
Below are seven Week 3 overperformers, or players whose values may decrease over the next few weeks whom you should try to offload via trades.
Melvin Gordon III, RB, Broncos
Gordon has outshined rookie Javonte Williams thus far and is currently RB10 in half PPR. Their touches have been nearly identical, however, and given that Williams represents the future at running back for the Broncos, I foresee his role increasing as the season progresses. This is the apex of Gordon’s fantasy value: Sell him while you can.
Trey Sermon, RB, 49ers
What a rollercoaster this has been. Week 1, Sermon was shockingly benched for Elijah Mitchell. Week 2, Sermon fumbles and is concussed on his first NFL carry. Week 3, Sermon gets the start with Mitchell (shoulder), JaMycal Hasty (ankle) and Raheem Mostert (knee) all out and finishes as RB26 after scoring his first NFL touchdown. That said, fullback Kyle Juszczyk was peppered into the 49ers’ run game and saw five carries for 14 yard and caught four of four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell could return as early as this week, and Juszczyk’s usage was a reminder that head coach Kyle Shanahan still does not trust Sermon with a full workload. He’s a “sell medium” right now.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
Cooks has been a pleasant surprise this season and is currently WR6 in half PPR behind Cooper Kupp, Mike Williams, Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen and Ja’Marr Chase. I think there’s a next-to-zero percent chance he continues at this pace in this volatile Texans offense led by Davis Mills. If you can sell him as a WR1 to another manager, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
Kirk has also been a nice surprise this season for fantasy. He is currently WR13 through three weeks ahead of DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore. I don’t see this as a sustainable pace, and before last week, rookie Rondale Moore had been the team’s most-targeted receiver. Moore’s role should increase as the season progresses, and I predict he’ll be the locked-in WR2 in this offense behind Hopkins, while Kirk and A.J. Green remain big-play dependent boom-or-bust players.
Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
Thielen is a fantastic player and is currently WR4 in half PPR, but much of his production has come from touchdowns, not yardage. He remains the No. 2 option on this crowded depth chart behind Justin Jefferson, and ahead of K.J. Osborn and tight end Tyler Conklin. He is a quintessential sell-high candidate right now.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
Boyd had his best game of the season in Week 3 and caught four of six passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Tee Higgins’ absence from this game certainly contributed to Boyd’s increased target share. He will be the No. 3 option behind Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase once Higgins is fully healthy again.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
Just as the fantasy community was prepared to write off Gesicki, he delivered in Week 3 and caught a whopping 10 of 12 targets for 86 yards. Much of his production came late in the game, however, and he is still not a reliable TE1 for fantasy purposes in this anemic Dolphins offense and after a Week 1 bagel.