- Down 0-2 in your league? Don't worry. Ian Hartitz is here to help you with his top fantasy football trade targets for Week 3.
- Titans WR Corey Davis' massive target share makes him a prime candidate, while O.J. Howard looks like a much better TE option than Jesse James.
- There are also players to sell now, including Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson, whose hot start is most likely unsustainable.
Fantasy owners who have started the year 0-2 are undoubtedly beginning to enter panic mode. It’s time to take advantage of your vulnerable friends and make a league-winning trade.
The NFL’s ridiculous non-guaranteed contracts and salary cap have made player-for-player trades fairly rare over the years, but it’s a market that can be exploited in fantasy by focusing on both potential mistakes in popular public opinion and season-long trends.
Let’s break down some of Week 3’s top trade targets, as well as players you should consider selling sooner rather than later.
Top Fantasy Football Trade Target
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
Fantasy football trades should be made from a long-term perspective.
For example: There’s a decent chance that Davis struggles to get much going against the Jaguars’ impenetrable pass defense this week, with or without Marcus Mariota under center (elbow). But after that? Davis and the Titans pass offense will face the Eagles’ underwhelming group of corners at home before traveling to Buffalo for a firsthand experience of 2018’s fantasy-football paradise.
The reason to buy Davis now comes down to his absurd target share. He’s currently one of only 11 receivers with a target share of at least 30%.
(By the way, I’m no longer suspended from Twitter. Good times.)
Davis has the lowest number of receptions (11) and yards (117) in the aforementioned group, but that’s what six quarters with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback will generally get you.
The important news for Davis is that he’s positioned to work as the Titans’ No. 1 receiver for the rest of the season:
- Delanie Walker (ankle, Injured Reserve) racked up at least 100 targets in each of the past four seasons and was entrenched as Mariota’s go-to red-zone target.
- Rishard Matthews averaged 6.2 targets per game from 2015-17, but has received only four total looks through two weeks. He’s played only 50% of the offense’s snaps as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.
Davis is a 6-foot-3 and 210-pound athlete with pristine route-running ability. Get last season’s No. 5 overall pick before he starts playing like it.
Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Jay Ajayi (back) was limited last week while Darren Sproles (hamstring) didn’t play at all. Clement accordingly posted 6-30-1 rushing and 5-55-0 receiving lines while playing 33-of-79 snaps (42%).
Ajayi has already missed practice time with a foot injury this season and fell in drafts due to long-term concerns over his right knee, and Sproles is 35 years old.
Clement is a space-plus back who offers enough size (5-foot-10 and 220 pounds) and receiving ability to effectively function on all three downs.
OJ Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cameron Brate signed a six-year contract worth $40.8 million, but the Bucs can move on without any dead cap penalty after each of the next five seasons: A featured role for Howard is on the horizon.
Last year’s No. 19 overall pick has played 72% of snaps through Week 2 compared to only 31% for Brate. Last season, Howard played 56% of the offense’s snaps while Brate played 53%. Howard averaged the sixth-most yards per route run (1.85) among 59 tight ends with at least 20 targets in 2017.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Washington’s first NFL touchdown was aided by a Roethlisberger scramble, but he also displayed elite contested-catch ability during the #preseason.
Journeyman Justin Hunter was a healthy scratch in Week 2, allowing Washington to play 80% of the offense’s snaps and see five targets.
Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster will limit Washington’s ceiling and week-to-week consistency, but his present role as the offense’s field-stretcher has plenty of room for splash weeks. Overall, Washington ranks second among all receivers (min. five targets) with an average target depth of 26 yards.
Fantasy Football Players to Sell
DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Confession: I suggested trading D-Jax before Week 1. Fantasy’s PPR WR3 has since terrorized the Saints and Eagles for a league-leading 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick might not throw for 400-plus yards and four touchdowns forever, but Jackson might just be able to outrun cornerbacks until the end of time.
Here’s the only problem: D-Jax has done all of this on only nine targets. Sure, he’s caught all nine, but there are 63 other wide receivers with more targets through two weeks. Thirty-nine receivers have scored at least 50 PPR points in Weeks 1-2 over the past 20 years. Only Jackson and Travis Benjamin (2015) did so on fewer than 10 targets. Benjamin finished that season as the PPR WR29.
As I said in my previous assertion that you should trade Jackson: “Head coach Dirk Koetter says he looks at each of Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries as starters alongside No. 1 WR Mike Evans. Jameis Winston’s suspension certainly doesn’t help matters.”
If you’re a part of the <3% of people who racked up money playing FitzMagic and D-Jax over the past two weeks, congrats! If you weren’t, don’t start point chasing by relying on talent to continue to overcome opportunity.
After all, the Bucs weren’t lying about utilizing four starting wide receivers:
- Mike Evans snap and target-share percentage: 78% and 32%
- Chris Godwin: 60.5% and 16%
- Adam Humphries: 59% and 12%
- Jackson: 44% and 15%
It’s incredible that Jackson has produced as well as he has without a larger workload, but he already has nearly as many games with at least 100 yards and a touchdown in 2018 (2) as he did between 2015 and 2017 (3). Sell D-Jax at the height of his powers and be happy you experienced two blow-up games in as many weeks.
Any Falcons WR or TE not named Julio Jones
Jones has posted an astronomical 42% target share through two weeks — only Michael Thomas (38%) has passed even 35%. This is obviously bad news for anyone else in the passing game who might like to score fantasy points every now and again, as Austin Hooper (9), Mohamed Sanu (8) and Calvin Ridley (7) haven’t reached double-digit targets yet.
Matt Ryan has enabled multiple top-20 PPR wide receivers only once (2012) over his 11-year career.
Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers passing game has enabled multiple top-12 PPR wide receivers in Brown (WR11) and Smith-Schuster (WR7), while James Conner (RB4) and James (TE2) have posted top-five finishes after two weeks.
Still, James’ early season performance has been largely aided by matchups against the Browns and the Eric Berry-less Chiefs, while his 5-138-1 line last week came on only five targets. Nominal receiving tight end Vance McDonald returned in Week 2 and handled five targets himself. James outsnapped McDonald 45-37, but tight ends typically aren’t very fantasy friendly for extended periods while working outside of their offense’s top four options.