Tuesday Trades: Week 7 and the Sneaky Cheap WR
Welcome back to Tuesday Morning Trades, a weekly column that will highlight players to target today before their prices change tomorrow.
Two weeks ago I wondered whether we might soon see “the old Adrian Peterson” suddenly “looking like a totally different player.” Well, it took a change of scenery, but it happened on Sunday as Peterson dropped 134 yards and two touchdowns on the Buccaneers.
The fantasy community simultaneously holds two incompatible beliefs. One, that any running back can pretty much fill in for the starter and have a big day given the opportunity. And two, that RBs can have a bad year and suddenly become totally worthless. Maybe it was just that desert air, but Peterson quieted the haters for one more week.
Here are some of the best buys and sells at each position.
Tyrod Taylor – With Aaron Rodgers down this week, there are some teams out there scrambling at QB. While you can probably add Brett Hundley off the wire, I would rather pay up for Taylor. He’s already had his bye week, Jordan Matthews is apparently now day-to-day with his thumb injury, and Buffalo has a nice schedule coming up against the Buccaneers, Raiders, Jets, and Saints. Only the QB21 through five weeks, Taylor shouldn’t be too pricey.
Matthew Stafford – The highest paid QB in the NFL saved his day with a pair of garbage time TDs against the Saints, but the reality is that Stafford is getting killed behind this offensive line right now. Already questionable with ankle and hamstring injuries, Stafford has now taken 17 sacks in the last three weeks. Peyton Manning had nine seasons where he took 17 or fewer sacks. I’m not giving up on Stafford the player, but if I have an opportunity to move on, I’m taking it. He’s going to try to play through just about anything, and that could lead to surprise scratches or worse leaving early in a game and putting up a zero. Maybe a desperate Rodgers owner will bite.
LeSean McCoy – McCoy has zero TDs this year but is on pace for 86 receptions for 604 yards, both of which would be career highs. His receiving role has made him game-script proof so far this year, but the lack of TDs could make him available. The Bills have already had their bye and have a nice schedule coming up, as I mentioned above. Mike Tolbert is the only player on the roster that can threaten McCoy’s workload, which makes him one of the safest bets around.
Theo Riddick – When the offense struggles and the Lions fall behind, they end up forced to dump the ball off near the line of scrimmage and pray for yards after the catch. Riddick hasn’t had too much opportunity yet this year, but he’s still great at this role. With Golden Tate likely out multiple weeks, more of these looks could go to Riddick. The Lions are on bye this week, so it’s a nice time to target him inexpensively when owners may be on the fence about his roster spot. He’s been just a low-end RB3 so far, but has 45 receiving yards in each of the last two weeks and is quietly on pace for 61 receptions.
Marlon Mack – Chuck Pagano said earlier in the week that he needed to get Mack more involved and suggested that would’ve already developed had Mack not missed some time with injury. Mack ripped off 22 yards on his first carry, and then Pagano proceeded to give him one more carry the entire game. We absolutely cannot trust Mack’s role on this team right now, but that means he’s possibly still available in trades, and Robert Turbin appears to have dislocated his elbow. For all we know, Pagano will promote Matt Jones ahead of him, but I’ll still beat the drum for Mack so long as his opportunity seems to be growing and he keeps making big plays.
Adrian Peterson – You’re not going to be able to flip Peterson in every league, but he recently said he wanted to play four or five more years, and the excitement is real. The reality is that Peterson will have big games in good game scripts, but his role in the passing game remains unknown in Arizona and on Sunday he had zero targets. The touchdown upside is nice, but guys like Chris Ivory and Matt Forte outscored Peterson in non-TD points. And, of course, David Johnson is likely to be back for the fantasy playoffs.
Bennie Fowler – Denver faced an unlikely bad game script against the Giants and ended up throwing 50 times. That’s not going to happen frequently, but it’s worth noting that Fowler got eight targets in this game and led all Broncos WRs in snaps. As of right now it looks like Demaryius Thomas is okay, but he hurt his ankle in the game, and Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie are definitely missing Week 7 with ankle injuries. Denver has the third-best schedule for WRs over the next four weeks according to the Buy Low Machine, so Fowler could be a cheap acquisition to get you through the bye weeks.
Demarcus Robinson – I have a little bias here, because I added Robinson in several leagues after positive preseason reports and a strong connection with Patrick Mahomes. But Robinson remains a sneaky deep league or dynasty add with Chris Conley out for the season. He led all Chiefs WRs with 91 percent snaps, blocked well (including clearing the way on De’Anthony Thomas’ TD), and was missed by Alex Smith running wide open several times (including on the would-be game-winning drive). While those things don’t help your fantasy team, he looked productive enough to keep playing significant snaps, especially if Albert Wilson can’t get back to full health on the short week. Wilson is in a contract year, Conley will be in the last year of his contract next year as he tries to come back from his Achilles injury, but Robinson remains under contract through 2019.
T.J. Jones – Kenny Golladay is going to come back from his hamstring injury sooner or later, but Jones could quietly rack up targets in the slot with Golden Tate out with a shoulder injury. Despite a quiet line against the Saints, Jones played the second-most snaps of any Lions WR with 72 percent and managed nine targets. He’s an even cheaper way to play the Tate injury than Theo Riddick and will likely see more snaps.
Martavis Bryant – Bryant is just a low-snap deep threat right now, and he hasn’t done anything notable since Week 2. But with reports that he’s unhappy and has requested a trade, his value is at rock bottom. If you’re a believer, and/or you could use a potential Will Fuller type WR, now is the time to add him cheap.
T.Y. Hilton – Hilton dropped 153 yards on Cleveland and 177 yards on San Francisco in the last four weeks, so if an owner thinks they are buying low on this Titans game with an eye towards Andrew Luck returning, consider selling. The Colts have an unfriendly schedule of Jacksonville, Houston, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh coming up before their bye in Week 11. And they have the least friendly WR playoff schedule against Buffalo, Denver, and Baltimore. With no guarantees on Luck’s shoulder, and mediocre performances in four of six weeks so far, this may not be Hilton’s year. Luck’s return will probably offer another window to sell him, but his value may have fallen a long way by then.
Tyler Kroft – With Tyler Eifert ruled out for the season, Kroft is looking like a legit starter at TE. After his big two-TD game against the Browns, he followed up by playing 94 percent snaps against the Bills and is averaging six targets a game without Eifert. Combined with Cincinnati’s inclination to use the TE near the goal line, Kroft could be solid the rest of the way. One thing that predisposes me toward him: all of the Bengals WRs have been dealing with nagging injuries this year, and their missed time could boost his target share.
Martellus Bennett – With Green Bay’s WRs all healthy, Bennett has just not been able to carve out a large enough target share to make an impact. His value is pretty low right now, but you might have one last chance to move him on the narrative that Brett Hundley will lean on the TE as a safety blanket. Or possibly an Eric Ebron or Ryan Griffin owner is in a pinch on the bye weeks and could flip you a player like Chris Ivory or Devontae Booker.
THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: Chiefs @ Raiders
I’m definitely watching the injury news to see if Albert Wilson can get back on the field on the short week. He’d been removed from the injury report but then was added back on Saturday, which is never a good sign. The Oakland secondary has been beatable, so I’m crossing my fingers for a standout game from Demarcus Robinson. Rookie Jehu Chesson only played on special teams against Pittsburgh but made a great play recovering the ball on the free kick after a safety–dynasty owners will be monitoring his snaps.
Charcandrick West suffered a concussion last week, making Akeem Hunt a deep league add. We’ve seen how valuable the Chiefs running game is, so if you can stash the next man up it can pay big dividends. The fact that the Chiefs added C.J. Spiller back to the roster is an indication West is likely to miss the game, but Spiller is safely third on the depth chart. He’s a desperation add, but I’m willing to be agnostic on the player for a shot at any runner on this team. Spiller is probably more of a straight line runner at this point in his career, but if he were truly still wracked with injury, the Chiefs wouldn’t keep him hanging around.
I’ll admit I’m losing some faith in this Raiders rushing attack. The offensive line continues to receive top grades from Pro Football Focus, but the team has not been productive on the ground. This Chiefs game is not the easiest matchup to get it jump-started. My favorite piece of the backfield remains Jalen Richard, who continues to look good in the passing game, whereas Marshawn Lynch has just not found a connection with Derek Carr, despite seeing a couple targets every week. I’ll still add Lynch if he’s cheap enough, but his name value may keep his price too high in many leagues.
Amari Cooper may have gotten a little confidence back after getting peppered with extremely short passes. I’m not sold on Derek Carr as a top talent, so I don’t think the Raiders offense will ever transform into a real juggernaut, but Cooper is still a buy low–the number of receiving options is very thin on this team. For that reason, Jared Cook is solid. He’s trended down the last few weeks (in part certainly due to Carr’s injury), but should still be able to find six targets a game. Cordarrelle Patterson remains low volume enough that he’s unlikely to be startable, but the Raiders are mixing him into the running game to good effect. He would become interesting if Seth Roberts got banged up.
That is a wrap for Tuesday Morning Trades. I’ll be recapping last weeks picks on Thursday in the forums. Let me know in the comments if you have specific player questions or roster dilemmas you’d like to see addressed next week.