There were some epic fantasy performances during the NFL’s opening weekend. The perception of certain players isn’t always reality. Here are a handful of players entering Week 2 of the fantasy football season, presenting an optimal opportunity to either buy low or sell high on them.
Who are some fantasy football buy-low Week 2 trade targets?
All of these candidates are in a position to exceed the expectations of fantasy managers. Everyone views players differently. Here are four such candidates you can trade for at a discount.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The “What have you done for me lately?” mentality is common in fantasy football. This applies to Evans. Last Thursday night, he only caught 3 of 6 targets for 24 yards against the Cowboys while Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown prospered.
However, context is important. Evans had to deal with Trevon Diggs’ shadow coverage. The cornerback followed the veteran receiver on nearly 80% of his coverage snaps.
Don’t forget Evans’ statistical body of work, though. He has seven consecutive seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards. Now is a perfect time to trade for Evans. The Buccaneers had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL last season, with quarterback Tom Brady under center. That trend will continue in 2021.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott only rushed 11 times for an inconceivable 33 yards against the Buccaneers. He also had 2 receptions for 6 yards. This was not the Week 1 performance those that invested a first-round draft pick in Elliott were looking for.
Ultimately, the Cowboys’ best chance at victory did not involve force-feeding their star running back against the Buccaneers’ dominant defensive front. Dallas’ offensive coordinator Kellen Moore had an exceptional game plan which almost resulted in a win against the defending Super Bowl champions.
I’ll be transparent. You should aggressively try to trade for Elliott from an impulsive manager. He has an excellent chance of bouncing back against the Chargers in Week 2. Washington running back Antonio Gibson finished with 108 total yards against Los Angeles in Week 1, and Dallas has a superior offensive line.
The chatter about Elliott’s demise is greatly exaggerated. Since 2016 when he was drafted, no other RB has scored more PPR fantasy points than Elliott (1,413). Todd Gurley (1,348) and Kamara (1,305) are second and third. Elliott also ranks first in opportunities over that time frame and has finished as an RB1 in 61% of his 71 active career games in PPR. He’s still in a position to have a fine season.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Boyd only caught 3 of 4 targets for 32 yards against the Vikings. This performance had fantasy managers feeling queasy as his teammates Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins combined for 9 receptions, 159 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. However, the Bengals took a run-heavy approach, and Boyd was, unfortunately, the odd man out.
When the Bengals are playing from behind, all three of their receivers should see ample targets. Considering the Bengals’ defense, this scenario is likely to play out more often than not. We still have Chase, Higgins, and Boyd projected for 100+ targets each. If you need a WR3 with upside, you should trade for Boyd at a discount.
Which potential trade targets should you sell high on?
Many of the players on this list are widely known by fantasy managers. Some of them could disappoint early in the season. Will you cash your chips in?
Mark Ingram, RB, Houston Texans
Ingram surprised many fantasy enthusiasts with a dominant performance. He rushed 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars. The Texans’ offense steamrolled Jacksonville on their home field.
Heading into the season, many viewed the Texans’ backfield in one of two ways. Some thought that Phillip Lindsay would become the early-down back for Houston. Others, meanwhile, viewed David Johnson as an uninspiring RB3. Nevertheless, it was Ingram who operated as the lead back in Week 1. Regardless, Lindsay and Johnson did score touchdowns.
It’s worth noting that the 31-year-old running back only averaged an anemic 3.3 yards per game. Father Time is undefeated.
Since 2000, there have been 226 running backs who scored 230+ PPR fantasy points. This feat has only been accomplished by seven RBs who were 31 or older. The most recent was DeAngelo Williams, who finished with 231.4 fantasy points in 2015. Now is the optimal time to move on from Ingram.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanders started the 2021 season strong with 15 rushing attempts for 74 yards against the Falcons. He also had 4 receptions for 39 yards, finishing with a solid 17.3 PPR fantasy points. However, there are some concerns. Sanders didn’t have a single opportunity (rushing attempt or target) in the red zone.
As the season progresses, Sanders could continue to lose touches to Kenneth Gainwell. The rookie had 11 touches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Sanders has had issues with drops in his short career. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has publicly stated that they plan to use their running backs in the passing game. This is an area Gainwell can make an immediate contribution.
Gainwell opted out of the 2020 college football season due to COVID-19 concerns. But in 2019, he led the Memphis Tigers in rushing (1,459) and was second in receptions (51). Sirianni shared some hints months ago that the Eagles could use Gainwell similarly to how he used Nyheim Hines during his time with the Colts. Now is a great time to shop Sanders in your fantasy football league.
Antonio Brown, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The rapport that Brown had with Brady during training camp and the preseason was publicized by numerous NFL reporters. It was prominently on display on opening night. Brown caught 5 of 7 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys.
It was his second-most receiving yards in a game since joining the Buccaneers. Yet, Brown did have one of the most favorable cornerback matchups amongst Tampa Bay’s top three receivers, and Brady exploited it.
Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians’ vertical passing attack and the Buccaneers’ magnificent receiving weapons unlocked the best version of Brady we’ve seen since 2007. The future Hall of Fame quarterback is an equal opportunity distributor. Brady will deliver the football to whichever receiver gets open. Typically, that will be the one with the most favorable matchup. Now is a great time to shop Brown and see what you can get in return.