Entering Week 1, it is extremely likely that you feel your fantasy football rosters are settled, at least for the opening weekend. However, with depth charts being revealed and starting quarterbacks being named, there are always opportunities to attempt to maximize a player’s value and create some interesting fantasy trade targets. Here are a handful of players whose value is at an extreme entering Week 1 of the fantasy football season, presenting an ideal opportunity to either buy low or sell high on them.
Who are some buy-low and fantasy trade targets?
Candidates to buy low on entering Week 1 of the fantasy football season will nearly always be players that are either injured or have missed out on a starting spot but may reclaim it later in the year. Here are four such candidates.
QB: Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
Foles lost out in the battle for the starting role in Chicago, but that is by no means the end of the story. The veteran QB is widely viewed as an upgrade over the current starter, Mitchell Trubisky. Given that the Bears need to make a decision on Trubisky’s future soon, it made sense to start him in Week 1.
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However, while Foles was nowhere near amazing in Jacksonville in 2019, he was at least solid, with a 65.8% completion rate and an interceptions percentage below two. If the Bears defense is a top-10 unit, but the team is being let down by offensive inconsistency, then we could see Foles starting within the first five or six weeks of the season. In Superflex leagues, now is the time to stash Foles.
QB: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
From all accounts, Tua looked impressive in training camp. However, it was always expected that Ryan Fitzpatrick would get the nod to start in Week 1. Therefore, if someone in your league is disheartened that the 2019 first-round selection will not be starting, now might be the time to strike. In Superflex leagues, if your starters have bye weeks late in the season, then stashing Tua as a high upside third option or a lottery ticket fourth QB could take you to a championship this season.
RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
While it is an injury that has Montgomery’s value at rock bottom right now, his value was actually not all that high to begin with. Montgomery struggled in his rookie season, registering a Fantasy Points Differential near the bottom of the league. However, Montgomery should see the bulk of the carries for Chicago when he returns.
As we saw last year with Derrick Henry, volume is king in fantasy football, and Montgomery as the lead back in Chicago could be a valuable flex play from Week 3 or 4 onwards. Right now, there is arguably no better buy low in the entire fantasy football landscape than David Montgomery entering Week 1.
WR: Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeffery is fast becoming one of the most frustrating players to own in fantasy football. Since 2015, he has only played in one full season, with injuries decimating his ability to get on the field. Jeffery was activated from the PUP list this week, but talk out of Philadelphia is that he won’t be ready for Week 1. For some owners, this is a worst-case scenario, as Jeffery may not be able to be stashed on IR, but also will not be contributing. That opens an opportunity to strike.
When Jeffery is on the field, he is an extremely useful contributor for fantasy. Last season, he played in 10 games, seeing more than five targets in eight games and eight or more targets in four games. In terms of fantasy points, Jeffery put up double-digit returns in non-PPR formats on three occasions and got there in six games in PPR formats. Jeffery’s efficiency did drop last season, but in his second year with the Eagles in 2018, he ranked in the top 30 WRs in the league, according to Fantasy Points Differential (WR29).
If Jeffery can get on the field and stay healthy, he has the chance to be a crucial cog for you in your run for the championship later in the season. While he may not have the top five upside of Tyreek Hill, he is a similar story in terms of taking advantage of an injury in order to acquire a high impact player for your team. It may seem a tough decision to use a valued bench spot in Week 1 on a receiver who could not see the field for a month, but Jeffery is a buy-low candidate that can reap the rewards for your fantasy football season.
Which players should we be looking to sell high on?
In a similar vein, we should be looking at players that have appeared high on depth charts who may not stay there this season. Whether that is the starting QB holding the place for someone else or an RB that has seemingly got the initial nod but is an unproven commodity.
QB: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Entering his fourth year, it is time for Trubisky to show everyone what he can do. The Bears needed to give him the starting role, but after he failed to show any progression in 2019, he should have a short hook in 2020. The inability of the Bears offense to make consistent plays was a bit part of the reason they missed the playoffs in 2019.
While Foles may not be a massive upgrade over Trubisky, his experience and what he has achieved as a QB should help placate any unrest in the team. Therefore, if the offense is struggling through the first month of the season, look for Trubisky to be done, potentially for the entire season. If one of the other owners in your fantasy football league is struggling for a QB in a Superflex league in either Week 1 or the first month, then Trubisky could net you a nice return as a sell high.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
As we all expected, Fitzpatrick will get the first nod in Miami this season. Everyone remembers those times that Fitzpatrick puts up incredible numbers, but often the dud performances are forgotten. In 2019, Fitzpatrick ranked outside the top 25 at the QB position in terms of Pro Football Network’s Consistency Score, demonstrating just how frustrating he can be.
That frustration in on-field performance means that we will likely see the Dolphins turn to Tua sooner rather than later if Fitzpatrick suffers from a bad week or two in the first month of the season. Therefore, Fitzpatrick’s value on your fantasy team is limited. However, while he is still a viable option as QB2 in Superflex leagues, now is the time to sell him.
Of course, you definitely should not just give him away. We often see a QB get the starting nod with an expected short window only to succeed and keep the job. A prime example would be Dak Prescott, who many felt was only keeping the spot warm for Tony Romo as a rookie and has never looked back since. Swapping Fitzpatrick for a high upside option at another position is the only way you can make this move.
RB: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Do not get me wrong, I have been a fan of James Robinson’s all offseason, and I think he has the potential to be a valuable back in the future. However, after being placed top of the depth chart in Jacksonville, his value may be higher now than it is all season.
The Jaguars backfield is a mess, and the rookie out of Illinois State could find himself riding the bench in a couple of weeks if he fails to impress immediately. Long-term, he could be the answer in Jacksonville, but for fantasy football leagues, the immediate move is to sell high while people believe he is a number one back who could give them a great return beyond just Week 1.
RB: Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams
Another back who is seeing his value inflated by seemingly being in a top spot on the depth chart is Malcolm Brown. With Darrell Henderson struggling with injury, Brown will enter the season competing with Cam Akers for the top spot in the rotation.
However, Brown has never really managed to succeed in his time with the Rams organization. Just once in his five seasons has he averaged more than four yards per carry, and he has just 197 carries in his entire five-year career. I am willing to bet on the history that Brown is not going to see success in 2020, and now is the time to effectively sell high as what minimal value he has not could easily be gone before Week 1 of the fantasy football season is even over.