We are still deep in the woods of fantasy football “silly season” as fantasy owners celebrate and overreact to every little moment. Navigating those moments requires clear thinking and a calm hand on the trade trigger because overreactions to injuries and poor performance can happen in the blink of an eye. In Week 3’s buy low and sell high article, we highlight eight players who have put themselves in the window as potential trade targets early in the 2020 fantasy football season.
Who are some fantasy football buy-low trade targets?
Through two weeks we have seen wild scoring around the NFL, which can only mean one thing: fantasy points, lots of them. Those fantasy points mean that plenty of players have amassed points this season, which only brightens the spotlight on those players who have struggled.
Through two weeks, fantasy owners have seen their rivals racking up fantasy points left, right, and center, while their players have struggled. Those are the people we want to be firing trade offers out to right now.
QB: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
What we have learned through two weeks is that the Philadelphia Eagles defense is not very good. After allowing 27 fantasy points to a mediocre Washington offense, they were blown away by the Los Angeles Rams. What that presents are opportunities for Wentz to succeed.
The Eagles are likely to be part of a lot of shootouts this season, and that could really benefit Wentz’s numbers come season end. At the position, only Joe Burrow, Matt Ryan, and Dak Prescott have thrown the ball more in 2020.
Currently, Wentz’s expected fantasy points (based on pass attempts and carries) are 39.2, but his output of just 25.4 has seen him possess a Fantasy Points Differential (FPD) of -35%. Those numbers mean we should see a bounce back from Wentz in the coming weeks, so now is the time to buy.
RB: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
It is time to double down on Joe Mixon, who has failed to make a splash in either of the first two weeks. His Fantasy Points Differential of -45% demonstrates how poorly he has been performing so far, but also that there have been plenty of opportunities for Mixon to make plays.
Mixon’s expected fantasy points, given his 41 opportunities (carries plus targets), has him ranked sixth at the position. Therefore, while his owners might be getting tired watching him struggle behind that offensive line in Cincinnati, now is the time to buy. Mixon demonstrated last year how he could turn his season around, and you could be the beneficiary of a player whose price is dropping with every snap so far.
WR: Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
It has been a rough first couple of weeks for Robinson, who has seemingly fallen out with the team while struggling to produce on the field. Through two weeks, Robinson had eight receptions for 107 yards and no touchdowns. That has left Robinson with a Fantasy Points Differential of -40%, thanks to an expected fantasy points total of 31.2.
However, that negative FPD should provide excitement as a potential buy low. Robinson has been targeted a team-high 18 times but has just yet to return the results. Additionally, he is joint-first in the team in red-zone targets, so hopefully, a breaking of the touchdown duck is just around the corner.
TE: Evan Engram, New York Giants
If you own Engram right now, then you have probably been ripping clumps of hair out while watching him play these past two weeks. With just eight receptions for 74 yards, Engram currently has just 15.4 fantasy points through the first two weeks. However, his Fantasy Points Differential of -41% gives us a lot of reason for optimism.
Firstly, Daniel Jones is targeting Engram plenty, with 15 targets through two games. He has only pulled in around half of them, which is the first indicator that things could turn around, as his career catch rate resides in the 60’s. This is around eight percent higher than it is now. Additionally, Engram is seeing looks in the red zone, and getting in the end zone is likely not far away. Engram has seen three red-zone targets through two games, tied for the most on the Giants roster.
Which potential trade targets should we be looking to sell high on?
As we discussed above, the first two weeks of the season have been extremely high scoring and that creates plenty of opportunities to sell high. With so many points being scored, there are now potential trade targets all over the field for fantasy football. If you can identify the players to profit with, you can set your team up for success over the long run of the season.
QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Watching Wilson these past two weeks has been a joy to behold. Through his first two starts, Wilson has completed 52-of-63 passes for 610 yards, nine touchdowns, and an interception. On top of that, he has added another 68 yards rushing on eight carries for an all-around blitz of 65.2 fantasy points.
However, while it seems as though the Seahawks are committed to Wilson being more pass-heavy in 2020, there is a limit to how efficient he can continue being. Through two weeks, Wilson is outscoring his expected fantasy points (33.2) by 32 points, giving him a Fantasy Points Differential of 96%. In the 10 seasons of data we have for FPD, the highest return for a player playing more than double-digit games is 56.9% by Ryan Tannehill last season.
Therefore, historically, what Wilson is doing through two weeks is unsustainable, which is the perfect time to sell high on a player. In a Superflex league, if you have two other viable QB options, then looking to flip Wilson for a top tier player at another position and a QB who can bean adequate third option would be a very smart move this week.
RB: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
There will be people that point to the way the Vikings have been blown out in both games and highlight that when they are leading, Cook could see even higher usage. However, the issue with Cook is not his usage, although 13 carries and two targets per game is a little on the low side for a stud running back, it is that his efficiency is likely not sustainable.
Cook has the third-highest Fantasy Points Differential among qualified players at the position with 78%. So far through two weeks, Cooks has scored 38 fantasy points, while his 26 carries and four targets would suggest he should have scored closer to 22 fantasy points. His three touchdowns and three two-point conversions have certainly helped those numbers because his 4.35 yards per attempt ranks in the middle of the pack this season.
If you can flip Cook for a running back who has struggled a little out of the gate and combine that with a depth piece at either running back or another position, you could set your team up in a great place to succeed down the stretch.
WR: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
What a start to the season Ridley has had, pulling in 16 receptions for 239 yards and four touchdowns. He has certainly taken the league by storm and currently possesses a Fantasy Points Differential of 61%, having scored over 25 points more than his calculated expected fantasy points.
So far, Ridley has faced two secondaries who lack elite talent. Ridley is always going to get a boost playing opposite the incredible Julio Jones, but when a secondary does not even contain one reliable cover corner, he has a tremendous advantage as the second option.
His schedule over the next couple of weeks is mixed, with the Bears, Packers, and Panthers on the schedule. He can certainly have success against the Packers and Panthers, but the Bears might be a tough matchup.
While I am a big fan of Ridley, I will be shopping him this week, looking to pick up a receiver who has come out the gates slowly, or a receiver of similar quality to Ridley with a little extra in terms of depth packaged in the trade.
TE: Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers
This one is relatively easy. George Kittle is expected to back in the coming weeks and when he is, Reed will see a decrease in targets. Additionally, the 49ers offense will be without starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo in the short term, which will see them get more unreliable play in the form of Nick Mullens.
Additionally, Reed has so far pulled in nine of his 10 targets for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Given that Reed’s catch percentage resides in the 60-70% region as opposed to the 80-90% region, regressions are extremely likely.
With a Fantasy Points Differential of 56%, Reed would currently rank in the top five among players from the last decade, which is a number that is only likely to decrease. Sell now and reap the benefits for the rest of your roster.