With three weeks of the fantasy football season almost under our belts, things are beginning to calm down a little. Next week will mark the quarter-point of the season, and despite the seemingly endless string of injuries, roles are starting to be known and pictures surrounding teams are starting to crystallize. However, now is also a prime time to make trades, with teams either feeling comfortable or starting to know they are potentially on the last roll of the dice for 2020. In Week 4’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?
Panic is the best friend of the savvy fantasy GM. If you can leverage the panic of another GM into a good deal for yourself, then you are playing the game right. That is especially the case when it comes to players starting off slowly. If a fantasy team is 0-3, their GM is likely going to be angry and looking to sell on players that immediately become attractive buy low trade targets entering Week 4.
QB: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
I was going to recommend Joe Burrow here, but I cannot in good conscious tell you to trade for a player I believe could be knocked out of the season at any moment. Instead, it is another rookie in Justin Herbert who makes for an interesting trade target this week. Herbert had ugly moments this week with two fumbles and an interception, but the overall output was commendable.
Herbert threw the ball 49 times for 330 yards and added another 15 yards on the ground. Throw in the touchdown and that is more than 16 points he put up before we consider the negatives. However, with a Fantasy Points Differential of -11%, there is still more to come from Herbert. He immediately had a connection with both Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen, and both should provide him with plenty of fantasy points going forward.
If Herbert can find a groove with Hunter Henry and Mike Williams we could see more touchdowns in the next couple of weeks as well. Three things projecting into Week 4 that may affect his market as a fantasy trade target:
- Anthony Lynn’s assertion that Tyrod Taylor will start when he returns
- The low scoreline
- The turnovers.
Take advantage of those three things and try to swap Herbert for a depth piece in a SuperFlex league because the Chargers run game is not going to offer all that much, placing ample pressure on Herbert.
RB: Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
It has been a frustrating start to the season for Kenyan Drake owners. While Drake has seen the bulk of the carries in the Cardinals backfield, he is averaging just 73 yards per game and has seen the shifty Kyler Murray pick up four of the five rushing touchdowns.
The important element is that Drake has seen an average of 19.66 opportunities (targets + carries) per game so far. Those opportunities correspond to an expected fantasy points total of 43.13. At just 34.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues, Drake has a Fantasy Points Differential of -19%, which demonstrates room for improvement. We saw last year how devastating Drake can be in the Arizona offense so if his owner is getting twitchy do not be afraid to take the gamble.
WR: A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Taking advantage of injuries is one of my favorite trading tactics and Brown fits that mold perfectly. After playing in Week 1, Brown has missed the last two games, and if a fantasy team is off to a slow start, patience will be running thin. Additionally, it helps that Brown only turned his eight targets into 39 yards on five receptions in Week 1. Right now, Brown’s fantasy owner is looking at a season-long fantasy point total of just 8.9 in PPR scoring. That low score might just be making them itchy to add a contributing piece if their team is struggling.
TE: Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team
Whether you can buy low on Thomas will depend on how closely your league mates have been paying attention. On the surface of it, Thomas has just 27.4 fantasy points in PPR and has yet to register more than 40 receiving yards. However, he currently ranks third at the position in targets with 24 (prior to Travis Kelce playing in Week 2) and is underperforming his expected fantasy points by 14.61.
In Washington, only Terry McLaurin has been targeted more, and Thomas’ Fantasy Points Differential of -35% presents an opportunity for improvement. Week 3 saw Dontrelle Inman pull in two touchdowns — that could easily be Thomas pulling in those touchdowns in the next couple of weeks.
Which potential trade targets should we be looking to sell high on?
It may feel risky attempting to sell high on players in Week 4, but taking advantage of owning desirable trade targets can be key to long-term success within a fantasy season. The key is to know what is and isn’t sustainable. Can my QB really remain on an average to score 600 points or can my running back keep averaging over six yards per carry? The answer to both of those questions is probably not and that is why you need to look to sell high now while the value is still at a peak.
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Let’s start this simply by saying, do not sell Rodgers before Week 4’s game, do it straight after, unless someone is offering you the world. This week Rodgers faces the Atlanta Falcons who just made Nick Foles look like a contender for MVP in the second half of their game. The Falcons should be able to hang with the Packers offensively, and therefore, Rodgers should throw the ball plenty.
However, Rodgers is a candidate to move on from in the coming weeks. His 74.5 fantasy points is a massive 25.5 above his expected fantasy points (xFP) value of 49. The efficiency that Rodgers has been demonstrating through these first few weeks has seen him register a Fantasy Points Differential (FPD) of 52%.
The problem is what we saw in Week 2, where the run game just took over. As the temperature begins to dip I expect the Packers to lean more and more on Aaron Jones, reducing the expectation on Rodgers to sling the ball around. Sell Rodgers these next two weeks and try to net a middle-of-the-road QB and some offensive talent in return.
RB: Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers
McKinnon’s numbers in 2020 are frankly insane. Through three games he has carried the ball 20 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Yes he was the main back for the 49ers in Week 3, but he only saw a total of three more opportunities than Jeff Wilson Jr. With Raheem Mostert expected back soon, now is the time to sell McKinnon while his Fantasy Points Differential sits at an unsustainable 81%.
WR: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson take a bow. Seven catches on nine targets for 175 yards and a touchdown. That is quite frankly an incredible return for a rookie in Week 3 of the season, but while others are stargazing, it is time to strike gold and sell on Jefferson.
Week 3 was a soft matchup for Jefferson against a Tennessee Titans team that made the Jaguars look like one of the best offenses in football. In this game, Jefferson more than doubled his targets and receptions for the year, and his 175 yards was also double the yardage he had in total in the first two games of the season.
Using expected fantasy points we can see that on his 15 targets, an average receiver would have 25.64 fantasy points, Jefferson had 16.86 more than that for a Fantasy Points Differential of 66%. Of his 42.5 fantasy points in PPR formats, 30.5 came in Week 3 alone. Jefferson is talented, but this Vikings offense is likely to still want to lean on the run and control the game. Sell Jefferson now for a player with a more sure future who is off to a sluggish start.
TE: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Entering Week 3, all the expectation was that Tyler Higbee was due another big week. However, the Bills held him to just two receptions for 40 yards on two targets. After a five reception, 54-yard, and three-touchdown performance in Week 2, 65% of Higbee’s fantasy points have come in one of his three games.
Additionally, based on his targets, Higbee has an expected fantasy point total of just 19.14, a total he is beating by 24.26 for a Fantasy Points Differential of 127%. To put that into context, the highest FPD ever at the position for a player with more than 10 targets is 131.7% on 12 targets by Tom Crabtree. No tight end with more than 50 targets has ever finished with an FPD above 66.2%, demonstrating that Higbee is extremely unlikely to continue being as efficient with his targets as he has been through the first three weeks.