With the first game of Week 3 now final, let’s look to the fantasy football trade analyzer to see where player values stand. Firstly, we will examine the value of Najee Harris after his performance last night before looking ahead to the weekend and which players may see their values shift dramatically this weekend.
Week 3 trade analyzer | Player values after TNF
Najee Harris, RB | PIT
In terms of production on the ground, this was Harris’ best day. The Pittsburgh Steelers RB had 56 yards and a touchdown on 15 rush attempts. However, the fact his best rushing day came when he averaged just 3.73 yards per attempt is concerning in itself. He saw another three targets but, despite catching them all, only managed five yards. Harris finished with 12.1 fantasy points in non-PPR, his highest return of the season (8.6 in Week 1 and 8.9 in Week 2).
When we look at Next Gen Stats (NGS), the concerns around Harris’ start are clear. His efficiency, which measures how many yards in total a back covers compared to his yards gained, is the ninth worst in the league after Thursday Night Football. Additionally, NGS calculates the expected yards a back should gain on every play. Harris’ rushing yards over expected (RYOE) is -46 — tied for worst with Derrick Henry (!!) — with an RYOE per attempt that is the fifth worst at -1.14 yards.
When it comes to how many times Harris achieves more yards than is expected, he sits last at 17.5%. That means he only outperforms his expectation on one out of every 5.7 attempts. Unfortunately, Jaylen Warren does not meet the MGS minimums, so we cannot compare the two backs’ performances within the same offensive situation.
Yet, when we look at Pro Football Reference, Harris is actually getting more help this year than last. The offensive line has improved week over week, and they’re allowing him to average 1.1 more yards before contact than last year (2.8 vs. 1.7). The biggest difference has been Harris’ inability to break tackles this year. He had 30 broken tackles in 2021 but has yet to break a single tackle this year. His yards after contact per attempt is 0.5 this year, compared to 2.2 last year.
This all points toward Harris being a player to sell if you can recoup solid value for him. Ideally, you’re still looking for close to draft-day value — a first-round pick. The reason for that is Harris is clearly still dominating the goal-line opportunities. He has two of the four carries inside the 5 (Mitch Trubisky and Chase Claypool have the others) and 71.4% inside the 10-yard line. He also has one of four targets inside the red zone and one of two inside the 5-yard line.
Those opportunities to score, plus the offensive line improvements, prevent this from being a “sell at all costs” situation. Harris is still the lead back in Pittsburgh, and even if Warren gets more looks, that’s not a terrible thing if it means Harris is fresher going forward.
Players to buy low or sell high on entering Week 3
Cam Akers, RB | LAR – Sell high
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB | LAR – Potential buy low
After Darrell Henderson Jr. dominated the workload for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, things slightly balanced out in Week 2. Henderson had 18 opportunities on 55 snaps in Week 1 and just 10 opportunities on 35 snaps last week. Cam Akers was the beneficiary, with 15 carries and three targets in Week 2. That switch in workload will very likely have Henderson’s fantasy managers concerned.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to keep faith in Henderson. Akers was not at all efficient in his Week 2 work. He averaged 2.93 yards per rush attempt for 44 yards on 15 carries. That inefficiency rushing the ball was a part of the reason the Rams were unable to stop the Falcons from coming back into the game.
Akers’ efficiency, according to NGS, is the fifth worst in the league at 5.58, and he’s averaging 0.51 yards less per rush than expected. In contrast, Henderson has the fifth-best efficiency at 3.2 and is averaging 0.62 yards over expectation through two weeks. Additionally, Henderson has 75% of the rushing work inside the 10-yard line, with the Rams yet to have a rushing attempt inside the 5.
All of this would suggest that Henderson might actually be the back to roster going forward. Therefore, if someone in your league is looking at Akers’ workload and thinking he is an RB2 going forward, now is the time to cash in. Akers’ value after Week 1 was too low, but the shift into Week 2, combined with the inefficient performance, has flipped that narrative. Additionally, if Henderson has a low-usage game this week, you might be able to buy low on him early next week.
Jahan Dotson, WR | WAS – Sell high
There’s no real need to get too technical here. Jahan Dotson currently sits 17th in points per game for wide receivers in PPR scoring, thanks to three touchdown catches. However, he has just 10 targets through the first two weeks. The only other player in the top 36 in terms of ppg at the position to have averaged five targets per game is Gabe Davis.
Dotson is an extremely talented player, but he’s currently sixth on his team in targets through two weeks. With so many passing options at their disposal, there are weeks where Dotson will have limited opportunities. If you can get someone to give a solid weekly starting option that will see seven targets per game in a 12-team league in return for Dotson, that would be a good deal to make.
Tom Brady, QB | TB – Buy low
There’s no way to sugarcoat it, it hasn’t been a good start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Heading into Week 3, Tom Brady has thrown just two touchdowns and averages just under 10 fantasy points per game. Things may yet get a little worse when the Buccaneers travel to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Brady will be without Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and most likely Julio Jones when he faces the Packers this week.
However, Evans will be back in Week 4, and Godwin doesn’t appear to be far behind. If Godwin were going to be out past Week 5, the Buccaneers would likely have utilized the IR and return option after at least a four-week absence. But they didn’t, suggesting they expect him back in either Week 4 or 5.
Additionally, the Packers have faced two tough defenses to open the year. The Cowboys’ pass rush is talented, and their defense was a top-five unit in terms of limiting drives. Meanwhile, the Saints have a very talented defense and have stymied Brady regularly over the past three seasons. The Buccaneers’ schedule is about to get softer, with games against the Falcons, Steelers, Panthers, and Seahawks all coming before their Week 11 bye.
The combination of a softer schedule on the horizon, mixed with the potential return of his weapons, makes Brady a player you can look to target if his fantasy manager in your league is growing frustrated. The biggest debate is whether you wait for this matchup to pass, in which case his value could sink even further. However, Brady is a talented passer and can make it work with lesser pieces. Waiting until after Sunday could prove risky.
Kyle Pitts, TE | ATL – Buy low
Entering the season, I was not a believer in Kyle Pitts at the value it took to get him in drafts. There were too many red flags in drafting a player as a top-three option at the position who finished as the TE11 last year. By doing so, you were drawing the majority of the ceiling out of Pitts’ value.
With that said, even I didn’t see this start coming. Two games have yielded just 10 targets, four receptions, and 38 yards. In non-PPR, that is 1.9 fantasy points in each game, 2.9 in half-PPR, and 3.9 in full-PPR. No matter which way you slice it, it hasn’t been good. Additionally, Pitts has just one target inside the 10-yard line through two weeks. Those elements should be starting to cause some furrowed brows for the people who drafted him.
However, it seems unlikely that can continue. This is a player who was targeted 6.57 times a game last season, saw 14 red-zone targets, and seven targets inside the 10-yard line. The breakout start to Drake London’s NFL career will likely change how teams focus on the Falcons’ offense. No longer can they just try to double-team Pitts out of the game because London will hurt them.
Therefore, we should start to see things improve for Pitts. Less focus from the defense should help his separation and his ability to make plays after the catch. His aDOT this year is 11.8 compared to 10.8 last year, so there is still plenty of potential for him to produce. It’s worth a discussion with the Pitts fantasy manager in your league to see where they currently value him and what offer it would take to acquire him.