The 2023 NFL season has had an interesting first two weeks. Injuries, unlikely performances, and opportunities for players lower on the depth charts have caused fantasy football managers to reassess their rosters.
One name that has gained a little more hype since the season began is Los Angeles Chargers’ running back Joshua Kelley. But is he someone you should be selling in your leagues while his value is high? What should you hope for in return? Let’s find out!
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Should Fantasy Football Managers Trade Joshua Kelley?
Kelley is a fourth-year running back out of UCLA and was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.
He spent the first three years of his career in Los Angeles and only saw one start in 37 games played. As the running back behind Austin Ekeler in the depth chart, Kelley has never been able to fully break out for the Chargers.
So far this season, Kelley has had more opportunities than ever before. In the first week of the season, he saw 16 carries and tallied 91 yards and a touchdown. Kelley did this while only being in on 48% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps.
This seemed like Kelley may finally be breaking out and becoming a usable asset for fantasy managers. With Week 2’s news that Ekeler was out of the lineup with an ankle injury, Kelley earned the second start of his career.
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While the opportunity was there for Kelley, he only carried the ball 13 times for 39 yards. He was in on 79% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps, and his production did not reflect a breakout. Kelley was facing off against a tough Tennessee Titans defense, but the output was less than exciting for fantasy managers.
The question is: Should Kelley be someone you want to trade in your fantasy leagues? Very simply, I would be totally comfortable with moving Kelley if a fantasy manager is looking to buy him.
He is in his fourth year in the league and has never been able to break into a solid and consistent starting role. His opportunities tend to come when other running backs in front of him on the depth chart are not able to play. With this in mind, he is never going to be a reliable starter who can consistently get fantasy points from for your teams.
What Should Fantasy Managers Look To Acquire When Trading Kelley?
First and foremost, when searching for a team that may have interest in Kelley, you should start with the manager who is rostering Chargers’ starter Austin Ekeler. If the manager did not handcuff the running back with Kelley, they’ll certainly have interest now.
Ekeler is dealing with ankle issues. The manager with Ekeler could see the opportunity to have the entire Chargers’ backfield on their roster and know that if Ekeler misses more time, they still have Kelly as a usable asset.
Whether it be the Ekeler manager or another interested party, there is still a small window to capitalize on Kelley’s value. Right now, if you could get a second-round rookie pick for him, you should take it and run.
The former Bruin turns 26 in November. He is getting closer to the end of his prime years for fantasy teams and still hasn’t produced at a high level. If you can get a second-round pick for a handcuff player, it is a solid deal for your team.
If you are looking to acquire a player for Kelley, New England Patriots TE Hunter Henry, Dallas Cowboys WR Brandin Cooks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Sean Tucker, or San Francisco 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell would all be names that would interest me. These players are either usable assets for the next few years — Henry and Cooks — or young players with more upside in their situations than Kelley — Tucker and Mitchell.
If you have Kelley stock, I would try to sell it while you can. The window to move him for a solid return is closing quickly. In fact, it may have already passed.