Fantasy Football Trade Value: Lamar Jackson, Todd Gurley among buy-low, sell-high candidates for Week 2
The NFL season has finally kicked off. Every team has played, and Week 1 is officially in the books. No one should overreact to one game, but we should still pay attention to what happened and what it means going forward. There is plenty of action to break down, both good and bad, and players already have fluctuating values from where they were just last week. It is crucial heading into Week 2 to always stay ahead of your competition and be fully aware of everything that is happening around the league. Without further ado, let’s dive in to this week’s stock watch and trade value report.
Fantasy Football Trade Candidates: Stock up
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. Yes it was the Dolphins, so while I think you can take his stat line with a grain of salt, you have to acknowldge how fantastic it was (17-for-20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns). If you caught any of the game, you understand why his stock his up. He looked great and was consistently dropping in dimes on all route trees. He had a perfect passer rating (158.3) and only carried the rock three times. Last season in his seven starts, he never had higher than a 101.3 passer rating and ran the ball at least 11 times in all seven starts (averaged 17 rush attempts). We know Jackson can run the ball very well, so we didn’t need to see that, but if he truly is an improved passer, he will easily be an elite fantasy option this year. He only had six passing touchdowns all of last season.He should be in line for a big week in Week 2, too, as the Ravens will take on the Cardinals, who just gave up 385 passing yards to Matthew Stafford. If you want him, you’re going to have to pay a hefty price for him, so Jackson fits more in the “sell high” camp if you don’t fully believe him, but chances are most of his owners aren’t even considering shopping him.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Engram had a big rookie year in the games that OBJ was out with injury, hauling in 45 receptions for 522 yards and five touchdowns across his final 10 contests. For that reason, myself and many others were expecting a breakout third year for Engram with OBJ officially out of the picture and in Cleveland. Engram didn’t disappoint in Week 1, as he hauled in 11 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. While he is very unlikely to see 14 targets on a consistent basis, this is exactly what we want to see: Big-time volume. He was the only Giant with more than eight targets and also the only player with more than six receptions. Sterling Shepard (and Golden Tate when he returns) are still going to be factors in the Giants offense, but there is no doubting that Engram is going to be a focal point of it. He will be a top-four player at his position this year, so if you can get him for anything less, do it.
John Ross, WR, Bengals: Ross was someone I was high on coming into the year, and he didn’t let me down in Week 1. He hauled in seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, but perhaps most important is the fact that he racked up 12 targets. Those 12 targets were good for the seventh most in the entire league (through Sunday’s games). He played 63 snaps, which is obviously fantastic, especially since it was actually two more snaps than Tyler Boyd played. The Bengals were matched up with a solid defense in the Seahawks and only managed to score 20 points, which makes Ross’ big-time performance that much more impressive. He has a juicy matchup on tap with the 49ers in Week 2, and he should be able to keep the good times rolling. Health has always been the biggest issue for Ross, though, so that is certainly something to keep in mind if he is on your roster. He likely is on the waiver wire in most leagues, so he’s the ultimate “buy low” in that regard, but you might be able to get him in trade for relatively cheap even after his good game, especially if his owner think he’ll be worthless once A.J. Green returns.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions: Hockenson had a huge Week 1, hauling in six of nine targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. That’s a very impressive NFL debut, especially at a position that usually really struggles to produce in fantasy in Year 1. In fact, the 131 yards were an NFL record for a TE making his NFL debut. He was listed behind Jesse James as the starting tight end going into the week, but with James getting just one target, I think it’s safe to say that Hock is the guy going forward. The nine targets are what I love most about this performance, though the stat line was obviously great, too. He is a three-down tight end who is strong as a blocker, and with performances like this in the passing attack, he could be in for a strong rookie campaign that sees him on the field constantly. He was the No. 8 pick in the NFL draft, and the Lions have to be feeling pretty good about that selection right now. He was a late-round flier in fantasy drafts this season, and while it’s just one game, those late fliers are looking great right now. He’s another interesting trade candidate since his owners likely have another decent TE on their rosters, so you might be able to get him for a reasonable price. If you have him, he might be worth dangling out there just to see how much you can get in return. If it’s a big haul, consider it.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets: Crowder is one guy I am feeling pretty wrong about after Week 1. I did not like him coming into the year and thought he would be third in line behind Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, but wow — what a first week of action he had. He racked up 17 targets and hauled in 14 of them for 99 yards. He led the entire NFL in targets, and it wasn’t even close (Engram was second with 14). Meanwhile, Anderson and Enunwa only combined for 10 targets. From what I saw of the game, Darnold looked horrendous on any intermediate-to-deep pass attempt he made, which probably is a factor into why he kept feeding Crowder underneath for small gains. I still think Crowder has limited upside, but he is certainly worth paying attention to, and he may just be a viable PPR asset. Standard leaguers should consider trying to sell high on him, though.
WEEK 2 NON-PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Fantasy Football Trade Candidates: Stock down
Kerryon Johnson, RB DET: Kerryon had a very lousy Week 1, rushing 16 times for 49 yards, hauling in two passes for 13 yards, and failing to find the end zone. He had a cake matchup and should have been able to produce far better than this. Poor performances happen, though, so that isn’t my biggest concern with him. What really bothers me with this outing was that the Lions gave C.J. Anderson 11 carries and that J.D. McKissic had just many targets as Johnson did. We have seen this with the Lions before, when Johnson lost out on 2018 goal line (and short-yardage) carries to LeGarrette Blount and lost out on passing work to Theo Riddick. I really hope we aren’t heading down this road again with Johnson because he is the most talented back on their team and should be a strong fantasy asset. I am not ready to hit the panic button, but seeing the usage distribution for Week 1 is enough to raise some red flags for me. See if his owners are overreacting and willing him to sell him for less than he’s worth.
Dante Pettis, WR SF: I hated Pettis coming into the year and did my best to tell everyone part of FANation to avoid him at his ADP in fantasy drafts. When the 49ers released their depth chart, Pettis was listed at the top and everyone on Twitter was ready to take their victory laps and say “I told you so.” Well, those people should have at least waited for Week 1 to happen because Pettis only played two snaps in the 49ers’ 31-17 win over the Bucs. He caught his lone target for a seven-yard gain. Shanahan says that Pettis wasn’t fully healthy, but he was a full participant Thursday and Friday and practiced on Monday, so he couldn’t have been that hurt. Pettis isn’t someone to cut yet, but if someone’s sniffing around him in a trade, see what you can get.
Todd Gurley, RB LAR: Gurley carried the rock 14 times for 97 yards and hauled in his lone target for a four-yard gain. Yes, 15 touches for 101 yards is very good, so why is he in the Stock Down section? Well, there are actually multiple reasons for that. The Rams can tell us Gurley is fully healthy all they want, but clearly they’re taking it easy with him. He only had three more carries than Malcolm Brown in what was a close game throughout. He also didn’t get the goal-line work; Brown got those carries and plunged into the end zone for a pair of scores. (Though it’s worth noting Brown was in for the entirety of those drives, one of which was only two plays, so it might have been coincidence. He did get taken out in favor of Darrell Henderson on a drive in which he had four runs in a row, though.) Lastly, he only had one target. Do you know how many times last year that Gurley had one or fewer targets? Zero. Gurley owners should look to sell him high while they can. Other owners will see the strong-yard-per-touch totals and may be willing to take him, but this game was very concerning to me.
Peyton Barber, RB TB: Barber drew the start for the Bucs, but he was severely outplayed and outworked by Ronald Jones. Barber finished with eight carries for 33 yards (4.1 YPC) and hauled in two of his four targets for 12 yards. Meanwhile, Jones carried the ball 13 times for 75 yards (5.8 YPC) and hauled in his lone target for 18 yards. Barber is nothing special, and he finished last year averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on 234 rush attempts. Jones was a second-round pick in last year’s draft, and the Bucs want him to be the guy, so it would not be surprising if Barber has already lost the role of lead back. He is still worth holding onto, but he is not someone that you want to have in your starting lineup, so sell him while you can.
WEEK 2 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Fantasy Football Stock to Watch
DJ Chark, WR JAX: Chark was a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, but he turned in a horrendous rookie campaign last year, hauling in just 14 of his 32 targets (43.8-percent) for 174 yards. Well, in Week 1 of this season he nearly topped that yardage total in one game, catching all four targets for 146 yards and a touchdown. The stat line is great, but the four targets are not, and it will make it hard for him to continue to produce if that number doesn’t increase. He finished third in targets among wide receivers on the team and tied for fifth on the team among all positions. He is worth adding if he is on the wire, but he shouldn’t be inserted into a starting lineup yet.
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