It’s a new week of fantasy football and, depending on how the first four weeks have gone, it’s time to start solidifying your roster as a contender or make a few moves to put your team in position to make the playoffs. Before getting into the players you should trade for or away, let’s revisit last week’s trade targets to see what was right and what went wrong.
I wrote last week that AJ Dillon was a trade target and he had his best outing of the season running the football. But without a touchdown and limited passing work, he still didn’t crack double-digit points. I hope you traded for Josh Jacobs, who was the RB2 on the week, and Tee Higgins, who was the WR5.
As for the trade-aways, Damien Harris again was saved by a touchdown and had his best rushing output of the year. Deebo Samuel, in large part thanks to a 57-yard score, went off against the Rams and was more involved as a receiver than a runner. And Mike Williams, with Keenan Allen still out, bounced back with 120 yards. Not a great week to have traded away those players, I admit, but the trade-for targets got the job done, too!
RB Breece Hall, Jets
The Jets rookie shined in his first regular-season appearance with second-year quarterback Zach Wilson under center. Hall toted the ball 17 times for 66 yards, both season highs, and punched in the first rushing touchdown of his career.
He played well through three weeks with gun-slinging Joe Flacco and was involved moderately as a rusher and more heavily in the passing game. With Wilson in, and in a shockingly positive game script, Hall responded well when called upon to do more and, perhaps most importantly, he outsnapped Michael Carter, 66% to 44%.
Hall is currently the RB17, a mid-tier RB2, and he looks like he’s about to blow up. Given the Jets’ upcoming schedule (Dolphins, at Packers, at Broncos) it seems unlikely he’ll top 17 carries anytime soon, but he also saw six targets from Wilson on Sunday. That was more than Carter (3), whose workload and production has decreased with each week.
According to ESPN’s Mike Clay, Hall ranks second in expected fantasy points. Prior to last week was probably the best time to get Hall on the cheap, but he’s still a worthy trade target who will only get better as the season goes on.
WR Isaiah McKenzie, Bills
The WR2 on perhaps the most potent offense in football is not offseason star Gabe Davis. It’s McKenzie, who’s been Buffalo’s second-most productive pass-catcher behind Stefon Diggs. McKenzie has a touchdown in three of four games, is tied for the second-most targets (21) on the team and his involvement is increasing as Davis’s tails off.
As far as snap count goes, Davis has actually been on the field for one more play than Diggs despite missing a game. Davis is almost always out there and Diggs is the top option by a longshot, but McKenzie is waiting in the wings with an opportunity to play even more: Jamison Crowder, who was on the field for about 33% of snaps this season, is out indefinitely with a broken ankle. That means McKenzie could see his snap count jump above 50% in a Bills offense that runs three-receiver sets at the fifth-highest rate in the league, according to Sharp Football Stats.
McKenzie is the WR34 despite seeing just 21 targets this season, tied for the 64th-most in the league. His touchdowns production is buoying his standing at his position while his target share is trending in the right direction and his snap count should be on the rise as well with Crowder out. McKenzie is still a player you can likely get relatively cheap, though that may not be the case in a few weeks.
RB Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers
Fournette promised fantasy managers a touchdown soon, and he delivered on that with a score against the Chiefs. That was his best fantasy outing of the season and simultaneously his worst overall game. The Buccaneers completely abandoned the run—Fournette lost three yards on a season-low three carries—in a negative game script. He did catch all seven of his targets for 57 yards to salvage a solid fantasy outing, though.
Rookie Rachaad White saw his highest usage of the season in that game. White matched Fournette’s carry total, added a score on the ground and caught all five targets for 50 yards while in on 38% of snaps. Fournette’s involvement has decreased the last two weeks, both Buccaneers losses, and his yards per carry have declined since he began the season with 127 yards on the ground.
Fournette isn’t as productive as he was a season ago. He’s getting more carries and doing less with them and catching fewer passes per game. Fournette’s yards after contact per attempt is down to 1.6, which would be a career-low, from 2.3 a season ago. And even more concerning: His average depth of target is -1.4, down from a career-high 0.8. Tampa Bay has an easier schedule approaching, but Fournette’s production is concerning, especially if the Buccaneers’ pass rate remains as high as it has been. He’s no sell high as the RB16, but you might want to see what you can shop him around for.
TE Darren Waller, Raiders
It’s early enough in the season that Waller still has the preseason shine as one of the few tight ends who is supposed to rarely—if ever—disappoint you. But through four weeks, that’s exactly what he’s done to managers who spent an early-round pick on him.
His season started promising enough with four catches for 79 yards and he followed that a week later with six for 50 and a score. Since then? Six catches for 46 yards and no touchdowns across two games. Mack Hollins has more targets than Waller through four games and that’s with Hunter Renfrow having missed two games already.
It was known Davante Adams was going to be Derek Carr’s top target when the Raiders made the big trade to get him. And while Waller missed a significant amount of time last season, he was still a viable option in the games he did play. At this point in the season, Will Dissly has more points than him and as many touchdowns as Waller has over his last 15 games.
Waller’s 16% target share, without a high number of touchdowns, is not enough to sustain the level of production managers drafted him for. Renfrow will be back soon enough and Las Vegas has surprisingly found great success running the ball. It looks like it will be more of the same going forward for Waller, who would be hard-pressed to repeat his 2020 success in this version of the offense.
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