- The hardest part of Dez Bryant's schedule is finally behind him. He headlines a group of players fantasy football owners should be trying to trade for heading into Week 5.
Week 5 is desperation time for many fantasy owners sitting at 0-4 and 1-3. It’s also a great time for those at 4-0 or 3-1 to take a risk. And, with byes beginning this week, owners may be looking to fill open spots via trade, rather than the waiver wire. In short, this is a great time to make a deal.
The general goal when assessing trade prospects is to buy low and sell high, but there are times when buying high and selling low makes sense, as well. And, as always, you want to be a good trade partner. No one likes the owner in their league who regularly offers terrible trades or goes into trade talks looking to make an unbalanced deal.
Looking at multiple factors for a trade target, such as schedule, potential floor and ceiling, and health of surrounding teammates, will serve you best. You’ll see references to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) metric in this column, which we rely on heavily to determine weekly matchup strength. As the season progresses and more data is available, aFPA becomes even more reliable, thanks to its rolling 10-week data.
Each week, I’ll take a look at the top players to target, and those you should aim to sell to get the best value moving forward. Here’s this week’s crop of players.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
We knew going into the season that Bryant had a tough start on tap, with some of the best cornerbacks in the league on the schedule. Bryant made it through that part of the season, and did so with a huge share of targets, netting 40 looks from Dak Prescott. That’s almost double those of Jason Witten, the second most targeted in the Cowboys offense.
The way this team has been playing sets up nicely for Bryant as his personal matchups soften. If the Cowboys continue to struggle defensively, Prescott will have to air it out more than he ever did last season. Bryant ranks 23rd among wide receivers in PPR leagues, a place that may disappoint his owners. The buy window, however, could slam shut this weekend with the Cowboys hosting the Packers in a game expected to play into the 50s.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
Last week against the Vikings, Abdullah saw 23 touches to Theo Riddick’s five. His uptick in usage and production is an indication of where the Lions offense is heading, and I want a piece of Abdullah the rest of the way. After this week’s matchup with the Panthers, Detroit faces a string of defenses in Weeks 6-11 that are soft against the run, averaging an aFPA of 24.6 to opposing running backs.
Wheel and deal for Abdullah now, before other owners realize how valuable a running back on a productive offense with the volume of carries he’ll see, truly is.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
The biggest concern for Kamara owners heading into the season was the kind of volume he’d see if and when New Orleans built a big lead? In a Week 4 blowout against the Dolphins, Kamara got 15 touches and 10 targets, turning those into a whopping 25.6 PPR points. Adrian Peterson was a non-factor, and is certain to remain so. Kamara may be the back you want in New Orleans, including Mark Ingram. His current owner in your league may still be a bit skeptical because of the seemingly overcrowded backfield, making this the perfect time for you to swoop in and snatch the rookie.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Miami isn’t just on the struggle bus, they’re driving it full speed down the autobahn. However, Parker is the leading fantasy scorer on the offense, averaging a respectable 15.7 PPR points on nine targets per game. Jay Cutler will likely have his good moments once he’s comfortable in the offense, and it appears that he and Parker have enough chemistry to be productive as the season moves forward.
The Dolphins have already had their bye week and enjoy a remaining schedule that appears favorable for receivers. Parker can be that difference maker you’re looking for, and an attainable one, at that.
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Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
Thoma’s numbers are nothing more than fine thus far. He has yet to score a touchdown, and has had 71 yards or fewer in three of his four games. He bottomed out last week, catching one pass for 11 yards in the win over the Raiders. What’s more, Emmanuel Sanders has more targets, and has had the better seaosn to this point. Thomas is always a name-brand receiver, though, which makes selling him a realistic possibility despite his slow start. If you’re trying to sell him this weekend, target a 4-0 or 3-1 owner who can likely afford trading for a player during his bye week.
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
This one is a no-brainer, as Miller finally had a breakout performance in Week 4, amassing 29.1 PPR points against the Titans, just a point and a half less than he scored in his first three games combined. Given what we saw from Miller last year and the first three weeks of this season, it’s worth betting on him being unable to put up numbers approaching that with regularity. This could be the high watermark of his fantasy value this season, making it a wise time to at least open up trade talks. Plus, D’onta Foreman is still breathing down his neck, and has a solid role in the offense that isn’t going to diminish. Sell Miller now while his monster game is still fresh in the minds of your league mates.
Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots
Hogan is having a superb start to the season, ranking third among receivers in standard-scoring leagues, and 10th in PPR formats. Yet, he’s 31st in the league in targets, and has lived on touchdown value. Hogan has turned four of his 24 targets into trips to the end zone. That sort of touchdown rate, even in an offense as potent as New England’s, is hard to sustain. Add to that all the mouths to feed in the offense, and Hogan looks like a prime regression candidate.
New England’s schedule is fairly easy from here on out, with their next two games against teams ranked in the bottom six at defending wide receivers, with an average aFPA of 43.75 PPR points allowed to the position. Hogan is a great story and a sentimental favorite among fantasy players, not to mention a legitimate WR2, even when baking in potential regression. That should make him easy to sell, and possibly at a WR1 price tag.
Bilal Powell, WR, Jets
After three rough weeks with single digit fantasy points, Powell finally busted out with a 29-point PPR performance last week, rushing for 163 yards and a score, and gaining another 27 yards in the air. New York’s offense, however, is going to struggle more often than not, making it hard to invest in it with much confidence. I don’t want any part in waiting around to see where the offense goes from here, especially with a rough schedule from Weeks 9-14, when the Jets will face several opponents with stout run defenses.
Most teams can always use a starting running back, and Powell had a ton of hype entering the season. With Matt Forte still hurt and Elijah McGuire not a serious threat to steal the job away, Powell will be very attractive on the open market.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans
Coming off a broken collarbone suffered in training camp, Fuller’s first game of the season was an impressive one. He caught four passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans 57-14 thrashing of the Titans, instantly vibing with Deshaun Watson. Still, DeAndre Hopkins owns the target share in Houston in a way no other receiver in the league does, and that’s going to make it hard for Fuller to show up for his fantasy owners on a consistent basis. He has the classic look of a player whose real-life value does not translate fully to the fantasy game.
Additionally, In looking ahead towards the fantasy playoffs, the Texans have two brutal matchups in Weeks 15 and 16, facing the Jaguars and Steelers, whose aFPAs to wideouts are among the five stingiest in the league.