- Pierre Garcon's great season is flying under the radar, while Duke Johnson may be at peak value. Those are just two of the players who should be in trade discussions this week.
Week 6 is reality check time for many fantasy owners who are winless, struggling or riddled with injuries. It’s also a great time for those at 5-0 or 4-1 to take a risk. And, with four NFL teams resting with byes this week, owners may be looking to fill open spots via trade, rather than the waiver wire. In short, this is a perfect 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 trustworthy and responsible 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.
Pierre Garcon, WR, 49ers
Averaging 13.2 PPR points per game, Garcon continues to fly under the radar. Sure, the veteran wideout is on a losing team, but he’s the most targeted player in San Francisco’s offense with 44 looks from Brian Hoyer, and also has the seventh-highest target volume among all wide receivers in the league after five games. For those of you who are fans of Narrative Street, Garcon gets a revenge game in Week 6 against the Redskins, followed by three consecutive weeks against weaker opponents with an average aFPA of 36.9 to the wide receiver position. That average would rank 25th against receivers if it belonged to one team.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants
Eli Manning lost most of his offensive weapons in Week 5, with three of the Giants receivers, including Odell Beckham, on the shelf. Engram is healthy and talented, but is coming off a game with zero receptions. Engram owners may have their judgment clouded by his feeble performance last week without seeing the bigger, long-term picture. New York has a favorable schedule down the stretch, one with weaker aFPAs against the tight end position.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Patriots
Gillislee has dropped a single-digit fantasy score on his owners heads three weeks in a row. He’s a touchdown-or-bust player, so it isn’t a surprise to see him fail to deliver without getting in the end zone. Still, he’s the Patriots primary runner and goal-line guy, with 20 carries separating him from the rest of the pack. Gillislee’s cold streak is a perfect time to check in with his owner in your league. In this offense, the touchdowns are going to be there more often than not. You just have to patiently await his positive game script.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks
Despite it being Seattle’s bye week, now is the time to snag Jimmy Graham from the clutches of his current owner. Graham has been frustrating for owners, even infuriating at times, but quietly is having a solid year. In his last three games, the Seattle tight end has scored 14.2, 10.1 and 15.7 PPR points landing 10th overall among tight ends. The Seahawks remaining schedule is a favorable one for Graham, with five of his opponents falling in the lower third of the league in tight end aFPA with an average of 14.96 PPR points allowed. The fact that it’s Seattle’s bye week could make it easier to pry him away from his current owner.
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Will Fuller, WR, Texans
Back on the field for just two games, Fuller is red hot, grabbing six receptions for 92 yards and four touchdowns. This type of output just isn’t sustainable, specifically the touchdown rate, especially when his bread and butter is the deep ball. There will be games when Fuller just can’t get open down field, exposing his low floor. If you’re a Fuller owner, it’s understandable for you to be excited about what he has given you in his first two games. That also means that someone else in your league is excited about him, too. This is a great time to try to move him for a player who might be perceived as less explosive, but who has a more reliable floor.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
Jones ran for 125 yards and a touchdown last week, filling in for the injured Ty Montgomery. Ribs do heal, though, and Montgomery will be back on the field sooner than later. Jones will have a role in Green Bay’s offense, but nothing Mike McCarthy has said suggests there will be a changing of the guard when at running back when Montgomery is healthy. There are invariably multiple owners in every fantasy league desperate for both wins and running backs. Now is a great time to try to sell Jones, and what could be his high watermark in terms of fantasy value.
There’s not a whole lot to like in Cleveland’s offense, but Johnson is finding a way to succeed despite everything crumbling around him, ranking seventh among backs in PPR leagues. Johnson has only been on the field for 57% of Cleveland’s snaps, though, and his touch-per-snap rate sits at a low, for running backs, 19.2%. Johnson shares the backfield with Isaiah Crowell, who, while completely ineffective this season, isn’t likely to cede too many carries. Johnson has proved himself a capable, dangerous receiver, but it will be a challenge to sustain this kind of production all year.
Frank Gore, RB, Colts
Look, you’re not going to get much for Gore. That’s just the harsh truth. He’s a touchdown-or-bust player who, unlike Mike Gillislee, isn’t tied to an elite offense. He’s 34 years old and hasn’t topped 57 rushing yards in a game this season. What he does have, though, is his health, and that’s an asset, especially at the running back tradition. He has been durable in his 30s and hasn’t missed a game since 2011. Even with Marlon Mack demanding more playing time, Gore is likely to remain at the top of the depth chart. With all the injuries at both running back and wide receiver, someone in your league could use the reliability of a player like Gore who is a safe bet to play every game and average somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 touches per contest.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Allen is having a great season, catching 28 of 51 targets for 401 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, as has been his case in previous seasons, his real-life value doesn’t translate fully to the fantasy game because he doesn’t make the big plays down the field or in the red zone that result in touchdowns. That just isn’t his game, and the Chargers typically turn to their tight ends and Melvin Gordon when they get in scoring range. Still, Allen is healthy and a legitimately attractive trade piece that you could convert into someone with a higher ceiling. It’s worth noting that Allen faces the Broncos in Week 7, Jaguars in Week 10, and Bills in Week 11.