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  • Taking a look at the fantasy football trade market heading into Week 4.
By Jennifer Eakins
September 26, 2018

Trade season has arrived in the fantasy football world, and, with the landscape changing every week, it only makes sense to keep a weekly buy, sell, and hold barometer. The general goal when assessing trade prospects is to buy low and sell high, which is easier said than done, but a good rule of thumb. 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 negotiations looking to make an unbalanced deal.

Looking at multiple factors for a trade target will serve you best, including schedule, potential floor and ceiling, and health of surrounding teammates. 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.

Buy

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles

Wentz didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his 2018 debut but posted decent numbers, connecting on 25-of-37 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. He was playing without Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffery and Darren Sproles in a consistent downpour, though, so we can give him more than the benefit of the doubt. From Week 5 through Week 8 the Eagles face defenses that are yielding an average aFPA of 17.9 to quarterbacks this season. The Wentz owner isn’t likely to give him up easily, and trading for a quarterback in a one-QB league can be a risky proposition, but it’s worth checking on his current price.

David Njoku, TE, Browns

It hasn’t been a great start to the season for Njoku, but the tight end position is once again letting down the fantasy community. There’s plenty of bright side to look on with Njoku. He’s been on the field for 82% of Cleveland’s snaps, second on the team to Jarvis Landry. With Baker Mayfield at the helm, we should see an increase in both volume and efficiency in Cleveland’s passing attack. Njoku clearly has more upside than most low-end TE1s, with the necessary athleticism and role in his offense to carry a top-five ceiling. He’s not likely to cost you too much in a trade, either, making him a great target at this point of the season.

Odell Beckham, WR, Giants

First, a shot of reality. There is no such thing as buying low on Odell Beckham. If you want him, you’re going to have to pay for him, as you should. With that understood, now could be a smart time to check in on the star receiver. He was a late-first or early-second round pick in all drafts, and while he has delivered to the tune of 24 catches for 271 yards, his backers likely expected him to be ranked higher than 20th in PPR leagues and 28th in standard leagues through three weeks. Beckham hasn’t yet found the end zone, but he is mostly playing to script otherwise, ranking fourth at the position in receptions and 11th in yards. He also has an impressive catch rate of 70.6 %, and should see more targets with Evan Engram likely out a few weeks because of a knee injury. Again, you’re not going to get a discount on Beckham, but you shouldn’t need one to be interested in his services.

David Johnson, RB, Cardinals

Johnson and the Cardinals have gotten off to a terrible start this season, and that has the first-round back surprisingly available across the fantasy community. Arizona’s coaching staff hasn’t been using the talented rusher and receiver to its best advantage so far, giving him far too many inside runs, and not nearly enough looks in the passing game. Still, the qualities that made him a top-five pick in every fantasy league one month ago are still present, and the move to Josh Rosen likely can only help. Despite the sluggish start to the season, Johnson is averaging a respectable 13.3 PPR points per game, and has scored two touchdowns. Like Beckham, Johnson won’t come cheap, but this is likely his low point of the season, and that makes checking on his trade value a worthy endeavor.

Sell

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks

We finally saw Carson produce last week, racking up 102 rushing yards and a score on 32 carries, and catching two passes for 22 yards. He out-touched Rashaad Penny by a whopping 34-3 margin, and became the first 100-yard rusher during the regular season for Seattle since 2016. His Week 3 performance should garner some attention on the trade market, with the reliable running back ranks depressingly thin. Carson tends to be game-script dependent, and the Seahawks have some tough sledding on the horizon. Their next two matchups are against the Rams and Raiders, who rank first and fourth in running back aFPA, respectively. Despite last week’s workload split, the Seahawks are unlikely to relegate Penny to spot duty the rest of the year. This could very well be Carson’s high watermark of the season.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins

Peterson has taken a couple gulps from the fountain of youth this season, running for 96 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and 120 yards and two scores in Week 3. That should be enough to instill confidence in many fantasy owners, but not this one. He’s currently in a walking boot heading into Washington’s bye week, and we’ve seen the 33-year-old break down as the season moves along before. There’s also the issue of game script, upon which Peterson is entirely dependent. In his two big games, Washington held a lead for most of the afternoon. In his one bad one, the team trailed throughout. Buying Peterson also means buying Washington as a playoff contender. He’s not a must sell, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try to shop Peterson for more predictable production.

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Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

Some of you may have paid a pretty penny to pick Bernard off the waiver wire not long ago, but it could be time to sell him while there’s still value. Joe Mixon may be back as soon as this week, and with him in the lineup, Bernard’s usage takes a nosedive. In Weeks 1 and 2, Mixon saw 44 touches to Bernard’s 12. Bernard proved himself capable of handling the lead role again last week, totaling 86 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches, but the volume won’t be there when Mixon returns. Assuming you don’t need him this week and Mixon is still out, trading him in advance of Sunday’s great matchup with Atlanta could pay off in a big way. Look particularly to owners hurt by injuries (Dalvin Cook, LeSean McCoy, Leonard Fournette) or those who lean on backs on bye this week (Christian McCaffrey, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson).

Hold

San Francisco Starters

With Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season, the 49ers offense takes an enormous hit. Players like Pierre Garcon and Dante Pettis are droppable at this point, based on the injury news and their lack of output through the first three weeks. While you may internally panic and want to sell all your 49ers, holding on to Matt Breida, George Kittle, Alfred Morris and Marquise Goodwin could have long-term benefits. Last season, Carlos Hyde averaged 8.3 targets per contest with C.J. Beathard, and 3.8 without him. Kittle can still be successful in this offense, and he’s a keeper with such a lack of production at tight end this season. Goodwin is one to watch, as he’s finally healthy and had solid chemistry with Beathard in the five games they played together in 2017.

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