The best buying-and-selling trade ideas for Week 2 in fantasy
Welcome to the first edition of the PFF fantasy trade market. Our goal is to find you the right players to target in trades while also giving you a few ideas on what players you should be selling high on. The goal is to find five players who move the needle one way or the other.
An elite fantasy manager is an active one. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting the trade market in your leagues. The following players have a stigma attached to their name based on prior performance and we will look to exploit that by looking at telling trends with their usage, upcoming schedule, and more. Let’s jump right in.
Players to buy
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Gore didn’t score a touchdown or break off a big run in Week 1, but quietly checked off all the boxes we needed to see. He finished with the 11th-most snaps (48) in Week 1 after offseason chatter that the Colts might try to scale back his workload. Sure, reserve running backs Robert Turbin and Josh Ferguson combined for 24 snaps, but this was in part due to game flow since the Colts fell behind early. Most importantly, Gore finished with 18 total touches compared to just six from Turbin and Ferguson combined.
Speaking of touches, Gore was heavily involved in the passing game. He finished with the third-most targets (6) on the Colts for the day and turned in four receptions. It’s important to see that he’s involved in the passing game. It’s also a great sign that the Colts are putting up big points and yardage totals. The Lions aren’t the ‘86 Bears, but they did finish as our 17th-best defense overall in 2015. We’re buying the volume here — the touchdowns will come as a product of the offense Gore is in.
Lastly, Gore didn’t look like a running back just a few touches away from falling off the proverbial cliff. He totaled 78 yards on 18 touches. And while Gore wasn’t as elusive as we saw in 2015, he managed a respectable 2.14 yards after contact per attempt. Better days are coming for Gore — he’s going to score touchdowns if Andrew Luck can stay healthy. Play up the “he’s washed up” card to the manager in your league who owns Gore and get rid of some wide receiver depth.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
All offseason people were predicting the inevitable doom for Crowell in fantasy leagues. Sure, he was the presumed “starter,” and while most were willing to admit that, it was mostly said tongue-in-cheek. Everyone was just waiting for Duke Johnson to take over. They’re going to have to keep waiting, because Crowell is here to stay.
Even though the Browns fell behind early in a game they eventually ended up losing by 19 points, Crowell was the lead back throughout Week 1. He finished with 30 snaps compared to just 23 for Johnson. He also finished with 14 touches compared to just six for Johnson. This is not what Johnson owners expected, but you get the feeling after Week 1 that head coach Hue Jackson is going to stick to his strategy to be a run-first offense unless the game gets completely out of hand.
In the red zone, Crowell was the guy — he scored on a two-yard touchdown run where he got the edge. The touchdown came just one play after Johnson was in the game and drew a pass interference penalty to set the Browns up with a first down on the 2-yard line. Crowell’s talent level has come into question in the past, but he finished with 62 yards rushing on just 12 carries and 74 total yards on 14 touches. We’re not calling Crowell the next borderline RB1, but he is the preferred back in the Browns’ timeshare, with the role in the red zone, and a coach willing to stick with the run. Right now he’s worth more than a few of your wide receivers and running backs with a lot of buzz but no clear role in their respective offenses.
Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
Trading for two Browns doesn’t seem like a recipe for success on the surface, but it’s important to take value where you can. In Coleman’s case, we’re not looking to take advantage of a surprising role. We’re targeting Coleman because of the change in his situation. The talented rookie will no longer be catching passes from Robert Griffin III, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
Josh McCown is back — yes, the same quarterback who threw for 2,109 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015 despite not making it through eight full games. He’s also the same quarterback who put Travis Benjamin on the map in 2015. Coleman is not a Benjamin clone — he’s a much more talented version — but his quickness and speed mesh well with McCown’s skill set. Terrelle Pryor led the Browns in targets in Week 1 with seven, but his skill set fits more closely with Griffin’s chuck-and-duck approach.
This presents an excellent opportunity for Coleman to emerge as a clear No. 1 target for McCown. Coleman finished with the second-most targets for the Browns in Week 1, and he responded with a team-leading 69 yards on two receptions after a dropped pass on a ball thrown slightly behind him early on. In the eight games McCown played at least 50 percent of the snaps a year ago, Benjamin finished top-20 in targets and receiving yards. Coleman has three games to establish himself as McCown’s clear-cut No. 1 option before Josh Gordon returns. He’s the best fit for the quarterback and a more talented option than Benjamin — you’re buying WR2 upside at a WR4 cost.
Players to sell
Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers
When there’s a disconnect between a franchise’s management and coaching staff, it can cause all kinds of problems for fantasy analysts. Despite the Chargers’ decision to trade up in the first round to select Gordon in 2015, the coaching staff is in no rush to make him anything more than a No. 2 running back in the rotation. You can’t fault Gordon for this — he finished with the third-best elusive rating among RBs who saw at least 50 percent of their team’s carries in Week 1 after finishing with the seventh-most forced missed tackles per touch in 2015. This staff has simply decided on set roles for Danny Woodhead and Gordon.
Before Keenan Allen left the game with an injury, Gordon saw a healthy serving of snaps and even scored two touchdowns. After the injury, it’s like the Chargers panicked and decided Woodhead was the only course of action to replace Allen’s role in the passing game. The Chargers went into the shotgun-only mode in the second half, and again, the coaching staff decided Gordon wasn’t a fit. Gordon finished Week 1 having played just 23-of-73 offensive snaps.
The talent is certainly there with Gordon, but the role might not be. The Chargers’ defense didn’t look much better from the unit that finished 2015 as our 29th-”best” overall. This could mean more games that look like the one we saw in Week 1. If you can capitalize on trading with an owner who just looks at the final score inflated by Gordon’s two touchdowns, then now is the time to do it. Gordon’s value is likely to take a hit in the coming weeks.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde’s Week 1 performance in 2016 was eerily similar to his Week 1 performance in 2015. Facing a matchup against a projected borderline-elite run defense in both openers, Hyde broke through with two touchdowns. The production isn’t surprising — Hyde is the most elusive active RB in the NFL on a per-touch basis with Marshawn Lynch retired. But it’s tough to imagine this production lasting.
The issue with Hyde is game flow. Even in a game where the 49ers dominated the scoreboard and won the time of possession battle, Hyde lost some snaps. Shaun Draughn played 21 snaps for the 49ers, mixing in when the offense got into the red zone and on obvious passing downs. Hyde played more than double Draughn’s snaps, but this included a few possessions in a row when the 49ers were already up multiple touchdowns and Hyde dominated the snaps/touches.
When the 49ers blow their opponent out by multiple touchdowns, it’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where Hyde finishes as an RB1. How often do we expect this to happen? The 49ers’ defense looked much better, but they had the advantage of stacking the box to stop Todd Gurley and playing their defensive backs around the line of scrimmage against Case Keenum. They won’t have that same opportunity until they play the Rams again. This is a defense that finished as just our 21st-”best” overall in 2015 and aside from adding a first-rounder on the defensive line they weren’t very active this offseason on the defensive end. If you can package Hyde and a receiver for someone like T.Y. Hilton — a borderline WR1 who didn’t break out in Week 1 — this is the ideal move.