Week 6 fantasy trade targets and ideas: Who to deal, who to deal for
As always in the weekly trade-idea column, we’ll kick things off by looking at last week’s advice. If you bought low on Martellus Bennett. you were rewarded with an even better game than you might have thought possible. With Tom Brady back, Bennett will have a high ceiling but also a low floor — the Patriots have a lot of weapons to go around. It might not be the worst idea to try and sell high on him (if you have owners in your league who jump the gun based on prior stats). We also hit on the Brandon Marshall buy-low proposition, while Brandin Cooks was on bye and will have his chance to break loose in Week 6.
We looked to sell low on LeGarrette Blount and we saw his snap count significantly drop with Brady back in the lineup as expected. He scored a touchdown, but that was the extent of his production. We also advised to sell on Spencer Ware — there’s still a few more days until Jamaal Charles reclaims the lead role. As for Melvin Gordon, our last sell high, he scored again — this gives you another opportunity to sell. Remember — touchdowns tend to regress. Don’t chase them.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
The window is closing to buy in on 2015’s breakout receiver. Robinson hasn’t been a bust, but he hasn’t been that every-week WR1 his owners were probably expecting when they used a first- or early second-round pick on him. Robinson hasn’t topped 100 yards yet this season after racking up six 100-yard games in 2015, but the peripherals are all there for Robinson to turn things around.
He’s still seeing the bulk of targets from Blake Bortles. Robinson currently has double-digit targets in three of his four games played. He has the 19th-most targets in the NFL despite playing one fewer game than every other wide receiver ahead of him on that list except for Jordy Nelson. There’s no denying that Bortles is leaning on Robinson — he has 14 more targets than teammate Allen Hurns (who has just 24) and the Jaguars haven’t heavily involved their running backs and tight ends.
The Jaguars’ scheme is vertical in nature. They want to get the ball downfield. Robinson is their guy in these situations, and we could start seeing the big plays start to hit again as soon as Week 6. Robinson has matched up with cornerbacks like Sam Shields and Jason Verrett in the early going. The schedule is about to turn though — Robinson’s next three matchups come against a beat-up Bears defense, a Raiders pass defense that has allowed at least 22 points to every quarterback not named Marcus Mariota (h/t Mike Tagliere), and a Titans defense that can’t consistently get to Bortles. This all adds up for a breakout game or two on the horizon for Robinson. Buy now before it’s too late.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
At this point, you’re likely to find your league’s Charles owner still a bit pensive about his situation going forward. That’s what we’re banking on. The objective of this call is not to have you go out and dump an elite performer for Charles — don’t do that. We are looking for ways to exploit the current lack of information on Charles, and as a result, we are hoping to capitalize on an owner who can’t afford to (or doesn’t want to) wait any longer.
There are owners out there who still expect Spencer Ware to work with Charles in a near-even timeshare going forward. That’s the rhetoric on the most recent Charles blurb on Rotoworld and it’s also the groupthink on Twitter. Sure, Ware has flashed in some games and looked solid in others, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has no history of using a timeshare — at least not when he’s had a running back like Charles, or LeSean McCoy, or Brian Westbrook.
As PFF Fantasy’s Scott Barrett pointed out earlier this offseason, since 2007, Andy Reid’s RB1 (in games they played) has averaged 78 percent of the team’s running back snaps, 77 percent of the team’s running back carries, and 81 percent of the team’s running back targets.
Now that we’ve got the strategic approach to the trade down, let’s talk about why we have confidence in Charles. We’ll start by saying he wouldn’t be the first football player to return fine from a torn ACL. This isn’t even the first time he’s attempting to come back to form after an ACL injury. After tearing his ACL in 2011, Charles came back with 1,509 yards rushing and 5.3 yards per carry. Remember, we’re talking about a running back who has averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry throughout his entire career — one that has spanned eight seasons.
A perfect example of putting this into action would be using Michael Crabtree or Tevin Coleman at the base of a deal to acquire Charles. But don’t include someone like Lamar Miller. The key, as always, is to sell high and buy low.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
One of the keys to predicting Brown’s breakout is looking at the Cardinals’ wide receiver usage around him. Something is not right with Michael Floyd, who has graded out among our worst wide receivers overall this season, and the Cardinals have been phasing him out of the offense. Floyd has played just 58-of-149 snaps over the past two weeks. If you own him, make sure he’s on your bench and don’t be afraid to drop him in 10-team leagues. Back to the point — Brown is emerging as the Cardinals’ No. 1 receiver on the outside. Sure, Larry Fitzgerald will have the top role underneath as the Cardinals’ slot receiver, but Brown is quarterback Carson Palmer’s go-to target over the top and on the intermediate passes that have defined Bruce Arians’ offense.
Brown is one of the best route-runners in the NFL and no one seems to realize it just yet. Injuries and a crowded wide receiver corps have held him back from emerging as a consistent fantasy option, but we’re banking on that changing. We saw a glimpse of Brown’s potential in Week 4 when he racked up 144 yards receiving and 10 receptions on a whopping 16 targets. Then Palmer got concussed and Brown fell back into obscurity with four targets and one reception in Week 5.
Brown needs Palmer back at quarterback and he should get that in Week 6, as Palmer has been cleared from the concussion protocol. Now the two players can get back on track and right where they left off in Week 4. Big weeks are coming for Brown.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
I haven’t been shy about my feelings about Jones’ talent — Six months ago I wrote about why he was the top player to sell in dynasty leagues. Aside from one strong game against a beaten-up Browns defense, there hasn’t been much to like about Jones’ production in 2016. He has averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in three of his five games this season and he hasn’t had more than two receptions in any game. Aside from the Browns game, Jones has a season high of just 65 rushing yards.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. Jones was atrocious as a rookie. He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, he had just three runs of 15-plus yards on a whopping 144 carries, and he had three drops on just 22 targets.
Chris Thompson is already responsible for all of the Redskins’ passing-down and hurry-up work. Now, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has talked about getting rookie Rob Kelley more involved in the offense.
Three of Washington’s next five games come against the Eagles’, Vikings’ and Packers’ run defenses. Even if Jones still has the lead role by then, he’s not likely to find much running room against three of our top run defenses. He’s even less likely to find the end zone. Jones is simply a declining asset and one you should be looking to get rid of.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
A major component to the Anderson appeal was his workload. After the first two weeks, it looked certain he was entrenched as a true workhorse fantasy back. Anderson has 47 total touches through his first two games with 232 total yards and three touchdowns. In his three games since, Anderson has just 155 total yards with one touchdown. And this isn’t even the most concerning development for Anderson’s stock, as rookie Devontae Booker has been emerging as well.
Our CFF draft analysts compared Booker to Arian Foster for his smooth running style. They also named him one of only a few backs who could potentially operate in a lead back role and make the NFL transition right away. Gary Kubiak found Foster, and Booker could eventually be his next find. Anderson owners don’t need to worry about that quite yet, but Booker cutting into Anderson’s workload is a real fear.
In Week 5, Booker totaled just three fewer yards than Anderson and four fewer touches. He also played throughout the course of the game and not just once the Broncos had fallen behind. Most importantly, Booker played just seven fewer snaps than Anderson.
If you can still find an owner who slaps the true RB1 tag on Anderson, get a deal done and move on.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders
Disclaimer: Do not read this as “trade Crabtree at all costs because he will have a bad week immediately.” A couple columns ago, I wrote about dealing Matt Ryan. Then he went on to break out before coming back down to earth in Week 5. I ate my crow for that, and rightfully so, but looking at the very next week’s box score is missing the point on Ryan, and the same applies for Crabtree.
We’re looking long-term here and we’re trying to capitalize on value. Like Ryan, Crabtree is performing beyond expectations and both players should regress based on their upcoming schedules among other factors. Let’s start with the coming regression for Crabtree. He scored three touchdowns in one game and is now the WR8 in fantasy (half-point PPR). He also has topped 100 yards receiving in just one game. Touchdowns are more likely to regress than yards and he doesn’t have the big chunk yardage plays to make up for it.
There are owners in your league who likely view Crabtree as a WR1 based on his production so far. With matchups against the Broncos and Chiefs in two of his next four games, now is the time to capitalize on Crabtree’s assumed value.