Week 2 fantasy trade targets and ideas
Every week in this space, we’ll take a look at the top players to buy or sell in fantasy football. An elite fantasy owner is active in the trade market and always looking for value (plus ways to take advantage of his competition). We want you to become that elite manager and our goal is to provide you with the players who you should be looking to trade for or away each week.
After reports speculated Engram would play closer to 60 percent of the offensive snaps, he played the second-most of any Giants skill position player behind Sterling Shepard. He lined up mostly as the in-line tight end, a position the Giants feel comfortable with him. Although Engram only had four receptions for 40 yards, QB Eli Manning did speak after the game of a play on which left tackle Ereck Flowers allowed a sack, and if Flowers had given Manning another second, he was planning to target an open Engram. A completion there would have meant a touchdown. Engram is clearly a massive part of the Giants’ passing offense and a great bet to break the rookie tight end narrative.
In the third preseason game, we saw signs of Coleman developing an excellent rapport with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Then, Kizer was named the starter. That rapport carried over into Week 1 when Coleman led the Browns with five targets. He turned those into 53 yards and a score. If he continues to be Kizer’s first read in the red zone and all over the field, he’ll quickly emerge as an every-week WR2, even on a run-first offense.
The Saints passing game looked out of sorts without Brandin Cooks and Snead in Week 1, but they won’t face the Vikings defense in the second-loudest stadium every week. Snead’s suspension lasts just two more weeks, but now is the time to buy in with a host of fantasy owners jumping ship on Drew Brees and the entire Saints offense. The schedule gets much easier and the Saints defense will mean a ton of gamescript-favorable matchups for Snead and Michael Thomas going forward.
Kupp is the real deal despite not having exceptional NFL athleticism. Players like him come along, fly under the radar, and before you know it they are 1,000-yard receivers. Kupp also has the size to make an impact in the red zone and the rapport with quarterback Jared Goff to stick as a weekly receiver option who you can rely on. Kupp led the Rams with six targets and turned them into 74 yards and a touchdown on four receptions doing most of his work out of the slot. He is likely to remain Goff’s top priority moving forward.
The worry about drafting West focused on the potential for free agent acquisition Danny Woodhead to gobble up red-zone snaps. In the first half, it looked like this worry was coming to fruition. Then, Woodhead got injured, West resumed a red-zone role and scored a touchdown. With Woodhead (hamstring) reportedly out for the next 4-6 weeks, West is an excellent bet for volume on all areas of the field and in the red zone. This makes him a locked in RB2.
No one benefits more from the Texans’ decision to name Deshaun Watson the starter than Hopkins. Putting their Clemson narrative aside, it’s common for a rookie quarterback to lock onto one receiver. Head coach Bill O’Brien spoke earlier this week about getting as many targets to Hopkins as possible. With the Texans defense not looking as elite as we expected, game script should work in the favor of Hopkins from this point on.
Davis was the No. 6 overall player on PFF’s draft board and for good reason. The freakish athlete got off to an explosive start in Titans training camp, while working with Marcus Mariota and the first-team offense before injuring his hamstring. He’s fully healthy now and the Titans didn’t waste any time with him in Week 1. Davis played just 42 snaps (compared to 60 for Eric Decker and 52 for Rishard Matthews) as the Titans eased him back, but he gained more yards (69) than both and saw a team-high 10 targets. The breakout is coming.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
If Gurley didn’t put up a startable week against an atrocious Colts defense without their starting quarterback, his owners would have an even bigger problem on their hands. As it stands, Gurley averaged just 2.1 yards per carry (40 yards on 19 carries). The volume is there, but he is still not running very efficiently, even with the defense being forced to respect a revived passing game led by Jared Goff and new head coach Sean McVay. Gurley’s schedule gets a lot tougher soon and he could easily devolve into a touchdown-dependent RB2.
Cohen’s performance from a fantasy standpoint was impressive, but his role in the offense was even more noteworthy. Cohen led the Bears with 12 targets and finished with just three fewer total touches than Jordan Howard. Of course, it’s important not to overlook the matchup. The Falcons allowed more receptions to running backs than nearly every team in 2016 and their zone-based defense hasn’t changed in 2017. John Fox also told the media after the game that Cohen was removed from the final red-zone possession due to pass protection concerns — common for a rookie — especially on a Fox-led team. Don’t blow your entire FAAB budget on Cohen and expect the Bears to field two fantasy-relevant RBs on a weekly basis.
You hear that? That’s the box-score chasers scurrying around the trade market and looking for the top-scoring Week 1 players. Blount found a way to get into the end zone via the passing game in Week 1 and this play saved him from scoring just 4.6 fantasy points. Although Blount drew the start and saw the most carries of any Eagles RB, he was on the field for just 24-of-69 offensive snaps in a game where the Eagles held the lead for the majority of it. When the game script goes awry, and the Eagles are playing from behind, Blount is going to kill your weekly score.
Adrian Peterson, RB, New Orleans Saints
Selling Peterson now is the opposite of the “sell high” strategy we preach. But sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel. Peterson had words with Saints head coach Sean Payton and it was caught on live TV Monday night. This likely won’t be the last time these two disagree. Although the Saints schedule gets easier for fantasy purposes, their defense projects to once again be one of the NFL’s worst. This means limited snaps for Peterson, who finished with just nine total snaps in Week 1 after the Saints fell behind early.
Gore barely saw the field once the Colts fell behind and that could be a concern going forward. Even when Andrew Luck returns, this Colts defense is going to put the offense in some bad spots. More concerning than Gore’s lack of a second half role was the fact that impressive rookie Marlon Mack received the early red-zone snaps. Mack scored a 3-yard touchdown, salvaging his fantasy day, while Gore put together just 52 total yards on 11 touches.
Henry wasn’t targeted at all in Week 1. He wasn’t involved in the red zone and he wasn’t the chain-moving intermediate receiver that some expected him to be right off the bat with the buzz that followed his impressive training camp. New head coach Anthony Lynn has new ideas for this offense, and it involved a run-first approach that might not fit Henry. Although he has a prototypical tight end build, Henry hasn’t fully developed as a blocker yet. Henry played just 23 snaps in the season opener despite the fact that the game script was in his favor as the Chargers fell behind by multiple scores.