By Matt Savoca, 4for4
Special to Yahoo Sports
Welcome to the first edition of Trader’s Alley for the 2021 fantasy football season. After just one week, we’ve entered peak overreaction season, as fantasy gamers collectively overthink their players’ Week 1 production, sometimes (incorrectly) tossing out months of preseason research. With that, we might be able to take advantage of fantasy teams who are unnecessarily panicking after just one regular-season game in the books.
Below are my trade targets and a player to deal heading into Week 2. In addition to this article, don’t forget to use the 4for4 Trade Evaluator to try and mine even more value out of your moves. And remember, these recommendations are just the beginning of your fantasy trade considerations. Every league and every team is different. These are just some of the players — from a bigger list — who I’m interested in this week.
Trade for Josh Allen
Compared to the fantasy draft capital you spent on him, Allen was a disappointment in Week 1 as the Bills' offense fell flat in a surprise loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh, however, looks to be one of the best overall defenses in the league, as was the case a season ago. Though Allen did struggle at times with accuracy, he still threw 55 passes, the fourth-most of any quarterback in Week 1, and accumulated 492 air yards, which ranked second last weekend.
And while Miami and Washington, the Bills’ next two opponents, are no slouch defensively, Allen’s schedule lightens significantly after that, with multiple games against bottom-tier defense in adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks.
Reach out to the team that drafted Allen in your league, and see if they’re panicking about his slow start. Especially with his schedule staying tough for a few more weeks, you could get one of fantasy drafts’ most coveted players at his position at a stark discount compared to the preseason.
The Trade Market: Players who were taken near Allen in fantasy drafts are still viable. Players such as Myles Gaskin, Josh Jacobs, Julio Jones, Diontae Johnson, or a Week 1 overachiever like Deebo Samuel might get the deal done.
Trade for D.J. Moore
To the shock of absolutely no one, the presence of Christian McCaffrey created a very different target distribution for the Panthers compared to what we saw a season ago. And while Robby Anderson saved his day with a long touchdown catch (and that’s something Anderson should continue to do this season), but only D.J. Moore saw similar targets and air yards to his 2020 workload. More importantly, rookie Terrace Marshall, Jr. made an immediate impact albeit without massive production, earning six targets on 19% of the Panthers’ air yards. If Week 1 is any indicator, it looks like the WR2 position in Carolina will be much murkier from week to week compared to last season.
Moore was the only Panthers’ receiver to earn 20% of targets and 20% of air yards, and looks locked into the number one position. Moore and the Panthers also enjoy one of the easiest schedules of opposing pass defenses from Weeks 3 through 8.
The Trade Market: A combination of FLEX running backs would likely pique the interest of the team trading Moore. A combination of presumed 49ers starter Elijah Mitchell combined with a mid-round back such as Ty’Son Williams, Jamaal Williams, or one of the Buccaneers backs.
Trade away Chris Carson
Rashaad Penny’s first-half injury made Carson one of the most utilized running backs in Week 1, as Carson ultimately played on 78% of snaps (as much as Joe Mixon), and received 85% of the Seahawks’ running back rushes against Indianapolis. And despite Russell Wilson's unbelievably efficient day as a passer, the Seahawks continued their run-oriented ways to begin the 2021 season, as Wilson ranked just 27th in quarterback dropbacks in Week 1. So why trade Carson, who seems locked into a number one running back role on an efficient offense? It’s about what you might be able to snag by trading him away.
Regardless of the run-pass splits in Seattle, the offensive production will continue to center around the passing attack, with Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf being the players you want to prioritize in this offense. Carson carries with him significant value that outpaces his expected weekly production, and faces a slew of difficult defenses beginning in Week 4, where the Seahawks play the 49ers, Rams, Steelers, and Saints all in succession. You might be able to dangle Carson’s surefire opportunities in exchange for a stronger wide receiver, or a combination of players to round out your FLEX positions.
The Trade Market: A number-one wideout who wasn’t productive in Week 1. Terry McLaurin might be available with Taylor Heineke in a quarterback for Washington, as could Allen Robinson, whose production was underwhelming with Andy Dalton at the helm in Chicago.
Bonus: Trade for or hold Ezekiel Elliott
Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s game plan to pass as much as humanly possible against Tampa Bay’s stalwart defensive line wasn’t just correct, it was brilliant. The reason the Cowboys were so competitive with the defending champs was their decision to almost entirely abandon the run. This will not be the case most weeks, and may not be the case for the rest of the season.
Elliott, still just 26 years old, is as capable a back, and there should be little shift in his expected production going forward. Don’t accept any low-ball trade offers in the coming days if you have him on your roster. Conversely, try to get a deal done for Elliott with a potentially worried fantasy manger.
A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position in middle school, Matt has been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, he loves to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone.
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