In this edition of Trade Calls I hone in on 10 players to make a move for in trade negotiations, one way or the other. Whether it's upcoming schedules, overreactions due to underperformance or unexpected fantasy-point explosions, look to move this list of players ahead of the Week 3 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY LOW: Miami Dolphins -- DeVante Parker, Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry
Landry was pummeled with 15 targets from Cutler on short to intermediate routes with 54 percent of his yardage on the day coming from slot lineups. That's unbelievable volume (and unsustainable) for PPR leagues, while in standard scoring, Landry's 78 yards on the day is a bit alarming considering he had 13 receptions and 10 of them gained fewer than 10 yards. Still, he was wide open the entire game, posting a league-high 4.8 yards of separation at the time of target in the game.
Meanwhile, DeVante Parker established himself as Cutler's main deep threat, accounting for 49.8 percent of his intended air yards, per NextGenStats. Unfortunately, he only hauled in four of his nine targets so he was unable to completely capitalize on that opportunity despite a pair of 31-yard connections. Parker only managed one catch (31 yards) on two targets against cornerback Casey Hayward while his other three grabs came against other defenders (54 yards). But it's a positive sign for Parker's value going forward. He's Cutler's No. 1 target out wide, while Landry may see some volatility from the slot on a weekly basis. Parker's failure to find the end zone against the Chargers makes for an ideal buy-low scenario.
On the ground, the Dolphins also gave running back Jay Ajayi a bell-cow type workload, which was expected heading into the season. His 30 touches give further proof that Miami will rely on the third-year back heavily this year. Expect a sizable dose of Parker, Landry, and Ajayi in the coming weeks with the matchups mentioned above.
SELL HIGH: C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
C.J. Anderson is off to a great start in Denver. Not to take anything away from Anderson, he looked awesome against the Cowboys in Week 2 and put up more fantasy points than any other running back in the league. But there is some reason to believe his production thus far, 242 total yards and two touchdowns on 51 touches is too good to be true. Which makes him a perfect sell-high candidate ahead of the Broncos Week 3 game against the Bills.
First, Anderson has maxed out at 179 carries in a given season during his five-year career. That's mainly due to his injury history. Anytime he's had a real "primary" role, he's suffered some kind of injury that has limited him or ended his season. In 2015, he dealt with a nagging ankle injury while he split the workload with Ronnie Hillman. Anderson only managed to start six games that season. Last year, a brutal knee injury landed him on injured reserve in late October after just 110 carries for the year. So, his lack of durability is a red flag for his long-term value.
Denver travels to Buffalo in Week 3 for a matchup with a stingy Bills defensive front. Through two weeks, Buffalo's defense is allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game, just 57.5 with opposing runners averaging just 2.7 yards per carry. Not helping matters is the fact that Denver's first-round draft selection, offensive tackle Garrett Bolles, is set to miss several weeks with a bone bruise. After Week 3, Anderson will face Oakland, rest on a bye, and then faces the Giants and Chargers the two weeks following. None of those matchups are considered favorable for running backs. The time to sell Anderson is now, ahead of Week 3 following what will likely be his highest-scoring fantasy performance of the season.
BUY LOW: Cincinatti Bengals - A.J. Green, Joe Mixon
Through two games, the team hasn't scored a single touchdown. Following last Thursday night's loss to the Texans, Cincinnati fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and promoted quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor to OC. This is what we call rock bottom. Rock bottom is a good time to buy low on players like A.J. Green, who despite his slow start, remains one of the premier wideouts in the league.
Last season was the first campaign in Green's six-year career that he failed to collect 1,000 receiving yards, but that was due to his season ending early with a severe hamstring injury in Week 11. When he went down, he ranked second in the NFL with 964 receiving yards and was averaging a career-high 96.4 receiving yards per game. Clearly, there are better days ahead for Green with games coming up against Green Bay and Cleveland in the next two weeks. Despite the slow-ish start for Green, he still leads his team with 18 targets and has 141 receiving yards with five catches for at least 67 yards in each outing. There's nowhere to go but up for Green with (hopefully) significant changes coming in this offense.
It's also time to consider trading for talented rookie back Joe Mixon with the hope that he is more involved in the Bengals game planning going forward. Despite the lack of overall production thus far, Mixon is technically Cincinnati's lead back as he's collected more touches (21) than either Jeremy Hill (14) or Giovani Bernard (15). His rushing yards, just 45 on the season, is a major concern, but if the team can get him in space more often, he has the ability to make things happen more so than Hill or Bernard. So far, the majority of Mixon's rushing yards have been on outside runs, 71 percent in fact. And he's approaching the line of scrimmage with aggression as our Next Gen Stats metric that measures running back speed at the LoS proves, Mixon has the third-highest average velocity among a 52-back sample when hitting the line.
We came into this season thinking the Bengals offense would be a high-powered one for fantasy purposes, and the team was dealt a rough hand with matchups against the Ravens and Texans, two of the league's best defenses. It's only a matter of time until Green, Mixon and the rest of the offense takes off and by then, it will be too late to buy these players on the low.
SELL HIGH (yes, again): Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Last week in this space, I wrote about selling high on Todd Gurley after he put up 15.6 standard fantasy points against the Colts in Week 1. Well, he followed that up in Week 2 with an even better outing against Washington. Gurley collected 136 yards from scrimmage and scored twice on a 19-touch workload. He was more efficient on the ground, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. This week he gets another decent matchup against the 49ers in which he should produce again.
But I'm here to remind you once more of how dreadful his upcoming schedule is in terms of unfavorable matchups for running backs. Well, after C.J. Anderson terrorized Dallas on the ground last week, Gurley's Week 4 does seem a bit brighter. But after that he goes up against the Seahawks, Jaguars, Cardinals, rest for a bye in Week 8 only to go up against the Giants, Texans, and Vikings consecutively. All of the teams mentioned finished in the top half of the league last year in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs.
Look, the Rams offense has improved from last season with added weapons and a new coaching staff. It would actually be hard for the team not to improve following such a historically poor 2016 offensively. But if you're a Gurley owner, you need to ask yourself if you'd feel comfortable rolling him into your starting fantasy lineup for any of those unfavorable matchups. If not, the time to make a move is now, before the tough decisions arise.
A FEW FOR THE ROAD
BUY -- Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: Thomas leads the Saints receiving corps with 18 targets through two games. If the Thomas owner in your league is growing impatient due to his lack of fantasy production thus far, try to move on him now. Drew Brees is currently third in the NFL with 647 pass yards, and Thomas will be the main beneficiary of that volume all season long.
SELL -- Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions: The Lions receiver is third on the team in targets (seven) with just three receptions on the season through two games. He's scored two touchdowns on those three receptions giving him a 66.6 percent touchdown rate. That's anything but sustainable. Given the low volume, you should look to move him now to someone you might be able to dupe into thinking the touchdowns will continue. Don't tell your pals, but per Next Gen Stats, Jones posted the lowest yards of separation at target (1.0) among all wideouts in Week 2. And the Giants top corner, Janoris Jenkins, was inactive.
BUY -- Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: If the Bell owner in your league is crazy enough to negotiate some depth for Bell, it's worth the discussion. You can use his 3.2 yards per carry average on his 37 rush attempts and tough upcoming matchups against the Ravens and Jaguars as a point against him. Just secretly understand you're in talks to receive the best running back in fantasy football and the matchups don't matter because this is Le'Veon Bell we're talking about here for goodness sake.