In this edition of Trade Calls we set our sights on five 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 6 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY: Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
After trending down the first few weeks, due to the increased role of D'Onta Foreman, several positive factors make now an appropriate time to go all-in on Miller. He saw a season-high 87 percent of his team's snaps in Week 5, and is one of only five backs in the league with at least 15 touches in every game. At the very least, his floor is among the safest you can find. Miller is also dominating red zone looks for Houston, with 11 touches (and two touchdowns) inside the 20-yard line compared to Foreman's seven. The veteran only has one ceiling game, with 25 standard points in Week 4, but his 331 rush yards place him eighth among all running backs and he currently ranks as the RB10 in standard scoring.
Another signal that Miller is set for a solid season is that he's out there inviting contact and truck-sticking defenders at the second level. He seems re-energized thanks to Watson's success and with the easiest strength of schedule (upcoming matchups against IND, CLE, among fantasy running backs for the remainder of the season, Miller's an ideal target in trade negotiations ahead of Week 6.
SELL: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coming off a Week 5 season debut in which he averaged 5.6 yards per carry, gained 82 total yards, found the end zone and scored 14 standard fantasy points, Doug Martin's value is about to take a dip. Don't forget, that the aforementioned production came against the Patriots, one of the worst defenses at stopping opposing fantasy runners this season.
Martin now faces three straight top run-stopping units in Arizona, Buffalo and Carolina. All three are allowing fewer than 80 rush yards per game to running backs. The Bucs offense is struggling to find its identity and Jameis Winston is averaging 38.8 pass attempts per game, tied for fifth-highest in the league. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is averaging 21.5 rush attempts per game, 29th in the NFL. That, if nothing else, is a complete lack of balance which is worrisome for Martin's outlook.
Don't get me wrong, I love me some Doug. And if your roster has been riddled with running back injuries as many have, I understand the struggle in wanting to hold him. But take this as a word of caution for the tough upcoming stretch. If you've managed to avoid injuries and can move him to a team in need, now is a good time to do it.
BUY: Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
After a one-catch, 0.4 fantasy point game in Week 5, the Stefon Diggs owner in your league may be freaking out a bit. Diggs also dealt with a groin injury during the Monday night game, but he did come back on the field during the Vikings final drive, which is a good sign that the injury may be minor. Still, it's something to consider after the one thing that held him back last year was durability issues. But you can use all of these negative storylines as selling points when making a move for him ahead of Week 6.
Even with the one-catch game, Diggs remains top five in both standard and PPR formats and remains third in the NFL with 395 receiving yards. He owns a 22-percent target market share in the Vikings pass attack, and Adam Theilen has a slightly higher share because of Diggs' missed snaps in Week 5. Now, with Dalvin Cook out for the year it would make sense that the Vikings look to lean on their wide receivers even more so. Things would probably have gone differently for Diggs had Case Keenum started last week, but instead, Minnesota rolled out a hobbled Sam Bradford. But with upcoming matchups against the Packers, Browns and a potentially Josh Norman-less Redskins secondary, Diggs should be just fine. Move on him now while his value is at rock bottom.
SELL: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams runner enjoyed a hot start to the 2017 season, as he took advantage of a handful of favorable matchups against teams with mediocre defenses like the Colts, 49ers, Redskins and Cowboys. Heading into Week 6, Todd Gurley has more scrimmage touchdowns (seven) than any other running back in the NFL and ranks third in rush yards (405) and second in scrimmage yards (646) at the position. Next up, he faces a Jaguars defense that bleeds fantasy points to opposing runners, as Jacksonville ranks 31st in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 146 ground yards per game. But after Week 6, it's all uphill for Gurley.
In his next eight contests, Gurley faces five top-eight run defenses. Los Angeles' schedule includes the Texans, Vikings, Eagles, and Cardinals twice, along with an unusable bye week. Those matchups amount to the fourth-toughest rest-of-season strength of schedule for fantasy backs in the entire league. We saw what happened when Gurley faced some resistance against a tough opponent in Week 5 as he averaged just 3.07 yards per carry against Seattle and failed to find the end zone for the first time all year. This doesn't mean I think Gurley will sink your fantasy squad if you hang onto him, but if you're looking to make a move, now is the time to do it before he runs into this string of unfavorable matchups.
BUY: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
But since Cincinnati made a change at offensive coordinator ahead of Week 3, the team has course-corrected it's backfield and Mixon is now the clear-cut lead back. After owning a 41 percent share of the Bengals' rush attempts the first two games, that number has jumped up to 66 percent in the last three weeks. And per Graham Barfield of FantasyGuru.com, Mixon also owns a 67 percent share of the Bengals' backfield opportunities inside the 10-yard line. Remember that narrative that Jeremy Hill would remain the goal-line back? Throw it in the trash. Mixon is the primary back on a team whose offense is trending up, and you'll want a piece of that on your fantasy squad. With Cincinnati getting Week 6 off for a bye, it might be even easier to buy the rookie runner from your impatient league mate.
Looking forward, Mixon faces four teams in the coming weeks that rank in the bottom-10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs and two of those rank bottom-three in the NFL in overall rush defense.
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