Week 3 has come and gone and fantasy owners are in a frenzy over who to add, drop and put on the trade block. Some players' trade value will never be higher, while others are ideal buy-low candidates meaning you should try to capitalize on the fear generated by a slow Week 3 outing for players who have positive outlooks for the season.
That's why this column, "Trade Calls" will come at you each and every week. It's pretty simple: I do the heavy lifting, you get some information and start making offers. So ahead of Week 4, here are some players to think about trying to acquire on the low, and moving after a big Week 3 performance.
In terms of efficiency, the second-year back is off to a slow start, which is something that has carried over from his rookie campaign. In each of his three games this year, Gurley has yet to average greater than 3.2 yards per carry. Dating back to 2015, he has averaged 3.6 yards per carry in his last 11 contests. Yards per carry doesn't always make or break a player's fantasy value but it is a good barometer of his basement-level floor on a week to week basis when he can't find his way into the end zone.
The Rams offense remains one of the worst in the NFL averaging the third-lowest points per game through three weeks with a quarterback who averages 186.3 yards per game. As long as Gurley is attached to that less-than mediocre kind of offense, he's going to struggle to put up consistent fantasy points on a weekly basis, despite having a high-volume workload. Of the 18 running backs who have logged greater than 40 carries this season, Gurley ranks 17th in total fantasy points (32.2), 62 percent of which were scored in Week 3 (20.0).
In his next six games, Gurley will face ARI, NYG, NYG and CAR-all formidable defensive fronts that are unfavorable for opposing running backs. Try to move him while he's flying high off the two touchdown game.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots:LeGarrette Blount has more carries than any other running back in the NFL and currently ranks fourth at his position in total fantasy points. He's been nothing short of spectacular for fantasy owners the first three weeks of the season with four touchdowns and 298 rush yards to lead the league in ground yardage. But with Tom Brady's return right around the corner (Week 5), a Patriots offense -- currently averaging 36 rush attempts per game with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brisset taking snaps under center -- is sure to skew more pass heavy when the veteran returns.
That's not to say that Blount won't remain a valuable fantasy asset for the rest of the season. With matchups against CLE, BUF and SF coming up in the next seven games, there is definitely room for Blount to keep producing at a high level. But his high-volume averages of 25 rush attempts and 99 rush yards per game is sure to see a downtick when Brady gets back and the Patriots start passing more. How do we know they'll start passing more? In 2015, the Patriots averaged 23.9 rush attempts per game compared to 39.3 pass attempts per game, with Brady at the helm all season of course. In the three games without Brady this season, New England is averaging 36.0 rushes per game compared to 29.0 pass attempts per game. If that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will.
Another minor knock against Blount is the fact that he's not a pass-catching back. Since he's been dominating on the ground, this has yet to affect his production. But zero catches (nary a target) through three games is something of a red flag when trying to project his value going forward. Of the 138 total plays that Blount's been on the field for this season, he's only participated on eight third downs.
With Brady's return will likely come more snaps for guys like James White and Brandon Bolden on passing downs, which means fewer opportunities for Blount. You'll want to try and move him following New England's Week 4 match up against a Buffalo defense that has given up five rushing touchdowns already this season.
Coby Fleener, TE, Saints: If you own Coby Fleener in fantasy, you likely spent an early-ish draft pick on him or spent way too much of your auction budget to secure the Saints tight end. On the flip side, a few folks have informed me that he was available on the waiver wire after two weeks, which makes sense given his early struggles. His fantasy value was inflated this summer after he locked up a big contract with New Orleans and immediately fell into a significant target share among Saints' pass-catchers. But reports that Fleener was having trouble picking up his new offense surfaced during the preseason, and after three games, it's clear that those reports were accurate. So following a huge fantasy outing on Monday night against Atlanta, it's time to get what you can for Fleener in a trade and move on.
His catch rate right now is atrocious -- a 43.5 percent clip is the worst among tight ends who have seen a minimum of 20 targets come their way this year. Much of that can be attributed to going three for 12 in his first two games. Fleener improved in Week 3 and became a much bigger part of the Saints passing attack with wideout Willie Snead sidelined (toe). He hauled in seven passes on 11 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta on Monday night. That performance puts him at 10 for 23 for the season and puts him on pace for an unattractive 53 receptions on 122 targets over a 16 game span perpetuating his current 43 percent catch rate. For some contect, in 2015 tight ends who received 80 or more targets had an average catch rate of 67.53 for the season. Benjamin Watson, the Saints No. 1 tight end last year, had a 67 percent catch rate with 74 receptions on 110 targets. Fleener has had a catch rate above 60 percent just once in his four year career.
And for those who would argue that some of Fleener's incompletions are the result of errant Drew Brees passes, well sure, not all of Fleener's targets will be perfectly placed by his quarterback. But no tight end has ever caught fewer than half of his targets with Brees under center. We'll give Brees the benefit of the doubt on this and lean toward questioning Fleener's play rather than the veteran quarterback's accuracy. This leads one to believe that Fleener may still be struggling to pick up the offense and that perhaps he hasn't been where he was supposed to be when the ball is being delivered.
As the nature of the Saints offense goes, Brees' most productive pass-catchers tend to vary on a weekly basis. And when you toss in five unfavorable matchups against CAR, KC, SEA, DEN and CAR again in the Saints next seven games, you can see why you might want to think about selling high on Fleener before he has another drop-littered outing.
Buy low candidates (actually, trade mailbag)
I'll admit, I struggled to identify some buy low candidates this week, so I'll just answer some of your Twitter questions instead. That's cool, right? What can I say, I'm a nice guy I guess.
Yo, it's only a matter of time until Odell Beckham Jr. begins returning on his first round draft value. I realize it's tough to swallow that he has yet to find the end zone, but he currently ranks ninth among all wideouts in targets (30) and eighth in receiving yards (280). Benjamin just put up a goose egg in Week 3 … woof. Despite Beckham losing some volume to Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz in the Giants' passing game, it's highly unlikely OBJ ever provides zero fantasy points in any given week. I prefer the Beckham side of this deal eight days a week.
I would push through this trade as soon as soon as humanly possible. But just to be completely clear, let me me get this straight: You're going to give up a hobbled wideout with a bum foot (on a run-heavy team) who we don't know if he'll ever get back to 100 percent health this year and an over-the-hill running back who's being absolutely overworked early on and is bound to eventually break down, for an elite wide receiver who is a safe bet to finish among the top five wideouts in fantasy? All of the yes on this … go get yourself some Nuk!
While the Brandin Cooks/Aaron Rodgers side of this trade seems enticing at first glance, I think you're better off sticking with what you've got. We have already seen how inconsistent Cooks' season is going to be: He absolutely blew up in Week 1 and has since posted single-digits in each of his next two games. His inconsistency is why he was on my "Sell High" list post Week 1. He'll have his blow-ups but Eric Decker is going to be a mainstay in your lineup on a weekly basis. Rodgers had a nice bounce-back in Week 3 but it's not enough for me to believe that Green Bay's offense has fully returned to form. Stafford has been on a ridiculous run in terms of fantasy scoring dating back to last season, and there's no reason you should jump ship now especially when you look ahead to his fantasy playoff schedule compared to Rodgers'. Jeremy Hill might frustrate you at times, especially on weeks when he doesn't find the end zone, but lead backs are harder to come by these days and Hill looks poised for a great season -- he should finish as a high-end RB2 at worst. I say stick with your depth and don't let the big names fool you on this one!