I'll spare you the old adage of 'if you ain't tradin', you ain't tryin'. Come to think of it, I didn't spare you from that at all. Anyway, it's no secret that part of being successful in fantasy football is navigating the trade market. But just who do you make a play for? And who should you give up in return?
That's where Trade Calls comes in. Every week in this space, I'll give you a few players to trade for, a few players to trade away and answer a few of your trade-related questions. Alrighty then, let's go.
Players to trade for
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: There's no way to sugarcoat this ... the Cardinals offense has been abysmal in the first two weeks and it's bringing David Johnson down. New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has neutralized Johnson's effectiveness by making him a straight-ahead runner with few attempts to get him in space. But after the Redbirds scored a combined six points in two games, you have to imagine that's going to change. In the meantime, the person in your league with DJ on their roster is probably pretty spooked after spending a top four pick on him. Now's the time to prod a little bit and see if you can get a top-five running back talent relatively cheap.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Speaking of another first-round running back who isn't offering the expected returns, there is reason to be optimistic about Hunt moving forward. The biggest reason is that he plays in the NFL's highest-scoring offense (through two weeks). As teams try to figure out how to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs passing game, it should open more opportunity for Hunt. The other part is that unless and until the Kansas City defense can tighten things up, a running game might be necessary to avoid getting into too many back-and-forth battles.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears: Robinson has been pretty good to start the season with a 14/144/0 line in his first two games with his new squad. The part that might be discouraging to some is that he's yet to find the end zone. Also that his quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, still looks skittish in the pocket and overall inconsistent. But what should encourage you to shoot your shot in a trade offer is that A-Rob is dominating the Bears' target share, gobbling up 21 targets in 69 pass attempts. Touchdowns will always be a fickle beast but that kind of volume is hard to ignore.
Players to trade away
DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This was the D-Jax that we expected when he signed with the Bucs a year ago. That's not totally true. Few of us would have predicted nine targets, nine catches, 275 yards and three scores in two games. There's a chance that the Bucs' offense stays hot all year but the more likely probability is that Jackson and the passing game suffer some regression. The best case scenario is that Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps the starting job and continues to make fantasy magic with D-Jax. The worst case is that Jameis Winston gets his gig back and starts overthrowing Jackson again. Playing together last season, Jackson had fewer than 50 yards eight different times.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots: This isn't just because the Patriots made a move on Monday to acquire Josh Gordon. And it's not just because New England is expecting to have Julian Edelman back soon after a four-game suspension. It's also because Hogan has been incredibly inefficient. He leads the Pats with 73 routes run but has been targeted just 10 times (fourth-most). The upside is that he's coming off a two-touchdown game against an otherwise stingy Jaguars defense, which could have some people overvaluing him at the moment.
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens: The first two weeks of Collins usage should have fantasy managers rethinking their expectations for Collins. It's not just the game script, either. Javorius Allen is here to stay, despite our wishes to the contrary. The two backs have played nearly an identical number of snaps (Allen - 68, Collins - 66) while both seeing 20 touches to begin the year. Collins still has value but he could struggle to be the RB2 that you thought you were drafting.
Trade Calls Hotline
No surprise that I've gotten plenty of trade questions involving Le'Veon Bell. Here's my official statement:
Trying to predict what Bell is going to do this season is a fool's errand. You very well could be stuck waiting until Week 10 for him to arrive, meaning you could burn a roster spot for up to eight weeks. If you feel confident that your roster is good enough to stay in playoff contention while waiting, then, by all means, make the move. If you're trying to trade Bell, understand that the rest of your league knows that you're dealing from a position of weakness and won't be likely to offer you anything close to commensurate value. We didn't expect to be here in Week 3 but it was an underlying risk when you drafted the Steelers running back early. It sounds harsh, but ... sorry 'bout your luck.
Sometimes being polite doesn't work. The only thing some people understand is a verbal punch in the mouth. We all have those people in our leagues that are insanely annoying when they have a trade target in mind. Eventually, you just have to be an (expletive) and tell them off once all other diplomatic efforts have failed. Also ... Corey Davis for Julio Jones? Madness!
Everyone's favorite "he doesn't get enough chances" running back versus everyone's favorite "he's totally gonna break out this year" wide receiver. This one feels personal to me since I'm a fan of both of these players. But in this instance, I'm going with Babytron. The Lions are going to be a high-volume passing offense that funnels through primarily three players -- Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Golladay. Of that trio, Golladay leads in routes run and receiving yards while being second in targets and receptions. As much as I like Powell, his value is primarily as a pass-catcher and he's going to always trail Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson in that aspect. Babytron, transform!