Week 4 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 4 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 5, here are some players to think about trying to acquire on the low, and moving after a big Week 4 performance.
PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
Beckham's total of zero touchdowns has pretty much every fantasy owner who drafted him with their first pick confused Mr. Krabs meme-ing after four games.
Simply put: Go out and get him! (If you happen to own him, take a deep breath and hold onto him.) And the masses agree because you guys are smart, see:
What the scared Beckham owners (the ones who are confused Mr. Krabs meme-ing) might be ignoring, is the fact that the Giants receiver ranks 11th among wideouts in targets (39), leading his team and is the only wide receiver in the league to have played on 100 percent of his team's offensive snaps this season per FantasyData.com.
He's out there, and he's getting looks. More looks than anyone else on the team.
And it's not like he's lost his ability to get open -- he torched Josh Norman in Week 3 for six catches and 107 yards when the shutdown cornerback was covering him.
As for that zero touchdowns thing? Beckham is not being ignored in the red zone. He has four targets in the red area, tied for the most on the team with Victor Cruz. It doesn't seem like a huge number but the league leaders in receiver red zone targets have eight. It just so happens to be that rookie Sterling Shepard has scored on 100 percent of his two red zone targets, therefore, he has more fantasy points than his teammate.
As the good folks over at RotoGrinders.com put it in a recent news blurb on Beckham, this may be a case where the squeaky wheel (Beckham in this case) gets the grease. We've seen this type of situation in years past with Brandon Marshall in Chicago, and even this season with Demaryius Thomas in Denver. We could be looking at a massive overcorrection in the Giants upcoming game against the Packers, and if OBJ ends up going off, fantasy owners will have missed their window to buy Beckham on the low during his slump.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
This point in the season last year was right about when those who had drafted Lamar Miller shipped him away because of his slow start and a looming Week 5 bye. But in Weeks 6 through 10, Miller was fantasy's highest-scoring running back and averaged 20.8 fantasy points per game during that span. He put up fantasy point totals of 17.8, 35.6, 9.4, 26.1 and 15.3 in five consecutive games. Of course that was last year, and he was in an entirely different situation in Miami, but I mention it to show how instantaneously a player can turn things around if everything lines up.
Things may finally be lining up for Miller.
Through four games, Miller ranks as fantasy's RB20 in standard scoring. That ranking is impressive considering it's based on his yardage totals alone since he has yet to find the end zone. His lack of touchdown scoring can be somewhat attributed to the Texans' infrequent red zone opportunities as the team ranks 27th in the NFL with just 22 total plays run in the red area. Of the eight red zone plays that have been rush attempts, Miller has received all of them.
Miller is second in the league in rush attempts with 93 and ranks first in the NFL in third-down rush attempts with 11. The Texans running back has no fewer than 22 touches in a game yet and has collected no fewer than 97 scrimmage yards in each game so far, but his lack of touchdowns is what makes him a solid buy-low candidate.
Following a Week 5 tilt against the Vikings, Miller's schedule really opens up. He'll face Indianapolis, Detroit, Jacksonville, Oakland and San Diego in five of Houston's next six games. All of those are favorable on-paper match ups and further support the argument to trade for Miller before he blows up.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Rookie wideout Michael Thomas drew rave reviews in training camp this summer leading to some over-hyping on draft day. It's taken a few weeks, but things are starting to look promising for Thomas as a fantasy asset in his first pro season. With the Saints on a bye in Week 5, now is the time to start poking around and making offers for the talented receiver.
Thomas is averaging a 76 percent share of offensive snaps, second among Saints' wideouts to only Brandin Cooks. That means he is on the field often which as you might have inferred, leads to more opportunities for fantasy points. And in Week 4, Thomas saw more snaps than any other wideout on the team.
He's collected just one fewer target (31) than Brandin Cooks (32) and while Thomas ranks third in terms of fantasy points among Saints' receivers, the 4.3 points separating him from Cooks is not significant. What's more, Thomas is the only Saints' receiver that has logged double-digit targets in a single game this year and to ice the cake, he leads the team in red zone targets too.
With the Saints' poor defensive play from 2015 carrying over into the start of this season (NO is allowing a league-worst 32.5 points per game) it makes sense that Drew Brees is passing more than any other team except for the Buccaneers. That's great news for a guy like Thomas and his fantasy value going forward. The playing time is there, the opportunities are there, and Brees trusts the rookie in the red zone (he has scored red zone TDs in each of his last two games). Thomas is trending up as the most reliable option for fantasy owners on an offense that's averaging nearly 30 points per game.
PLAYERS TO TRADE AWAY
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
Matt Forte came out of the gate running wild this season, with three touchdowns and 264 total yards in his first two games. But in his next two games, which were both somewhat disastrous for the Jets, Forte collected a combined 107 total yards. He now has not scored in three of four games and has seen his snap count take a significant dip from a 78 percent average share the first two weeks, to a 54 percent average share the following two weeks.
His production has suffered because of the decline in snap share too, with his scrimmage yards declining each week and his average touches per game dropping from 29.5 for the first two weeks down to 16.5 in the next two.
Bilal Powell's playing time has increased, and he has out-produced Forte on fewer touches each of the last two games. The Jets offense is not the same without Eric Decker out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Of course, the fact that the Jets have committed 11 giveaways (including nine interceptions) the last two games doesn't help Forte or any other fantasy asset from the Jets offense.
With games upcoming against Arizona, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New England in four of the Jets next seven games, Forte would be an ideal trade piece before things get even worse. Maybe wait to see if he can have a decent outing against Pittsburgh on Sunday before putting Forte on the block, but consider yourself warned.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Heading into the Saints Week 5 bye, Mark Ingram was just starting to heat up for his fantasy owners. He's scored in two consecutive games and his snap count has been on a steady increase since Week 1. He's also seeing more work as a pass-catcher with a combined 13 targets in his last two games after seeing just six total in the first two. So why trade Ingram away? Two main reasons really. First, John Kuhn. In Week 4, Kuhn had three touchdowns, all of which came from inside the 5-yard line. This is not a good development for Ingram's fantasy ceiling going forward.
The second reason to move Ingram, is because his upcoming schedule is extremely unfavorable. The Saints face Carolina, Seattle, Denver, Carolina (yes, again) and Los Angeles in five of their next seven games. That's five. Match ups where you're really going to have to think about whether or not you want to start Ingram, and with bye weeks making options slimmer, you might not have any other options.
When you combine Kuhn's increased role as the go-to guy in short-yardage and goal-line situations with the Saints upcoming schedule you can see why there is no better time than now to move Ingram.