Fantasy Football 2014: Trade Bait and Prey Week 8
It’s Week 8 of the fantasy football season, and things are starting to get real. If you’re trying to maintain your strong start, make a playoff push or shock the world and come from behind to make the postseason, we’ve got the trades to help you do it.
Remember, these trades can help you in Week 8, but they are really supposed to help you for the rest of the year.
Trade Bait (Sell High)
Tom Brady: We told you last week that Brady would be back in this spot after predicting he would pick apart a weak Jets’ secondary. Well, we were right. He dropped another 22 points, giving him 20 or more points in three straight games. But that’s less a product of Brady getting his groove back, and more a product of a few suspect secondaries. Keep in mind that he scored 35 points combined in the first four weeks of the season. Also, bear in mind that he has the fourth-hardest remaining schedule among fantasy QBs. He should still be valued as a mid-to-low QB2.
Shane Vereen, New England Patriots: Vereen’s 23-point explosion is certainly going to confirm some owners’ belief that he is a borderline RB1 now that Stevan Ridley is hurt, but he’s back in this spot because that isn’t the case. Vereen ran the ball 11 times for just 43 yards. He isn’t going to get you a lot of points on the ground because he can’t run between the tackles and pick up short yardage. Instead, 19 of his points came through their air on five catches. In fact, if he doesn’t catch his two touchdowns, he’s barely over his previous season average of 5.8 points per game. He remains a RB3 despite his performance.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks: ‘Percy Harvin’s gone.’ ‘Baldwin is the WR1 in Seattle.’ ‘The Seahawks are throwing more than ever.’ There are all kinds of reasons to think that Baldwin’s performance this week could continue for the rest of the year. The only problem is that none of them are very good. The Seahawks remain a run-first team, and Baldwin’s 18-point game is more a product of the fact that the Seahawks were trailing for most of the game. This week was just the second time all year Russell Wilson threw the ball 30 times or more. Baldwin’s production will remain spotty and inconsistent despite the reasons to believe in him.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: What did ODB do in his first game as the Giants’ lead WR? Not as much as you’d think. Sure, he caught two touchdowns, but he only had four catches for 34 yards on six targets (all three of which were third among Giants pass-catchers this week). Sure, he got the red zone work this week. But last week it was Rueben Randle and two weeks before that it was Larry Donnell. If he’s catching touchdowns, he has value. But good luck trying to pick the games the Giants will try to get him the ball near the goal line.
Gavin Escobar, Dallas Cowboys: If having three touchdowns in two weeks makes Escobar seem like an attractive pickup to you, you’re in trouble. He isn’t seeing nearly the volume of targets necessary to continue his two-game streak, and should still be considered irrelevant in fantasy.
Trade Prey (Buy Low)
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: In the QB section of Trade Bait, we told you to sell high on Tom Brady. That’s because he’s owned in 99.7 percent of standard ESPN leagues and has his value at what could easily be his peak of the season. The guy you should be looking to replace him could be on waivers—it’s Palmer, whose outlook is just as good as—if not better than—Brady’s. But Palmer is only owned in 9.6 percent of leagues. He’s got much more value than people are giving him.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos: It looks like the Broncos finally found a RB that can rack up yardage and punch in scores on a consistent basis. Even when Montee Ball returns, his production hasn’t been anything close to that of Hillman’s over the past two-and-a-half games. Don’t be surprised if Hillman turns into Knowshon Moreno 2.0.
Bryce Brown, Buffalo Bills: With Fred Jackson out for up to a month and C.J. Spiller on short-term IR, Brown becomes a huge factor in one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL. His only competition for touches is now Anthony Dixon, who’s never run for more than 60 yards in a game. Brown will also replace Spiller as the speed back even when Jackson returns, meaning he has some long-term value. Brown is also bigger and faster than Spiller, meaning he has the potential to do big things under his new role.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings: McKinnon is an athletic, explosive young RB who proved that he can thrive against some of the toughest run defenses in the NFL last week. He gave the Bills all kinds of problems despite the fact that the Bills came into the game as the best fantasy defense against RBs this year. McKinnon broke 100 yards against a stingy run defense and should continue to see plenty of work in Minnesota. He’s a sneaky pickup or trade at this point.
Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals: Sanu is coming off his worst game of the year, but the opportunity was there for it to be much better. He caught only three of the nine balls thrown his way, meaning he—like every other Bengals player—just had a bad game. He’ll be back to legitimate WR2 status next week.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos: If there’s ever a time to trade for the best TE in the game, it’s now. He’s coming off his worst game of the season by far despite the Broncos putting up 42 points this week. If his owner is willing to trade him for a couple of FLEX players, this is the time to do it.