Trader's Alley: Week 4 Buy Low, Sell High, and Hold
Welcome to the Week 4 edition of Trader’s Alley. We’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the fantasy season, and we finally have a decent enough sample size to begin making some assumptions about players, and their roles within their offenses. For some players, their situations seem much more fruitful from a fantasy perspective than we expected a few short weeks ago, and for others, it’s already clear that it’s time to move on, and accept a deal at the player’s current value.
Below is my Buy Low, Sell High, and Hold recommendations heading into Week 4. In addition to this article, don’t forget to use the 4for4 Trade Evaluator to try and mine even more value out of your moves. And remember, these recommendations are just the beginning of your fantasy trade considerations. Every league and every team is different. These are just some of the players who I’m interested in this week.
Trade for Odell Beckham
With Jarvis Landry out for the foreseeable future, even the run-oriented Browns are desperate for a playmaker on the outside, and Odell Beckham seemed up for the task in his first game back from an ACL tear. Beckham stated after the game that his shoulder “popped out and popped back in,” which limited his playing time, but he logged an encouraging 68% snap share, and more importantly, an 85% route participation rate, indicating Cleveland was simply holding him out of run plays. Best of all, Beckham ranked first on the team with nine targets on Baker Mayfield’s 31 passes against the Bears, resulting in an extremely encouraging 26% targets per route run.
The veteran's production didn’t match his sky-high usage, especially for the Cleveland offense’s standards. Beckham may not be the same player he was early in his career, but he has a history of monster performances and looks like he’ll be fed like a number-one receiver. Make a deal for Beckham before the blow-up game happens and ride OBJ on the backs of Cleveland’s relatively light rest-of-season schedule, where the toughest remaining defenses (particularly Pittsburgh and Baltimore) have disappointed relatively preseason expectations.
Trade Saquon Barkley
Barkley, the greatest running back prospect in a decade, is in the process of having his rookie contract completely squandered by an inept New York Giants front office and coaching staff that seems determined to play inefficient, uninspired football. And now the Giants are dealing with multiple injuries at receiver, which at first might seem like a positive for Barkley’s prospects in the near future simply based on easily projectable volume, but without the ability to move the ball, which the Giants proved they were unable to do against Atlanta in Week 3, Barkley will need to be incredibly efficiency on a per-touch basis in order to remain consistently productive in fantasy football.
Barkley bailed out fantasy gamers with a touchdown in Week 3, but his underlying usage numbers are fairly alarming. Barkley ranks outside the top-35 skill position players in expected fantasy points per game, and is currently averaging over four PPR points below expectation. Without a solid backbone of either elite workload or an efficient offense, Barkley becomes a player who will receive decently high usage from week-to-week, but of mostly low-value touches. Trade Barkley for a haul if someone sees an easy pass to a turnaround. While it’s certainly possible for a talent like Barkley, it’s far from a sure thing, at least for 2021.
Trade Antonio Gibson
Gibson is one of the most physically gifted players at his position, and flashed his brilliance with a fantastic 70-plus yard touchdown catch-and-run in Week 3. But the increase in volume that many hyped up in the preseason, particularly in the passing game, has yet to play out on the field. Gibson ranks 20th among all running backs in expected fantasy points per game, and ranks even lower than that in PFF’s expected receptions metric. Teammate J.D. McKissic continues to take away snaps and valuable receiving work, having earned a total of eight targets, tied for 26th in the NFL. Gibson is a highly skilled back, and based on his 2020 efficiency metrics, is absolutely still a buy in any kind of dynasty or keeper format, but with the Washington Football Team struggling offensively, and too much certainty regarding his week-to-week usage, it’s time to unload Gibson to a league-mate who values him close to his preseason ADP. Gibson will have the occasional RB1 performance, but without a floor of built-in receiving work, his down-weeks are going to sting.
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