Trader's Alley: Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High, and Hold
Welcome to the Week 5 edition of Trader’s Alley for the 2021 fantasy football season. With four games in the books for each team, we’re finally getting a sense of each squad’s offensive identity this season. With the help of nearly a quarter of a season of player data, and updated schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) via the Hot Spots app, we can start to see which teams have easy or tough paths in the weeks to come, and with that, which players should be targeted as buy or sell candidates.
Below is my Buy Low, Sell High, and Hold recommendations heading into Week 5. 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.
Hold Dalvin Cook
It’s never fun when your first-round pick misses time due to injury, but it’s doubly maddening when the uncertainty regarding the player’s availability hamstrings your ability to plan ahead as a fantasy manager, and that’s exactly what’s occurred thus far for those who’ve rostered Dalvin Cook, who missed Week 3 with a sprained ankle, then briefly left Week 4 after apparently re-aggravating that same injury. But even so, Cook continues to see elite usage when available, ranking fifth in the NFL in average opportunities per game, and that number would likely be even higher had he not missed time in Weeks 2 and 4 nursing his leg. Most importantly, he’s one of just 13 running backs with multiple games of 100-plus total yards, and only eight skill position players are currently averaging more total yards per game.
Assuming he continues to get healthier, the ceiling games are absolutely on the way for Cook. Stay the course, and enjoy the RB1 performances in the weeks to come. In Week 5, the Vikings face the Lions, who currently rank dead-last in points allowed per play, and rank fourth-best for opposing offenses in aFPA.
Trade for Kyle Pitts
Like most of the Falcons players not named Cordarrelle Patterson, Pitts continues to infuriate in the production category, despite becoming an every-down player in Atlanta within just four weeks. Pitts continues to see an elite level of slot snaps for a tight end, ranking fourth in total slot snaps, and he ranks third in total routes run. He also ranks top-three at his position in air yards red-zone targets, but somehow he’s yet to score more than 12.3 PPR fantasy points. But consistent opportunity is a rarity below the elite tight ends, and Pitts has that going for him in spades. His nine targets last week was the third time in four contests he’s seen six-plus targets, and more importantly, the Falcons’ offense proved in Week 4 that it was actually capable of producing numbers closer to what we expected before the season began. If that’s the case, Pitts will absolutely score more in the weeks ahead. The Falcons only play four above-average defenses in total aFPA the rest of the season.
Trade DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins is a spectacular player, and this is far from a condemnation of him, but within the context of the Arizona offense, which has looked spectacular with early MVP-frontrunner Kyler Murray at the helm, Hopkins lacks the week-to-week opportunity we’ve grown accustomed to seeing for Hopkins in season’s past, particularly during his time in Houston. The Cardinals’ offense has been significantly more spread-out compared to last season, and the results have been nothing short of excellent, as the team currently ranks second in the NFL in yards per pass attempt and points scored per play. Hopkins’ seven targets in Week 4 was the most he’s seen since Week 1. From Weeks 10 through 17 last season, Hopkins saw eight or more targets in every game except one.
To his credit, Hopkins has been efficient on his more limited opportunity, ranking top-20 at his position in fantasy points scored over expected (via PFF), indicating he’s still the same caliber of talent, but in fantasy football, where volume is king, Hopkins simply isn’t being utilized as an elite option. With a strong name-brand, you’ll almost certainly be able to find a trade partner who’s willing to take a chance on Hopkins, especially with how well the Cardinals have looked to begin the year. You can likely still get a haul of players for him, and that may not be the case if he continues to underwhelm.
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