Welcome back to Talkin’ Trades, a weekly column that will highlight players to target today before their prices change tomorrow.
Zane Gonzalez had another meltdown against the Saints to cost the Browns a second victory in as many weeks1. Daniel Carlson missed two field goals in overtime to cost the Vikings a W and deliver the second tie game of the season2. But going slightly under the radar here is that Chris Boswell — after missing an OT field goal against the Browns — missed another field goal and extra point that would’ve given the Steelers a chance to make a two-point conversion to tie the game in their comeback against the Chiefs. When Le’Veon Bell signs his tender, he’s in danger of being traded for a kicker.
My personal theory is that a The Ring situation is afflicting the NFL. We can surmise that Chris Boswell sent a cursed videotape to Daniel Carlson sometime during the seven days following his meltdown, while Zane Gonzalez failed to heed the videotape’s unholy message. Some say the infernal tape is hidden footage of Jerry Jones firing Dan Bailey, and the curse will be lifted now that Bailey has reaped Carlson’s soul for the Vikings job. Others say it’s a trick shot clip of Younghoe Koo backflip-kicking a signed Robert Aguayo ball, and the curse will never die. Three more days.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best buys and sells at each position.
RUSSELL WILSON – Everyone watched the extremely boring Monday Night game against Chicago, and the ineptitude from both offenses has some Mitchell Trubisky and Wilson owners thinking the sky is falling. The fact that Wilson only has ten more rushing yards than Tom Brady is a little bit concerning. However he also has the same passing yards and TDs as Brady. Relax. People who don’t watch Seattle games much are fretting, but this is always how Wilson and the Seahawks score points–desperately in the 4th quarter after abandoning Pete Carroll’s game plan. Last year, Seattle’s touchdowns by quarter were 4, 4, 7, 19. This is how the Russell Wilson QB1 sausage is made.
KIRK COUSINS – This is an unusual case where you want to sell Cousins right before a great match-up rather than right after. The Vikings play Buffalo this week, followed by away games at the Rams and Eagles. Buffalo is so plainly a good match-up and the Rams so plainly a bad one, that you have a better chance at netting yourself a nice player in return if you sell the Buffalo game. Cousins is also coming off a great, albeit lucky performance against Green Bay, in which his game-ending interception was nullified by a questionable penalty on Clay Matthews, allowing him to tack on another dozen fantasy points on the final drive and in overtime.
JAMES CONNER – The Conner owner has a good chance to be 2-0 right now, and is gazing ahead toward the playoffs. If you are 0-2, but have a hot commodity at another position like Keelan Cole or Josh Gordon, you can pull the trigger for excellent short-term production for an owner that expects Conner to be a zero come playoff time.
TEVIN COLEMAN – Coleman topped 100 yards with Devonta Freeman on the shelf, but didn’t find the end zone and ceded nearly a third of the work to the rookie Ito Smith. With Coleman’s ceiling maybe not looking quite so high, and Freeman expected back at some point, he’s a great target for teams needing short term RB production. He can probably be had for solid receivers like Allen Robinson, Quincy Enunwa, or Corey Davis, that could be on the benches of deep zero-RB teams.
GIOVANI BERNARD – This one isn’t exactly brain science, but I’m including Bernard here mainly to highlight that he is the easiest target for short-term RB production while Joe Mixon is out with his knee injury. Most drafters selected Bernard in the double-digit rounds and aren’t counting on him for starter production. Everyone loves to upgrade their starters for the cost of a backup. If the Bernard owner is struggling at TE, you might even get him for a player like Jared Cook (or in a dream scenario Jesse James or Will Dissly).
DAVID JOHNSON – This is really to say that if you have Johnson, please hold him. And as the Johnson owner in the Scott Fish Bowl, please hold me as well. These are trying times. The fear is full-blown right now, and it’s a rare opportunity to acquire one of the premiere three-down receiving backs in the league. Johnson is still on pace for 88 targets3. The Cardinals offense is scary right now, but a QB change, or a new OC, or both could turn things around quickly. And more significantly, don’t overreact to a bad game against what Sean McVay called the most complete defensive performance he’s seen from maybe the best defense in the NFL. If you are lucky enough to have a couple of the hot starters like James Conner, Chris Thompson, Phillip Lindsay, Carlos Hyde, or Austin Ekeler, I’d package them if the Johnson owner is panicking.
KAREEM HUNT – Same as above. The lack of receiving work so far for Hunt is worrisome, but I’ll take that discount on the RB that is dominating the work on what is currently the most explosive offense in the league. If you can package a couple fast starters to a nervous Hunt owner, I’m taking that gamble.
CARLOS HYDE – The volume has been there for Hyde, but the efficiency and targets haven’t been. Despite being a competent kicker away from 2-0, the Browns are nevertheless still winless, and could trend towards a more even committee with Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson as the season continues. Hyde has two touchdowns in two weeks — I’d like to see what that might net me in a trade before the TD streak ends.
MARQUISE GOODWIN – The excitement about the Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense has died down after two lackluster performances, and Goodwin is becoming a little bit of a forgotten man. But his quad injury doesn’t seem to be that serious, and he’s back at practice this week. I’d love to add him ahead of this week’s game against the Chiefs, who have already given up 65 points this season.
COREY DAVIS – Davis has drawn a spiffy one-third share of Titans targets so far, but the naysayers are already spinning it as a negative by saying the inefficiency we saw from Davis as a rookie is back. Well, we knew that the Titans had a difficult opening schedule, but we didn’t know that Blaine Gabbert would be tossing most of the passes. The buy window may open even wider with upcoming games against Jacksonville and Philadelphia, but I’m putting out feelers with the hope of adding Davis before the Buffalo game in Week 5.
KEELAN COLE – Cole did his best Odell Beckham Jr. impression this week against the Patriots. And he was already a hot name in the DFS world as an underpriced WR1 to open the season. He’s now one of the most exciting young receivers in the league, but there are volume concerns for a Jacksonville team that has shown a tendency to be more conservative when Leonard Fournette is healthy. After getting ripped by Doug Pederson for playing too conservatively against the Patriots in the AFC Championship, the Jags kept the pedal to the metal in this one, but I’m expecting less pass-heavy game plans going forward.
RICKY SEALS-JONES – The price should be very low on Seals-Jones, but I’m attracted to the Cardinals’ iffy depth at the receiver position combined with his extremely high usage (he leads the team in routes run). That’s the kind of scenario that leads to TEs jumping up the rankings, even in questionable offenses (see Evan Engram last year). Larry Fitzgerald is already dinged up with a hamstring issue, and the Josh Rosen era could turn things around quickly.
JESSE JAMES – James is the #2 overall TE right now, but despite his massive game against the Chiefs, he’s basically splitting snaps evenly with Vance McDonald, which has been the worry about James all summer. This isn’t to say that James won’t have more good games or even outplay McDonald, but based on their usage the regression could be swift.
For further questions and discussion, please check out the Talkin’ Trades thread in the RotoViz Forum.