Talkin’ Trades Week 6: The Last of the Zero RB-cans

Welcome back to Talkin’ Trades, a weekly column that will highlight players to target today before their prices change tomorrow.

It’s been a big week for white people’s feelings, and never is that more true than when an awful white quarterback plays awfully and the highest paid wide receiver in the league doesn’t accept it with the Buddha’s calm.

On the one hand, doesn’t this mean Adam Thielen is one-tenth the receiver that Odell Beckham is? On the other hand, probably test the waters for your Thielen shares if you happen to have some white folks in your league. Starting bid is ten future 1sts.

Let’s take a look at some of the best buys and sells at each position.

QUARTERBACK

BUY

C.J. BEATHARD – San Francisco’s QBs became easy targets last year after the team started 0-9 before Jimmy Garoppolo rescued them down the stretch. But we may be seeing a bit of a Jared Goff situation with Beathard. Brian Hoyer was of course the starter going into 2017, and Beathard was thrown into the fire mid-season, facing many of the top defenses in the league, including Philadelphia1, Arizona2, Seattle3, and Washington4. This year, despite a problem with turnovers, he’s averaging over 300 yards and two TDs in his two starts. And across his seven career starts, he’s quietly on a 16-game pace of 340 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs. In superflex leagues, you can target Beathard as a cheap option at perhaps punchline prices. Don’t be afraid of the player George Kittle says has a “severe dadbod” but more grit than anyone he knows.

SELL

DEREK CARR – Aside from the fact that Carr has more picks than touchdowns, what terrifies me about Carr is that he is somehow ranked 39th in rushing yards among QBs this season. To be fair, he has three kneel downs for -3 yards, but even tossing those out Carr has totaled 8 yards on the ground. You can’t exactly sell high on Carr, but some people have heard the word “gunslinger” associated with his name enough that they believe it. Maybe you can move on while his four TD, 32-point game against the Browns is not yet a distant memory.

RUNNING BACK

BUY

THEO RIDDICK – The Lions have lucked into two extremely positive gamescripts (most recently a free TD from the refs, and Mason Crosby missing five kicks) and lost their other three games. Riddick quietly has the ninth most receptions among RBs with 23 on the season. Without a TD yet, and on bye this week, this is a good moment to target Riddick as a throw-in as some teams will already be feeling the pressure to cut bait.

KAPRI BIBBS – With Chris Thompson showing up on the injury report with a knee issue in addition to his rib injury sustained in the Saints game, and Adrian Peterson recovering from a dislocated shoulder, now is a good time to target Bibbs in a shrinking pool of remaining zero RB targets. If this backfield were to turn into a committee with Bibbs and Samaje Perine, Bibbs is the better candidate to earn the valuable pass-catching role in an Alex Smith-led offense. Thompson is already seventh in RB receptions5, despite Washington only playing four games so far.

CHRIS THOMPSON – Everyone is rightly nervous about Thompson’s health, given his lengthy injury history and the hospital ball he caught in the prime time game. But despite a questionable tag, there has been no serious worry about his rib injury, and he remains on pace to catch 100 passes this year. With Peterson already battling through more severe injuries at 33 years old, Thompson’s fantasy situation may even be improving at the same time that Thompson drafters are getting nervous.

SELL

ISAIAH CROWELL – Simple sell high on the number three rusher in the league this season. Despite his monster 200-yard game, Crowell was out-carried by Bilal Powell on the ground 20 to 15. He’s probably the less valuable half of the committee, but can be sold as the more valuable half. The big games aren’t a mirage, but Crowell’s weekly floor is terrifyingly low. 

WIDE RECEIVER

BUY

MICHAEL CRABTREE – For some reason, there is a persistent narrative that the Ravens are a defensive-minded, run-oriented team. But they led the entire league in passing attempts in both 2015 and 2016. This year they are 2nd in the league in pass attempts–on pace for 742 passes. Crabtree isn’t showing up at the top of air yards lists or target share lists (only 20 percent), and combined with his inefficiency so far this year that is somewhat masking the volume of opportunity he’s getting. He’s 12th overall in targets among WRs, but seemingly nobody wants him. It’s possible the tank is empty at 31 years old, but for teams that just need a warm body at WR, Crabtree fits the bill.

2018 Week 6 - Baltimore passing game ranks

JOHN BROWN – Obviously Brown has had the eye-catching plays this year, so he is a sell candidate in the sense that if you need help at other positions, you shouldn’t have too hard a time finding buyers for the Smoke Show. But for the same reasons as above, Brown’s perceived fantasy value is probably still lagging behind reality. Brown leads the NFL in air yards, but after a relative down week against Cleveland, perhaps those nagging doubts that he’s an injury-plagued boom-bust player are creeping back. His health is always the biggest factor, but especially for struggling teams that can accept that risk, he’s a target.

DAVID MOORE – The Seahawks are 2-3 and have already lost Earl Thomas for the year. There’s a chance that Doug Baldwin gets shut down if the season really goes sideways, and if that happens there will be a big opportunity for Moore, who already has seen over fifty percent snaps the last two weeks. It’s probably better to put out feelers when he’s not coming off a two-touchdown game, but he is someone to consider stashing sooner rather than later for teams that are starting to look ahead to the playoffs.

SELL

EMMANUEL SANDERS – A somewhat fortunate distribution of big plays and running game usage has kept Sanders in double digit scoring every week so far. Double digits are an arbitrary benchmark, but I think that has the effect of giving people a false sense of security about a player’s consistency. Sanders has been a great playmaker and a sporadic target hog, but as the current WR15 I think he is a sell. The Broncos have only the 27th ranked SOS for WRs the rest of the season.

2018 Week 6 - Denver WR SOS

TIGHT END

BUY

ZACH ERTZ – This year has been a good lesson that you shouldn’t buy TEs–TEs are terrible. If you must buy a TE, buy Zach Ertz. For the past four weeks, the Eagles have had Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field at the same time on roughly half the offensive snaps, and Ertz is in the slot or out wide the majority of the time. That’s what we’re looking for, so if you need to pay at TE, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

SELL

AUSTIN HOOPER – The Steelers limited Julio Jones to ZERO yards in the first half last week. As a result, Matt Ryan gifted Hooper 12 targets, which was more than he’d seen the previous three weeks combined. With some folks elevating Hooper into “the TE1 tier”–whatever that could possibly mean–perhaps you can use Hooper as a chip to push another trade along.

For further questions and discussion, please check out the Talkin’ Trades thread in the RotoViz Forum.

  1. 2nd in DVOA  (back)
  2. 3rd in DVOA  (back)
  3. 10th in DVOA  (back)
  4. 11th in DVOA, 6th against the pass  (back)
  5. with 26  (back)