Talkin’ Trades back again. Doing a little Week Zero swing. This is a tricky time for trading in most leagues, as there’s not much to react to since our drafts, and most managers are firmly anchored to their draft day valuations. This column is about the change in player values as situations shift, so there will be much more grist for the mill after a week of games, but lets take a quick look at the situations that have had serious shakeups at the end of the summer.
Kansas City RBs scored 24 touchdowns last year, but aren’t priced like it
The Chiefs are probably the consensus front runner for touchdowns in 2019. And with the release of Carlos Hyde, there was a swell of excitement for what appeared to be a two-man backfield of Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. The LeSean McCoy signing threw a wrench in that. McCoy’s value has only risen slowly, though, and both Williams and Thompson have taken a hit. In a vacuum, these adjustments seem normal, but compare the ADP of the Chiefs backfield to the notoriously difficult to predict Patriots.
We see that Sony Michel and James White are both valued extremely highly, despite Michel’s steady knee troubles, and despite Damien Harris returning from injury and the continued presence of Rex Burkhead. Such is the confidence in the Patriots offense, and the TD upside that accompanies the uncertainty of how the pie will be shared.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs scored 20 more TDs than the Patriots last year, but people are nervous to go all-in on the backfield. If Hyde had been dumped for McCoy early in the summer, we would have seen the ADP of both Chiefs backs settle in the top 30-50 picks. In general, drafters have been slow to react to this new situation, making McCoy in particular a trade target. But every Chiefs RB is coming at an unusual discount right now for an offense that has managers rightly hyped.
Devante Parker is a bargain and you love to see it
The likelihood of Devante Parker having a future as a WR1 are slim to none, but that doesn’t mean he has no chance to succeed with undeserved volume in the NFL. Josh Doctson busted in Washington, but still got signed to be a WR3 in Minnesota. Parker is auditioning this year for a WR3 job in 2020, but he might do it with WR1-type targets this year. Think of him like a discount Tyrell Williams.
Parker’s situation has improved significantly over the past few weeks. First of all, Kenny Stills was shipped off to Houston which is a huge reduction in competition for Parker. Second, Ryan Fitzpatrick won the starting job for the time being, which is another huge boost for the receiving group. People are overthinking the crappy offensive line, and the need to dump short passes to the slot. Fitzpatrick’s negative plays are a known quantity, but in 2018 he put up the third-highest yards per attempt ever. In the history of the NFL.
Albert Wilson remains questionable for Week 1. This is an incredible opportunity for even the crappiest of WRs, and if Parker was a no-name UDFA people would be flocking to add him. But his ADP has barely moved.
We’re always looking for players whose situations have changed for the better, but the price has stayed the same or even dropped. Parker is that guy, and can probably even be added for free in some leagues, which could be useful for managers dealing with troublesome early WR situations (i.e. Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Stefon Diggs).
AB is a nuclear bomb and the fallout hasn’t hit yet
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how to play the Raiders situation in case Antonio Brown doesn’t play. The short version is that Darren Waller and Jalen Richard are the big beneficiaries relative to ADP, but this story is sucking up so much oxygen, all remaining Raiders may be unacquirable right now.
But the larger point is that Brown’s release has destabilized the values of most WRs in the league, because we simply do not know where–if anywhere–he will land. That means it is probably a time to sit tight on major WR moves that could be undermined by a Brown signing, for example adding Tyler Lockett or Dante Pettis.
The other actionable bit for deep leagues or dynasty leagues with long benches is you can try to sneak a vet onto your roster who could explode into value as the WR1 for the Raiders if they make a move. Dez Bryant. Demaryius Thomas. Hell, maybe Jordy Nelson straps the cleats on again. The upside is only medium, but solid for the last spot on your roster, which you’ll very likely churn next week anyway on the most active waiver week of the year.