There are many players each offseason that are under or overvalued based on many factors whether it be playing time concerns, injury risk, or projected changes in touches. Many players completely change course in whether they are trending up and down in fantasy circles. Some players that come to mind for me from this time last year were when Odell Beckham Jr. and Juju Smith-Schuster were being considered by most as the dynasty WR1 and WR2 respectively by many experts and analysts. Now both are being extremely undervalued as managers try to get the bad taste from last year off their team. The guys who I outline below are ones who I think you should either trade away as they are at their peak value, or players who you should try to trade for as they will outperform players who will be taken around them in startups.
*Note: For reference picks are based on a 12 team league format.
Players to Target
As you can probably tell from my starting paragraph, I think Odell Beckham is undervalued now and part of the reason for that is that I think Baker Mayfield is going to break out this year. People forget that around this time last year, people were talking about Baker in dynasty circles like Kyler Murray is being talked about now. Baker had a very disappointing season last year and many are treating him like he’s already a bust and some won’t touch him at all. Personally I think that many of the Browns’ struggles last year can be directly attributed to Freddie Kitchens and that newly hired Kevin Stefanski will fix most of their offensive problems. Stefanski loved to run the ball as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota last season but I think Baker will be able to look more like 2018 self than his 2019 self as crazy as that sounds. Baker can be got for an early-mid second rounder in 1QB and for a mid 2020 and late 2021 1st in superflex/2QB (according to multiple trade calculators) which is a huge value for a potential breakout QB.
Tyler Lockett is criminally underrated in PPR in dynasty as when people think of Seahawks receivers, everyone thinks of DK Metcalf who is already a top 15 dynasty wide receiver after his rookie season. People forget about the guy who has been WR16 in 2018 and WR13 in 2019 in PPR scoring. There are two players who were in the top two of all of most targets, receptions, TDs and yards inside the red zone in 2019. One of them is Michael Thomas, who had 22 targets, 16 receptions, 145 yards and 8 touchdowns inside the 20 this season, the other one, Lockett had 23 targets, 17 receptions, 7 touchdowns and 144 yards inside the 20. Metcalf had 5 receptions on 17 targets for 47 yards, Lockett is the alpha inside the 20 for Seattle. The reason why I think his redzone production is sustainable is because Russell Wilson led the league in red zone passing yards and TDs and was second in attempts behind Tom Brady. Now, Lockett hasn’t always been a big red zone threat and his 5’10, 182 lbs build doesn’t scream it either and if you look a little farther back he had only six targets inside the 20 in 2018, but if you also look farther back at Wilson’s stats you’ll see that he had 27 more passing attempts in the 20, in 2019 showing a change in approach for the Seahawks. Lockett isn’t young by any standards as he’ll be 28 when 2020 kicks off the season but if you’re a contender and can pick up the guy led the league in red zone targets, receptions and was one yard and one touchdown off from the league leader for just a late 1st round pick, you do it every time.
Trading for Brandin Cooks in dynasty is a huge risk. He has immense talent that’s already been shown by him having great seasons for three different teams and is about to join his fourth. The problem with him though, is that he can’t seem to stay healthy and has had a series of concussions. Because of the concussion worries though, Cooks is dirt cheap right now and many owners are trying to get rid of him. My reason for going after him in my leagues right now is vacated targets in that Houston offense. Bill O’Brian clearly thinks of Cooks as a true number one receiver who demands the ball based on the price he paid for him in comparison to what he got for DeAndre Hopkins. Last season Hopkins had 150 targets in 15 games. Those targets are going to have to go to someone. The Texans had 534 passing attempts in 2019, if we assume that around 80 targets go to each of Will Fuller, Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills, and that another 150 go to running backs and tight ends, there’s around 145 targets left between Cooks and other depth receivers. I think it’s a safe bet that if healthy Cooks will get around 120 targets and be a WR2. In a rebuild I definitely wouldn’t target him but I think he’s a great piece for contenders.
Matt Breida / Jordan Howard
Matt Breida and Jordan Howard are two talented backs who should each see significant carries this year and are extremely cheap. When the Dolphins signed Howard in free agency many were projecting them to draft a running back in the first two rounds and have Howard as the backup / goal line back who would take some carries off the rookie as the Dolphins are not competing this year. Instead they traded a 5th rounder to the 49ers for Breida, and didn’t draft any running backs. Howard should be the workhorse and redzone back and I think he’ll be one of the safest starts in 2020 with a high floor. I think Breida will be more of the boom or bust type player as the third down pass catching back, but he should be productive in PPR leagues. Now, because they are on the Dolphins and neither one of them is a stud they are being completely undervalued as short-term RB pieces who will be very flippable for rebuilding teams once the season starts and good depth for contenders. In one of my leagues last week Howard got traded for a 2021 3rd round pick. I couldn’t believe it. So then I checked out a few trade calculators to make sure I wasn’t completely crazy and they thought that the Howard side of the trade won by 300%. But then in another league where I’m weak at RB I decided just to check the waters on Breida. I got offered Breida and the 2.05 for the 2.01 (16 team league). Smash accept. At the price these guys are at some of the best values you will get.
Players to Trade Away
Miami Dolphins Receivers
Every season there’s one or two guys wide receivers who are usually young late round or undrafted guys who show out each year and become wide receiver sleepers for the next season. These guys mostly are on tanking teams who are okay with throwing out their wide receiver spots to guys who would be on most teams practice squads. Usually the teams with these types of players get top draft picks and use them on a QB. Three years ago those guys were Corey Coleman and Ricardo Louis the Browns WR1 and WR2. Two years ago it was Robert Foster and Antonio Callaway, who was great at the end of the season for Bills in 2018. What happens to these guys is the front office starts to find weapons for their new, young QB who replace the incumbents and reduce their role to depth players. The Browns traded for Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. who wiped the Rishard Higgins and Ricardo Louis types into irrelevance. The Bills signed John Brown and Cole Beasley after trying to trade for Antonio Brown which all but destroyed Robert Foster and even then traded for Stefon Diggs who will now kill the tiny bit Duke Williams hype that was emerging for a period during the season. All I’m saying is that both Williams and Parker have great chemistry with Fitzpatrick, especially Parker and if the Dolphins decide that Tua needs some help I don’t think they’d cry about having to let either of them go. Parker is probably a much safer bet than Williams to end up as the WR2 or WR3 in the long term for the Dolphins as he truly had a great season in a suboptimal situation and has the first round draft capital, but then again Corey Coleman had a much similar situation and ended up being traded for a 2020 7th round pick (in 2018) and then cut.
Austin Hooper was a fantasy star for the most part of last year, finishing as the number three TE in points per game after George Kittle and Travis Kelce in PPR. Hooper signing with the Browns has his stock down a bit as there’s more supposed weapons in Cleveland than Atlanta, but are Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Devonta Freeman really that much worse than Jarvis Landry, OBJ and Nick Chubb? The area where Hooper should lose his value from, and it should be steep is inside the 20. The Falcons fed him the ball in the red zone giving him 18 targets inside the 20, and all six of his touchdowns were from inside the 20. The Falcons threw 90 passes in the red zone this year, the Browns threw 74. Falcons running backs had 20 rushes inside the 10 yard line this season, Browns running backs had 37. All of Hooper’s six touchdowns in 2019 were inside the 20, and five of the six were inside the 10. With the rushing game plan inside the red zone the Browns will likely attempt this year I think Hooper hasn’t hit his low yet. Trade him before it’s too late.
Derrick Henry is an interesting study in fantasy. He was the #5 RB on the season in PPR in 2019 with only 25 receptions. Henry was the Titans MVP during their run to the AFC Championship yet the Titans haven’t committed to him for the long run. Given the chance to extend Henry this offseason the Titans decided to extend Ryan Tannehill who didn’t do much other than hand the ball off to Henry in 2019. Henry is the true definition of a power back, one who just runs through the defense and breaks multiple tackles on long runs. But for fantasy a running back who can catch the ball is so valuable. In fantasy I will not want to have to hope Henry can have a superman-like run like he did in the second half of last season and then be handed his first half of the season when the Titans go down early in the first half and have to throw the ball. People are overvaluing Henry in fantasy based on his real-life skill and his performance in the AFC Playoffs, and that’s why he’s a player to trade for me. He is at his all time high in trade value and I don’t think a 27 year old running back (Henry will be 27 before free agency starts next year) will have the same value during the offseason next year.
Aaron Jones is a player to trade for me based on two main things. The first is that AJ Dillon was drafted in the second round by the Packers when they had much more pressing short-term needs for this season, they chose to draft someone at an easily replaceable position where they already have a good player. Packers GM Brian Gutenkeist had a questionable draft but I don’t think he’d use a second round pick on a guy he has no plans in using and I think Dillon will have some goal line work this year. If Dillon were to even vulture away 4 touchdowns from Aaron Jones it’d be a massive hit in his value that would have taken him from RB2 to RB6 last year on the season and from RB3 to RB7 points per game. The second reason why I’m trading Jones is because Jones will be 26 when he enters free agency after next season, and if Dillon impresses then the Packers might not feel the need to resign him and leave him for the highest bidder. Coach Matt LeFleur has always said that he likes to have a committee of backs and after his high usage last season I think he will take a step back fantasy wise in 2021. My advice for Jones owners is to hold onto him until the first few week of the season and wait for when he has a big game and pull the trigger immediately as right now many are also worried about Dillon and his value is extremely low right now. But there’s a risk in keeping him and I would rid him from my team for any good offer that I get.