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The aftermath of Week 1 is the perfect time for fantasy football managers to strike on the trade market.
While some might focus on the waiver wire, Week 1 is ripe for major overreactions. The first slew of results are in, and teams and players either did or didn’t match expectations, which might lead to a flurry of trade activity.
Savvy managers can pounce on the chance. Overreactions are especially likely this year since NFL players didn’t have the benefit of preseason games. That running back off to a slow start or wideout who didn’t see a ton of targets might need a week or two before flourishing as a week-to-week powerhouse.
These players can only go up from here and should be buy-low trade targets for managers with season-long outcomes in mind.
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Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the biggest names in football, but it might not be shocking to find a fantasy manager or two who is already willing to cough him up.
The No. 1 wideout for the Cleveland Browns had a down year a season ago, recording just 1,035 yards and four scores on 133 targets. He opened 2020 with only three catches for 22 yards, good for a paltry 5.2 points in point-per-reception leagues.
While some managers might be tired of the ordeal, given that his average draft position (ADP) saw Beckham nearly fall out of the third round, it’s important to remember he led all Browns players with 10 targets.
There are serious questions about Baker Mayfield under center, but Beckham’s poor game in Week 1 against Baltimore isn’t the end of the world. Buyers on the trade block will have to hope the offense shifts to help the two form easier connections, bumping Beckham back into WR1 territory.
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Gary McCullough/Associated Press
Managers who roster Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. might be ready to jump ship after helping push his ADP up to 5.01.
Chark only caught three passes in Week 1 even though Gardner Minshew II posted a 19-of-20 line with three touchdowns on a team perceived to be tanking. He did score, so the needle moved to 11.5 points in total, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if someone was trying to offload him now.
Managers who are trying to buy low should pounce.
Remember, Chark had three targets on a day his quarterback only attempted 20 passes. And he led all Jaguars in target share when Minshew was on the field last season.
There’s big upside in investing in a guy who had 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns last year and should see plenty of targets for a team that figures to be playing from behind plenty in 2020.
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Darren Waller might be an interesting option who managers could swipe from other teams via trade after Week 1.
Surface-level details point to a ho-hum outing for the Las Vegas Raiders’ top tight end, who finished behind running back Josh Jacobs and first-round pick Henry Ruggs III in yardage during his team’s 34-30 win over Carolina.
Waller caught six of his eight targets, posting 45 yards, averaging 7.5 per catch and finishing with 10.5 points. It was quite different than what those who drafted him might’ve come to expect after he averaged 12.7 yards per catch last year over 117 targets.
But context matters. Waller led the team in targets on a day where Derek Carr only attempted 30 passes. Considering the Raiders entered the fourth quarter up 27-15, the team wasn’t in a passing mood. That should be different more often than not, especially in a tough AFC West.
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Expectations weren’t massive for Philip Rivers entering the 2020 season as he changed teams for the first time in his lengthy career after a regression last season.
Rivers’ debut with the Indianapolis Colts after managers tabbed him with an ADP of 13.10 was a bit of a flop as he tallied 14.82 points, throwing for 363 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
While the numbers and turnovers aren’t encouraging, he should be available for cheap and boasts big upside. If that’s as bad as it gets as he starts out with a new team, he could be a high-upside acquisition. Rivers still went for 350-plus and has arguably never enjoyed this much time in a clean pocket behind an elite offensive line.
If nothing else, a shaky secondary that just allowed a near-perfect game to a Jacksonville quarterback should mean Rivers has to gun the ball early and often each week.
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On paper, the big debut for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow wasn’t a powerhouse fantasy showing.
The No. 1 pick this year put up just 16.32 points while attempting 36 passes and tossed an interception in a loss. From that angle, managers might be willing to cough up a rookie passer with an ADP of 11.10.
But there are hints of fantasy upside for managers who look closer. Burrow got better as the game went on, culminating in an impressive march down the field with roughly three minutes left. He’s allowed to do what he wants at the line of scrimmage with his deep cast of weapons, and he rushed eight times for 46 yards and a score, so he may have Josh Allen-type potential.
Considering the state of the rebuild in Cincinnati, Burrow could be throwing and running a ton each week, which hints at immense upside in the right matchups.
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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
The combination of a shaky loss and the fact that Jonathan Taylor finished third on the Colts in rushing in Week 1 might have managers willing to offload the rookie in favor of someone more consistent.
That’s the perfect buy-low opportunity, of course.
Taylor indeed finished with just nine carries for 22 yards while Marlon Mack got four carries and seven went to Nyheim Hines. But he salvaged the fantasy day with six catches for 67 yards, landing on 14.9 points.
Two things are working in Taylor’s favor: He put to bed any questions about his ability to catch the ball, and Mack is now on injured reserve after suffering an Achilles injury.
The Colts won’t stop giving Hines and Jordan Wilkins work, which limits Taylor’s production for now, but this might be the only chance to acquire him at his lowest asking price before his upside forces the team to make him an every-down workhorse.
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Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Again, the Week 1 aftermath looks like the perfect time to buy-in on some rookie backs.
Think Cam Akers of the Los Angeles Rams, a guy who “started” but saw third-down work and red-zone touches go to Malcolm Brown.
While Brown popped off for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries along with three catches, Akers had just 39 yards on 14 carries with a single catch.
Still, Akers played 24 snaps to Brown’s 44 and had 15 touches. Game flow seemed to dictate some of it as Brown got goal-line work on his scores. A slow start for a rookie isn’t a signal he’ll be irrelevant in Week 2 and beyond, and it’s clear from the number of touches that the coaching staff will keep trying to get him going.
When he does, Akers could make the rest of the depth chart in Los Angeles an afterthought.
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Fantasy managers were cautious with Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery in their drafts, hence the 6.01 ADP despite his 889 yards, six rushing touchdowns and 25 catches as a rookie last season.
Montgomery gave skeptics some ammunition in Week 1, registering just 8.4 points as he turned 13 carries into 64 yards and caught one pass. Tarik Cohen absorbed seven rushing opportunities, and Cordarrelle Patterson took four more.
While that is a shaky start, the sophomore back was questionable to play with a groin injury, and the second-half game flow with his team down 23-6 entering the fourth quarter didn’t help matters.
Chicago won’t phase Cohen out of the attack, but Montgomery’s price might never get lower via trade if he gets healthier, and the workhorse potential seems clear.