Top Early Season Trade Targets (Sell High & Buy Low) Weeks 1-4 | 2018 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano September 04, 2018

Top Early Season Trade Targets (Sell High & Buy Low) Weeks 1-4 | 2018 Fantasy Football

2018 fantasy football drafts have just about wrapped up - it's time to start looking towards your in-season moves. Waiver wire pickups, trades and such. This post is breaking down my favorite trade targets, either for or away, buy-low/sell-high guys for the early part of the 2018 fantasy football season. If you want to have your question answered on Saturday's Q&A video - head to the BDGE Fantasy Football Facebook Page and submit it through there - with the #AnswerMyZamnQuestion


Jordan Howard - RB (Chicago Bears)

Jordan Howard is a buy-low guy for me. And by just skimming at his early szn schedule, you might not understand why, GB, SEA, ARZ, TB. However - GB, ARZ & TB were all very, very, very good run defenses last year, GB is on the road and so is Arizona. SEA is the mismatch here but the thing that isn't promised here for Howard is that he might not get great game script.

Week 1 - So, they start out with GB - who PFF has graded out as the #1 run defense entering 2018. They graded out as FO's #8 ranked rush defense per their DVOA and they allowed just 3.9 yards per carry to opposing backs in 2017. It's a tough matchup for Howard. The worst part about it is the obvious game script. Packers are 8 points favorites in this one - you can easily predict a lot of garbage time, which doesn't lend itself to positive game script - seems like more of a Tarik Cohen game in Week 1.

Week 2 - as I mentioned, I don't have much to say here, so Howard could do his thing.

Week 3 - Next, they're on the road at Arizona, another team that's been a good run defense for the larger part of the past decade. Arizona was FO's #1 overall ranked run defense in 2017. They ranked 3rd in YPC to opposing backs, just 3.5 YPC last year, 1-of-4 teams not to allow a run of more than 37 yards and allowed the 3rd lowest rushing 1st down % in the NFL last year. They also lost one of their best run-stopping defenders in Markus Golden to a torn ACL in Week 4 last year who will be back for 2018. He had the 4th highest run stop % in 2016 his breakout year where he had 12.5 sacks. So, a game on the road, against a stiff run d doesn't get me excited here.

Week 4 - They get TB, who you might think is an easy opponent, but their run d will also be very good, ranking 5th in the NFL per PFF entering 2018 - they add their first-round pick Vita Vea to the mix, who was one of the best run-stopping DL in this year's draft. They already have two great run-stoppers in the front 7 in Levonte David and Kwon Alexander and they went and got JPP, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen & Mitch Unrein (#8 DI run-d). They were not good last year, but they're going to be a new defensive team in 2018, so another tough matchup for Howard.

The best part is a Week 5 bye, so if the Howard owner is sick of bad games from the Bears RB, now is when you pull the trigger. After their bye, the Bears take on Miami, who will probably be the NFL's worst run-defense in the NFL. They nearly were last year, and now they lose Suh to the Rams.

Marquise Goodwin - WR (San Francisco 49ers)

Week 1 - @Vikings (Xavier Rhodes)

Week 2 - Lions (Darius Slay)

Week 3 - @Chiefs

Week 4 - @Chargers (Hayward)

Week 5 - Cardinals (Pat Pete)

Goodwin starts off with a really tough schedule here against some of the top CBs in the NFL, ones I expect to play 1-on-1 with Goodwin as he operates as the 49ers top WR. 

3-of-5 games to start the year are on the road, the only break he'll get is against the Chiefs, but that's on the road. The shitty thing about the CBs he'll face is their speed. That's his calling card, of course, his ridiculous 4.27 speed but all of these d-backs are fast as well. Not Goodwin fast, but they can hold their own. Casey Hayward is the only guy running above a 4.45 and he's arguably the best 1-on-1 technique cover corner in the NFL at this point. With Garcon lining up in the slot, I expect Goodwin to see a very heavy dose of these guys.

Goodwin's a guy I really like this year in this offense, but not to start the year. I think he definitely will be the WR1 when all is said and done, but people who draft him not like what they see from him to start the year. After the Cardinals, they play the Packers, who were horrible against the pass last year, and I know they got an exciting duo of rookie corners, who had some pick 6's against backup QBs in the preseason, but this will be an easy matchup for Goodwin. They do have to play the Rams and Cards after GB - but then they get the Raiders, Giants, Bucs & Seahawks over the next 4, I like Goodwin's chances of exploding here. Both of his playoff matchups are at home against the depleted Seahawks and the Bears who are a middle of the pack defenses for fantasy WRs.

Goodwin will probably start slow but catch fire over the 2nd half of the year - I doubt you're going to feel good starting him in any of those first 5 games outside of KC.

Carlos Hyde - RB (Cleveland Browns)

This isn't so much about the schedule as it is the situation. My problem with Hyde is just that the hype in redraft is getting too high for me. He's looked great in preseason, dominating snaps, producing, the line has looked great, obviously a much-improved team overall. However, the hype is getting too high, in my opinion. At the end of the day guys, they literally still have the lowest over/under win total in the NFL at 5.5 from Vegas. Do you know what that means - Duke Johnson will be playing a lot still. He will be the back in the game when they are trailing & in two-minute drills. So Hyde could easily be a Jordan Howard tye this year, but the obvious case is Nick Chubb being behind him, the unbelievable running back prospect out of Georgia

in which the Browns used a second-round pick on in the year's draft AFTER signing Hyde in free agency. 

This backfield is Hyde's to start the year - no doubt in my mind on that. But how long can you expect them to sit on Chubb. I'd guess Hyde is in for a 15+ touch workload for September, as long as game scripts are good. I think Chubb will get a handful of touches and start to chip away at the backfield split.

There's also, and this is less of a concern for me, but the possibility of a QB change. Now you might not think it's much of a downgrade from Tyrod to Baker, but any unexpected QB change usually isn't a positive for the offense. It also takes away from the RBs in my opinion, because having a QB like Tyrod opens the defense up much more. Now Baker is a good athlete of course, but idt defenses have to account for him in the run game as much as Tyrod, and again this is much less of a concern becuase it's totally possible that Tyrod plays the full 16, but it's also possible the Browns have a bad record 10 games into the season, and they want their young guys, like Baker and Chubb, to see the field in a large volume, so, just something else to consider here.

So what I think would be a good idea is to look for some of these rookie running backs, not Chubb, but we see it a lot, younger running backs coming on midway through the year. They have to fight their way into the starting lineup, then get to showcase their talent - and I can think of two that I think would be money swaps and obviously this will play itself out and I can't predict the future - but I'd imagine both Royce Freeman and Kerryon Johnson will split their respective backfields during the first month of the season. People might be looking to flip those guys being frustrated, but I expect both guys to be the lead backs in their offenses by halfway through the season.

And like I said, we'll have to see how the first part of the season plays out of course and this all might be irrelevant after two weeks lol, but that's what I'm seeing right now.

Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano


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