by Nick Ercolano
October 25, 2018
Every other Thursday, we're going to be breaking down my top trade targets for Week 8 of 2018 fantasy football. Looking at some guys you should be selling high or buying low based on their recent production in comparison to their rest of season value.
1. Christian McCaffrey - RB, Carolina Panthers
C-Mac won't be the easiest guy to buy low in most fantasy leagues that have savvy owners, but his production has taken a turn for the worst over the last few weeks. From Weeks 1-3, C-Mac averaged nearly 23 touches/game and 143 YFS,. Then they had their bye in Week 4, and since that bye, in the team's next three games McCaffrey's usage has dipped from 23 down to 16.6 touches/game and his YFS from 143 to 79.6/game. In particular, over the last two weeks his he's seen 15 and 13 touches and 66 and 8 YFS without a score. C-Mac owners may start to undervalue Carolina's RB for the ROS.
Despite the decline in usage, C-Mac is still dominating his backfield in both snaps and touches:
He owns an 84% opportunity share of touches as well.
These last two games have come against two of the toughest run defenses in the NFL and both on the road - WAS and PHI, I'm not surprised by the outcomes.
And this is where it gets good. You can try to trade for C-Mac now, or if you want to gamble, they play against BAL's defense in Week 8 and maybe C-Mac underperforms again, then go for him. Either way, following BAL, his schedule becomes CAKE - TB twice, PIT, DET, and the fantasy playoffs are both at home against NO and ATL.
2. Will Fuller - WR, Houston Texans
Fuller had basically played decoy in the previous two weeks prior to the Week 7 game after returning from a hamstring injury. But, he seems to be fully recovered from the hammy, running his normal 80-90% snap rate.
Week 7 was a good sign, Fuller caught 6 passes for 68 yards. Nothing crazy, so his owner won't be ecstatic about it, but it lets you know he's back.
The other piece of this is Keke Coutee tweaking his hamstring on Sunday. He's going to miss tonight's game, and we're unsure of his return but it's not considered serious. But hammy's are never something to take lightly, we'll see.
We all know that the connection is real between Fuller & Watson, so it's just a matter of time before the big games start rolling in again.
3. Kenny Golladay - WR, Detroit Lions
This goes for Golladay or Golden Tate to be honest, but Sunday's game was easily Golladay's worst of the season: 2 targets, 2 catches, 37 yards. Stafford only threw the ball 22 times in this one thanks to the gawd like performance of Kerryon Johnson. Prior to this, his worst game was 4-74, and he's scored in 3-of-5 games.
I really think that there is still this stigma about Golladay and this whole Lions WR group that there are just too many weapons to rely on any one of them, but you don't need to worry about that - Golladay is playing on 88% of the Lions snaps this year and owns a 20% target share compared to just 17% for Marvin Jones and he's seen 5 targets inside-the-10 through six games and 8 catches of 20+ yards.
I think Golladay blends a great mix of floor and ceiling, that you may be able to buy on a discount coming off of this bad game. Sta
1. Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots
I did not think it would come to this, but eight weeks into the season, Gronk is clearly not the TE1 in fantasy anymore, and tbh, I'm not sure he's really that close to Ertz and Kelce at this point in time. Gronk is dealing with back spasms that cost him the Patriot's Week 7 game. Any injury is notable when it comes to Gronk given his history with them. It's believed to be a short-term thing, but back injuries can be tricky given that they're hit and used on almost every play.
What else concerns me is simply Gronk's on-field play. He hasn't seen more than 7 targets or scored a touchdown since Week 1. His yardage totals since Week 1 have been 15, 51, 44, 75 and in his last game he luckily ended up with 97 yards on just three catches thanks to a deep ball he brought in late in the game. It kind of seems like defenses have figured it out. Or they're just completely selling out to stop Gronk. They're double-teaming him, if not triple teaming him on almost every play, especially near the EZ. Whatever it is, he just can't get it done.
Regardless, the one thing I know for sure is that you will still be able to sell Gronk for top dollar based on his name alone. I would try to look for a team, that maybe has a decent TE, maybe O.J. Howard, flip Gronk for Howard and a high-end skill player.
2. Jordy Nelson - Oakland Raiders
This is based on the Amari Cooper trade obviously. With him gone, Nelson becomes the next man in line to take over WR1 duties. While you might think that's a good thing, I don't. It means Jordy will have to face the opposing team's #1 CB. This isn't Jordy of a few years ago, where that didn't matter. He's not good enough to beat them anymore. Cooper could barely beat them, and we saw how inconsistent he was.
Jordy himself has been highly inconsistent this year. He had one good game and then had a couple of TDs afterward, one that shouldn't have counted, etc. He takes on IND and SF over the N2 so that's something you could sell him on.
The Raiders offense is a mess. There are reports coming out now that there's a riff in the locker room between Derek Carr and everyone. Carr could get moved before the deadline. Who knows what we're getting here. And looking forward at the schedule, they're @CIN in Week 15, Denver in Week 16.
It's just an offense I want to avoid completely, but someone might want to buy Jordy.
3. Jordan Howard - Chicago Bears
It's clearly time to move on from Jordan Howard, if you can sell him based on his name and the fact that he's coming off of a TD score game. He currently sits at RB32 in fantasy football. He's simply not being used like he was last year in Matt Nagy's offense. There've been just two games in 2018 that he's gotten 15+ carries, whereas in 2017 he had 15+ in 10 games. He also had 5 100+ yard rushing games last year, he hasn't touched the century mark in 2018, and hasn't gone over 70 rushing yards since Week 1. We also thought he might get more involved in the passing game, which looked to be the case after the first two weeks where he caught 8-of-9 targets, but he's been completely phased out since then, seeing just five total targets and catching three passes over the Bears last four games, completely giving way to Chicago's RB1, Tarik Cohen. Cohen has now out-touched Howard in 2 of their last three games, but what's more telling is the snap splits:
Howard dominated snaps over the first two, three weeks of the season, but the gap is almost non-existent between the two now. Cohen is clearly the back you want to own in this CHI offense going forward. Sell Howard now for whatever you can coming off a "good" week.
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