In the opening weeks of the season, few managers are interested in pivoting from the roster that they draft. It generally takes an injury or a shockingly poor performance from 2+ players to spur someone in the direction of making a trade.
More to that point, inside the first 3 weeks of the year we don’t see enough variance from initial draft values in order to spark interest in truly buying or selling on a player. We generally need to see some sustained production above expectation to catapult a players value up by multiple tiers. A relevant example being James Robinson. The same is true for underperforming players where examples such as Juju Smith-Schuster come to mind.
Heading into week 4 action here are some players that I recommend targeting in trade:
Najee Harris – RB19 Pittsburgh Steelers
In 2021, Harris was one of only two running backs to see >300 carries. Add to that his league leading 74 receptions, the most by any running back, and you have the recipe for a player who could finish on the podium at the position in 2022. The knocks, this year, are that he’s running for a pedestrian 3.2 Y/A behind one of the leagues worst offensive lines to this point. Well, that lack of efficiency has caused his value to slip outside the RB1 range of current ROS rankings. Harris is surely a key to the offensive success for Pittsburgh, and is easily one of the weapons they can turn to using on a more frequent basis in 2022. Harris has been underutilized by comparison to 2021 in the passing game despite having a 91% catch rate to this point. This is a key fantasy area in which I expect that we see positive regression for Harris who goes up against a Jets defense that is T-26th with 27 PPG allowed.
Breece Hall – RB18 New York Jets
Its possible that Breece Hall is being overlooked in Fantasy Leagues for a number of silly reasons. From the Jets Fantasy Football related history, to beat reports suggesting that Michael Carter was the top RB on the team, Breece Hall isn’t being regarded in redraft leagues anywhere near his NFL draft capital or combine scoring would suggest. Hall has been efficient as a runner (5.3 Y/A) and has seeing significant action in the pass catching game (21 Targets) good for 2nd amongst RB’s. Look for his value and output to rise steadily along with the Jets offense as it gains momentum with Zach Wilson back at Quarterback in week 4. They take on a Steelers defense allowing the 4th most rushing yards per game in the NFL.
Travis Etienne Jr – RB36 Jacksonville Jaguars
Although Etienne was drafted well ahead of James Robinson in 2022 leagues, its been Robinson who has emerged as the Fantasy back to own in Jacksonville through 3 weeks. Etienne has gone from 4 to 9 to 13 rushing attempts in weeks 1 through 3 which gives us some quiet encouragement. Additionally, his 10 Y/R is well above the league average and represents a skill he possesses which also shines for fantasy purposes. Jacksonville will surely utilize that talent more frequently in matchups where they project to be playing from behind. With the Eagles on tap for week 4, we might get an instant view of that scenario, and production.
Deebo Samuel – WR31 San Francisco 49ers
A dual threat like Deebo Samuel is going to see some positive regression from the WR31 position where he currently resides. He finished the 2021 season as the WR3 averaging 21.2 FPTS/gm. The entrance of Trey Lance at QB but didn’t help Fantasy production for Deebo early in the season. Perhaps the return of 2021 pivot, Jimmy Garoppolo will spur this superstar into action in week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams on MNF. With the Fantasy community skeptical about Samuels health on a yearly basis, you may find a trade with another GM looking to a player like Chargers WR Mike Williams, who is the healthiest of the current Chargers WR group.
Chris Godwin – WR116 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Godwin is working his way back from a Hamstring injury suffered in W1. The injury type wasn’t encouraging after he returned from a bad knee injury in 2021. This trade target is as much about strategy as it is about success given his recent history. Godwin’s value is suppressed to a point where he is in line with receivers who have never sniffed the same level of success at the NFL level as he has. Looking to his performance while on the field, Godwin has been a Top 15 WR in each of his last 3 season in FPTS/gm (17.3 – 15.9 – 19.7) . Tampa Bay has a loaded WR group in 2022 so the coverage prospects for Godwin are positive. Catching passes from Tom Brady has been noted as good for your resume.
DeAndre Hopkins – N/A Arizona Cardinals
Hopkins has now served half of his 6-game suspension to being 2022 and has had some extra time to recover from an injury that detoured his 2021 season. Personally, I view PED’s positively for the recovery and re-assertion of excellence at the NFL level. I expect Hopkins to return to the field and be right back in the mix as a fringe WR1 on a weekly basis in FPTS/gm. He has finished as a top 5 WR 5x in his career so the notion is certainly conservative at the WR1 border. With the Cardinals having given up the 2nd most points scored in the league(87), game scripts suggest the Cardinals will be involved in some high scoring contests. In addition to recommending you aim to acquire Hopkins, I will add that this deal becomes considerably more plausible for a GM suffering from injury with Hopkins occupying a valued spot on their bench.
Dallas Goedert – TE6 Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Goedert was one of my favorite draft values coming into the 2022 season. The Eagles went out and acquired AJ Brown which caused for some concern over the target share that Goedert would go on to see this season. What that didn’t account for, was the shift in coverage which opposing defenses would have to make with both Brown and Smith lined up outside and Jalen Hurts often mobile at the QB position. With the assumed coverage opposing defenses leave Goedert in a situation where he faces single man looks, often against a linebacker or safety. That coverage scheme has shown friendly for Philadelphia in the form of a 15.8 Y/R for Goedert and a consistent point total which may be established as a floor given the humble 4.66 TGTs/gm he currently is seeing. By year’s end, don’t be surprised if Dallas Goedert is a top 5 TE.
Kyler Murray – QB9 Arizona Cardinals
Murray is currently missing his top offensive weapon in DeAndre Hopkins and, to a lesser but mentionable extent, 2nd year WR Rondale Moore. This hasn’t stopped the Cardinals QB from attempting the 2nd most passes in 2022 at 141. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is heavily engaged in pushing the ball downfield using the passing game. This is sensible as they have been frequently playing from behind 3 weeks into the season. Murray is a safe bet to provide 20-22.5 FPTS/gm in a typical Fantasy formats. While he is likely out of the running for the QB1 status, (Josh Allen vs Lamar Jackson) he is still every bit as capable of finishing the year as a top 5 QB. Weapons like DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Zac Ertz and James Conner lend well to this being an attainable outcome.
Thanks for checking out my Week 4 Trade Targets and best of luck to you in your matchups this coming week. We might be off to a scorching start with a “made for TV” matchup between two of the NFL’s hottest young teams on TNF between Cincinnati and Miami. Check back next week for more targets and suggestions.
David Carey – @87_Carey