Contender & Pretender Trade Targets:
By Matt Kelley
We’re headed into the thick of week 7 this fantasy season, so you have a pretty good idea if you’re trending towards competing for a dynasty title or if you should be planning more for 2021. Here, I’ll look at four players you can target as either a contender, pretender, or possibly both.
LA Chargers, TE, Hunter Henry: One of the most difficult positions to lock down in fantasy, generally speaking, is TE. In finding success at the TE position, I look for a few key things: Are they on the field? Are they running routes? Are they connected to a good QB? Is their team utilizing them correctly?
Hunter Henry is currently on the field for nearly 86% of snaps for the Chargers, ran 148 routes (good for 10th most), averaging nearly seven targets per game, and he’s tied to Justin Herbert who has looked incredible in his limited time taking over at the QB helm. As a nice added bonus, the Chargers are deploying Henry from the slot creating quite the mismatch on almost 29% of Henry’s snaps. Henry has only caught one TD thus far this season, but the arrow is pointing up for Henry in most every category. Henry does need to curtail his drops a bit, but that hasn’t stopped Herbert from targeting him or resulted in him coming off the field. Henry is approaching top 5 territory at the TE position, and you should snag him now before there’s a death grip on him from those that have him rostered already. Henry’s value is at a low enough point that you can target him as both a pretender or contender.
Baltimore Ravens, RB, J.K. Dobbins: I wrote about Dobbins extensively leading up to the season and how I thought he would usurp Gus Edwards with relative ease and eventually Mark Ingram as well. Well, this taking a bit longer than I expected, and the Ravens are content with dividing up this backfield with all three of these backs. That being said, I lean towards trading Dobbins if you’re a pretender and building towards 2021. As much as we all want to see Dobbins get the bulk of opportunities, it may be later than we all want and if you’re a contender, I’m not sure you can afford to wait unless you can get by with him on your bench. That said, Mark Ingram looks like he’s hit a downturn and maybe a step behind his career pace. Ingram has been on the field 30% of the Ravens snaps, had 36% of the Ravens rush share, and is 32nd in rush yards with 225. He’s had two runs over 15 yards and evaded only 8 tackles. Dobbins has actually been on the field more than Ingram but has had less of the rush opportunities (25.8%). Despite that, Dobbins has three runs over 15 yards, has evaded nine tackles, and is the clearly superior pass catcher. I still believe #DobbinsSZN is a matter of when and not if. If you have the resources as someone shooting for 2021, this may be the best opportunity to trade for Dobbins. Should Ingram be out extended time or reinjure his ankle, the door may well slam shut on the opportunity to trade for J.K. Dobbins at his current value.
Miami Dolphins, RB, Myles Gaskin: Nope, not Jordan Howard. Nope, not Matt Brieda. Myles Gaskin is the Miami Dolphins running back to roster and the running back to trade for as a contender. Does Gaskin have value past 2020? I’m...not entirely sure. Which is why I’m suggesting him for a win now type team and why you may not have to give up all that much to get him on your roster. Gaskin has been on the field for the Dolphins for 65% of their snaps and had 63% of their carries even after having single digit carries over the first two weeks. Gaskin has seen 29 targets for 27 total catches and 182 receiving yards. Gaskin has a workhorse share of the rushes and targets. The only downside (potentially) is the Dolphins making the shift to rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa this week, and we just don’t know what this offense will look like in terms of Tua running, dumping off passes, and being challenged by defenses. This is definitely a point to consider when trading for Gaskin and possibly creating a bit of value. I still like the potential for Gaskin to provide depth and help nudge a contender to a dynasty title.
N.Y. Jets, WR, Jamison Crowder: Am I following up with recommending you trade for a Jet right after a Miami Dolphin? Yes, yes I am. It’s 2020, just embrace it. Crowder is an absolute PPR machine though, and much like Robert Woods of the L.A. Rams, he is a constant overlooked value. Even with Adam Gase as the coach, and even with Joe Flacco occasionally throwing him passes, Crowder excels. The Jets have actually used Crowder in the best possible role, the slot. Crowder has seen 73% of his snaps come from the slot this season. Albeit in this offense, his target share is a whopping 31.5% (21.4% in the red zone). This is elite. He has 190 yards after the catch. This is also elite territory. Crowder probably has the most value not only this season but also going forward from anyone on this list, but he’s worth it. His floor is incredibly safe every week and he finds the endzone, you're golden for the week. If you’re in contention for a dynasty title, go after Crowder. He won’t cost you as much as the Deandre Hopkins or Michael Thomas’ of the world, but he’ll give you a (nearly) bust proof option in your lineup week in and week out.