Trade Explorer - Week 1
By Zach Owen
Each week of the fantasy season, I’ll be covering various trades I find throughout the internet (Twitter, Reddit, DMs, etc.). All these articles will focus on dynasty trades, but feel free to reach out to me with other questions on Twitter (@NeutralZoneFF). So let’s look at some trades from the aftermath of week 1.
Trade #1 - Elijah Mitchell for Rashod Bateman
Elijah Mitchell took the fantasy world by storm this weekend when he dominated the San Francisco (SF) backfield. He was mostly an unknown name before this week but there were some analysts ahead of the game during the off-season (I was unfortunately not one of them). Regardless, he seems to be “the guy” for now in SF. Coupled with Raheem Mostert being out for the season, Mitchell should definitely have some value this year. If you’re familiar with RBs in SF though, you know it can sometimes be difficult to navigate. But if you need RB help, feel free to pick him up in Redraft leagues or if you’re competing in dynasty leagues. That being said, his future value is pretty uncertain in my opinion so I’d hold off on trading for him in most dynasty situations unless you get a really good deal.
Putting my money where my mouth is, I chose the Rashod Bateman side in this trade over Mitchell.There aren’t many results yet on this poll but so far it seems pretty split. I was surprised by this but you have to remember that people are often reactionary and make decisions based on the most recent information. This is dangerous in Dynasty leagues since you don’t just want guys that scored a lot of points week 1. Just ask managers with Sammy Watkins if week 1 performances lead to future production.
Now there is definitely some concern since Bateman had groin surgery and will be out 6-8 weeks, which is never good news for a rookie. Dynasty leagues are about accumulating talent though and he was my WR5 coming into the season. I think the uncertainty of the SF backfield limits Mitchell’s future much more than Bateman’s injury. Mitchell was “the guy” this week but will he still be next week? Next month? Next year? I’m not sold just yet. Dynasty is about chasing talent over opportunity and right now, I haven’t seen enough from Mitchell and the SF backfield to put too much into him. If he continues performing well in another week or two, then I’d be more comfortable trading for him in Dynasty. So for now, I’d definitely trade Bateman for Mitchell in Redraft, but in Dynasty I still want Bateman.
Trade #2 - Joe Mixon for Aaron Jones &
Trade #3 - Joe Burrow for Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Pitts
Now on the other side of the coin, we have a couple trades where I think people are selling low on players that put up bad performances. The Aaron Jones for Joe Mixon trade I found on Twitter is obviously a 12 team, SuperFlex (SF) league with 1 point per reception (PPR). The Joe Burrow for Brandon Aiyuk/Kyle Pitts Sleeper trade that was sent to me is also 12 team, SF, PPR, but also .5 points for TE premium. So similar leagues and similar trades in my opinion.
Jones, Aiyuk, and Pitts all put up duds this week while Mixon and Burrow did great. For both trades, I am on the side of the players that put up duds (Jones and Aiyuk/Pitts). Why? Because this is Dynasty. There’s no way either of these trades happen before week 1 and I don’t think they should happen now. I strongly believe both of these trades are managers panicking from poor week 1 performances. I think if you’re the manager getting Jones or Aiyuk/Pitts, you did a good job buying low.
Do we really think Aaron Jones and the Packers are going to perform as bad as they did week 1? Don’t get me wrong, the Packers looked really bad, but do we think the Packers got that bad that fast? The team with the 2020 NFL MVP and a team that almost made it to the Super Bowl? I would have taken Aaron Jones before week 1 and I am still taking Aaron Jones after week 1.
Now Aiyuk and Pitts are slightly different since their Dynasty value doesn’t come from previous elite performances but the idea is similar. Was week 1 a bad week for them? Again yes, but that shouldn’t change anything yet. Aiyuk was the rookie WR5 last year (rookie WR2 in points per game) with multiple weeks as a top-12 WR. So whether it was disciplinary issues (which seems unlikely) or injury issues (which seems more likely) that hindered him week 1, we can be pretty sure it wasn’t a talent issue. We’ll know more as this week goes by but for now I am buying Aiyuk where I can.
I feel the same about Pitts. Did he put up a lot of fantasy points in week 1? Not based on the expectations coming in. 4 receptions for 31 yards is not great but he had 8 targets. 8! That’s more than the average for every TE last year other than Travis Kelce and Darren Waller (TE1 and TE2). Now don’t overreact to that either but realize that Pitts’ performance wasn’t as bad as it seems. The Falcons do look really bad but that should mean they will be throwing the ball a lot like they have in recent years. This was also the first time Pitts and Matt Ryan played together since Ryan didn’t play any preseason games. So I expect some of those incompletions should go away as they play more together.
Long story short, week 1 performances should not have changed your opinions very much. There are exceptions like injuries but overall Dynasty is a year to year battle, not week to week. You did the work this offseason (reading articles, discussing online, etc.) to have your opinions on players. That all shouldn’t go out the window after one week. Again, it’s Dynasty. You have to be patient.
Thanks for reading. If you have any fantasy questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @NeutralZoneFF.
Zach has background in data analysis. That coupled with his interest in sports made this the perfect hobby. Zach is always looking to learn more and try new league settings and scoring. His main interests right now is mastering the ins and outs of IDP.