Committees and pecking orders have mostly revealed themselves as we head into Week 8, which means time is ticking to make a league-altering fantasy trade.
The NFL’s ridiculous non-guaranteed contracts and salary cap have made player-for-player trades fairly rare over the years, but it’s a market that can be exploited in fantasy by focusing on both potential mistakes in popular public opinion and season-long trends.
Let’s break down some of this week’s top fantasy football trade targets, as well as players you should consider selling sooner rather than later.
Top Fantasy Football Trade Target for Week 8
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Adam Thielen joins Michael Irvin, Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson as the only receivers with at least seven consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards over the past 50 seasons. The Vikings’ primary slot receiver has regularly avoided the opposition’s toughest outside cornerback, while Diggs has had to deal with the likes of the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson (3-33-0) and the Bills’ Tre’Davious White (4-17-0).
Still, Diggs has largely worked as a second No. 1 receiver as opposed to a No. 2 receiver:
- Targets: 73 (5th among all WRs)
- Receptions: 48 (5th)
- Total air yards: 732 (9th)
- PPR: WR12
Overall, Diggs has at least eight receptions in three of his past four games, but hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2. Thielen is clearly the Vikings’ No. 1 receiver, but Diggs has been Kirk Cousins’ preferred target as of late.
Adam Thielen is dominating .. but Stefon Diggs has had more targets in three of the last four weeks pic.twitter.com/MJR96yEoCU
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 23, 2018
Both Thielen and Diggs should be treated as every-week No. 1 WRs, but the combination of Diggs’ recent “cold streak” with Thielen’s early season explosion might have some thinking there’s a wider gap between the two than there is.
Go get Diggs while everyone remains infatuated with the past seven weeks instead of worrying about what will happen over the next seven.
Honorable Mention Trade Targets
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints
Smith had a breakout performance on Monday Night Football in Week 5, catching all three of his targets for 111 yards and two scores.
Last week’s 3-44-0 line on six targets wasn’t the encore fantasy investors were hoping for, but the Saints’ third-round pick has dominated the position’s targets and snaps in the two games Ted Ginn Jr. (knee, IR) has missed:
- Michael Thomas: 11 receptions-143 yards-1 TD (14 targets), 116 snaps
- Tre’Quan Smith: 6-155-2 (9), 96 snaps
- Cameron Meredith: 5-71-0 (5), 48 snaps
- Austin Carr: 2-17-0 (2), 29 snaps
Smith has a quarterback-friendly combination of size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and speed (4.49-second 40-yard dash). He’ll still be the offense’s No. 3 or 4 option in most weeks, but that’s still a fantasy-friendly role in the Saints’ perennial top-five scoring offense.
Go get Smith before the Saints’ pecking order at receiver is further clarified.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson is averaging a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry and a career-low 4.3 targets per game this season. And yet DJ is one of only 13 running backs averaging at least 18 combined rush attempts and targets per game.
His massive workload has enabled Johnson to work as the league’s overall PPR RB11 despite the offense’s tumultuous start.
The Cardinals replaced offensive coordinator Mike McCoy with quarterback coach Byron Leftwich, which can only mean good things for Johnson’s troubling usage as a receiver. A better overall offense and enhanced receiving role could be just what DJ needs to take advantage of a juicy second-half schedule:
David Johnson has a cake schedule the rest of the way
Week 8 49ers (25th in most DraftKings PPG allowed to RBs)
Week 9 Bye
Week 10 Chiefs (30th)
Week 11 Raiders (22nd)
Week 12 Chargers (16th)
Week 13 Packers (13th)
Week 14 Lions (27th)
Week 15 Falcons (32nd)
Week 16 Rams (12th)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 23, 2018
Things haven’t been pretty, but Johnson is a prime buy-low candidate who still has overall RB1 upside thanks to his usage and the offense’s lack of other weapons.
Go steal DJ from his frustrated fantasy owner before a potential second-half breakout begins.
Fantasy Football Players to Sell in Week 7
Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings
I highlighted Giovani Bernard in this space a few weeks ago when it was becoming clear that Joe Mixon was getting close to returning from injury. Murray is another backup bell cow whom fantasy owners should consider selling high before Dalvin Cook (hamstring) returns to action.
Murray has scored three touchdowns over the past two weeks while averaging a robust 5.7 yards per carry on 19.5 rush attempts per game. Still, there doesn’t seem to be much value to be had over the next four weeks even before taking Cook’s potential return into account:
- Week 8 vs. Saints’ No. 1 defense in Football Outsiders’ rush DVOA
- Week 9 vs. Lions’ No. 27 defense in rush DVOA
- Week 10 bye
- Week 11 at Bears’ No. 4 defense in rush DVOA
There’s a chance that the Vikings decide to continue to feed Murray in an attempt to keep Cook healthy, but life could also be less fruitful in the future behind the league’s 26th-ranked offensive line in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards per rush.
Sell Murray while his value is likely at its highest point.
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things were looking up for Barber after he gained 106 total yards and a touchdown on 17 touches against the Falcons in Week 6, but last week’s overtime matchup against the Browns indicated the Buccaneers have different plans for their backfield:
Looks like the whole "Peyton Barber 3-down RB" thing is over
Barber snap percentage by week:
Week 1: 73%
Week 2: 62%
Week 3: 60%
Week 4: 49%
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: 62%
Week 7: 37%
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 22, 2018
Second-round pick Ronald Jones played a season-high 29 snaps last week, while Jacquizz Rodgers has commanded an average of 18.2 snaps per game this season. There simply isn’t much upside for Barber as an early down back stuck in a three-way committee in the Buccaneers’ pass-first offense.
Attempt to sell him as the starter he technically is before the Buccaneers’ crowded backfield becomes more pronounced.
Pictured above: Stefon Diggs
Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports