Welcome back to ‘Traversing the Trade Finder,’ a series where I pick a couple of players and try to find what opportunities are available to us using the Dynasty League Football Trade Finder tool. For those who are unfamiliar, this tool helps you find real trades being made in dynasty leagues with the ability to search for specific players or draft picks and to filter by various settings. We love to talk about finding opportunities in the dynasty trade market and this tool literally shows you these opportunities in action.
In this edition, I’ll be highlighting two young players who are being forgotten about. Let’s dive into what I was able to find this time.
For all trades, I will be using the following filters: 12 teams, 2QB, and 1-point PPR.
Trey McBride, TE ARI
Coming into the NFL in 2022 after an impressive and productive college career, McBride was a highly thought-of tight end prospect and the consensus TE1. After being drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the NFL Draft, he was then likewise drafted in the second round of rookie drafts.
Starting off his rookie season playing behind Zach Ertz, McBride ended up starting 13 games after the veteran tore his ACL. Totaling 39 targets for 29 catches, 265 yards, and one touchdown during this time, many were disappointed in his production. But we should not expect rookie tight ends to produce at a high level and it’s a rare occurrence when they do. Tight end is one of the hardest positions to transfer to the NFL because they are asked to do so many different things in an offense.
McBride’s rookie year does not change who he was as a prospect. Also, he did manage to turn things up at the end of the season, gaining the majority of his production during his final five games with 28 targets for 20 catches, 219 yards, and the lone TD. Now likely set to be the day one starter for the Cardinals with Ertz still recovering from his injury and honestly having no business playing for a bad team like the Cardinals, McBride could be in line for a year two breakout. Sitting as TE19 in the July Dynasty League Football Startup ADP, McBride is an obvious buy.
A consensus third-round rookie pick for the TE1 in last year’s class? Count me in. This trade looks like a classic overreaction to McBride’s rookie season. I like Israel Abanikanda enough, in fact, I was surprised he was drafted as late as he was in the NFL Draft, but I can’t imagine wanting a day three rookie running back drafted to a team where he’ll be lucky to be the handcuff over McBride. Regardless of team makeup, this is a trade I would make. If trying to make this trade in your leagues, you can basically change out Abanikanda for any of the other day three running backs depending on what you have.
Antonio Gibson has had a lot of hype over his career and has mostly delivered on it but we really need to readjust our expectations for Gibson after the 2022 season in which Brian Robinson, who had to recover from being shot, immediately took over as the main ball carrier for the Commanders. Now in his fourth NFL season, while Gibson could provide some flex value to your lineup, his value can drop in an instant if he continues to be second fiddle to Robinson and/or he doesn’t find an ideal landing spot in free agency after the year. I’d much rather take the shot on McBride who can have more of an impact on your lineups since he plays a position with more scarcity.
Nico Collins, WR HOU
As a third-round NFL Draft pick, the expectations weren’t that high for Collins coming into the NFL but there was hope that his size and athleticism would make it so that he could be molded into a quality wide receiver. So far in the NFL, Collins has mostly produced like a third-round draft pick but there’s reason for hope.
In his second season, Collins led the Texans with a 19.1% target share in the games he played and had a four-game stretch where he averaged nine targets and just over 12 PPR points per game. He did all this with Davis Mills as his quarterback who was easily one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in 2022. Now with CJ Stroud as his quarterback, and the likelihood that he sits atop the Texans’ wide receiver depth chart, there is a lot of reason for optimism for Collins. As WR63 in the July Dynasty League Football Startup ADP, he could be a nice speculative add who may give you a large return on your investment.
I’ll happily trade any future third-round rookie pick for Collins. Third-round rookie picks have a very low hit rate and I would much rather take the shot on a more known quantity like Collins with a very real path to solid production and value accrual. He going into his third season is still young enough at 24 years old that he can have a large value increase if he does become an actual fantasy producer like he has the path to. Even if you don’t like his long-term outlook, buying him for a single future third-round rookie pick gives you a high chance for a return on your investment as if he shows any promise he can likely be sold for a second-round rookie draft pick.
As a recovering Darnell Mooney lover, it pains me to say that I think his time in the sun is essentially over. After impressing in his first two years in the league, Mooney was on his way to quite the mediocre season in the run-heavy Bears offense before missing the rest of it due to injury. Now with DJ Moore in town, Mooney will be the second option in the passing attack at best. Considering how run-heavy the offense was in 2022, even with a reasonable increase in pass rate there likely won’t be enough opportunity for Mooney to be a fantasy contributor. Add in the fact that Mooney’s dynasty value can hit the floor at any point since he was a day three NFL Draft pick and I’d much rather take the shot on Collins who is younger, has better draft capital, and is likely in the better situation.
Finding these buy-low opportunities on players who have a path to a large increase in value is one of the best ways to improve your dynasty rosters. Repeated moves like these will help build out the depth of your roster to help you gain an edge over your league mates. Good luck to all in your future trading endeavors. Until next time, like always, I’ll be traversing the trade finder.
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