Editor’s Note: This article is from a new Member Corner writer for us, Andrew Lightner. We welcome Andrew to DLF and hope to see much more from him moving forward.
Welcome to a new article series here on DLF. No, this is not an ode to the game show featuring the Showcase Showdown, nor is it to bring back memories of the classic scene involving Bob Barker throwing down with Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore. This new article series is going to be solely about trade targets in dynasty football — and we all know how much us dynasty degenerates LOVE trading. I hope you enjoy reading this new series as much I am going to enjoy writing it.
Before we get right down to it, allow me to tell you a little more about what exactly will this series will entail. For those of you who know me or interact with me on Twitter may know that I am in A LOT of dynasty leagues. Like….A LOT. Some could describe it as being quite sad, quite awesome, quite crazy or a combination of all three. I haven’t counted, but the number is in the 50-60 range.
One of the things I like to do on a weekly basis in managing all of these teams is pick a handful of players I want to target in trades in the leagues in which I don’t already own him. I’ll then proceed to go through all my leagues and scout out who owns these players and start sending out offers for my targets. Some of my targets will last season long, some only a week or two, but no matter who it is or how long I may be targeting him, all of these players have one thing in common: they are players whom I believe are currently undervalued – this brings us back to what this series will be all about.
Each week I will give you three players, each in a different tier, who I believe you should be targeting in trades. These three tiers will be premium players, middle players, and what I’ll call deep players. I will then proceed to pick one of these three to highlight. As I mentioned earlier, these players will all be guys who I think their current trade price is lower than what it should be. Hence the title of this article! So you will not find me mentioning names in this article like DeAndre Hopkins, not because I wouldn’t sell my soul to own him in every single league (because I’d be seriously tempted if the opportunity arose), but because his trade value is obviously sky high right now.
The players I will be mentioning in this series will most likely fall into one of three categories. The first category will include players who haven’t performed up to their expectations, whether it may be because of injury or simply underperforming on the field. The second category focuses on players who have yet to make a major impact on the field yet or simply hasn’t “broken out.” A perfect example of this would be Stefon Diggs. If you follow me on Twitter would have seen me mention him last week as my deep trade target. Sure enough (and even sooner than I may have anticipated), Diggs had a huge game this past weekend and now his value has likely skyrocketed. The last category a player may fall into is that he is simply underappreciated or undervalued.
Each week I will then not only give you my new trade targets for the week, but also look back on the players mentioned the previous week and review how I did in trying to trade for these players. It is important to note that we all are in many various leagues with varying levels of fellow owners. Some of us may be in leagues with random owners with varying skill levels, whereas some people may be swimming in water filled with fellow sharks (I’m hoping you are a shark too and not the fish these sharks are feeding on!). Therefore, some players I mention in this series may end up being more difficult to trade for in some leagues than they are in others. Okay, I think I have strung you along long enough, right? Well then, let’s get to it.
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My highlighted player to target this week is: (drum roll please…) Theo Riddick, RB DET (Deep Target)
I can hear all the sighs and groans now! Really, you made me sit through that lengthy introduction to give me…..Riddick?!! Here’s to hoping that this same reaction you may have when discussing Riddick is the exact same feeling his owners have in your leagues. The question now is, should you feel this way about him? Let’s dig in a little deeper and find out.
Right now, the former Notre Dame running back is second on the Lions in receptions, behind only the man we all know as Megatron, Calvin Johnson. Riddick is averaging seven targets a game out of the backfield, and is currently the RB15 in PPR leagues. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in four of six games, with his lowest point scoring week being 8.60 points. In comparison, Eddie Lacy has had three weeks of lower scoring output than Riddick’s lowest scoring week.
Stats aside, we all know why some people just don’t seem to want to give this guy any appreciation or credit. He is a pass catching specialist back who rarely sees carries, and running backs who aren’t your prototypical back always seem to receive a level of disdain from fantasy players. Owners prefer running backs who earn their stripes running the football. Here’s the thing though; all that should matter is how many points a player scores and not how he scores them, right? After all, we win our fantasy games by scoring more points than our opponent in a given week. We shouldn’t care as much as to how a guy scores points, but how many points he indeed gets us.
Now that I have given you some of the stats about Riddick, let’s analyze things a bit beyond the numbers. The offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions is Joe Lombardi, who was also on the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints back when Darren Sproles was consistently being utilized catching passes out of the backfield. He’s been involved on offenses where multiple backs were utilized based on their skill sets and has seen more than one running back being productive fantasy-wise on the same team. So there is one plus on Riddick’s side.
Now if we take a look at the current landscape of the Lions backfield, it could easily be described as messy at best. Zach Zenner, the pre-season darling, is now out for the year due to injury. The other backfield mate who had everyone’s attention, Ameer Abdullah, has been mediocre. Not only has his production been uninspiring thus far in his rookie campaign, but his fumble problems have carried over from college to the pros and has been benched back-to-back weeks now for not holding onto the rock. Finally, Joique Bell can be found on milk cartons, and even when he is seen on the field, is usually quite ineffective.
Clearly, this all bodes well for the chances of our current deep target to continue to get his share of snaps in the Lions offense. Riddick even saw his career high in carries last game thanks to Abdullah’s case of fumblitis. Yes, I know that was only seven carries, but add those carries to his average targets per game, and that would give him around 14 touches a game. You can do far worse in today’s NFL of rotating backs than a guy getting around 14 touches.
My last point that would point favorably in Riddick’s direction is game flow. Knowing that he is a running back who makes his living in passing situations, a big question could be if Riddick’s involvement is sustainable through the rest of the season. While the Lions were known for having a stingy defense last year, this year it has not been the case as they are giving up over 28 points per game, which ranks them 29th in the league. The only teams allowing more points per game are the Jaguars, Buccaneers, and the Bears, yikes! This means that the Lions will likely continue to find themselves playing from behind in games and participating in shootouts. Playing from behind and shootouts equals passing, passing, and more passing. Something we have always been accustomed to with the Detroit Lions, this trend should continue for the rest of the season.
Therefore, I feel confident in saying that I do believe Riddick will continue his usage rate for the rest of the season, and think you should feel that way too. And if you can acquire the current RB15 (PPR) for a very reasonable price, who wouldn’t want that? While I think it’s fair to question how much of a factor he will be in following seasons (this is dynasty, after all), and to be fair I may not necessarily be going out of my way to try trading for him in my rebuild leagues, we have seen other pass catching specialists like Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead maintain relevancy for multiple seasons.
I think this is a great week to target Riddick because he may still be sitting on owners’ benches who simply aren’t yet sold that he actually is a worthy option. Let’s try moving him off of their bench and onto ours!
Now that I have given you my highlighted target, I will leave you with my other two targets this week as well.
Antonio Brown, WR PIT (Premier target)
In my opinion, Brown is the best wide receiver in the NFL and he sits atop my personal dynasty rankings at number one overall. While I think anyone can certainly make a case for several others and to be fair Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham are right there with Brown for me, I still give AB the edge. The guy is a beast, and what makes him more astounding to me is that he doesn’t have the size that Bryant, Jones and some other elite recievers have at their disposal. It sounds like Big Ben Roethlisberger will miss yet another week, meaning yet another potential bad week for Brown. Use it to your advantage, as the window to possibly acquire this guy from an impatient owner is closing. This may be the last week left to try getting this stud at a discount, and if I can flip Demaryius Thomas or AJ Green for him, I would do so in a heartbeat. Heck, for me personally I would even probably be willing to add a little sweetener to it. Go get this guy if you can now because once Big Ben is back, you likely won’t be able to any longer.
Breshad Perriman, WR BAL (middle target)
I categorized Perriman as a middle target because many owners probably spent a first round pick on him in their rookie draft, and therefore won’t sell him for pennies. However, if you can find an owner who may be contending and willing to flip him for a player that may help them now, I’d at least see what the price would be. I loved this guy’s upside and still do, and even missing this season Perriman could easily find himself sitting at the top of Baltimore’s wide reciever depth chart next offseason. This is probably the cheapest and best time to try to acquire this player if you were high on him like I was.
That’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed it and are interested in this new weekly series here at DLF! Check back next week where I will give you new trade targets and also review how I did this week in acquiring these guys and what I may or may not have successfully traded for them.