With the offseason in full effect, the trade market is a great place to return value. This early in the offseason, ADP and narratives have yet to fully settle into the market. This creates strong opportunities to profit in the trading market. The following are good trade targets early in the offseason.
Matthew Stafford (QB – DET)
Matthew Stafford has been chronically undervalued in dynasty. Stafford threw for 4,446 yards on 565 attempts, his lowest number of attempts since his injury-shortened second year. Stafford threw for a career-high yards per attempt (7.9) and a career-high adjusted yards per attempt (8.1), while supporting two top 13 PPR wide receivers in Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Stafford finished the year 7th in standard scoring, ahead of recent quarterback risers in Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota, and Jameis Winston. Stafford turns 30 in February and has a strong supporting cast in Jones, Tate, and the up and coming Kenny Golladay and Eric Ebron. Stafford goes around 15th quarterback in startup drafts and represents a safe, long-term option at the position.
Quarterbacks are difficult to trade in a start one format, but Stafford can return a rookie pick upgrade in a trade for Dak Prescott or Jimmy Garoppolo, neither of whom match the track record or supporting cast of Stafford. In superflex or 2QB leagues, Stafford is the perfect type of high floor quarterback as a second QB.
Isaiah Crowell (RB – CLE)
Isaiah Crowell’s stock is beaten down after a year enduring Hue Jackson’s offensive struggles. Cleveland was always behind, never established Crowell, and never sought to make life easier on their rookie quarterback. Crowell’s relationship with Hue Jackson appeared to deteriorate badly in December, and fortunately Crowell is an unrestricted free agent. Crowell has three-down lead back potential in a change of scenery in a free agent class that includes Le’Veon Bell and Carlos Hyde. Crowell’s free agency prospects are undervalued in the trade market where Crowell is getting second-round rookie pick valuation. While the cost is a value, the pick straight for Crowell closes a door on the depth of the 2018 rookie running back class. A better investment would be to use flash players like Keelan Cole or Marquise Goodwin along with a third-round pick to target Crowell before free agency opens.
Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
Tarik Cohen got off to a hot start in Chicago before John Fox went all John Fox and realized Cohen was a rookie and his offenses are not allowed to have fun. Cohen had double-digit touches in five of the first six weeks, but only twice over the remaining 10 weeks. Cohen will benefit from the hiring of head coach Matt Nagy who comes from Kansas City and has 10 years of experience in Andy Reid’s running back-friendly offenses. Nagy hired former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator who comes from the Chip Kelly coaching tree. Combined, Nagy and Helfrich can maximize Cohen’s ability and explosiveness. Cohen’s recent trades indicates a third-round rookie pick value, and could be a good positional pivot off flash receivers like Cole or Goodwin.
Dez Bryant (WR – DAL)
Dez Bryant’s star has faded fast. After finishing as WR4, WR7, and WR4 from 2012 through 2014, Dez has finished as WR81, WR38, and WR24 from 2015 through 2017. 2015 and 2016 were injury-shortened with nine and 13 games respectively, but Bryant played a full season in 2017 and only finished as WR24. Dez is still only 29 (30 in November 2018), and has elite physical and production history.
Bryant’s points per target (1.43) was second lowest of his career outside of his injury-shortened season of 2015. The 2017 league average was 1.61 which is in line with historical averages. There is little correlation year over year on yards per target, so a low 2017 number is not predictive of 2018 success. In fact, DeAndre Hopkins, rose from 1.31 points per target in 2016 to 1.79 points per target in 2017, a key factor in his rise from 26th to 1st in PPR scoring.
Bryant’s market value has dipped into the WR20s, and in fact he fell outside the top 100 picks in a recent 2QB startup. If you can get Bryant outside the top 20 WRs in startups that represents a safe cost to return value. In the trade market, look to target the Bryant owner with late first-round value in a weak receiving class.
Kevin White (WR – CHI)
Wide receivers drafted in the top 10 do not grow on trees, especially outside of the top 150 in startup valuation. White presents a lot of concerns considering he has only played five games in three seasons and has suffered three season-ending injuries. While the film has not been great, White’s grade is an incomplete. His limited profile has been the result of injuries, not poor play like Breshad Perriman.
There are some good signs for White heading into 2018. There is no No. 1 receiver on the roster, Mitchell Tribusky showed promise in 2017, and he should get a clean slate with a new coaching staff. White is basically free at a startup cost outside the top 150, and he may have hit some waiver wires in existing leagues. He is a good investment at the cost of a third-round rookie pick from a fed up owner, either in a straight trade for the pick or as part of a larger package. White’s first-round pedigree is an attractive upside investment in draft areas with lesser-profile players.
Second-Round Draft Picks
The 2018 rookie class is very deep, particularly at the running back position. First-round picks are hot commodities with the strength at the top of the class, but there are several big names in the first-round rookie pick conversation like Calvin Ridley, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Bo Scarbrough who profile as potential avoid players at the cost. As a result, the running back depth in the class will create value opportunities in the second round of rookie drafts. Packaging flash players and moving up in the draft from the third to the second round will create strong value opportunities.
Jordan McNamara is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive and follow him @McNamaraDynasty.