I got a text from a friend the other day asking if he should trade Latavius Murray and Willie Snead for Todd Gurley. He'd be getting Gurley. He wanted to know if it was worth it.
The ability to pull off a good 2-for-1 trade is what separates owners in fantasy football. We've been trained to think the side giving up two players is almost always the side that wins the deal. It's a classic fantasy deal — you give up a RB2 and a good wide receiver you don't need and you bring back the best player in the trade.
In the deal above, Gurley is probably the best player in the trade. But it's not a 2-for-1 deal I would make. Not every buy-low opportunity is one you should seize.
Todd Gurley, Rams RB
In the above proposal, it's not clear that the Gurley side will win out. Quite frankly, I have just as much confidence in Murray moving forward as I do in Gurley.
Opportunity is the reason.
The Raiders have a much more prolific offense than the Rams and that will provide Murray plenty of red-zone touches and goal-line carries. Through two games, Murray has two touchdowns and three carries inside the 10-yard line. Through two games, Gurley has one carry inside his opponent's 10-yard line and it went for minus-4 yards. Teams stack the box against the Rams because their passing game is so incredibly weak.
Gurley may be a stud. He may be one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. But the offense in which he plays makes him untouchable (in a bad way) right now. I'd rather have Murray. In fact, over the rest of the season I'd have at least eight RBs ahead of Gurley: David Johnson, Lamar Miller, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, Matt Forte, C.J. Anderson and Murray.
The only way I'm buying low on Gurley right now is if I'm also selling low on a player like Devonta Freeman. If the above proposal was Freeman and Snead, I'd say yeah, go do it. But to sell high on two guys just to buy low on Gurley? No thanks, even if he was a consensus first-round pick a month ago.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars WR
Here's a guy I would buy low on.
Robinson owners are frustrated right now. It *feels* like he's been worse than he actually has because he's been invisible in the first half in both games, even if he ultimately ended up with OK point totals.
But Robinson is still being targeted a ton by Blake Bortles — 20 times in two games. He's caught nine passes for 126 yards without a TD. That's obviously not the production owners expected after drafting Robinson early in the second round.
But there are several reasons to like A-Rob moving forward. First and foremost is the volume. Give me the guy being targeted 10 times per game. Eventually that will turn into catches, TDs and points. Equally important is the Jaguars' competitiveness. This is a team that will often be playing from behind. Playing from behind last season is when Robinson compiled most of his stats.
Bortles' accuracy is questionable, so it's not likely Robinson repeats last year's 80-catch, 1,400-yard, 14-TD output. But to me, he's a safe bet for 75 catches, 1,150 yards and eight TDs. His floor is a WR2. And right now you can likely acquire him for slightly less than he's actually worth.
What's an example of a solid buy-low trade for Robinson? Something like Jeremy Maclin and Jeremy Langford for Robinson — a WR3 and a RB2 for a low-end WR1. Two weeks ago, that offer doesn't get you Robinson. Two weeks from now it might not either.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots TE
If you drafted Gronk in the first round it's probably been a frustrating three weeks. After surprisingly sitting out the first two games with a hamstring injury, Gronk was active on Thursday Night Football, played 14 snaps, was targeted once and finished without a catch.
On our weekly fantasy football segment Thursday night on Philly Sports Talk, I suggested sitting Gronk last night. Just didn't trust him coming off an injury, on a Thursday night, with a third-string QB. Sure enough, Gronk was a decoy. If you played him you're already likely looking at a Week 3 loss.
Go take advantage of a Gronk owner's anger. If you have a low-end TE1 like Kyle Rudolph or Dwayne Allen, propose your tight end and a player at whichever position that owner is weakest. If they took Gronk in the first round, odds are they're thin at wide receiver or running back.
With Tom Brady back in two weeks, now is the time to pull the trigger. If the Gronk owner is smart, he will likely come back at you with a, "Look, Brady's about to be back so I'm not moving him for 50 cents on the dollar." If he's not, he'll turn his frustration into an unwise trade.
Russell Wilson, Seawhawks QB
John Boruk brought up a great point during our fantasy segment Thursday: This is exactly how Wilson started last season.
Through two games this year, Wilson has 512 passing yards, one TD, one interception and 30 rushing yards. If you're in a four-point pass TD league, that's an average of 12 fantasy points. Not good.
But Wilson and the Seahawks' offense seem to start slowly every year. Even last season, when he finished with the best numbers of his career, his stats through Week 9 were pedestrian: 235 pass yards per game, 10 TDs, seven interceptions, 355 total rushing yards. That's an average of 16.2 fantasy points per week.
Those last seven games, though? Wilson averaged 273 passing yards, threw 24 TDs, one interception, rushed for 198 yards and a TD. That's an average of 28 fantasy points per week.
Now, that doesn't mean Wilson is going to do the same thing in the second half this season. Seattle's offensive line is worse and he isn't 100 percent healthy. But you might be able to get Wilson extremely cheap and if you can, it's worth it. Wilson's rapport with Doug Baldwin is top-notch, Jimmy Graham is only getting healthier, the running game isn't as reliable, and we know Wilson plays his best football in November and December.
If you can acquire Wilson for a mid-tier QB and a RB or WR you're not using, go for it. I'm talking about something like Eli Manning and an Allen Hurns/DeSean Jackson/Emmanuel Sanders/DeVante Parker-type.
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants WR
Beckham hasn't been bad through two weeks, he just hasn't been the elite option we're used to. He has 12 catches on 19 targets for 159 yards and no TDs. He dropped a sure TD in Week 2 that would make his numbers look much different.
Beckham owners aren't as frustrated as owners of Gronk, Gurley or any other early running back. So I'm actually suggesting you do the opposite of buy-low on Beckham: I'm suggesting that if you have him, you make another owner think they're buying low when they're actually not.
Confused? Here's an example.
My barber traded Beckham this week for Kelvin Benjamin and Melvin Gordon. I think that's a fantastic return for OBJ. You get a potential WR1 and high-end RB2 for Beckham. Great deal. Benjamin might outproduce Beckham by himself this year, and Gordon's volume of carries will increase with Danny Woodhead out for the season.
That's a trade where the owner getting Beckham thinks he's selling high on Benjamin and Gordon and buying low on Beckham. But he's not. He's paying full price — maybe even more — for Beckham. Benjamin is playing like a guy who'll be drafted in the first round next year and there's really no reason to believe he'll regress. He's an enormous target who does his best work in the red zone for the highest scoring team in football. Defenses have so much else to worry about that they can't just double-team Benjamin every play the way they might do to a Beckham or Julio Jones.
We'll check back next week with some more buy-low, sell-high thoughts. Good luck Sunday.
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