Tight ends are dominating my trade targets column for Week 5, as injuries continue to mount, and the landscape of the position remains as barren as ever. There is a rare opportunity to buy elite tight ends in this kind of market, but fantasy football is just like the stock market. Buy low, and reap the rewards on your investment.
Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
Despite two down weeks, Evan Engram remains the TE2 on the fantasy football season through the first quarter of the season. He's led the league in targets among tight ends (48) and ranks second in fantasy points per snap (0.28). He's been on the receiving end of some tight coverage with RB Saquon Barkley out of the mix with a high ankle sprain and has still forty yards in each of his last two contests. Luckily for Engram, Barkley is hardly human and should return to the active lineup well ahead of his 6-8 week schedule, possibly as soon as Week 6. His return and some help from receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate should only help Engram to continue to produce on an elite level.
The stud tight end will have another tough outing in Week 6 against the Patriots but afterward will get a tasty treat versus the Arizona secondary. There are rarely buy low opportunities for genuine studs like Engram. Although you'll still have to pay a decent price tag, securing stability at the tight end position will be well worth the cost.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Speaking of star tight ends, you might remember a young George Kittle who finished the 2018 NFL season leading the league in yards after the catch. He is off to a steady start so far in 2019, putting up at least 54 yards in each of his three appearances on the season but remains scoreless as we look to close out Week 5.
Despite the lack of "boom," Kittle has seen more offensive snaps than any wide receiver currently on the 49ers roster and remains an integral part of the gameplan. Kittle and OAK TE Darren Waller now tie for the lead amongst tight ends for weighted opportunity rating, which accounts for team target share and percentage of air yards. He came at a steep draft price, so it's worth seeing if a disappointed fantasy owner is willing to part ways for some depth at another position.
Editor's Note: Here are some of the top guys to target for trades, but who should you give up? Plug your trade props into our Season Pass Trade Analyzer to make sure you're coming out on top of every deal!
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins
"Scary Terry" faced the suffocating Patriots secondary coming off a hamstring in Week 5 and managed not to kill your fantasy teams if you started him. The rookie broke an NFL record after managing at least 50 yards and a touchdown in each of his first three career starts. He has seen no less than seven targets and is playing the bulk of offensive snaps for the Redskins through his four games so far.
McLaurin owners may be concerned about the "down week" or perhaps the current turmoil in Washington's locker room affecting his on-field performance. However, it seems that regardless of who is under center for Washington, McLaurin will continue to be a focal point of the offense week in and week out. Of note, he did play receiver with rookie QB Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State, who threw him 701 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior year. If we see the two reunite in the starting lineup, we could certainly see that touchdown magic continue. The Redskins season is undoubtedly lost, but perhaps we will see a period of rejuvenation with the firing of head coach Jay Gruden. Take the opportunity to buy-low on an easy WR2 prospect for the 2019 season.
Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you started Ronald Jones yesterday, you probably aren't happy with the output. If someone else in your league started him, they likely aren't happy either. Perfect time to acquire him on the cheap. It has been tough going for Jones, who finished his rookie season with a less than impressive 1.9 yards per carry. Purchasing Jones may feel "icky" to fantasy owners after seeing him struggle to start his career. However, if you're in the market for an inexpensive running back with a legitimate shot at closing out the season with a starting role, Jones might be your best bet.
Ronald Jones has seen the bulk of offensive snaps since Week 3 and passes the eyeball test by far in comparison to his counterpart, Peyton Barber. Despite receiving three fewer touches on the season than Barber, Jones is boasting an excellent 5.6 yards per touch in contrast to Barber's 3.6 and ties for 8th in fantasy points per snaps among RBs. The margin between these two backs would be even more significant if it weren't for two monster plays in Week 4 being called back by offensive penalty. The Bucs had a tough outing Sunday against the New Orleans defense, but they've some "middle of the pack" matchups on the horizon against the Panthers, Seahawks and Cardinals. This should allow for more breathing room to establish the run and alleviate some pressure on quarterback Jameis Winston.
Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
If we're looking for reasons for Kittle's lack of success, we might find them in the San Francisco run game. It's been the point of emphasis so far for head coach Kyle Shanahan, and it's working as they return from their early bye with a 3-0 record. Coleman is set to return to Monday Night Football from a high ankle sprain that's kept him out of the lineup since Week 1. The 49ers have averaged 38 rushing attempts per game, and it seems like regardless of who is receiving those attempts, we have seen massive production.
Coleman signed a nice contract in free agency to reunite with former OC Kyle Shanahan, and he saw great production under his tutelage in Atlanta. After a down year for the Falcons in 2018, Coleman was brought to San Fransico to be the lead back for the 49ers, and now is the perfect opportunity to buy low. He's on a run-first offense, is past his bye, and should be well-rested coming off the ankle injury. He faces defenses that are middle of the pack against the run in the coming weeks and should allow enough room for Shanahan to scheme them into the open field. Coleman has RB2 upside as long as he is healthy and can likely be acquired at a discount while returning from injury.
Sell of the Week
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Those who drafted Todd Gurley haven't been totally disappointed with his production through five weeks, but he hasn't looked like the same running back from the past two seasons. He's averaged around 17 touches per game, and though he is the RB14 in half-PPR formats, it's been touchdowns that have saved his days for fantasy owners.
He's averaging just 4.3 yards per touch - his lowest since his sophomore slump with Jeff Fischer. In weeks where he hasn't scored, he has finished as the RB23 and RB48 in half-PPR formats, respectively. It seems that Gurley will continue to be a touchdown-dependent fantasy asset, and while Jared Goff continues to struggle and the offense remains less efficient, now may be the time to sell-high.