B/R's Week 5 2020 Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer
It's been an odd start to the 2020 fantasy season, as several key injuries headlined the opening month. However, injuries are nothing new, and neither are heavily hyped players who underperform.
As we head into Week 5, it's becoming clear that some fantasy disappointments—like Carson Wentz, Austin Hooper and T.Y. Hilton—aren't worth starting, or even keeping around at all. With players like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb injured and the official start of bye-week season here, most fantasy rosters are in need of some restructuring.
The trade market, of course, is a valuable resource this time of year.
Each week, Bleacher Report will analyze some of our readers' toughest trade proposals. Some of the analysis will be roster-specific, but we'll try to provide information that is useful to all fantasy fans.
Just How Valuable Is Russell Wilson?
I want to start off with this proposal for a couple of reasons. The first is to touch base on the fact that if you have a must-start quarterback, it's smart to leverage your depth. In this case, that means dealing Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen to acquire Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen.
This is a tremendous move if you need receiver depth. While Allen is a high-end fantasy starter, you're not taking Russell Wilson out of the starting lineup except for his bye week. The Seattle Seahawks signal-caller is on pace for 5,140 passing yards, 64 touchdown passes, eight interceptions and 380 rushing yards.
Barring injury, Wilson will come out of the starting lineup just once—in Week 6, when Ben Roethlisberger faces the Cleveland Browns and their 30th-ranked pass defense.
The only way I wouldn't do this deal is if you're already deep at receiver and are potentially turning a strong opposing roster into a championship one by giving it Allen.
Aaron Jones Could Be This Year's Christian McCaffrey
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is arguably the best player in fantasy when he's 100 percent healthy. Unfortunately, he's not healthy and remains on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. The question is how much value McCaffrey has right now.
If you can get Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones for McCaffrey and Mike Davis—the Mark Andrews and Darren Waller swap is insignificant—I would do it.
I like Davis, particularly since Reggie Bonnafon has gone on IR. There's also a higher chance that McCaffrey returns to finish the season than I believed previously—the 2-2 Panthers are relevant. However, Jones is an elite back and poised to have the sort of season McCaffrey did in 2019.
Jones is on pace for 60 receptions, 2,036 scrimmage yards and 24 total touchdowns. He's absolutely worth acquiring for a player who may not return for several weeks and who is going to negate Davis' value when he does.
Is Joe Mixon Back to Being a Must-Start?
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was unplayable over the first three weeks of the 2020 season. He had seven receptions, 222 scrimmage yards and no touchdowns. Then he broke out against the Jacksonville Jaguars, finishing with 181 scrimmage yards, six catches and three touchdowns.
Is it time to start valuing Mixon as an elite fantasy back? Not necessarily. He had a strong game against the league's 25th-ranked run defense in a game Cincinnati controlled. The Bengals have shown, however, that they're willing to abandon the run when behind or at the first signs of a potential shootout—there's a reason Joe Burrow has 177 pass attempts.
Mixon will have some big games, but they're going to come in favorable situations. Don't expect elite production over the next three games, for example. Cincinnati will likely be playing catch-up against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, while the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts feature top-five run defenses.
As for dealing James Robinson for Mixon? I'd prefer the consistency of the Jaguars rookie, but there's nothing wrong with betting on the boom-or-bust potential of Mixon. Just don't expect top-10 RB production every week.
What's the Outlook for Nick Chubb?
There's a lot going on with this potential trade, but the two players I want to focus on are Nick Chubb and Odell Beckham Jr. I would not do this trade because of the swapping of the two.
While I love Chubb in fantasy and do believe he will return this season, I doubt it will be before the team's Week 9 bye. While he may be available for the playoff stretch, you aren't likely to have him over five weeks or more. Losing two starters to acquire Chubb could put you out of the mix by that aforementioned playoff stretch.
Beckham, meanwhile, should be returning to fantasy relevance. While he isn't going to have regular three-touchdown games as he did against the Dallas Cowboys, the Browns are eager to get him involved early and often.
"It has not happened there in a few of those ballgames, and there are always varying reasons for that, but he is a major part of our attack, and we have to make sure that we are utilizing him as best we can," head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters.
Beckham may not return to being an elite WR1, but he has far more upside than Marvin Jones Jr. Jerick McKinnon, meanwhile, is a more reliable points-per-reception option than D'Andre Swift.
What's the Outlook for Kareem Hunt?
If Chubb is likely to miss the next five weeks or more, what's the value for Browns backup-turned-starter Kareem Hunt? This is the question at the center of this trade proposal. I'd prefer to have Hunt here, but it's closer than many might think.
Don't expect Hunt to be a true every-down back in Chubb's absence. There are a couple of reasons for this, most notably that Cleveland has other options. With a strong offensive line, guys like D'Ernest Johnson and Dontrell Hilliard can be serviceable.
Johnson racked up 95 yards last week on 13 carries.
Because of this depth, the Browns are likely to refrain from overworking Hunt, who had a season-low 11 touches in Week 4. He should see a bump in production, but he's dealing with a groin injury that could limit his workload.
That said, the floor is pretty even here. JuJu Smith-Schuster has averaged roughly 53 yards per game, but he's also caught 17 passes and scored three times. Hunt has five total touchdowns and has averaged about 79 yards and two receptions.
Buy CeeDee Lamb While You Can
Let's get the obvious out of the way. While Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is a high-end fantasy option, there's no reason to have three tight ends on the roster. There's more value in Ertz than in streaming Noah Fant and Eric Ebron, but there isn't a dramatic difference.
There is a big difference between Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Dallas Cowboys rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb, though. Green has turned into a role player in the Cincinnati offense, while Lamb is becoming a centerpiece.
Lamb ranks third among Cowboys players with 29 targets and has 21 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns. This puts him on pace for 84 catches, 1,236 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
While it's unlikely Dallas continues to pass at such a high rate throughout the year—Dak Prescott is averaging just over 50 attempts per game—Lamb should still be in store for 1,000-plus yards and a half-dozen touchdowns.
Now is the time to be a Lamb buyer, not a seller.
Tyreek Hill Is Still an Elite WR1
We've already touched on Robinson, and we'll dig more into Indianapolis Colts rookie Jonathan Taylor in a bit. The two players I want to focus on here are Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill and Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III.
Robinson is a starting-caliber back, while Taylor and Gordon are matchup-dependent. Taylor, for example, had just one catch and 79 total yards in Week 4. Gordon had three catches and 86 total yards in Week 1 while sharing time with Phillip Lindsay, who could return to the lineup in Week 5.
Hill, meanwhile, remains one of the most reliable fantasy options at the wideout position.
Hill has been targeted six times or more in every game this season. He's caught at least four passes in each contest, produced a low of 46 receiving yards and has found the end zone in every game. In a traditional full-point PPR league, this puts Hill's weekly floor around 10 points, even when he doesn't score touchdowns.
Gordon and Taylor are a bit of a wash, so this trade comes down to roster makeup and the exchange of Robinson for Hill. While Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has enough weapons to spread the ball around, Hill shouldn't come out of fantasy lineups except for his Week 10 bye. If you have running back depth, it's worth making this move for Hill.
Don't Value Devonta Freeman Highly
As previously mentioned, Hunt's value is only likely to see a moderate bump in the wake of Chubb's injury. That said, he has significantly more value than New York Giants back Devonta Freeman. In fact, I would sell any and every Giants back at this point in the season.
Even with Saquon Barkley out for the year, opposing defenses are daring quarterback Daniel Jones to beat them. Why? Because he hasn't proved he can. Jones has two touchdown passes and five interceptions, has fumbled three times and has a rating of just 68.3.
With Jones' struggles, defenses have bottled up the New York rushing attack. Freeman has averaged just 2.7 yards per run through two games. Wayne Gallman (5.2) is the only Giants back to average more than three yards per carry, but he's seen just 10 runs in three games.
Freeman shouldn't sniff the starting lineup, which essentially makes this a swap of Marvin Jones Jr. and Hunt. Hunt is the more reliable option.
Let's cap off this week's edition with a few quick hits.
tim_dishion asks: David Johnson for Justin Jefferson?
As always, roster makeup will be a factor. However, Justin Jefferson is the easy choice. While David Johnson has been a serviceable back for the Houston Texans, he's more of a high-end flex play in fantasy. Jefferson, on the other hand, has legitimate WR1 potential.
I'd even prefer Jefferson to veteran teammate Adam Thielen for a couple of reasons. He has more big-play potential, and he's seen a higher catch rate (80 percent vs. 64.5 percent) over the first month of the season.
Jefferson is a player I'd try to scoop up now because he's not going to be available after another big game or two.
BartDawg21 asks: Would you trade Jonathan Taylor straight up for DK [Metcalf]?
I've talked extensively about DK Metcalf in the past, and I believe he'll finish as a top-10 WR in fantasy. He's seen at least six targets and 92 receiving yards in every game. I don't see that trend changing.
Taylor, meanwhile, has the ceiling of a top-20 fantasy back. However, a lot will hinge on the Indianapolis Colts' usage of their running backs. Taylor is seeing the bulk of the carries, but he's still sharing touches with Jordan Wilkins and receiving back Nyheim Hines.
Given Seattle's 32nd-ranked pass defense and need to score, fantasy stardom is more guaranteed for Metcalf than Taylor.
Josh_da_23 states: I traded Josh Jacobs and DeVante Parker for [Clyde Edwards-Helaire] and Cam Akers.
As is always the case, this comes down to roster makeup and whether you need additional running back depth. I would lean toward keeping Josh Jacobs over Clyde Edwards-Helaire, though both are elite fantasy backs.
Where this trade gets uneven for me is the swapping of DeVante Parker for Los Angeles Rams rookie back Cam Akers. Parker is a reliable WR3 or flex option and worth playing in most matchups. Even when Akers has been healthy—he missed Weeks 3 and 4—he has been a bit of an afterthought in the ground game.
Akers saw 17 attempts in two games but averaged just 3.1 yards per carry. At best, he's likely to be L.A.'s No. 2 back behind Darrell Henderson and sharing time with Malcolm Brown.
Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.