Fantasy Football 2021: 7 Players You Should Trade for Right Now
The fantasy football season comes and goes so quickly. Five weeks in, managers may need a trade to salvage an underperforming roster. Don't wait to reach a point of desperation.
Several players have yet to hit their stride because of competition for touches or targets at their positions, injuries and early struggles in a new system, but they're capable of turning the corner in any given week.
While some managers may not have the roster space or patience to wait on a player to pick up steam in the next few weeks, you can pounce on the opportunity to buy low on acquisitions whose fantasy output can take off in the second half of the fantasy football season.
We'll provide seven trade targets rostered in at least 75 percent of Yahoo leagues who could fill a glaring hole in your starting lineup.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals offense isn't off to a blazing-hot start. The unit ranks 18th in scoring and 25th for total yards with 24 or fewer points in four consecutive games.
Send trade proposals to managers who may be frustrated with Joe Burrow's performances. He's already thrown six interceptions, one more than he did through 10 games last year. In two out of five contests, the second-year quarterback has thrown for fewer than 208 yards.
On the other hand, Burrow's fantasy output has trended in the right direction over the past two weeks, eclipsing 20 fantasy points in both outings. Also note, in Weeks 3 and 4, he didn't have his best red-zone weapon in wideout Tee Higgins, who sat out with a shoulder injury.
With a healthy wide receiver group that features reliable veteran wideout Tyler Boyd, Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins, Burrow's fantasy outlook should continue to improve in the coming weeks.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Coming into the 2021 season, Chris Carson had borderline RB1 fantasy value in a new uptempo offense under offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, but his production fluctuated through the first four weeks of the season.
Carson ran for 80-plus rushing yards in Weeks 1 and 3 while averaging more than five yards per carry in those contests. In Weeks 2 and 4, he finished with fewer than 32 rushing yards while averaging no more than 2.38 yards per carry in both games. Carson missed Week 5 because of a neck injury.
Because of Carson's recent absence and the involvement of Alex Collins, who's logged 10-plus carries in each of the past two games, managers may sell their stock in the former. Take them up on offers or send some proposals despite the fact he'll miss the next three games on injured reserve.
The Seahawks also placed Russell Wilson on injured reserve Friday, which means the star quarterback and Carson could return in Week 10 for a strong finish to the campaign.
Managers who desperately need help at running back can probably acquire Carson at a low price now and plug him into the starting lineup for the latter portion of the season for a strong run down the stretch.
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
Javonte Williams shares the backfield with Melvin Gordon III, who has more touches than his rookie running mate (70-65).
Managers who added Darrel Williams or Devontae Booker—two running backs who will handle the majority load this week for their respective teams because of injuries—may opt to trade Williams for the right price.
If you have a manager who's impatiently waiting for Williams to take over the Denver Broncos backfield, roll the dice on the first-year running back who recorded 86 scrimmage yards in Week 5. The North Carolina product also has three receptions in each of his past three outings, so he's a solid target in points-per-reception leagues as well.
Furthermore, the Broncos play in a division with teams that field some of the worst run defenses, and they've yet to face any of them. The Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers all rank 25th or worse against ground attacks.
With the Raiders next on the Broncos schedule, Williams could have a breakout game in Week 6.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Instead of traveling with the Atlanta Falcons to London for a Week 5 matchup against the New York Jets, Calvin Ridley tended to a personal matter. Before his absence, he didn't eclipse 80 receiving yards in any of the first four games, averaging just 9.4 yards per catch.
After the Falcons traded star wideout Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans, Ridley's fantasy outlook shot through the roof, but he hasn't delivered WR1 value in an elevated role. If managers are ready to jump off his hype wagon, a fantasy opportunist could land him in a shrewd trade.
Assuming Ridley rejoins the Falcons sooner than later, he could rack up gaudy receiving numbers after a short layoff. Quarterback Matt Ryan has looked sharp in games leading up to the team's Week 6 bye.
Since Week 3, Ryan has thrown for 868 yards and eight touchdowns without an interception, completing at least 73.3 percent of his passes in two out of the three outings.
While Cordarrelle Patterson has become a pleasant surprise, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts still has to establish some consistency after his breakout performance in London. Ridley has his best fantasy weeks ahead of him.
A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
Going into Week 6, A.J. Brown has just 10 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown with a 40 percent catch rate. He missed one game with a hamstring injury, but even when healthy, the Pro Bowl wideout struggled to find his groove, finishing with fewer than 50 receiving yards in each of the first four games.
Keep in mind Brown underwent surgery on both knees this past offseason. After sitting out Week 4 with a hamstring injury, he played 64 percent of the offensive snaps, which shows the coaching staff didn't give him a full workload. Brown took the field for more than 80 percent of the snaps in Weeks 1 and 2.
With 1,000-plus receiving yards in each of his first two campaigns, Brown can bounce back. He's in his third season with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, so the tandem has chemistry that should remain strong even after the departure of former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who took over the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job.
As wideout Julio Jones battles a hamstring injury that's sidelined him over the past two weeks, look for Brown to break out of his slump in the near future.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
From a fantasy perspective, Michael Thomas has been out of sight and out of mind while he recovers from ankle surgery. Idle on the bench through the first five weeks and now on a bye, the wideout may land on a trade block.
Secondly, some managers may have doubts about how quickly Thomas clicks with his new starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who took over for now-retired Drew Brees.
Despite Thomas' inactivity and valid concerns about his connection with Winston, he'll likely have a high target share upon his return.
The New Orleans Saints' pass-catching group has big-play receivers in Deonte Harris (19.7 yards per catch) and Marquez Callaway (17.1 yards per catch), but neither has shown any consistency. Both have fewer than 14 receptions.
The Saints desperately need a go-to option on the perimeter in the passing game. As the league leader in catches for consecutive terms (2018-19), Thomas has shown that he can fill that void. Managers should attempt to acquire him with WR1 expectations.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
On the day before Sunday's Week 5 games, the San Francisco 49ers placed tight end George Kittle on injured reserve with a calf injury. He's hauled in 19 passes for 227 scoreless yards.
On top of Kittle's modest receiving numbers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has already missed a game because of a calf contusion, which is troubling because of his lengthy injury history.
Managers may deal Kittle with concerns about his rapport with rookie quarterback Trey Lance if Garoppolo goes through another injury-riddled campaign. However, the All-Pro tight end's track record suggests he'll remain a primary target in the passing game regardless of who's under center. Also, in 2020, the 49ers signed him to a five-year extension worth up to $75 million.
Per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, Kittle could return in Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals. Put some trade pressure on managers disappointed in his production or worried about the 49ers' quarterback situation right now.