It’s getting to that point of the season. Teams are starting to show their true colors, strengths and weaknesses are being exposed, and trends are developing. This is the time of year where owners can really begin taking advantage of the art of the deal. Some league mates may be prone to overreact to three weeks of football, some may simply lack the patience to allow talented players to find their niche in an offense, and others may trade incessantly with utter disregard for the well-being of their team. So, let’s look at some players you should deal while the getting is good and steal before they get back on track or break out. We’ll also delve into a few guys you may be tempted to trade but can’t get value for. These are the heels of the season through three weeks. Despised by fantasy owners even more than all-time great wrestling heels the Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, and Vince McMahon in their heyday.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – Tampa Bay)
The beard came through with yet another top-5 performance at Raymond James Stadium Monday night against the Steelers. He has now thrown for at least 400 yards and 3 touchdowns in each of their three games this season and is the QB1 in fantasy (Yes, he’s outscored the heralded Patrick Mahomes). Jameis Winston will be eligible to return this week but it would be shocking if the Buccaneers went back to him with how well Fitzpatrick has played. They have a strong Bears defense on the road in Week 4 and then their bye week so this may be your last chance to get anything for him. I would let the QB1 go for bench depth before he becomes waiver wire fodder.

Chris Carson (RB – Seattle)
Carson just had what may be his best game of the season with 32 carries for 102 yards, 1 rushing touchdown, and 2 catches for 22 yards against the Cowboys. It’s a good sign, but this was only their first rushing touchdown of the season and the holes didn’t really start opening up until Sean Lee left the game in the third quarter. The Seahawks were abysmal on the ground last season finding pay dirt just four times and three of those came from Russell Wilson. I’m not convinced their rushing attack is turning around all of the sudden and Carson isn’t much of a pass catcher so he won’t make up for it there either. I would look to cash in on this performance if you can. Try reaching out to the Rashaad Penny owner for a second-round draft pick or lock up one of your higher end RB handcuffs.

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Adrian Peterson (RB – Washington)
From free agent to top-10 RB in fantasy. It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around for a player, especially one that no one seemed to want this offseason. Peterson has had two stellar games and one stinker sandwiched in between them for the Redskins in 2018. We saw a similar script from him last season in Arizona before petering out in the final four games of the season. Granted, the Redskins offensive line is much better than what he ran behind with the Cardinals. Peterson may be able to maintain low-end RB2 value throughout the remainder of the season but he will be out of a job again in 2019. If you aren’t relying on him to get you to the playoffs I’d recommend pairing him with another player to upgrade at a position. He has brutal playoff matchups in Week 15 at Tennessee and Week 16 at Jacksonville, if he holds up that deep into the season.
Doug Baldwin (WR – Seattle)
There is a legitimate risk his knee injuries linger throughout the season but I still love me some Doug Baldwin. He’s getting back on the practice field this week and appears to be trending in the direction of playing this Sunday. He’s been great with Russell Wilson throughout his career in Seattle and at 30 years old he has at least a few years of production left in him. Take the pulse of his owner to see if they’re panicking. I would trade any of the aforementioned players and throw in a later round draft pick to sweeten the deal if necessary.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR – Arizona)
This is strictly an all-in for the ship type of move, and I’m only doing it if I can get him for pennies on the dollar. The Cardinals offense is no good, but Larry Fitzgerald is great! He’s run into a couple of tough matchups the past two weeks and has been hampered by the worst quarterback play in the league thanks to one Sam Bradford. Josh Rosen is going to get the nod going forward and that should be a big boost for Larry Fitzgerald. It may not come in Week 4 against the Seahawks but that may be a good thing for Fitzgerald truthers. If he’s bad again this week and on a 1-3 or 0-4 team, you might be able to get him for a third-round pick. That is certainly a deal worth making to put a trophy on the mantle.
Aaron Jones (RB – Green Bay)
I really hope it’s not too late to acquire Aaron Jones on the cheap. Jamaal Williams is a pedestrian running back. Sure, he’s good in pass protection but he averaged 3.7 yards per carry in 2017 and is currently sitting on a 2.7 yard per carry average this season. Aaron Jones, on the other hand, averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2017 and 7 yards per carry in his first game back from suspension. It was a small sample size but he continues to show us that he’s the more talented runner on this team. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin even praised Jones for his explosiveness this week. There’s a reason he’s not saying that about Jamaal Williams and it’s because he isn’t. Williams and Montgomery will retain most, if not all, of the passing down work but it’s only a matter of time before Aaron Jones becomes the featured rusher. I would be willing to trade a guy like Marvin Jones to acquire him.
Rashaad Penny (RB – Seattle)
This guy has been a massive disappointment thus far. He’s not on the level of Ronald Jones quite yet (at least he’s been active), but it’s getting close. Penny was drafted as high as the third round in some start-ups and hasn’t delivered an ounce of return on investment. He flat out dropped the ball after receiving a handoff against the Cowboys last week and didn’t get another opportunity for the rest of the game. Chris Carson ended up carrying the ball 32 times to Penny’s 3. I still believe in the talent but he will be riding the pine for the foreseeable future. Don’t sell low on this guy.

Amari Cooper (WR – Oakland)
This a confusing case. Cooper was great in his first two seasons in the NFL but he’s always had some boom and bust in him. No one saw the disaster of a season he had in 2017 coming though. He had just 680 yards receiving and nearly half that production came in two games. Unfortunately, that trend has continued in 2018. Cooper combined for a total of 26 yards receiving in Weeks 1 and 3 but had 116 yards in Week 2. He needs to be viewed as unreliable at best on a week-to-week basis at this point and I wouldn’t start him unless you’re desperate. To make matters worse, Head coach John Gruden has expressed doubt in Cooper’s desire to be a great player. There’s no evidence to support the theory that Cooper doesn’t love football but a lack of passion for the game would explain the up and down nature of his performance throughout his career.
Kenyan Drake (RB – Miami)
Before the season started, Adam Gase spoke of his desire to get Kenyan Drake 20+ touches per game. He’s apparently not aware that as head coach of the team, he can make that happen. Drake’s touches have decreased in each game this season (17, 15, and 7) and has just 6 more carries than Frank Gore on the season. You’d think that he developed a fumbling problem or that the team just isn’t playing well. Not the case. The Dolphins are 3-0 and Drake hasn’t put the ball on the ground. For whatever reason, Gase doesn’t seem to want to put a full workload on Kenyan Drake’s plate. It’s an unfortunate situation for a really talented player with great playmaking ability. Hold on to Drake if you can’t get equal or greater value for his services.

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