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Trade Alert: 2020 Bounce-Back WRs

Which WRs are primed for a 2020 bounce-back? @tristancook_ looks at who to target this off-season in this week’s “Trade Alert”

Welcome! If this is your first time reading this, the ‘Trade Alert’ article is a weekly piece that aims to identify players who are about to have a change in value. Whether that means an increase or decrease doesn’t necessarily matter, because the idea is to identify the player before the change and make the appropriate trade decisions. It’s obviously a task that is easier said than done, but hopefully, this article will help you make a few moves that can improve your roster, regardless of the situation your team is in.

As always, for reference, assume that the values I am providing, unless otherwise noted, are for 12-team, PPR leagues. For example, an “early” 1st round pick refers to 1.01-1.04, a “mid” 1st would be 1.05-1.08, and a “late” 1st is 1.09-1.12. Let’s get to this week’s players.

Because we have entered the fantasy playoffs, and many leagues have some type of trade deadline, the articles for the remainder of the season will have a slightly different format. Instead of moves to make in the immediate future, I will be highlighting trade strategies for the off-season. The off-season is generally a time where we see plenty of hype around incoming rookie picks, and we should use that to our advantage to go after players who have experienced a dip in value.

This week’s article is going to focus on WRs that, for one reason or another, have had disappointing 2019 seasons. Not every player that has disappointed this year is in line to bounce back in 2020, but I expect these players to do so. Let’s get to it.

Christian Kirk

The first name on my list is Arizona Cardinal, Christian Kirk. Aside from his monster game (6/138/3) in week 10, Kirk has had a quiet sophomore campaign. In fact, nearly 50% of his yards, and all three of his TDs have come in two games. Kirk was seen as a potential breakout player for 2019 but has disappointed.

However, I believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Kirk. A significant part of his poor performance can be attributed to nagging injuries that have impacted him all season as well as the growing pains that accompany having a rookie QB. But, the outlook for 2020 and beyond is still bright.

First and foremost, the development of Kyler Murray and the entire Cardinals offense should provide increased production opportunities for Kirk. The Cardinals are not a particularly good team and have a long way to go to challenge their fellow NFC West teams, but the one thing we can take from 2019 is that Kingsbury’s offense can be successful in the NFL.

Furthermore, there is a real possibility that future first ballot HOFer Larry Fitzgerald decides to retire meaning that Kirk’s role should only increase. And finally, Kirk will be entering his 3rdyear in the NFL and will be poised to break out. I would suggest inquiring about Kirk close to your draft. If the owner is frustrated, the hype of the 2020 rookie class should provide you a significant discount on Kirk.

mike williams chargers

Mike Williams

Next, I am going to target Mike Williams. There is a significant amount of uncertainty surrounding the Chargers going into the 2020 season, but one thing that I think we can rely on is that Mike Williams has the talent to be a featured part of the LAC offense. Their offense has a real possibility of being without Rivers and Gordon. And, while I find it unlikely, the Chargers could even look to move Keenan Allen in what will be the final year of his contract. I think it’s safe to say that Williams should be locked in for a big role in 2020.

I was not as high on Williams coming into this year as many others were, but he’s actually having a pretty decent season. The biggest hole in his production is that he’s yet to score a TD. But, he already has more receiving yards and targets than he did in 2018 and should surpass his reception total in the coming weeks.

We know that TDs are one of the hardest things to predict year-to-year, so if you’re able to cash in on Williams having a “bad” year, I expect that Williams will see his TD receptions regress towards the mean in 2020. You could very likely find a Williams owner that is tired of waiting for Williams to “break out” and is willing to part ways with him.

Again, the Chargers team could look very different after Free Agency and the NFL draft, but I’d wait until you get closer to your 2020 draft, and try to acquire Williams from a concerned owner. I’d be willing to give a late 2020 1stfor Williams, and I think that would get it done near draft time.

Credit: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

JuJu Smith-Schuster

The final player I will mention is someone that I’ve talked about before, JuJu Smith-Schuster. When I mentioned him early in the season, I noted that I didn’t expect JuJu to have a great 2019. And as we sit prior to week 14, he’s on pace to have his worst season as a pro, by far.

There have been many things that we can blame for his poor season. The inconstancy of play at QB, injuries, and the other WRs have all contributed to disappointing 2019. But, there’s hope on the horizon. The 2020 season should see the return of Big Ben, and with it should come a much better looking offense for the Steelers.

His detractors will try to point out that JuJu has struggled without having AB and/or Bell on the field. And, while his numbers reflect that, I believe it is more due to losing Roethlisberger. I expect a strong bounce-back in 2020.

I still don’t think it will be easy to acquire JuJu. But, as the off-season rolls along, and the value of 2020 draft picks increases, I’d be checking on his availability. I’d be thrilled to get JuJu for the 1.01 in this draft, and I think that if you wait long enough for the hype to build, you could draw some interest from the JuJu owner. 

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