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.
If you missed last week’s article, it covered a few underwhelming rookie and sophomore players to target. This week’s article is going to highlight a few players that are set to be free agents after this season. There is some risk associated with buying a player that will likely be on a different roster next year, but I think there are a few guys worth acquiring. Let’s get to it.
The first player I’m looking to buy is Kenyan Drake. Since being acquired by the Arizona Cardinals, Drake has unquestionably become the Cardinals lead back. The situation regarding Drake and David Johnson seems to be leaning in Kenyan’s direction. But, as this season draws to a close, our focus shifts to the future for the Cardinals, and the roles of either of these respective players.
It is certainly possible that the Cardinals are going to want to resign Drake in the offseason, but pursuing him could lead to some cap issues for Arizona. Most notably, they already have David Johnson on a big contract through 2021. There is the potential for Johnson to get cut, but doing so prior to the 2020 season would be a massive cap hit. The most likely situation is Johnson being cut after 2020.
Drake certainly is not going to be getting a mega-deal, but the Cardinals are unlikely to want to tie up even more money on the RB position. The most likely scenario is that Drake lands elsewhere in 2020. There are some dream situations for Drake (Chiefs), but regardless of where he ends up, I think that he has the talent to be a productive back in this league.
The price that you’d have to pay to acquire Drake is going to vary per league. If he is on the roster of a contending team, it will likely be tough to make a deal. But, if not, I’d be willing to pay as much as a late 2ndround pick for him. However, I think there’s a reasonable chance that you could get him for less than that if he is on a team that is going nowhere in 2019. I think that Drake has the talent to be a solid fantasy RB, and if he ends up in a great situation, he could be a steal at that price.
The next player on my list is another former Miami Dolphin, Lamar Miller. Similarly to Drake, Miller was poorly utilized in Miami and had a resurgence for a different team. There are, however, a few notable differences between Miller and Drake. The biggest difference is that Miller has already gone through free agency and is significantly older than Drake. Furthermore, Miller has produced good fantasy numbers over a long period of time. Finally, Miller is coming off of a major injury and will be rapidly approaching the RB age-cliff.
While age and injury may make Miller unappealing to some, I think there is a possibility that he can have some value in 2020 and beyond. He won’t be appealing to every type of dynasty team, but if you need RB help, you could probably get Miller for a late 3rd or even 4th round pick. I normally hate trading draft picks for older players, but at that low of a cost, Miller could provide value.
Similarly to Miller, AJ Green is a veteran player who will be coming off of an injury and likely on a new team. I think there is a significantly larger amount left in the tank for Green than I do for Miller, and he will therefore likely cost you a bit more. However, I think that Green could still be a value. There certainly is cause for caution, but we know that Green certainly has the talent. His biggest concern is and has always been, his injury history.
You can likely use this to your advantage, however, the AJ Green owner is likely frustrated with the back and forth injury narrative around AJ this year, and could be a motivated seller. I think that a late 2ndround pick or even an early 3rdround pick could get the deal done. Or, if the AJ Green owner is trying to make a championship push, you could perhaps make a move to get Green for an otherwise less valued player.
Hunter Henry & Amari Cooper
The final two names I will mention are Hunter Henry and Amari Cooper. The reason I want to include them here is that their respective contracts will expire after this season. However, in my opinion, it is highly unlikely that either player ends up signing with any other team. In any case, they should be included, and it could be worth sending out a feeler offer to see if they are available.
Of these two, I think it is more likely that Cooper becomes an FA than Henry. If the Chargers were unable to sign Henry to a long-term deal this offseason, the franchise tag would be a significantly lower number for Henry than it would be for the Cowboys and Cooper. Furthermore, I think that the Chargers are more likely to prioritize signing Henry than their other big-name FA, Melvin Gordon.
For the Cowboys, they just signed Zeke to a long-term deal, and have to extend Dak Prescott as well. If the Cowboys are unable to sign Dak, they will undoubtedly use the franchise tag on him. If they are able to sign Dak, they will likely have a huge amount of money tied up with him and Zeke and could be in a tough spot to also pay Cooper.
As I said, I’d be shocked if either player changes teams prior to 2020, but if I had to pick one, it would be Cooper. It is similarly unlikely that either player will be available in your dynasty league, but it may be worth an inquiry. Your best chance is to play on the fear of the unknown that the 2020 season could bring, whether that means holdouts or new teams.
If either player is available, I’d make a strong offer, they are both amongst the top producers at their respective positions, and would be a cornerstone player for your dynasty team.