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TRADE ALERT – WEEK 5

Four weeks into the season and things are starting to shake out. @tristancook_ takes a look a couple wide receivers to go get if you are looking to reload rather than rebuild.

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. Not every player will be available in your league, but as the great Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”. 

Last week’s article highlighted Joe Mixon as a buy, and Mark Ingram II as both a buy and sell, depending on your team’s situation. As I mentioned last week, Mixon is more of a buy for the future, so if you were unable to buy last week, I’d be sending another offer this week. And, after a mediocre performance against the Steelers, you might be able to buy slightly cheaper. Mark Ingram II also had an uninspiring performance this past week, so depending on if you are either contending or rebuilding, my perspective has not changed. 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.

JuJu Smith-Schuster – BUY 

The first player I am targeting this week is JuJu Smith-Schuster. After a disappointing Monday night performance, which added to an already lackluster start to 2019, there might finally be an opportunity to buy. JuJu has steadily ascended in value since his rookie year, because he’s repeatedly exceeded expectations, until now. So far, the loss of Big Ben has had a significant impact on JuJu. The insertion of Mason Rudolph has seemingly turned the Steelers into a dink-and-dunk passing attack, which has subsequently tanked JuJu’s production numbers. Without the dump-off that turned into a 76 yard TD in week 3, JuJu has been bad with Rudolph. Pittsburgh has said they are going to try to open up the offense and take more deep shots down the field, but until I see it, I’m not buying in. So, why does that make JuJu a buy? Well, because he can’t get much worse. I’m not saying that I am expecting JuJu to come out and put up monster numbers the rest of 2019, but his value has gone down with the frustrating performances so far, JuJu has the capability of blowing up on any given week, so I’m trying to capitalize on the downturn in production. The JuJu owner is undoubtedly disappointed by his production to date, and if you can sell him/her on the idea that this is all you’ll get from him in 2019, you might be able to buy. 

I don’t think most owners are going to sell easily on JuJu. The best chance you have is either a team that is thin at WR other than Smith-Schuster; or a team that is in rebuild mode and is concerned about post-Roethlisberger life for him. I think everyone should be trying to buy JuJu, but I am aware that not every owner is going to be willing to sell. So, if you’re able to find an owner willing to listen to offers, how much am I willing to pay for JuJu? I’d be happy to give up two 1st round picks for him. I’m not sure if that will get it done, but I’m starting with that and seeing if that’s close to a deal. I’d be willing to add anything short of a third 1st to get the deal done. Some owners are going to have his value beyond what I would pay, and if that is the case in your league, I’d suggest continuing to check in periodically throughout the year, because I do not expect a great season for JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2019.

STEFON DIGGS – BUY

The next player I am targeting is Stefon Diggs. He seems like the definition of a buy-low candidate. He probably would have had a slightly lower value prior to his 7/108/0 stat line in week 4 against a very good Bears team; however, I still am trying to buy. The Vikings passing game has looked nothing short of awful so far in 2019, and consequently, Kirk Cousins has come under criticism. After another disappointing passing game performance in week 4, I expect to see an emphasis placed on getting the passing attack fixed. Therefore, I think most all of the Vikings’ pass-catchers could be considered buy-low players, but I believe that Diggs has the most long-term value, so that is why he is whom I specifically have my eyes on. At nearly 26 years old, Diggs is just entering his prime and should have appeal to all teams, regardless of their standing. He is young enough to build around, he has a high enough ceiling for a team stuck in the middle, and he should produce good numbers in the short term for teams contending. 

So, that brings us to how much I’d be willing to pay for Diggs. Well, his consensus value is slightly above a 2020 1st round pick and I’d certainly pay that for him. I’m not sure if that would get it done in a lot of leagues, but it is a good point to start negotiations. If I had to throw in something else, I’d probably be willing to go as much as a 2020 2nd in terms of picks, but I’d like to keep it below that if possible. I think Diggs has the talent to produce similarly to most any WR you are going to pick in the 2020 draft. And, he has already proven it at the NFL level. If the Diggs owner in your league is at all concerned by the Vikings’ lack of a passing game in 2019, I’d aggressively pursue Diggs. 

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