With five weeks of NFL action behind us and the bye weeks commencing, you have a fair idea of how your fantasy season is travelling as you read this piece. Hopefully, you’re thriving at 5-0 or 4-1 and are eager to find a way to better your squad, but for those coaches who have dealt with injuries, failed draft picks and all-around adversity so far; all hope is not lost. Trading for the players on this list could give you the kickstart you need to help breathe life into your fantasy campaign before it becomes too bleak to resolve.
All players numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN PPR-scoring leagues
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CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys
An inconsistent number of targets makes it hard to predict what CeeDee Lamb will produce week in, week out. Still, the Cowboys pass-catcher has had some noteworthy outings so far this season and all signs point to Dallas owning one of the best offences in the league thanks to a healthy Dak Prescott under center. As Lamb continues to flirt with top-20 production as a wide receiver, there’s every chance he reaches that threshold by season’s end, especially given Amari Cooper’s shaky injury history.
Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos
Denver’s rookie running back hasn’t burst onto the fantasy scene just yet, but with every week that passes he continues to prove the Broncos right for selecting him 35th overall in last year’s draft. While splitting the workload almost evenly down the middle with Melvin Gordon, Williams has still managed to steal the headlines with some of his plays and I won’t be shocked if he manages to pry carries away from Gordon as the season ages. Averaging a meagre 9.4 points a game, it’s a stretch to start Williams with confidence right now, however, we could change our tune in a month’s time if the first-year RB continues to grow.
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Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
It might be hard to convince an Aaron Rodgers owner to part with the Packers star, but if you can, all signs point to more potent fantasy scores just around the corner. A season ago, the MVP was second only to Justin Herbert in total fantasy points at an average of 24.0 per contest – and if you take away his 1.32 performance against the Saints, Rodgers is still averaging 22.43 points a game in 2021 which puts him on the cusp of the top-5 QB finish. With their eyes fixed squarely on the Lombardi trophy, I only expect Rodgers and the Packers to get better as the year progresses and before his box scores start to pop, I’d try to convince another coach to cough him up.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills
Much like A-Rod, those coaches who are holding on to Stefon Diggs aren’t going to give away the talented Buffalo receiver for pennies. Fantasy managers were happy to draft Diggs in the top-15 before the season began after a career-best outing in 2020, although it’s fair to say he hasn’t lived up to that hype just yet. While the stud wideout ranks 17th in receiving yards, 23rd for fantasy points amongst WR’s and is tied for 18th in receptions, he’s still inside the top-10 for targets. Even with Josh Allen spreading the love around in Buffalo’s passing attack, I’m still all in on Diggs ending the season as one of the best players at his position.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
Two dominant games to start the season had T.J. Hockenson looking like a fantasy goldmine, with the Lions tight-end posting 46.3 points from his 19 targets against the 49ers and Packers. Unfortunately for his owners, three straight underwhelming performances have coaches questioning that scoring prowess. Defences have clued in on Hockenson’s threat in the passing game and injuries to the offensive line have forced him to spend more time as a blocker. With that being said, I expect Detroit’s pass-catcher to bounce back before too long and there are bound to be a few coaches with an itchy trigger finger. If your TE spot is in constant flux, I’d try to broker a deal for Hockenson ASAP.
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Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
With Ezekiel Elliott firmly entrenched as Dallas’ go-to running back there is limited upside for his backup Tony Pollard right now. However, even with Zeke in uniform, Pollard sits as the RB21 on the year and he’s averaging a league-leading 6.4 yards per rushing attempt amongst players with at least 10 rushing attempts. Playing second fiddle for the Cowboys keeps a cap on his potential ceiling, but the efficiency that Pollard has shown means he’ll continue to see a decent volume in their high-octane offence. It may seem farfetched to trade for a backup, but there might not be a better handcuff in all of fantasy football right now.
Michael Carter, RB, Jets
Trading for a New York Jets player is widely considered taboo and I’m not even sure Michael Carter should be on that list. However, the rookie halfback has had some flashes of brilliance to start his NFL career and despite the struggles from his quarterback Zach Wilson, Carter is still putting up solid fantasy numbers. Coming off his highest score to date and with New York heading into the bye, there’s every possibility his owners can be talked into letting Carter go via trade and before he has a chance to find his mojo and really starts to thrive I’d make sure I at least as the question.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles
Have we forgotten that DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy just over 9 months ago – looking like an offensive maestro in the process? Yes, of course there are concerns about his frame and size, but Smith has virtually put them to bed with a strong start to his rookie campaign. He got his career started with a bang by posting a touchdown on his first drive and over the past fortnight Smith has compiled 199 receiving yards from 14 receptions. Those who invested in the former Bama product won’t give him up cheaply, but every player has a price.
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