Russian Roulette

Dominick Petrillo @envisionff


Russian Roulette:

Every season players come onto a team and everyone gets excited about their potential. Whether it be a rookie coming in from the draft and the hype about a monster rookie season, or whether it is a free agent coming into a new situation, everyone will have opinions aplenty.

Here, we are going to take a look at some moves you can make on your fantasy teams, either dynasty or keeper, to cash in on this fear before the draft. Trades are a big part of the offseason and these are some players you should try to buy or sell right now. Before the draft. Obviously, not all of these will work out as some of the unlikely scenarios we don’t think will happen will. But this is why it is called Russian Roulette and not guaranteed winning moves. So, let us get to the list of players you should want to trade or trade for in hopes of cashing in before their value changes.

Buys:

Josh Rosen QB Arizona Cardinals– What can we expect from Josh Rosen in 2019? No one knows. But one thing we can know is it can’t be worse than what we got in 2018 from the rookie from UCLA.

Not only did he have a terrible coaching staff. One which will not be back this season. But he may have had an even worse offensive line. All this is to say he stays in Arizona for the coming season. If the Cardinals are true to their word in taking Kyler Murray this is likely not his team for the coming season. Instead, he would likely go to Washington and take over for Case Keenum or possibly go to a team like the Giants or Patriots and back up an entrenched starter for a season or two. While the last scenario is dreadful for fantasy purposes this season, it may be the best for him long term if you own him in dynasty. Or if you can buy him to own in dynasty. No one wants to waste a roster spot on someone who is not going to play for a season but if you waste one for a year or two and then the player turns into, I don’t know, Aaron Rodgers. Well, it is worth it to do so. Josh Rosen is not Aaron Rodgers. He is not the same type of quarterback and he is far more public in his opinions. But the fact is. If he does take an extra year to mature or progress before taking over, it could be much better for him than being thrown into the wolves now and ruining him. Both physically and mentally.

If you want to get something from him this season the best bet is for him to go to Washington but this, in most ways is a lateral move as the offense in the nation’s capital is on par with, or even worse than in the Arizona desert. The only difference between the two offenses is the offensive lines. If healthy, the line in Washington is much better than the line in Arizona meaning he may be able to stay upright a few games, but that is the only advantage. The run game of Derrius Guice is unproven and while many like it, it is far more of an unknown than that of David Johnson. Guice could be good. But he could also need another year to heal from his ACL like Delvin Cook did last season.

In the pass game, neither team has elite talent. Larry Fitzgerald is an all-time great for sure, but that time was a few seasons ago. On the downside of his career, he is only marginally better than the options in Washington. With Jamison Crowder now on the Jets and Jordan Reed still dealing with injuries from his childhood, it would be difficult to expect a lot from him yet again. Talking so bad about Rosen and his possible teams why should we want him on our fantasy team? Good question. He will be cheap. Especially now before we know exactly where he will end up. For the most part, quarterbacks are a dime a dozen and in dynasty why not take a chance on a new dime who may turn into a dollar given the chance. At this point in their careers, we know what the likes of a Ryan Tannehill or even a Joe Flacco are. But Rosen is still young enough to become more. If you traded for Jared Goff after his rookie season you are feeling pretty good right now. Rosen has all the tools to be as good as if not better than Goff. He has a depressed value due to his current situation and if he flames out again there will be another owner who still thinks he is young enough to take a chance on. It is a win, win situation for you. Get him now. Will you get him for Ryan Tannehill or Joe Flacco? No. But throw in a second-round pick and it should get it done and this is still a great trade for you. Oh, and if he ends up in Washington maybe, just maybe, he can make Trump cry with his intelligence and) gasp) truths about him.

Jordan Howard RB Philadelphia Eagles– Unlike teams with bad management like the Raiders, the Eagles are not going to waste a first-round pick on a running back when they just acquired one via trade.

Josh Jacobs was a real possibility for Philadelphia at number 25 in Thursday’s first round. But with this move for Howard, it is now likely the pick will be on the defensive side of the ball to help fix a secondary ravaged by bad play and injury in 2018. A RB might still come to Philly, but it is likely to be a late round pick and not a highly touted guy at this point. Could the Eagles grab Miles Sanders in the second or maybe third round? Of course. But it is more likely they will wait until day three to add depth should Darren Sproles not return to the team. With Corey Clemente and Wendall Smallwood, not to mention Josh Adams still on the roster, RB is not a position of need. This means great things for Howard as he should take over as the first and second down back.

Getting out of Chicago was the best thing for Howard. While he still finished in the top 20 in fantasy at the RB position, he was not a fit in the Matt Nagy system and was even more unnecessary after the free agent signing of Mike Davis. In Philadelphia, he will be utilized to his best ability. As a runner. He belongs in a committee and this is what he will get. If he has another solid season, he could re-sign with the Eagles for a future Super Bowl run with the team or leverage this season into a lucrative contract next offseason. If he falls flat, he will not cost you a lot to acquire and you can move him after this season for a draft pick and try again. His value for sure went up after the move but it will increase even further after seeing what the Eagles do in this draft. If at all possible, get him on your roster now and don’t hesitate because you are nervous. Hesitation can cost you and, in this case, it may cost you a lot in his price of the acquisition.

Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers- Not only is Aaron Rodgers the reason Mike McCarthy was fired in Green Bay, maybe, but he is also coming off a down season.

A down season? 4,443 pass yards with 25 touchdowns and two interceptions while finishing as the QB six for fantasy. I think a lot of us would love to have this from out quarterback in a down season. Not to mention he played most of the season with a fractured knee and barely played in the 16th and final game of the season due to a concussion suffered early on in the game. Coming into this season though it will mean a reduced value for him compared to other seasons. People are not sure what to expect in his age 35 seasons and whether he will continue his supposed unwillingness to listen to coaching from the staff in Green Bay. While a lot of this is for sure overblown by the media, it also has partial truths in it and this is what most people see and focus on, making it likely you can get him in a trade for less than in previous years.

Davante Adams has become an elite receiver in the NFL and with the new guys hopefully able to step up in year two, gaining the trust of Rodgers along the way, this season could be a rejuvenation for the Packers. The defense under Mike Pettine Jr. has gotten a lot stronger through additions in the offseason and this should take some pressure off the offense allowing them to get back to the comfort level they have had in prior seasons when things were clicking on all cylinders for them. With Aaron Jones not being suspended for the first two games and a new head coach in Matt LaFleur in town he should be given the chance to finally shine out of the backfield and along with Jamal Williams provide a solid enough run game to keep opposing defenses honest.

After a trade with New Orleans last season during the draft, the Packers have two first-round picks in the first round this season and it is likely one of these picks, if not both are used on a new toy for Rodgers and the offense. Whether it be a player like Noah Fant or D.K. Metcalf at the number 12 pick or a player like A.J. Brown at number 30. The player chosen should immediately provide an upgrade at their position. Jimmy Graham is a shell of himself and if the Packers were to bring in an athlete like Noah Fant to replace him this would provide a much-needed upgrade over last season. If they take a receiver to play across from Adams instead of using a pick on a tight end this would not only upgrade the WR two position but in turn the WR one position of Adams. There is no better help to a good player than having another player in the same position the other team needs to worry about.

Aaron Rodgers is still the most talented quarterback in the NFL today and possibly of all time. This said with the offseason moves made by the club as well as his revenge personality now focused on proving the journalists wrong, we are in for an MVP type season. Waiting too long to go after him in a trade could cost you. Go get him now while the articles are still fresh in peoples minds and they are still hating on him. Is he the most likable player in the NFL? Heck no. But he may be the best player still. And that means a lot more than his likableness. Oh, and the 40 touchdowns with 5 interceptions and 4,700 yards won’t hurt either.

Marlon Mack RB Indianapolis ColtsFrank Reich has already come out and said Marlon Mack is their starter and in this case, you can tend to believe him.

The Colts had all the money in the world to spend this offseason and they also had a directive from Jim Irsay to do anything needed to win. What they did with this money was get a second receiver in town to play along T.Y. Hilton and bring in Justin Houston to help shore up an improving defense. One thing they didn’t do is overpay for Le’Veon Bell, Tevin Coleman or any other RB in the free agent class.

With Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines in town and Jordan Wilkins also waiting in the winds, Indianapolis is set at the position. It is likely they will use their first or second round pick to address getting another WR on the team and the other could be used to provide even more help to the defense. A lot of mocks have Jeffery Simmons going to them at 26 and with his ACL injury occurring late in the season this move would make sense as it would give them a fifth year to evaluate him coming back from the surgery after being a top-five talent before the injury. Good teams find diamonds in the rough. Whether it be a player who falls due to injury or other reasons or whether it be staying away from declining positions in the first round of drafts this is what Chris Ballard has brought to Indianapolis. This means the chances the Colts bring in a back to compete with Mack is unlikely and his job as a starting back in a top tier offense is set in stone.

In 12 games in 2018, Mack amassed 908 yards rushing on 195 attempts and still compiled nine touchdowns. Had he not had missed games with differing ailments this means a season of 1,200 yards and over 10 touchdowns could have been in the cards for him. Although not a major threat in the pass game, having 17 receptions and one touchdown to add to his rush totals shows his ability to handle this portion of the game if needed making him less likely to have to come off the field in third-down situations late in games or when down close to the goal line.

Right now, for many people, the verdict is still out on Marlon Mack. We are unsure if he can stay healthy and on the field. But with Andrew Luck now shown to be fully Back and an offensive line quickly becoming the best in the league, this is the time and the player to take that type of shot on. The Price for Marlon Mack is only going to get higher and higher the closer we get to the 2019 season and other RB situations change while his stays solid. This makes it imperative you make a move for him now and lock in a solid running back for your team now. One who can carry you for many seasons to come.

Kerryon Johnson RB Detroit Lions– 118 rushes for 641 yards and three touchdowns. While this is not the rookie seasons, we have seen in recent years from Ezekiel Elliott or Kareem Hunt, it is still a solid season. Especially considering it came in 10 games and also came for a player on the Detroit Lions. Yes, the Lions.

Kerryon Johnson was a favorite rookie of mine coming into the 2018 season and these numbers did nothing to deter my feelings entering 2019. A lot of people are afraid of the C.J. Anderson factor with Anderson coming in to replace LeGarrette Blount, but this is exactly what it is. Replacing a backup RB. A position all teams need to fill for any hope of success. Johnson will be back healthy this year and his 11.8 carries per game should go up to at least 15 meaning even if his 5.4 yards per carry average does drop, it likely will, he is still going to be on pace for over 1,000 rush yards to go along with his pass catching ability. An ability which led him to catch 32 of 39 targets for 213 yards and an additional touchdown in 2018.

The pass game in Detroit should be better this season with Marvin Jones Jr. coming back healthy and Kenny Golladay coming into his third season ready to break out. But this should only add to the value of Johnson as people will likely assume the Lions will go back to throwing the ball 700 times a year again. But they are no longer this team. They have a head coach now who is from the New England mind frame of use your best asset and this is no longer the arm of Matt Stafford. It is the younger guys. Yes, Stafford will still be asked to use his arm, but more and more it will be used to get the pass to not only his receivers but also his pass catching RB in Johnson.

Kerryon Johnson is likely going to cost a bit to get him from his current owner but if you can make it happen for a player like Rashaad Penny, who many still love, or Sony Michel? Just do it. You will be very happy. More so in dynasty leagues, but even in redraft or keeper leagues.

T.Y. Hilton WR Indianapolis Colts– Andrew Luck is back to form. This means good things for T.Y. Hilton and the Colts offense.

A player the caliber of Andrew Luck for sure makes everyone around him better so this is obviously going to be the case for the next best player on the team. Add to this the addition of Devin Funchess to provide a semblance of a WR two to keep defenses honest and the Colts could easily take the next step this season, winning the Division and maybe making the AFC championship game. Against the Cleveland Browns of course.

While Funchess is no JuJu or Jarvis Landry, he is a big underneath target who along with Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron will allow Hilton to again get downfield and take the top off defenses. Add in the run threat of Marlon Mack and an offensive line who is finally able to protect Luck, and this may be a top 10 fantasy season for Hilton.

Some people still don’t believe in Hilton. They think he is only a big play guy, or he gets nicked up too much to be elite. All receivers get nicked up during the season, but he still played in 14 games last season. How many did Odell Beckham Jr. play in? He is not going to cost as much as the other elite receivers in the NFL and he should finish within a point per game of the best of them. Go get him before people realize this and jack up the price. If the Colts do add a receiver in the draft, and they likely will, it will not be in the first round most likely. If anything, it will be a bigger player. A player who can learn from Funchess for the season or even battle with Funchess to take the role as the underneath guy across from Hilton. Go get him with no fear of production or injury and watch, as he leads your fantasy team to the playoffs. And beyond.

Sell:

Corey Davis WR Tennessee Titans– I have never been a believer in the talent of Davis. This is not a secret. But it is also not the reason he is on the sell list. While his injury history and his massive inconsistency are concerning for sure, the real issue is his offense. Not only is he the wide receiver on a run-first offense, but his quarterback has not lived up to the hype in any of the first portion of his career. This means, even if Corey Davis is ready for a breakout, his quarterback may not be able to provide him with one.

Derek Henry should finally get the usage he deserves. With DeMarco Murray gone and Deion Lewis being, well Deion Lewis, the Titans will run, run, run and run some more. They should be right up there with the Ravens and Seahawks at the top of the NFL in rush attempts and this does not bode well for a player like Corey Davis. With fewer targets to go around and even more weapons with Adam Humphries coming in from Tampa Bay, Davis is a sell candidate.

There are a lot of Corey Davis truthers left in the fantasy world. There is at least one in every league. A guy, or gal, who just will not see the light and wants to have him no matter what the tape shows. For your sake and the sake of your sanity, find this person and trade with them for a better week to week player. His value should remain relatively high meaning it could be possible to flip him for a player such as Tyler Boyd or Calvin Ridley. If this is available to you? Take full advantage and get them.

A.J. Green WR Cincinnati Bengals– Name recognition. This is the key to this sell.

A.J. Green should still technically be in his prime. He came into the league the same season as Julio Jones and is just turning 30. Unlike with running backs, wide receivers do not die at 30. But wide receivers with foot issues? Well, they tend to go quicker than those without. If there is one thing, we know about Green it is his foot issues in recent seasons. If he stays healthy, he is a lock for 1,000 receiving yards and eight to 10 touchdowns and this is how he needs to be sold to any trade partner to get his full value in return. With a new head coach in Zack Taylor could come a new quarterback. The rookie will not have the rapport with Green which has developed with Andy Dalton and with Tyler Boyd being younger he could take over the WR one role in coming years.

The other concern is the lack of talent on the Bengals roster. He is still in the prime of his career as stated and this makes him a wonderful trade piece to possibly garner Cincinnati future draft picks. If this happens, we don’t know where he would land. It could be a paradise like Green Bay across from Davante Adams for a few more Super Bowl runs for Aaron Rodgers. But it could also be Denver to give a veteran presence to help with Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. Yes, it would be stupid, but it is John Elway we are talking about. This means if you can get out on him now, A.J. Green could bring you back great value in a trade. If you can get it done, you should. It may be a year too soon, but you know what they say. Better a year too early than a year late.

Lamar Jackson QB Baltimore Ravens– Can you imagine how boring the game will be when the Seahawks play the Ravens this season?

Talk about a football game with a lot of rush attempts. This one may set the record. But this is exactly where the selling of Lamar Jackson comes in. Can he throw? Maybe. Is he accurate? I think I might be more accurate than him. Don’t forget, one of us is blind the other one is an NFL quarterback. For now. The only receiving weapons on the team are Willie Snead and a couple of second-year tight ends in Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst. These are not the weapons of a team looking to throw the ball and this will also minimize the production of Jackson as he tries to grow in year two.

On the other hand, the Ravens did bring in Mark Ingram to help solidify the run game even further. Thus, allowing Jackson to stop running so much. This means the leading rusher at the QB position in 2018 will probably not repeat that this season. This will immediately lower, if not tank his fantasy value and should be sold to get some value from him. Much like Corey Davis, there are Lamar Jackson truthers out there and they are easy to find in each league. Find this person and sell. Get another QB with better weapons and make the move. Even an older player like Aaron Rodgers with somewhat of a depressed value right now due to recent articles or Dak Prescott in a better offense and the same type of skill set would be an upgrade over Jackson. If you are stuck with him, you could do worse. But try your best not to be stuck with him for very long.

Jalen Richard RB Oakland Raiders– The Raiders seem to be adding running backs as fast as they can this offseason.

Unlike the Eagles adding Jordan Howard, this will not prevent a move in the first round of the draft for another one. Especially if Josh Jacobs falls to them at 24 or 27 which is very likely. Bad teams make bad moves and bad teams with bad coaches make even worse ones. This is certainly the case in Oakland with John Gruden meaning nothing is truly off the table. While Jalen Richard looks to be the leader in the clubhouse right now for the starting RB position a draft pick in the first round spent on a running back means a starting role is likely. Unless you are the Seahawks and take a player, no one would have even taken in the next round and then realize he still isn’t even the second-best RB on the team. Sorry, Adam, it was true, and you know it.

We know Gruden wants to run the ball. He doesn’t like Derek Carr and although bringing in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, the run game will still be important. Richard, of the backs, already present on the roster is the best of the bunch. He catches the ball to the tune of six receptions per game and with the likely departure of Marshawn Lynch he could take over a majority of the rush work to boot. So why sell? As stated, Oakland is trying to get some marquis players in the system before their move to Las Vegas. This means a young stud RB in Josh Jacobs and if available a young QB to go with him. Richard is likely not going to have the same role he did last season and his value will drop through the offseason and into the season if the draft goes the likely way it will. Get out on him now and see if you can get another RB with higher upside coming into the season for you. If you can trade him for Nyheim Hines, on a better offense with guaranteed work this would be a good move. At least you won’t be hitching your wagon to an offense from the ’70s led by a head coach from the ’90s.

Kyle Rudolph TE Minnesota Vikings– Do we think the Vikings are dumb enough to take a tight end in the first round of the draft with all their holes at offensive line? No, but weirder things have happened. If Minnesota feels like Kirk Cousins will be better served by more offensive options, they could pull the trigger on Noah Fant if he is still on the board.

With Kyle Rudolph coming off a mediocre year in 2018 where he caught only 64 passes for 634 yards and four touchdowns, he could be a prime candidate to seed his position to a younger and cheaper rookie with higher upside. We know Cousins has always liked the athletic tight end from his time with Jordan Reed in Washington and Fant has the athletic ability he would be looking for. If the Vikings decide to go with an early pick at the position at best this means shared work for Rudolph and at worst a loss of job entirely Rudolph is not a top five or ten tight end in the NFL and he is a player who could be easily replaced if needed. Therefore, the need to wait and lose value on him is not there. Get what you can for him now. Maybe a backup at a more important position like RB or WR incase a path to stardom opens up for them. Remember Damien Williams and James Conner could have been had this way last season.




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