Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, And More


Our first game of Week 2 is in the books, meaning it is time to fire up the fantasy football trade analyzer to see whether you should be looking to make moves involving the players who took to the field last night. In this Week 2 fantasy trade analyzer article, we will break down the value shift of a couple of players who took the field last night and whether you should be looking to trade for them or trade them away right now.

Week 2 trade analyzer | Player values after TNF

One of the weekly elements that come with Thursday Night Football is that people tend to overreact to what they see. Whenever there is just one game for fans to consume, closer scrutiny is paid to every performance, which can often lead to an increased sense of importance to it.

Therefore, the aim of this article each week will be to put a couple of the performances we saw on Thursday into a wider context of what they might mean going forward.

Austin Ekeler, RB | LAC

If you drafted Austin Ekeler, chances are his performances through two weeks have you a little spooked about his output this season. Ekeler averaged 17.1, 19.3, and 21.5 fantasy points per game (ppg) last year in non-PPR, half-PPR, and full-PPR, respectively. Through the first two games of the season, Ekeler is at 8.3, 11.6, and 14.8 ppg across the three formats. Last year, Ekeler was the RB3 in all scoring formats. His current numbers this year would see him as RB38 in non-PPR, RB24 in half-PPR, and RB17 in full-PPR.

The strange thing about all of this is that Ekeler has actually seen more touches per game in the first two weeks than he did last season. Ekeler is averaging 14 rushing attempts per game and seven targets per game. While his 20.5 touches per game is a career-high, his 4.0 yards per touch is the lowest of his career.

All of this screams that if the manager in your league is panicking about Ekeler, there is an opportunity to buy low on him. His usage is as high as ever, and even though he lost a couple of carries at the goal line to Sony Michel, he has still seen the majority of touches at the goal line among Chargers’ RB options this season.

Mike Williams, WR | LAC

In contrast to Ekeler, Mike Williams is coming off a huge Week 2 performance. He had 10 targets with eight receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. That is in contrast to Week 1, where Williams saw four targets, had two receptions, and just 10 yards. The strong performance this week coincided with the absence of Keenan Allen. However, Allen is expected to be back next week, which could mean Williams sees a reduction in targets.

Williams is extremely boom or bust as a fantasy asset. Last year, he scored double-digit fantasy points in non-PPR scoring in seven of the 16 games he played. Therefore, after the boom weeks is when fantasy managers should look to sell on Williams if another manager is excited about him. If you are happy to ride the highs and lows, then stand pat, but if you are looking for a safer floor, now is a possible time to flip Williams coming off this performance.

Other players to target or sell ahead of Week 2

The other aspect of the Friday fantasy football trade analyzer article will be to look at players you can potentially buy after a tough outing last week or someone you can look to sell after an unexpected hot week. Here are three players whose value could flip this weekend.

Jaylen Waddle, WR | MIA

Week 1 was a conflicting time for Jaylen Waddle’s fantasy managers. The second-year receiver managed to finish with a more than respectable line of four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. However, there should also be concerns that he saw just five targets, compared to 12 for Tyreek Hill, and 42 of his yards and the touchdown came on a single play.

The thing with Waddle is that his explosiveness will always make him capable of breaking a big play. However, he is going to have to do so on potentially limited touches. While Hill will likely not continue to see 39 percent of the targets and 57 percent of the WR targets, he will likely continue to see a considerable share. Therefore, we are looking for Waddle to produce value on potentially just five or six targets per week.

That is a small margin for error, meaning he really needs to bring in 70-80 percent of those targets on a weekly basis to just stay afloat. While he is more than capable of that, it will leave him big play dependent. Without that fourth-down touchdown on Sunday, Waddle would have had just three receptions for 27 yards, and his day would have looked very different indeed. If someone will give you solid WR2 upside for him right now, that is a value I would consider with uncertainty over his role.

Amari Cooper, WR | CLE

It was a really tough week for Amari Cooper, as he caught just three of his six targets for 17 yards. However, when you watch the film, Cooper was dominating defensive backs during the game and demonstrating he is as good as ever. You have to believe that considering the amount Cooper is being paid, the coaching staff in Cleveland have been showing Jacoby Brissett that film all week. If nothing else, I expect Cooper to see more looks this week. It might not look much prettier in the box score, but it will have an impact on the mindset of fantasy managers.

While it might take another week or two for Cooper and Brissett to find that rhythm, when they do, it could be explosive. Cooper is a very talented receiver, and Brissett is a more than competent passer for the most part. Therefore, now is the time to try and lowball the Cooper manager, especially if you can do so and leave yourself the option to sit Cooper for a week or two. If you are patient, you should reap the rewards later in the season.

James Robinson, RB | JAX

I was a huge believer in James Robinson entering the year, but Week 1 outstripped my expectations. While that is a good thing in general, it should not be overestimated. Robinson split time with Etienne in Week 1 and benefited hugely from finding the end zone twice. However, he only actually had 13 opportunities. While that is perfectly fine as a flex starter, the high double-digit fantasy point returns could set a false expectation.

Therefore, if someone is willing to give you top 20 to 24 value or better for Robinson, I am willing to move on. The Jaguars should be trailing a lot in games this, which suits the skill set of Etienne. Do not sell him for the sake of it, but there is a real chance to upsell here, especially if a fantasy manager is panicking about their roster heading into Week 2.



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