Our first game of Week 4 is now in the books, so it’s time to fire up the fantasy football trade analyzer and examine the values of players who played last night. Additionally, we will look at a handful of players who could be sell-high or buy-low options ahead of the weekend.
Chase Edmonds & Raheem Mostert, RB | MIA
The RB situation in Miami is really tough to value coming out of Week 4. Edmonds has now scored three touchdowns in two games, averaging over 10 points per game for fantasy managers in those two weeks. However, in the last three weeks, he has just 16 rushing attempts and seven targets, with Raheem Mostert having 34 rushing attempts and eight targets in the same time period.
Additionally, according to Next Gen Stats, Edmonds is averaging more than two yards below expectation per rushing attempt, by far the worst number in the league. Edmonds’ fantasy-point return through the last three weeks is 26.8. He’s averaging more than a fantasy point per opportunity, which is not sustainable. Moreover, there was a concerning trend in this week’s game.
While Edmonds came into Week 4 with the only two carries inside the 5-yard line, Mostert had both rushing opportunities down near the goal line this week. The counterpoint is that Edmonds had three targets inside the red zone, including two inside the 10.
This shift to Mostert also seeing rushing attempts inside the 5 is a concern for Edmonds. Yes, he still led the opportunities five to three, but Mostert also seeing opportunities down near the goal line changes Edmonds’ outlook.
If someone in your league believes that Edmonds can continue to average 10+ fantasy points per game in a limited role, then you should look to sell high. However, unless you can get a player that can contribute right now, Edmonds is someone to hold as he very easily could be the lead back in the event Mostert gets hurt.
Coming out of this game, Mostert could be viewed as somewhat of a buy low. In the last three weeks, he’s averaging 14 opportunities per game, 34 rushing attempts, and eight targets. Yet, in that timeframe, he’s averaging just 5.7 fantasy points per game in non-PPR scoring, which places him 40th at the position on a per-game basis. The addition of carries inside the 5-yard line this week is a promising sign.
Before you make an offer for Mostert, it’s key to make note that his career high in touches for a single season is 151. He’s already over 30% of the way to that total. Therefore, any offer to acquire Mostert this week should be limited. Edmonds will continue to mix in at the goal line, which will limit Mostert’s upside.
Joe Mixon, RB | CIN
Another running back whose value is curious is Joe Mixon. He’s averaging just 2.7 yards per rushing attempt this season. Mixon is also averaging just 10 fantasy points per game in non-PPR this season, placing him 17th at the position on a per-game basis. Given his ADP this season was a first-round pick, Mixon is significantly underperforming expectations.
When you look at the advanced numbers, Mixon is really struggling. Next Gen Stats expected rushing yards currently have Mixon 61 yards under expectation, the lowest number in the league. On a per-carry basis, Mixon is averaging -0.78 rushing yards under expectation per attempt, the sixth-lowest in the league. Additionally, Mixon is outperforming his expected rushing yards on just 28.2% of rushing attempts, also the sixth-lowest number this season.
Mixon’s efficiency is also the worst in the NFL. He runs 5.49 yards for every rushing yard achieved in the box score. Additionally, Football Outsiders’ offensive line stats had the Bengals as the fourth-worst unit in terms of adjusted line yards (3.55) and stuffed rate (25%). He’s also tied for fifth-worst in terms of power success rate at 50%. All of this would point towards the offensive line being the issue for Mixon.
Still, Mixon has struggled in his own right. His yards before contact per rushing attempt is 2.1, which is marginally below last season but ahead of 2019 and 2020. The problem is that Mixon has struggled to make yards after contact. In the past three seasons, he’s averaged between 1.7 and 2.3 yards after contact per attempt. This season that number is down at 0.8. Entering Week 4, that was the lowest number among qualified RBs and the third worst number overall.
The question is whether Mixon is a buy low right now. He’s averaging more than 20 rushing attempts per game (20.5) and six targets per game. Entering Sunday, no player in the league this year is averaging more touches per game. With Samaje Perine as his primary backup, Mixon is unlikely to lose significant touches any time soon. Nevertheless, these numbers raise serious eyebrows, making him a tough player to value in a trade.
Players whose values could be set to change in Week 4
Austin Ekeler, RB | LAC
Ekeler, much like Mixon, has extremely conflicting numbers through the first three weeks. He’s averaging 2.5 yards per rushing attempt with the worst efficiency in the league at 6.28. His 0.81 rushing yards below expectation per attempt is tied for the fourth worst in the league.
Yet, Ekeler’s usage in the passing game remains promising for PPR formats. Through the first three weeks, he’s averaging 7.33 targets per game and has 18 targets in the last two weeks. The concern is that Ekeler is averaging just 6.6 yards per reception and 4.1 yards per touch, both the lowest of his career. Despite averaging a career-high 17.7 touches per game through three weeks, he’s averaging just 73 yards from scrimmage and 7.3 fantasy points per game in non-PPR.
This week, Ekeler faces the most favorable run defense against RBs for fantasy in the league through three weeks. The Texans are allowing 25 fantasy points per game to RBs in non-PPR and have allowed over that number twice in the last three weeks. In half-PPR, they’ve allowed 27.33 per game to RBs and 29.67 in full PPR. With Justin Herbert continuing to struggle with his rib injury, we should see plenty of touches for Ekeler.
Entering Week 4, Ekeler remains a buy-low option. He should continue to see solid usage across both the run and pass game as the Chargers look to battle back from their bad start. This slow start for Ekeler is unlikely to keep happening, and the matchup this week presents the perfect chance for that to flip.
James Robinson, RB | JAX
When you look at Robinson’s season so far, the numbers are really strange when you dig a little deeper. He sits third at the position in total fantasy points in half-PPR scoring, averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game. Volume has been a huge part of that, with 51 rushing attempts and seven targets.
When it comes to rushing attempts, Robinson has been somewhat of an all-or-nothing runner. Of his rushing attempts, 72.5% have gone for fewer than five yards. A third of those 51 rushing attempts have gone for either zero or negative yards. Just 26% of his rushing attempts have gained more yards than would be expected. Of his 230 rushing yards, 153 have come on six rushing attempts, with the other 45 attempts combining for just 77 rushing yards.
The lack of targets is another area that stands out because Robinson is about to face the toughest test of the season. In the game where the Jaguars were chasing the game, he had just 11 rushing attempts and a 49% snap share. In the next two games, where the Jaguars were protecting the lead, he averaged more than 60% of the offensive snaps and 20 rushing attempts per game. This week, the Jaguars face an Eagles team that has dominated opponents. Therefore, we could see Robinson’s role limited and his value somewhat drop.
Fantasy managers, thus, have two options. If you’re looking to trade for Robinson, then before Sunday would be a bad time to do so. His value right now is so high there’s no real benefit to making a deal for him. But if he struggles this week, that value could drop to where you can acquire him for a low-end RB2. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to sell high on Robinson, the window is either now or after the Week 5 game against Houston. Trying to sell him next week could see a significantly decreased value.
DJ Moore, WR | CAR
It has been a brutal first three weeks for DJ Moore, with just 88 yards on seven receptions. However, things could flip this week with Christian McCaffrey either set to miss the game or be limited. Without McCaffrey, the Panthers’ passing game will need to open up, and Moore should be the primary beneficiary.
To start the season, McCaffrey has been dominating opportunities and targets. He’s averaging 20 touches and 21.3 opportunities per game in that stretch. The next highest on the team in opportunities and touches is Moore, with six opportunities and 3.33 touches per game.
Therefore, if McCaffrey misses the game, his opportunities and touches have to be distributed somewhere. D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard are unlikely to combine to make up all of it, which should force more opportunities into the hands of the receivers. With McCaffrey looking more and more likely to miss this week, now could be the final opportunity to buy low on Moore.
This week, the Panthers face a Cardinals defense that is allowing 27.67 fantasy points per game in half PPR. They haven’t allowed fewer than 24.7 points per game in any single matchup, and Moore’s role will make it tough for the Cardinals’ top cornerback, Byron Murphy, to shadow him.
Moore could exploit this matchup and the opportunity for a solid day. While he is a player that you should hesitate to start this week, there is enough upside this week that it could for now flip his value away from the buy-low status.
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