15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 5
Your opinions should change with new information.
In last week's 15 Transactions column, your boy wrote up James Robinson as a sell candidate. Why? Because the Jaguars, through three weeks, had split their backfield. Robinson, despite a pretty good Week 3 from a fantasy perspective, actually had played his lowest snap share of the season. It wasn't Robinson the player that was the issue -- Robinson is a great running back. The problem was dealing with the Urban Meyer headache.
Carlos Hyde was inactive for their game this past Thursday after hurting his shoulder. Naturally, that made Robinson a lot more attractive. The Jags only had two backs for their game against the Bengals. Had I known that was going to happen, there's no chance I'd tell you to trade James Robinson away.
Your opinions should change with new information.
Take Calvin Ridley. At the start of the season, most of us had Ridley as a top-five or -six wide fantasy wide receiver. He's clearly not been that.
But how far should our opinion on Ridley change with this new information?
Buy Calvin Ridley
Again, we shouldn't view Calvin Ridley as a top-five fantasy football wide receiver right now. What has he done to tell us we should? Through four games, Ridley has yet to finish as a top-15 wideout, he's averaging fewer than 15 PPR points per contest, and he hasn't given us a single blow-up performance north of 20 points.
The Atlanta offense hasn't been special, either. The unit's been below average in both offensive touchdowns scored and yards per drive.
The good news -- and this is why we should still be relatively bullish on Ridley -- is that his peripheral numbers are still pretty good. Ridley's not seeing work down the field like he did a year ago, but he's got 10 targets so far this season of 15-plus air yards when the league leader is at 13. He's also a fringe top-25 player in air yards on the season while comfortably ranking in the top-10 in total targets.
That's the thing -- the volume is still there. Ridley has a near 27% target share on the season, including back-to-back games of seeing over 30% of the Falcons' targets.
He just hasn't found the end zone. Really, that's what this comes down to. Ridley ranks as a lower-end WR2 in PPR formats right now even though he's scored just once. We shouldn't expect this pace to continue. Not only has Ridley been able to find the end zone consistently in the past, but he's top-10 in the league in both targets within the opponent's 20-yard line and 10-yard line.
Things should get better for Ridley. But don't act like it's been horrific.
Sell Cordarrelle Patterson
One of the tougher parts about giving "buy" and "sell" recommendations is that they're not just based entirely on the player and how we should view said player moving forward. We're also working the market. If a player is doing things at an unsustainable rate, selling that player only makes sense if your leaguemates view the production as sustainable.
If someone in your league thinks Cordarrelle Patterson can keep this up, then you should be willing to trade him away.
The Patterson story this year is fun, amazing, and, honestly, hilarious. He's 30 years old and has mostly played wide receiver throughout his career while being an elite special-teamer. His career high in rush attempts came last year when he ran the ball a grand total of 64 times.
Yet, against the odds, through Sunday night's game, the only running back in fantasy football with more points than Patterson is Derrick Henry.
You've got to love fantasy football.
Patterson's peripherals aren't terrible, but they're certainly not second-best-running-back-in-fantasy-football good. On the season, he has a pretty healthy 13.5% target share, but that's something 10 other running backs have. And he's seen just 31% of Atlanta's running back rushes, a number met by well over 40 backs.
All the while, he's played only 34.4% of Atlanta's snaps. That's a lower snap share than Mark Ingram and Kenneth Gainwell. Maybe -- hopefully -- he sees more as we move forward, but he's scoring the most fantasy points per snap played this year by a healthy, healthy margin.
And it's largely because he's scoring touchdowns at a rate that likely won't continue. Patterson now has 4 receiving touchdowns on 22 targets -- he's scoring through the air on every 5.5 targets. Among every single running back season over the last decade where the running back saw 20 or more targets, only Kareem Hunt's 2018 campaign had a lower targets-per-touchdown rate (7 receiving touchdowns on 35 targets). Of all wide receivers with 20 or more targets, it's happened twice.
And this, for Patterson, is happening in an offense that's been below-average in touchdowns scored this year. Patterson now accounts for half of the Falcons' receiving touchdowns. Only five wide receivers have hit that type of touchdown share over the last 10 years.
This isn't to say that Patterson won't be relevant in fantasy football moving forward. We just have to be realistic when looking at what's sustainable and what isn't. He absolutely can see a higher snap share. He absolutely can see a little more work on the ground.
That probably still won't allow him to maintain this fantasy points per game pace.
Add Trey Lance
Lance played a half of football in Week 4, and he showed off his fantasy upside. In that half, he was 9 of 18 for 157 yards and a pair of scores. More importantly, he ran the ball 7 times for 41 yards. Lance gave us over 20 standard fantasy points in half of a game.
Add Damien Williams
David Montgomery suffered a knee injury on Sunday against the Lions, and while it's being reported that it's not a severe one -- that his ACL is OK -- he's likely to miss some time. In his place will be backup Damien Williams, who's been seeing a handful of touches per week with a healthy Montgomery. Williams is a strong pass-catcher out of the backfield, as we've seen throughout his career, and should serve as a reasonable enough RB2 or flex option for as long as Montgomery's out. Keep in mind that Williams had a thigh injury of his own on Sunday, but it sounds like it was just a bruise. If you're in a deep league, you could also look at add rookie Khalil Herbert, who may get more run now.
Buy Darrell Henderson
Darrell Henderson might be my favorite buy of the week. He's been low-key borderline elite this year, but the fantasy football world doesn't seem to realize it. Yet.
Henderson's now played in three games this year, and he's finished two of them. In the two that's he's finished, he's averaged a running back rush share per game of 88.2% and a target share per game of 9.2%. Over his last two games in general -- so Week 2 where he was injured and Week 4 this past Sunday -- Henderson has target shares of 17.2% and 14.6%.
You can read that as the following: Those numbers are very good.
The nice part is, those tallies are coming in a really good offense. The Rams, through four games, have scored about three more offensive touchdowns than the league average. Henderson, with one game missed, has as many goal-line rushes as Aaron Jones and Nick Chubb, and he's tied for fourth in the NFL in goal-line rushing scores.
As long as Henderson's healthy, those opportunities are going to continue being there.
The best part? LA's got a pretty attractive schedule. Over the next 11 matchups, just 3 of them are below-average when looking at my adjusted fantasy points allowed method. And through the end of the fantasy football season, only Houston and Jacksonville have better running back schedules.
That, of course, can change with more data. It's certainly not a bad thing, though.
Darrell Henderson should be viewed as an RB1 -- a fringe one -- in fantasy football. Most people don't see him that way.
Add AJ Green
Even if you thought A.J. Green was dust last season, you can't deny what he's doing in Arizona this year. In one of the best offenses in football, Green's commanded an 18.6% target share. He's now finished in the top-40 in weekly scoring at the position in three consecutive weeks, and that includes back-to-back WR2 performances. And this isn't some fluke: he's comfortably played the second-most snaps at wide receiver on the Cardinals this year. He should be rostered in way more than the 24% of leagues he's rostered in over on Yahoo!.
Sell Dallas Goedert
After four games, Dallas Goedert is the eighth-best tight end in fantasy football. I know finding a reliable tight end is tough, but Goedert isn't doing anything special to make me think he'll be an elite option this year. His target share is still under 12% this season, and he's running a similar number of routes as tight end teammate Zach Ertz. Ertz actually has a higher target share on the season -- he just has found the end zone once versus Goedert's two. If you can dump Goedert after a strong performance in a pass-heavy game script, go for it.
Add Kadarius Toney
Toney should be able to be an effective slot weapon. With Sterling Shepard out of the lineup on Sunday, Toney was able to play 57.5% of his snaps from that area of the field, per Pro Football Focus, where he caught 3 of 4 targets for 34 yards. Outside the slot, Toney had 3 more catches for 44 additional yards. Add in a 25% target share, and it was a pretty good day for the controversial rookie.
If Shepard and teammate Darius Slayton continue to miss time with hamstring injuries, Toney could really benefit. He may be able to grow into a larger role naturally as the season goes on, too.
Buy CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb now has back-to-back weeks where he's finished outside the top-50 at wide receiver in PPR formats. Over 25 wide receivers have more fantasy points through four weeks.
Time to panic? Clearly not.
Dallas hasn't faced a shootout since Week 1 against Tampa Bay, and we shouldn't expect them to air it out often given their upcoming schedule against mostly inferior opponents. With that being said, Lamb has had just one game this season where his target share dipped below 22.7%. He's still run the most routes on the team over the last two weeks, even if the production isn't totally matching.
The Cowboys are tied for third in the league in touchdowns. You want a part of this offense. If the Lamb manager is upset over this two-week stretch, send over an offer.
Add Dalton Schultz
Speaking of Cowboys pass-catchers, part of the reason CeeDee Lamb hasn't been able to see a more significant target share in the Dallas offense is because Dalton Schultz is blowing up. Over the first two weeks of the season, Schultz was just edging out tight end teammate Blake Jarwin in the important usage categories. He had just three more routes run, and they both had the same number of targets.
Week 3 saw them with a similar route run number, but Schultz started to separate. He had seven targets to Jarwin's two, finishing as the top fantasy football tight end in Week 3.
That continued into Week 4. Jarwin was fine enough because he found the end zone, but Schultz saw eight targets to Jarwin's three. It was also the first game where we saw a significant difference in routes run (19 to 9) between the two tight ends.
With his usage over the last two weeks, Schultz has scored almost 44 PPR points. He should be rostered in your league.
Add Van Jefferson
Mr. Jefferson has been featured in the 15 Transactions column already this season, but after his big Week 4, he gets another shout.
Jefferson's a perfect example of why we look at peripherals in fantasy football. His production wasn't great through three weeks -- he was averaging 8.9 PPR points per game -- but after Week 3, Jefferson had more routes run than teammate Robert Woods. He was playing a healthy number of snaps. Even his 12.6% target share per game average wasn't so bad considering the offense he's playing in.
Week 4 was a good one for Van. He saw his target share get up to 14.6%, and he caught all 6 of his targets for 90 yards and a score. He may not be easily reliable week in and week out, but the nice part about Jefferson is that he'd become even more valuable if an injury were to occur to a pass-catcher in that offense. So he's got flex appeal, but there's a path to even more with him.
Sell Kareem Hunt
So far this year, Hunt's running back rush share is 37%, right in line with what it was last year. His target share's jumped to a bit to 13.2%. But his PPR points per game average is 16.9, a good bit higher than what we saw a season ago.
Naturally, this is the result of touchdowns skewing our results.
Cleveland has found the end zone 11 times on offense this year. Of those 11, 9 have come via the ground. That gives them a pass-to-rush touchdown ratio of 0.22. No team has come close to that low of a ratio over the last 10 seasons -- the league average has been 2.2, not 0.22.
To put this another way: the Browns aren't going to continue scoring touchdowns on the ground at this rate. And neither is Kareem Hunt. Hunt's converted two of his three goal-line rushes into touchdowns this year, good for a 66.7% conversion rate. His career average goal-line conversion is 50.0%. Last year, for comparison, Hunt converted on 5 of his 13 goal-line attempts.
Regression is inevitable, and Cleveland's schedule doesn't help things. Over the team's next four games, they get four top-half teams in adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs, including two top-five units (Pittsburgh and Denver).
There's nothing wrong with Hunt as a fantasy asset if your expectations are reasonable. Just make sure they're reasonable.
Hold Odell Beckham
To be truthful, Odell Beckham was going to be a "buy" recommendation this week until I peeped Cleveland's upcoming schedule. If you're not one to care about schedule and matchups much -- which, I can't totally blame you -- then OBJ could be considered someone to target in trades this week.
Week 4 was rough. Mostly for Baker Mayfield, who, according to Next Gen Stats, had a completion percentage over expected of -13.5%. Beckham turned his 7 targets into just 2 catches for 27 yards.
The good news? Not only has Beckham looked fine, but his target shares across his first two games of the season have been 31.0% and 22.6%.
And keep in mind what I just said about Kareem Hunt. The Browns are going to start throwing for their touchdowns as opposed to running for them soon enough. They're not going to keep up this insanely low pass-to-rush touchdown ratio. When that happens, the pass catchers benefit.
Beckham should be fine through this stretch of tougher matchups, but because of those matchups, it's probably not necessary to aggressively trade for him.
Add Samaje Perine
Joe Mixon hurt his ankle at the end of Cincinnati's matchup against Jacksonville on Thursday night and is now considered "week to week." If he's unable to go in Week 5, Samaje Perine is the next man up. Perine's been digging into Mixon's workload as a pass-catcher over the last couple of weeks, and he's got experience as a lead back, carrying the ball 15 or more times in a game six times in his career. He should probably be the priority out of the backfield off the waiver wire, but feel free to add Chris Evans as a secondary option as well. Evans is a rookie back capable of catching passes out of the backfield.
Add the Minnesota Vikings Defense
The Vikings are 7.5-point home favorites against the Lions in Week 5, making them a prime streaming option. Detroit's allowed 2.5 sacks per game this year, and they've been a bottom half team in sack rate allowed and total sacks allowed. Minnesota, meanwhile, ranks in the top-10 in pressure rate and the top-5 in sack rate. Giddy up.