Two games into the season, fantasy owners are still trying to get a handle on the 2018 landscape.
Those who can accurately assess shifting player values will be in a position to take advantage on the trade market.
Let’s take a look at seven players to either buy into or sell heading into Week 3.
If you’re looking for players who might be available as free agents, check out our Week 3 Waiver Wire column.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
The first-rounder is off to a predictably slow start after missing time due to a knee injury. After sitting out the opener, Michel was thrown into the fire in Week 2, leading the backfield in carries against a stout Jaguars front. His stats were unimpressive, but the usage is a great sign that the team wants him to take on a significant role moving forward.
The Patriots have a generous schedule over the next month and are due for some positive regression on the ground. New England is one of seven teams who have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season, a surprising result given they finished among the top six in rushing scores each of the last two years.
Michel was my favorite 2018 RB prospect not named Saquon Barkley and has legitimate Alvin Kamara-level upside with his combination of speed, vision, patience, and a willingness to initiate contact when needed. Even with Rex Burkhead and James White seeing touches, Michel has an RB2 ceiling in the Pats’ high volume offense, making him an intriguing trade target.
Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers
When Greg Olsen went down with a foot injury in 2017, Funchess emerged as the top target in Carolina, ending the year as the WR21.
After Olsen suffered another foot injury in Week 1, Funchess once again stepped up, nearly doubling his production in the second game of the season. Funchess’ targets rose from five in the opener to nine on Sunday, seven of which he caught for 77 yards.
Don’t be scared off by the fact three other receivers caught touchdowns from Cam Newton in Week 2. Capitalize on that by acquiring Funchess before he begins making regular trips to the end zone like he did a year ago when he scored eight times.
David Njoku, TE, Browns
Tight ends can often be difficult to trade for since it’s a one-off position, and owners who secure a decent starter aren’t willing to part with them. Fortunately, no one is going to mistake Njoku for a reliable option at the moment.
The sophomore has just 33 yards over the first two games and has yet to find pay dirt. However, opportunity is everything and Njoku’s 14 targets are fifth-most among tight ends. We know the talent is there for a breakout, so if the passes continue in his direction, it’s only a matter of time before his stats improve. Josh Gordon’s departure will also help clear a path for him to maintain a more consistent role in the offense.
Frustrated owners will think they have you fooled when you come looking for a trade, and the asking price is almost certain to be below his preseason value.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
Prior to the season, I outlined a scenario where the Packers would struggle to run the ball during their first two games against an underrated Bears defense and a dominant Vikings unit. That would allow Jones, a more explosive back, to return from his two-game suspension as the savior.
Jamaal Williams only managed 47 yards on 15 carries versus the Bears, followed by a 59-yard effort on 16 carries against the Vikings. He’s capable of getting you what’s blocked, but not much more.
It may take some time, but Jones will now have a chance to recapture his rightful place as the Packers’ lead back with much easier opponents like the Redskins, Bills, Lions, and 49ers on deck.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
It’s been a disappointing start for Johnson, playing in a new system that doesn’t appear to be tailored to his skill set.
A touchdown helped salvage his opening day fantasy performance, but in Week 2, he was held under 50 rushing yards and saw just two targets in a blowout loss to the Rams. New head coach Steve Wilks promised Johnson would be used more as a receiver, though the lack of success by the offense as a whole is equally to blame.
If you can find a running back-needy owner who is willing to pay close to draft day price for Johnson, it might be best to move him now before everyone realizes how bad the Cardinals’ attack will be this season.
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
Everyone is excited about Gordon being traded to the Patriots, and rightfully so – there’s no better landing spot for the troubled wideout. But despite their history of reclamation projects, there’s no guarantee this experiment will work out for Bill Belichick and company.
Gordon has one touchdown since 2013 and is a single misstep away from a season-ending suspension. He’ll be tasked with learning a complicated playbook on the fly, one that many players have failed to grasp, especially at the receiver position.
Even if he does make an impact, he’ll be limited by target competition from more established pass-catchers like Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, and Julian Edelman, who returns from suspension in Week 5.
Gordon offers immense upside and risk all wrapped into one. If you want to gamble on him, I won’t talk you out of it. My approach will be to shop Gordon around all week long while the shine of Tom Brady and the Patriots is nice and bright.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins
If you believe a 33-year-old Peterson will be fantasy relevant for a full 16-game schedule, I would love to hear your argument.
After putting up 166 yards and a touchdown in his first game with the Redskins, AP cooled off considerably with just 50 total yards against a vulnerable Colts run defense. We saw these types of up-and-down performances during his stint with the Cardinals late last season.
Peterson is still able to channel enough power and vision to deliver around half the time in high volume games, which isn’t enough to be counted on as a fantasy starter. Make the most of his early-season success and trade for another asset before its too late.