Injuries, injuries and more injuries. Does this sum up anyone else’s dynasty rosters right about now?
This week I’m going to do my best to identify players that will be seen more so as injury-replacement players while also highlighting some trade candidates that don’t necessarily associate with current injuries, but would still be players I’m targeting as we head into Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season.
I had every intention of sneaking Adam Thielen into this week’s article after purposely leaving him out of last week’s, but an 11-126-1 stat line likely derailed the idea of his current owner accepting too much of a discount. My theory was that Thielen may struggle a bit against Carolina, potentially making it three straight games with less than double-digit fantasy points leading up to his bye week. In the event you were in win-now mode, I liked the idea of buying low on him with his bye week on tap before the Vikings get the Cowboys, Ravens and Chargers in their next three. However, I’m likely a week late now.
With that said, let’s take a look at this week’s targets!
Mark Ingram, RB, Houston Texans
Rather than trying to guess which Seahawks or Browns running back you should trade for, why not play it a little safer (while likely giving up less) and try to acquire Mark Ingram? He’s far from a sexy fantasy football option at this point in his career, but he’s seen 15 or more touches in four of six weeks. The 31 year old isn’t going to offer you much after this year, but if you’re in win-now mode and got bit by the injury bug, Ingram may be a cheap option for you to call upon while your regular starters get healthy. To reiterate, this move is only recommended for those competing for a championship this year who currently need a little stability at the running back position.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos
Another safer and relatively cheaper option at running back is Melvin Gordon. Most everything I said about Ingram is also relevant to Gordon, however, I’d imagine having to give up a bit more to acquire Gordon since he’s 28 years old compared to Ingram’s 31. Gordon is quietly the RB18 on the season, but has recorded double-digit fantasy points just two out of six weeks. I personally own Gordon in one league and I would say that my fear of holding onto him is that the team may eventually turn the backfield over to Javonte Williams so they can get him as much in-game experience as possible before making him the team’s true RB1 in 2022. If this happens, Gordon’s ROS value takes a significant hit, but if you’re in win-now mode and you need a running back you’re likely not swimming in options. Take the chance on Gordon and attempt to get him at a bargain price. He’s likely not a guy you want starting every week, but hopefully he can keep you afloat while your studs recover.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alright one more old running back to discuss and then I’ll get off this kick. It’s funny that I called Fournette old when he’s only 26, but the combination of his playstyle, how long it feels like he’s been around, and his face – sorry, LF, you’ve got an old face – makes him feel like one of the older running backs in the league. Fournette has been on a tear recently racking up 15.3, 19 and 27.7 half PPR fantasy points over the last three weeks. His usage uptick, mixed with trade rumors swirling around Ronald Jones makes him a highly-coveted running back moving forward; but this is the perfect sell-high time if your league’s current owner isn’t doing so hot after the season’s first six weeks. On a side note, if you’re the Fournette owner in the situation I laid out, it’s time to start a bidding war for him. Put him on the block and start fielding offers as this is your window for maximum return on an aging running back. So be prepared, potential buyers, LF won’t come cheap, but he’s he best buy-now RB on the market for my money.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans
Cooks is the first repeat player to make the article as he was also featured in week four’s version. He’s cooled down some since his debut in these articles, posting just one double-digit fantasy output since three straight to begin the season, but that’s good news for you as a bargaining chip for a player on a lackluster team. Cooks returned to fantasy relevancy last week against the Colts, hauling in nine of his 13 targets for 89 yards, and I’d expect the Texans to keep him heavily involved as Houston gets Arizona and LA (Rams) in its next two games, so you know the Texans will eventually have to turn to the air in an attempt to play catch up. He’s played for four teams in his seven-year career so we tend to think of him as an afterthought, but he’s quietly the WR16 on the season and can likely be had at a bit of a bargain price.
Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets
Here’s a name you heard often leading up to your league’s rookie draft last offseason but not so much as of late. The reasons you haven’t heard his name much – if at all – are fairly obvious. One, he plays for the Jets and they terrible in real life and for fantasy. Two, he has just eight receptions on 20 targets for the entire season. And three – he hasn’t scored a single fantasy point since week three against Denver… where he only scored 3.7 (his second-highest output of the season). So now that we’ve trashed him I’m going to tell you why you should trade for him. Moore was likely selected in the early-to-mid second round of your rookie draft last year. Despite getting off to a fairly miserable start to the season, keep in mind that the Jets are a very young team and it’s going to take some time for both real life and fantasy production to fall into place. Rookie head coach, rookie quarterback… the odds were stacked against Moore having an early-season breakout the way it is. Moore was a coveted receiver heading into the league, rumored as a potential first rounder as the draft approached before ultimately going with the second pick in the second round. Taking this a step further, which is a little dangerous when it comes to dynasty, but the early reports indicate that 2022 rookie drafts aren’t going to be as strong as ’21, and will also fail in comparison to ’23. If you can buy low on Moore right now with your 2022 second rounder, my advice would be to make the deal happen. Like I said, this is a dangerous game to play as we’ve seen these reports be completely wrong this early in the season in the past, but it’s definitely something to monitor if you’re looking to rebuild.