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Fantasy Adds and Drops for Week 5

Via our friends at numberFire.

“Who should I trade for?”

It’s the question that fantasy analysts get asked most during the season. And my answer to it is almost always the same.

Don’t simply target individual players when trying to make a trade. Target owners who would want what you have based on their needs. Treat it like a sale, where both sides win — both sides should win.

Because, let’s be honest: your trading consideration set shouldn’t be narrowed down to just a handful of players, as there are a ton of usable assets in fantasy football. You limit yourself dramatically by going after just one or two guys.

When it comes to selling players, it’s a bit different. You have more control — you’re the owner wanting to get rid of the player, so when you target owners (remember, you target owners, not players), you already know the asset you’re trying to move. In other words, if you’re trying to send off a player you no longer want, you can make a ton of different trades offers to a ton of different teams in order to get a deal done. If you’re targeting just one individual player, there’s only so much you can do.

So, with that being said, are you a DeAndre Hopkins owner? If so, it might be time to fire up those trade offers.

Sell DeAndre Hopkins

There was reason to be hesitant with crowning DeAndre Hopkins an elite fantasy piece entering the year. He balled out last season, sure, but he also saw his production decline a good bit down the stretch when the Texans’ defense started to play like the top unit it was. From Week 1 through Week 7 a season ago, Hopkins never saw fewer than 11 targets in a single contest, averaging 14.43 looks per game. The Texans’ drop-back-to-run ratio was sixth-highest in the league at that time, and the defense, per our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, ranked 23rd.

From Week 8 through the end of the year — a timeframe where the defense jumped to 3rd overall in our rankings while the Texans became one of the most run-heavy teams in football — Hopkins saw his per-game target numbers fall to less than 10. He was still an animal on the field, but not in the same way he was at the beginning of the year: he had just two top-10 performances (PPR) over his final eight fantasy-relevant games, failing to finish as a top-24 wide receiver three times.

He went from being a — the — top option in fake football to one that was more of a lower-end WR1.

Over the entire season, Hopkins saw 31.2% of Houston’s targets, which is an elite number for a wide receiver. That enabled him to maintain such crazy target totals even when the Texans became more of a running squad.

Fast forward to this season, and not only are the Texans a run-first team (1.28 drop-back-to-run ratio, which is 24th highest in the NFL), but Hopkins’ market share has dropped dramatically. Through four weeks, he’s seen 22.9% of the team’s targets, a dip of 8.3%.

This isn’t because of Brock Osweiler. It’s because of rookie Will Fuller. Hopkins’ biggest competition for targets last year came from Cecil Shorts, who’s currently struggling to get on the field, and Nate Washington, who’s a free agent. This year, Fuller is getting attention, and Fuller himself actually has a higher market share than Hopkins through a quarter of the season.

We should expect Hopkins to take the lead in the target department eventually, but it would be silly to think that, with a healthy Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins is going to sniff his market share from last season. And with a run-first mentality in the Texans’ offense, that’s troubling.

There’s also the schedule. In two of Houston’s next three games, they’ll face the toughest competition out there against wide receivers in the Vikings and Broncos. Yikes.

It’s not as though Hopkins will be worthless moving forward, but he’s not looking like the consistent elite wide receiver we grew to love last year. With Will Fuller in the picture, he’ll have a tough time producing WR1 numbers in fantasy.

Add Zach Zenner

If you missed last week’s 15 Transactions column, then you didn’t see the Dwayne Washington love that was spewing from my body. Needless to say, his Week 4 second-quarter injury sent me into a world of endless tilting.

That injury was a sprained ankle and foot, and Washington may miss this weekend’s game because of it. That means you should be firing up everyone’s preseason darling, Zach Zenner, in your waiver slots this week.

Theo Riddick ended up playing 81% of Detroit’s snaps thanks to Washington’s injury, but Zenner did see the field, rushing 3 times for 12 yards and catching his only target for 22 more. As I said last week, Riddick isn’t the stereotypical early-down back — he’s a converted college receiver, and hadn’t seen more than seven carries in an NFL game until this season.

Zenner is the bigger-bodied guy who should be involved given the Lions’ depleted backfield. Hopefully Washington can go, but have a backup plan if he can’t.

Add Bilal Powell

It could be that Matt Forte just really likes the X-Ray room. Because there was a report Sunday that said he headed there on a cart after the game but, yesterday, Jets’ coach Todd Bowles noted nothing was wrong with Forte.

Given the recent news, I considered leaving Bilal Powell off this week’s list of transactions. But then I was slapped with a little reality: Is the 30-year-old Matt Forte really going to run the ball 324 times this year, the number that he’s pacing towards? And maybe Bowles just didn’t know about Forte’s potential injury? Maybe?

Regardless, Powell should be rostered in most formats right now. Not just because he’s a handcuff, but because his standalone value is starting to show a bit in the Jets’ offense. New York has seen two losses in a row — negative game scripts — and that’s resulted in 8.4 and 6.3 fantasy points, respectively, in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues for Forte over the last two weeks. Powell, meanwhile, has scored 11.1 and 14.0. That’s because, when they’re trailing, Powell will be on the field more — he saw 41% of the team’s snaps in Week 3 and 52% of them in Week 4.

Even if this isn’t an injury for Forte, Powell should continue to be involved in the offense, especially in negative game scripts. The Jets are seven-point underdogs against Pittsburgh this weekend, so perhaps he outscores Forte once again.

Add Kenneth Dixon

Kenneth Dixon is still owned in just a little over 20% of ESPN.com leagues, so it’s necessary for him to be in this column again. As I noted last week, the Ravens’ backfield is a mess, and Justin Forsett was a healthy scratch for Baltimore’s Week 4 game against Oakland. Terrance West threw together a nice game as a result, running the ball 21 times for 113 yards and a score. (West, though, played just 44% of Baltimore’s snaps, so his usage was kind of an outlier.) The Ravens, even with that game, still rank 21st, according to our schedule-adjusted numbers, in rushing offense, though.

The rookie Dixon could return this week, and while he might be eased into the offense, he’s got a lot of upside given what’s currently going on in Baltimore. You probably won’t want to use him this week, but he’s a great, great stash moving forward.

Drop Golden Tate

This escalated quickly.

Golden Tate was drafted as early as the fourth round in July drafts, but he saw his average draft position fall with the rise of teammate Marvin Jones. Through four weeks, 79 wide receivers have more PPR fantasy points than Tate’s 24.9.

What’s worse is that things aren’t magically going to get better. He was benched in Sunday’s contest¬†against the Bears after running the wrong route, resulting in an interception. He played just 57% of the team’s snaps, which was lower than Anquan Boldin‘s total.

There’s always a chance Tate turns things around and becomes a WR3 type, but in most leagues, he doesn’t need to be rostered. You can get that type of production off the waiver wire.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

 

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