Week 3 Trade Targets for Keeper Fantasy Football

Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson
Sep 15 2013 Baltimore MD USA Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson 33 tackled by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee 90 at MT Bank Stadium Mandatory Credit Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

Trent Richardson was supposed to have a new life this year in a Norv Turner designed offense. After two games, Richardson has 31 carries for 105 yards and no touchdowns. He has had seven catches for 51 yards, which helps ease the blow slightly for fantasy owners. Keeper owners should remain confident, but there will certainly be some who are not.

If you believe in a player, get in on the ground floor, or as close to it as possible. When someone’s value approaches rock bottom, it’s time to strike. The future of the feature back is appearing grimmer by the minute (only two running backs broke 100 yards in week one). And a man like Richardson – whose offensive coordinator has all but promised him 350 touches this year – will continue to see his value grow in time.

Without switching jerseys, Stevan Ridley has gone from a high-octane offense (2012’s leader in yards and scoring) to one of the most abysmal (18 points and 332 yards per game). Some are calling the Patriots receiving corps mediocre, but can you name one worse? They could well be the 32nd best in the league. The Jets have Santonio Holmes, the Jaguars have Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, and Oakland has Denarius Moore. Not even Tom Brady could exceed a stat line of 49 percent for 185 yards and one score against the Jets’ defense. The Jets’ defense. Even Chad Henne tossed up 241 yards and a touchdown this weekend.

The point is, Ridley does not appear to have high hopes for 2013. Hitching yourself to the wagon of this offense is a risky proposition for the foreseeable future. It’s possible that Ridley and Julian Edelman will have great numbers as the only decent options for New England. But so far Ridley has only proven that wrong, at least for his sake (43 yards per game, with a lost fumble, no receptions, no targets, and no scores).

An owner with Ridley may want production now, and it may be worth investing in his future. It’s a move that may not bring you starter-quality numbers for several weeks, or even anytime this year. Last Thursday, New England had just nine first downs and 232 total yards of offense – 185  through the air and 54 on the ground. Somehow, they’ve started 2-0 against these rookie quarterbacks. It may not be soon, but brighter days may come eventually for Ridley. It can’t possibly get any worse, can it?

DeAndre Hopkins is a rookie receiver. That much, you already know. It’s rare that a receiver becomes a consistently productive player before his third season. Hopkins is likely no different. But he’s just come off a seven catch game for 117 yards and one trip to pay dirt. It’s time to weigh his upside. After two games, Hopkins is second on the Texans with 19 targets for 12 receptions and a touchdown. He’s holding up his end of keeping pace with Andre Johnson. Matt Schaub finally has two receivers.

Paying for a player immediately following a great performance can often be a bad idea. But if you have faith in someone, it might be worth the price. If you think you’re right about him, isn’t his value only going to continue to climb as time moves forward? Consider this the entry level for Hopkins if you have enough depth on your keeper roster. He may be a serviceable WR2 or WR3 by next season, and could be quite a stud come 2015. Buy low.

Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com

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