Fantasy football managers all have one thing in common entering Week 5 of their respective seasonal leagues — they’re turning to trades to bolster their title chances.
Teams trying to climb out of an 0-4 hole are desperate for an immediate fix, managers hovering around a .500 winning percentage are searching for the one or two missing pieces to thrust their squad into the driver’s seat, and even those fortunate enough to enter October still unbeaten should consider anything that can keep their team atop the standings.
Regardless of what category you fall into, here are the five most enticing fantasy trade targets ahead of the fifth Sunday of the NFL season.
1. Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland, WR) — The mercurial wide receiver hasn’t taken off as many had hoped during his first season with the Browns, failing to score or top 71 yards in three of his four games. He bottomed out with just 20 yards on two catches in Week 4, which especially stung considering QB Baker Mayfield busted out of his early slump with a season-best 342 passing yards, but now is the time to test the frustration level of the OBJ manager in your league. Beckham is still tied for seventh in the NFL in targets and ranks eighth in yards after catch (135), and despite his struggles, Mayfield has completed 17 passes of 20-plus yards this season, which is tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. Both the volume and big-play potential is there for this duo and with more time to build cohesion, along with the continued emergence of Nick Chubb as one of the league’s best rushers to keep opposing defenses honest, Beckham Jr. will quickly remind fantasy enthusiasts why he is a perennial high-end WR1.
2. George Kittle (San Francisco, TE) — Kittle managers won’t be easy to crack nor should they be due to the overall lack of production at the tight end position, but after three scoreless performances of 57 yards or less and coming off a bye week, it’s worth a shot gauging their interest. NFL.com fantasy writer Graham Barfield tweeted the case for Kittle this week: He ranks first in share of air yards and second in target share among tight ends, leads the 49ers in end-zone and red-zone targets, has had 17 fantasy points negated by penalties, and plays five of his next seven games against defenses in the bottom 12 of fantasy points allowed to TEs. Simply put, Kittle could be about to take your fantasy league by storm, and now is your best opportunity to trade for him if you’re among the many struggling to fill the TE spot.
3. Le’Veon Bell (N.Y. Jets, RB) — Bell is sporting just a 2.91 yards-per-carry average with one TD a month into his comeback campaign following a year-long holdout, but context is key when assessing the start to his Jets tenure. Jets’ QB Sam Darnold has missed all but the season opener with mononucleosis and backup Trevor Semian suffered a season-ending leg injury early in Week 2, which threw has thrown the offense, already limited in skill-position talent beyond Bell, into complete disarray. The undermanned Jets getting a Week 3 matchup against the Patriots defense that has looked like the NFL’s best through the first month didn’t help matters. Bell still leads all NFL RBs in snap share (100 percent) and is third in opportunity share (87.8), according to playerprofiler.com, while ranking fourth in the NFL in receptions (6.7 per game) and seventh in targets. His workload is unquestioned and five of his final eight games — including the money stretch from Weeks 13-16 long after Darnold is expected back — will come against teams currently in the bottom seven of the NFL against the run.
4. Miles Sanders (Philadelphia, RB) — The second-round rookie from Penn State has yet to see the end zone and is stuck in a timeshare with Jordan Howard, who is coming off a three-TD performance in Week 4. But the RB that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has continuously touted as one of his favorite draft picks ever could be gearing up to make a splash down the stretch. Sanders has received 11 or more touches in every game thus far while his rushing yardage has increased in each outing, including 72 yards in Week 4 despite a misread on the opening play that appeared poised for a large gain. Sanders has flashed his receiving skills (73 yards in Week 2) and home-run ability (67-yard kick return last week) and is worth a reasonable investment now before he takes command of the Eagles backfield.
5. Melvin Gordon (L.A. Chargers) — Austin Ekeler enters Week 5 as the second-ranked RB in a majority of fantasy leagues, thriving during the incumbent starter’s holdout that ended prior to Week 4 games. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn suggested a two-headed approach moving forward earlier this week, which might be enough to keep the trade price on Gordon low enough to pounce on for another week or two before he establishes his lead back status. Gordon has scored 28 touchdowns over the last three seasons (12-12-14), and averaged at least 98 yards per game during that span. He finished fifth in fantasy points per game last year, and playerprofiler ranked Gordon fifth in the NFL in yards created per game (38.8) and juke rate (35.1 percent). Gordon is a proven fantasy star and should produce as a top 12 fantasy back during the second half of the season.