Tade away these second year players!
By: Andy Davies
Fantasy Football has become an integral part of many fans’ NFL Sunday experience. Whether you use ESPN, NFL.com or Sleeper, you are often watching Redzone and thinking about the points that your player is scoring for your team. Even when your team plays, if you have one particular wide receiver, you are often wanting your quarterback to throw to the player in question. The great Albert Einstein once said,
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”.
This quote has a lot of relevance to fantasy football. How often will you pick a player when they are in form, only for them to hardly score any points when you add them via waivers? How often do you take a player out or leave them on your bench, only to see them recover 30 receptions, 150 yards and 3 touchdown receptions? There are plenty of players who impress in year one that you either keep in a dynasty league or take in the fantasy draft, only for them to perform well below expectations in year two.
Here are three second-year players that you should look to trade away in fantasy football, if you haven’t already.
Darnell Mooney (Wide Receiver- Chicago Bears)
Mooney impressed in year one, with 631 receiving yards from 98 targets in his rookie year along with four touchdowns. This was Mooney catching balls from Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, two quarterbacks that didn’t exactly light up Soldier Field during their time as Chicago Bears. He now has two much more solid QB’s on paper in Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields but has so far recorded less than satisfying numbers despite leading the team in receptions (12). He has 101 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns. This has him 95th in the league for receiving yards, tied for 60th in receptions and 47th for targets. This is an average of 34 yards a game.
He hasn’t been helped by poor quarterback play. Dalton was the Week One starter and has thrown for 262 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception before injury meant he lost his starting role in Week Three to Fields, who less than impressed in his first NFL start. He had 0 touchdowns, 1 interception and just 138 passing yards. One of his specialities is on the ground but has just 46 yards from 14 carries. Of course, he is young and needs time to develop but he is not exactly someone you want throwing the ball to one of your fantasy receiver options.
Despite this, I would choose to bench him if you are in a dynasty league but remove completely from your team if you are in a keeper or redraft league. The value is there for the future but this season there will be plenty of growing pains in this Bears offense.
Jalen Reagor (Wide Receiver- Philadelphia Eagles)
Mooney may be one for the future both on the field and on your fantasy team. Reagor however, is someone you should immediately remove as he is looking more and more like an NFL bust.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has largely impressed this season, with 5 passing touchdowns and 2 interceptions, 1 rushing touchdown along with 780 passing yards and 179 rushing yards. This has him 16th in the league for passing yards, with only Lamar Jackson (251) having more rushing yards than Hurts for a quarterback. Reagor does not have the same excuse as Mooney when it comes to which QB is throwing him the ball. He cannot even blame it on a lack of throws his way, with the second-most targets and the most receptions on the team this season. Yards is where he has really struggled, with his 107 ranking fourth amongst his teammates. This shows a lack of productivity when receiving the ball, as can be further demonstrated in his yards per reception total of 8.2. Not only is this less than tight end Dallas Goedert, who also has more yards, but this also is less than fellow tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders. When a running back has more yards per reception than you, then there is a real problem.
Reagor was taken 21st overall by the Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft and this was seen by many to be a reach. So far, the predictions are turning out to be true. Even in the eleven games he played in his rookie year last season, he was fifth in targets (54), receptions (31) and touchdown receptions (1) as well as ranking fourth in yards (396). With head coach Doug Pederson fired and replaced with Nick Sirianni, Reagor would have hoped for the chance to stake his claim as the number one wideout. When Philly traded up two spots to take Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith tenth overall, the writing appeared on the wall for Reagor to become the number one wideout. The way Smith and fellow second year receiver Quez Watkins have played so far, Reagor will find it hard to be anything more than a third or fourth choice wideout.
This is why you need to get rid of Reagor instantly from your fantasy teams and look for a replacement instantly. Two wide receivers that could easily be available and that are trending up are the Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Buffalo Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Westbrook-Ikhine had 53 yards, 4 receptions and 1 touchdown in their win over the Indianapolis Colts. Many had Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley as the Bills’ two receivers to take in their fantasy teams, with Sanders often a forgotten man. He has excelled so far, with 194 yards and 2 touchdowns from 11 receptions despite being third on the team for both targets and receptions.
Tua Tagovailoa (Quarterback- Miami Dolphins)
It is likely that you are reading this having had Tua in your fantasy teams, that he is now out of your teams due to his rib injury suffered in the 35-0 loss to the Bills in Week Two. However, there are more reasons why you should get rid of the second-year quarterback altogether. His average start to the season was halted with the aforementioned injury. The heath of Tua was brought into question pre-draft last year, with a season-ending injury whilst playing in college with Alabama. People such as myself compared this situation to the one that was seen with Saints quarterback Drew Brees, when he suffered many injuries with the San Diego Chargers.
Miami didn’t take Brees in 2006 thanks to these injury concerns and everyone knows how successful he was after joining the Saints and head coach Sean Payton. Miami took the risk and so far, it is not looking like one that paid off. Tua will always be hindered by how well Justin Herbert has performed since being taken just one pick after Tagovailoa. With the past incident involving Brees in 2006, it is ironic that the Chargers took Herbert, who has been a revelation in Los Angeles and is arguably the best QB to be taken out of last year’s draft, with 5,292 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his young NFL career.
With the Houston Texans reportedly softening their stance on Deshaun Watson, who is 99% likely never to play for the franchise again. Miami have repeatedly been linked with Watson and with the combination of Tua’s injury, backup Jacoby Brissett being nothing more than mediocre as well as this Dolphins team being excellent on defense and only a good o-line and running back away from being a Super Bowl contender, Watson would immediately see an upturn in Miami’s fortunes.
Thanks to his college tape and his position in the draft last year, he is likely to find a starting job elsewhere, but he is yet to prove to anyone that he is a genuine franchise QB and someone who is good at the pro level. Therefore you should look to remove Tua from your fantasy team as soon as you can. If you have a dynasty league, perhaps you could keep him on your bench if he moves elsewhere judging by how well Ryan Tannehill has played since leaving the Miami franchise. Otherwise, you should look to see what other quarterbacks are available to have as your backup.
Fantasy football players, you are likely to make many more waiver claims until the trade deadline. Just remember to avoid these three players.