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The Orange & Black Insider Podcast: Fantasy football trade targets

Some players are overachieving. Who will keep it up, and who will come back down to earth?

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon to keep up his hot start?
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

On The Orange and Black Insider, we looked at NFL players who have exceeded expectations and asked the question if they will sustain it.

Every year some players start off hot, but cool off. Their hot starts are more the product of circumstances, and aren’t sustainable. And every year some players start off hot, and sustain it for the whole year. Those are the players who are having an unexpected great season. For the purposes of looking at players to trade for, and trade away on your fantasy team, we try to identify which players fall into each category.

Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? Because he only has a high workload because the team’s starter is out. When Le’veon Bell returns this week, Williams will take a back seat.

Spencer Ware

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? Because he only has a high workload because the team’s starter is out. When Jamaal Charles returns, they will likely form a committee with Charles eventually taking over more of the workload.

Matt Forte

Is his hot start sustainable? Somewhat, but not entirely.

Why? Forte is on pace for 357+ carries this season. His workload will certainly fall off from that rate, since he is 31-years-old and has failed to average 4-yards per carry over the last three seasons. He is a strong candidate for high volume work, and should remain a fantasy starter throughout the season, but won’t finish as the second ranked running back when the season is over.

CJ Anderson

Is his hot start sustainable? Pretty much.

Why? Anderson is a good runner (career 4.7 yards per carry) who is finally the unquestioned lead runner for the Broncos. His shared workload with Ronnie Hillman in the past has limited his wear and tear, giving him a good chance to sustain his production on a team who wants, and needs, him to carry their team.

Melvin Gordon

Is his hot start sustainable? Yes.

Why? The Chargers threw over 100 passes to Danny Woodhead last season. Woodhead is out for the year, and somebody has to pick up some of those receptions, and we know it won’t be Keenan Allen. They did sign Dexter McCluster to pick up some of that lost production from Danny Woodhead, but Gordon figures to pick up quite a bit. Also, Gordon is the #4 scoring running back this season despite ceeding about ten rushes per game to Woodhead. With Woodhead out, all signs point to Gordon as a break-out candidate.

Wide Receivers

Willie Snead

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? While the Saints are a high volume passing team, this year they have been losing and throwing even more than normal. Their passing numbers will remain high, but should normalize and drop a little from their current pace. Also, Snead has a lot of competition for targets in New Orleans. New additions Coby Fleener and Michael Thomas are poised to wrestle some of Snead’s production away as they grow more comfortable with the Saints’ offense.

Stefon Diggs

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? Last season after four weeks, Diggs was on pace for 100 receptions, 1,676 yards, and eight touchdowns. He finished with half of that (52 receptions, 720 yards, and four touchdowns). Again in 2016 he is off to another hot start. While he seems more likely to sustain a hot start this time around, the Vikings have a lot going on which could hinder his production. They just lost left tackle Matt Kalil and running back Adrian Peterson. Taking away the quarterback’s blindside protector never helps, and losing a future Hall of Fame running back allows a defense to play the pass a little more. Oh, and he has the whole issue with the Vikings using Sam Bradford at quarterback. Diggs could remain a solid second receiver for your team, but is unlikely to finish in the top three, where players like A.J. Green and Julio Jones reside.

Larry Fitzgerald

Is his hot start sustainable? Yes

Why? Fitzgerald averaged 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns per season before the Cardinals were struck with a bad run of quarterbacks (John Skelton, Keivn Kolb, Ryan Lindley, Drew Stanton and Brian Hoyer). With Carson Palmer under center and Bruce Arians coaching the team, Fitzgerald returned to prominence last year. Fitzgerald has picked up where he left off last season, and could finish the season as a top 10 or 15 wide receiver.

Mike Wallace

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? Wallace has three touchdowns on only seven receptions all season. That rate is quite unsustainable for a receiver who only had two touchdowns all of last season. He could be in line for a successful season as a third wide receiver on your team with hit and miss production, but is very unlikely to finish in the top 10 when the season ends.

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald

Is his hot start sustainable? No.

Why? McDonald only has three catches all season - two of them have been for touchdowns. He has less than 8 percent of their receptions, but 67 percent of their touchdown receptions. That is a flukey ratio that is impossible to sustain, and his two best weeks for 2016 are possibly already behind him.

Jack Doyle & Dwayne Allen

Are their hot starts sustainable? Not really.

Why? Doyle and Allen have two things going for them. First, they are on a team with a horrible defense that needs to throw often. Secondly, with Donte Moncrief out, they are the only red zone targets taller than 5’10” for the next month or so. What they have going against them is each other - they will be splitting the tight end workload, which will prevent either from excelling. Secondly, Luck has only completed one of his five touchdown passes to a wide receiver this year. That will change, and when it does, the tight ends will feel that. In Rob Gronkowski’s incredible 17 touchdown season in 2011, 19 percent of his receptions went for touchdowns. Doyle and Allen are scoring on 23 percent of their receptions. That’s a terribly unsustainable rate that will surely fall.

Feel free to send us your questions (@BengalsOBI) - fantasy football related, or real football related, and we will address them in a future podcast!