Early-season trade targets

Identifying good, bad trade candidates based on schedule matchups

Updated: September 4, 2013, 1:46 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Matt FortePhil Sears/US PresswireMatt Forte's matchup schedule will become more favorable for fantasy owners after Week 3.

When a perceived good fantasy draft gives way to poor early-season performances, it can be a major frustration for fantasy owners.

In many cases, those troubles from fantasy stars facing very tough personnel matchups in the early weeks. The key to handling those situations is knowing whether this is merely a bump in the road and whether future matchups bode better for fantasy success.

Fantasy Foresight focuses on potential moves to be made (or not made) with the future in mind. This week we'll aim to assist owners with this potential conundrum by reviewing 10 players whose schedules indicate they could have slow starts in Weeks 1-3, and we'll see whether their future schedules are more favorable (thus making them tempting trade targets with frustrated owners) or just as daunting (meaning owners may want to pursue trades before the season kicks off).

The method used to measure schedule strength is to assign each defensive matchup a color grade based on a variety of metric/scouting factors. A red rating indicates the matchup is very difficult and should be avoided if possible. A yellow rating signifies a matchup of roughly average strength. A green rating denotes a highly favorable matchup that should be targeted.

Here's a look at 10 early-season fantasy trade targets, organized by position.


Running backs

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

In Forte's case, the Bears start off the season with two red-rated run defenses (Minnesota and Pittsburgh) in the first three weeks of the season. Low point totals in those contests may cause some of Forte's owners to jump ship, but he has only two more red-rated matchups the rest of the season, so they should stay patient if he does have a less-than-stellar start. Teams that don't own Forte may look at this as a potential buy-low opportunity if their league has a panicky Forte owner.


To see the rest of the top early-season fantasy trade targets, sign up for Insider today.