Fantasy football trade value: Is now the time to go get Kyle Pitts?

Kyle Pitts, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has 11 receptions in his first three games. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

One of the staples of a great fantasy football league is trading. It's also one of the tenets along with the draft, waiver wire and lineup management that you must excel at in order to contend for championships in your leagues. As the season progresses, it's important to be like a chameleon and adapt to the changes in the NFL. The great news is that we have a ton of resources to help you with your decision-making in those areas.

Before diving into this week's recommendations, I'd like to share a few tips on how to put together a successful trade. The first one might sound simple, but it's important and is the place to start -- analyze your team. You must understand your team's strengths and weaknesses before you can trade. As an example, if your team is solid at RB but shaky at WR, you can put together a list of RBs to add to the trade block. The second tip is to look at the rosters of the teams in your league with the opposite situation, finding fantasy managers who might be willing to make a deal.

You can use Eric Karabell's trade index and rest-of-season rankings to better understand trade value. After you do your research, it's time to send your trade offer.

The third tip is simply to be proactive, open-minded, unbiased and polite. At times, managers might overvalue or hang on to players because they originally drafted them in the early rounds. That's an easy way to miss a good trade opportunity. Also, the other managers in your league don't want to deal with someone who's a jerk. It's crucial to "be nice" -- just like John Dalton (played by the great Patrick Swayze) in the 1989 cult classic "Road House."

The trade deadline in ESPN leagues is Dec. 1, and I'm here to help you out with some trade candidate nominations. Listed below are three players you should acquire now while their values are perceived to be low, as well as three you should part ways with to strengthen your roster in other areas.

Go get 'em

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts: He has been a disappointment this season. Taylor is currently RB28, which is surprising considering how he was a fantasy football league winner last season. Taylor went nuclear in Weeks 11 to 17, averaging an impressive 24.3 PPR fantasy points per game. Through three games in 2021, he has averaged only 10.7 and is being outperformed by committee mate Nyheim Hines (11.8). There are a few reasons to be optimistic, however. The Colts' offense should improve as quarterback Carson Wentz gets healthier and becomes more comfortable in the scheme. Indianapolis also has the seventh-most favorable schedule, according to our very own Mike Clay's Rest-of-Season NFL Strength of Schedule. The young running back is in an intriguing buy-low candidate with upcoming games against the Dolphins, Ravens and Houston; all three defenses rank in the top half of most fantasy points allowed per game.

Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots: The Patriots' offense and rookie quarterback Mac Jones have been up and down like the S&P 500. New England ranks 22nd in total yards per game, although Meyers has been one bright spot. He leads the team in targets (29), receptions (19), receiving yards (176) and receiving air yards (293). Meyers is the only WR in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards without a touchdown, according to Pro Football Reference data. He is a touchdown away from being on the radar of fantasy managers, and now is a perfect time to acquire him. The Patriots face the Buccaneers, Texans and Cowboys over their next three games, and these defenses have allowed an average of 44 points per game to wide receivers this season. As a point of reference, the Buccaneers (59) have allowed the most points per game to the position.

Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons: You might want to avoid the Falcons' offense in fantasy like gas-station sushi. Even so, I wouldn't overlook Pitts. The hype train surrounding him this summer was out of control. This was reflected in his average draft position. Pitts is the TE15 and has caught 11 of 17 targets for 139 yards. If the highly touted rookie had a touchdown, he'd be inside the top 10. Quarterback Matt Ryan has a passer rating of 101.8 when throwing to him and the rapport will only get stronger as the season progresses. The Falcons have the 12th-most favorable schedule moving forward, which also bodes well for more production from Pitts.

Trade 'em away

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants: He's coming off his best performance of the season last week against the Falcons, and the word on the street suggests Barkley has regained his pre-injury role. He had 23 opportunities, but Devontae Booker was a healthy scratch, so that must also be factored into the equation. It's worth noting that Barkley's burst hasn't completely returned; that is one thing Barkley had in spades before the injury. The ability to create chunks of yards on rushing attempts or after the catch is what we're all still waiting to see. While Barkley averaged 22.6 opportunities per game from his rookie season in 2018 through 2020, it's possible that the Giants could still manage his workload as he works his way back to 100%. Barkley (0.65) ranks 39th in fantasy points per opportunity this season, tied with Mike Davis of the Falcons, and this inefficiency could continue for the rest of the season when considering the Giants' upcoming schedule; New York has the most difficult schedule down the stretch, and Barkley will have some frustrating days ahead in this Giants' offense.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans: He has caught an astonishing 23 of 32 targets for 322 yards and a touchdown this season. How good is that? Well, Deebo Samuel (334) and Cooper Kupp (367) are the only other receivers with more yards than Cooks. Additionally, he leads all receivers with 428 receiving air yards. What's even more impressive is that Cooks has zero drops. This is a perfect selling window for the fantasy WR6. Cooks is one of five active receivers to exceed 1,000 receiving yards in at least five seasons since 2015, and he has accomplished this feat with multiple quarterbacks and teams. The Texans' lack of a viable No. 2 receiver could negatively impact Cooks as the season progresses, and defensive coordinators could take him away and force quarterbacks Davis Mills or Tyrod Taylor to find other ways to beat them.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins: He has been active in 50 games since 2018 and last week against the Raiders was only the second time Gesicki has accumulated 12 targets. It was only the fifth time he's had 10-plus targets in a game, in fact. Were you aware that 31% of Gesicki's 86 receiving yards came on one reception in overtime? He has seen more targets with backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center, but this dynamic could change once Tua Tagovailoa returns. Gesicki might have to fight for targets, too, in a passing game that includes talented receivers DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V and rookie standout Jaylen Waddle.