Should I trade Puka Nacua? Exploring fantasy oulook for Rams WRs with Cooper Kupp nearing his return
Puka Nacua has been one of the biggest breakout stars during the 2023 fantasy football season. He is also an early NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate as his massive volume and incredible production have become a weekly staple. His record-breaking rookie season seemingly came out of nowhere, going from an afterthought in fantasy drafts to a top 10 wide receiver.
The only thing hindering his fantasy outlook for the remainder of the season is that Cooper Kupp is expected to return in the coming weeks. This means Nacua's role in the Los Angeles Rams' offense moving forward is a bit unclear, creating an interesting sell-high opportunity in the fantasy football trade market.
Puka Nacua fantasy outlook for 2023
Puka Nacua received some buzz ahead of the 2023 fantasy football season, but was really only a draft target in Dynasty leagues where rookies hold a ton of value. The main reason why he was off of the radar for most redraft formats was the massive target share that Cooper Kupp commands. Nacua was also buried on the Los Angeles Rams' wide receiver depth chart with Van Jefferson exected to play a major role.
Everything quickly changed for the Rams' passing game when Kupp was placed on the PUP list prior to Week 1, forcing him to miss at least the first four games of the season. This gave Nacua, as well as Tutu Atwell, an opportunity at extended playing time. While each of them surpassed Jefferson in the target hierarchy, it's Nacua who has truly emerged as a fantasy football superstar in Kupp's absence.
Nacua set a new NFL record by recording 25 receptions and 35 targets across the first two games of his NFL career. He has also finished among the top 10 wide receivers in three of the four weeks this year, including two top-five finishes in PPR leagues.
He's easily been a WR1 on many fantasy rosters this year, which would usually give him a bright outlook for the remainder of the season. But Kupp's situation is a major factor that must be taken into account.
Also Read: Fantasy Football rookie WR rankings
Is Puka Nacua a good pick in fantasy football this year?
Cooper Kupp was forced to miss at least the first four weeks of the 2023 NFL season, per the official rules of being placed on the PUP list. He has now fulfilled this requirement, meaning he's eligible to return to the Los Angeles Rams' starting lineup as soon as he's healthy enough to do so. Puka Nacua is probably the fantasy football player who this will impact the most.
Kupp's absence can partially explain Nacua's massive volume, though his stellar play on the football field should not be discredited. The most likely outcome of Kupp's eventual return is that both receivers' overall fantasy outlooks for the remainder of the season will take a bit of a hit.
Kupp is no longer the only legitimate receiver in their passing game, so Nacua is likely going to share the workload, as well as Atwell a bit, though he will likely be a distant WR3.
Also Read: Should I trade Cooper Kupp?
With Nacua performing as a top 10 fantasy football wide receiver so far this year, and Kupp's return likely coming within the next few weeks, an interesting sell-high trade situation is being presented. It's unlikely that Nacua's value could possibly get any higher than it is right now, especially with his workload expected to decrease soon.
Now may be the best time to cash in on his fantasy value, potentially flipping him for other assets that are increasing in value.
Before locking Nacua or Kupp into fantasy football lineups, make sure to consult the Start/Sit Optimizer first.
Who should I trade Puka Nacua for?
Capitalizing on any fantasy football player's value when it's at the perceived highest it will get can be a winning strategy. This is why managers should consider flipping Puka Nacua now before his value likely drops as a result of sharing his volume with Cooper Kupp. The fantasy football trade analyzer is the best tool for this process, making sure managers get the best return package.
The analyzer tool suggested moving Nacua for a return package that includes De'Von Achane, Jameson Williams and Luke Musgrave. Achane appears on his way to becoming a superstar, Williams is nearing his 2023 debut, and Musgrave is one of the most promising rookie tight ends.
This potential deal allows managers to get rid of Nacua at peak value and receive three growing assets in return that are likely to be more valuable later than they are right now. Using this strategy and taking advantage of these rare opportunities can give managers the edge they need to move closer to a fantasy football championship.