Heading into Week 10, I’m starting to run out of good options, so this column may be limited the rest of the way (I’ll usually do it through Week 13), especially with the Waiver Wire continuing to be quite fruitful.
But for another 3-4 weeks, I’ll continue to keep looking for any and all angles that make sense to me in terms of finding players whose values should rise and whose values should drop in the near future. As usual, if I list a player, it’s never a buy or sell at all cost recommendation (unless otherwise noted).
Here’s what I got this week….
PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Tom Brady (QB, TB) — I was cataonic on Sunday night watching what had to be the worst game of Brady’s life. I do worry about the bad karma that Antonio Brown brings with him wherever he goes, but I believe whatever negative energy AB brings can be offset by Brady’s Goatness. That’s as long as Brown doesn’t do something stupid like fart in Brady’s face. Of course, it does appear that AB is still capable of playing at an extremely high level, so Brown could easily be a high-impact guy for the Bucs down the stretch. But the bottom line is Brady’s value took a serious hit in Week 9, and if we know anything about Brady we know he will remove all doubts about him and this offense ASAP by playing laser focused football. The Bucs do have a late bye in Week 13, keep in mind, but otherwise his schedule looks good the next three weeks against Car, LAR, and KC. And after the bye, Brady and the Bucs get an amazing slate of games for the fantasy playoffs: vs. Min, at Atl, and at Det (and then vs. Atl Week 17). That is an incredible three-game run of fantasy-friendly matchups, so I’d also look at Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Ronald Jones, and Leonard Fournette as viable trade for guys. Given their record, they won’t be locking up home field advantage early, so Brady and the Bucs aren’t likely to rest guys the final 1-2 weeks of the season.
Lamar Jackson (QB, SF) — Most of the QB recommendations here have been very good finding options who are about to see their values rise, like Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes the last two weeks. But Lamar was here a month ago and it hasn’t been great. Granted, it hasn’t been awful, either. He’s posted 18.6, 18.8, and 28.2 points in his last three games over the last four weeks. All his struggles (not seeing things well, looking uncomfortable, poor ball location, etc.) have continued through this past Sunday. However, many close to the team believe he might have turned a corner in the second half last week, so there’s that. More importantly, his value took yet another hit in Week 9, and his schedule looks promising overall with matchups at NE, vs. Ten, at Pit, vs. Dal, at Cle, vs. Jax, vs. NYG, and at Cin in Week 17. Pittsburgh is scary, but other than his five turners, which was flukey to say the least, Lamar did put up 208/2 passing and rushed for 65 yards against the Steelers, so he wasn’t awful. I would not go out of my way to acquire Lamar, but if I was looking for a high-impact guy, I’d look to Lamar this week (since we’re running out of high-impact guys whose values are down).
James Conner (RB, Pit) — Boy, this guy’s got a wide range of possible outcomes, huh? Everyone including me had him in their top-5 last week only to see him put up 4 freaking points, just like he did in the season opener against the Giants. Thing is, that horrible performance snapped a six-game streak with 14+ FP in Weeks 2-8, so it’s no time to panic. Quite the contrary, since they clearly need Conner to balance out the offense with Ben Roethlisberger seemingly hanging on for dear life this year. I’d look for a nice rebound against a poor Bengals run defense this week, and overall their remaining schedule looks fairly promising: vs. Cin, at Jax, vs. Bal, vs. Was, at Buf, at Cin, vs. Ind, at Cle.
Kenyan Drake (RB, Ari) — With Drake out last week, backup Chase Edmonds played on 66-of-69 snaps and handled 28-of-30 RB touches, so they’re obviously not inclined to play the rookie Eno Benjamin or anyone else (DJ Foster, who I forgot existed, got a single carry last week). The thing is, Edmonds did very little with a whopping 28 opportunities, putting up a pedestrian 88 yards from scrimmage. It’s entirely possible that he’s better off and a lot more effective coming off the bench, so as soon as Drake is back, I’m expecting 15+ carries from Drake, who can probably be had for a song right now. HC Kliff Kingsbury called him “day-to-day” on Monday, which basically means he’s questionable. If he’s questionable then he has a chance to return this week against Buffalo’s struggling run defense.
Raheem Mostert (RB, SF) — Their other RBs are dropping like flies and/or soiling the bed (sup, Jamycal Hasty?), so Mostert should handle a large workload when he’s ready, which could be this week. Keep in mind last year he had only 22 targets in 16 games (or 15 to be fair, since he had a game last year without a touch), yet this year he has 12 targets in only four games, and he did a lot with those 12 targets, putting up 11/150/1 in the passing game. The 49ers may struggle at QB the rest of the season, but they should be getting Deebo Samuel back very soon, and he can help move the sticks for whomever is under center. Keep in mind the 49ers do have a tough matchup this week against the Saints and then a bye, but his owner may also need wins now and he or she may not realize he has a chance to return this week. If that’s known, and even if they opt to hold him out until after their Week 11 bye, it will take only one big game from Mostert for his value to soar, so now is the time to take a look at him.
Rob Gronkowski (TE, TB) — Going into last week, Gronk had scored in three straight with 4+ catches and 40+ yards in each of those three games, so it’s not too difficult for me to throw last week’s game in the trash and act like it never happened, especially since the horrible performance will serve as motivation for Tom Brady and the whole team in the coming weeks. As covered in the Brady writeup, the Bucs have a late bye in Week 13, which is annoying, but their schedule is good otherwise their next three games against Car, LAR, and KC. And after the bye, the Bucs get a cake schedule for the fantasy playoffs vs. Min, at Atl, and at Det (and then vs. Atl Week 17). Given their record, they won’t be locking up home field advantage early, so Brady and the Bucs will be going after it 100% at least through Week 16.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — His fumble last week was a major problem, obviously, but he did score before it and was getting the ball, so his value might already be on the rise were it not for the fumble, which wasn’t egregious, by the way. At this point, I’m not expecting the coaches to do the right thing and commit to feeding this volume back the ball. Instead, I’m focusing on his upcoming schedule, which is fantastic. Taylor at this point needs some help to come through, and the schedule could be the Tay
SOME OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE INTERESTED IN TRADING FOR THIS WEEK:
Chris Carson (RB, Sea) — Reading between the lines, I think the Seahawks have been conservative with Carson, who seemed to have a chance to play two weeks ago yet has missed their last two games. But the backfield has been kind of a mess without him, and it sure looks like they could use his stability and effectiveness coming off a bad game against the Bills. Maybe Carson needs another week, but I’d be interested in acquiring him right now because this guy is currently RB7 in fantasy points per game (17.5), so there’s an opportunity right now to get a high-impact guy on the cheap. If you have a deep bench that’s even better because, ideally, you have his handcuff (Carlos Hyde) and also the handcuff to his handcuff (DeeJay Dallas).
DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Ari) — I love Christian Kirk like a son this year, and I actually advised to trade for him four weeks ago before he blew up, but this is getting a little ridiculous. Kirk’s in a great spot playing opposite D-Hop, no doubt, but Hopkins is still the #1 here, obviously. Hopkins has had only one really bad game this year, but he’s been a little underwhelming in three of his last five, so his owner may be getting a little impatient and willing to sell at a discount.
Calvin Ridley (WR, Atl) — He’s on a bye this week and NOT on IR which means he should be back for their next game in Week 11. That’s a potential shootout against the Saints, and then they have LV, NO, LAC, TB, and KC, which is overall a good schedule. If Ridley’s owner can’t wait around to see if he’ll be back next week and/or needs a win now, Ridley should be acquireable at a discount.
Deebo Samuel (WR, SF) — With Brandon Aiyuk on the mind, fantasy owners may be sleeping on Samuel, who HC Kyle Shanahan said has a chance to play against the Saints this week. He will be needed with George Kittle (foot) potentially done for the season, and he doesn’t need the greatest QB play to make an impact in this offense.
Evan Engram (TE, NYG) — I just traded for him myself this week in the league I want to win most (and lost George Kittle in). His routes and the way they’re using him isn’t great still, but maybe he and new OC Jason Garrett just needed some time to iron out some kinks because his role has been a huge positive the last three weeks with 9, 10, and 10 targets, good for a very strong 28% target share. That share trails only Darren Waller (31%) for best in the league for a TE the last three weeks.
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Christian McCaffrey (RB, Car) — It’s possible CMC is a good player for some fantasy teams to trade for. If you’re loaded and don’t need the RB help the next 2-3 weeks, that’s a viable move. For others who need wins these next 2-3 weeks to secure a playoff spot, I’d go the other way with it and would be willing to trade McCaffrey now for assets that can help me now. There’s risk in making a move before we truly know his status, but there’s also risk in waiting too long only to have the team announce that he’s going to miss multiple weeks. Per our resident Doctor Edwin Porras, McCaffrey is looking at an average missed time frame of 2-4 weeks with the midpoint being 10 days. A key point to remember is the Panthers have more losses but all but two NFC teams, so a playoff berth is not likely, and they have a more than capable replacement in Mike Davis.
D.J. Chark (WR, Jax) — I liked Chark a lot this summer and he was one of my (many) top WR targets in the 3rd-5th round range. I still like him, but his usage has been odd this year, and he’s also been banged up. I also like Jake Luton, who I actually requested a sit down with at the combine even though he was a low-end prospect because our guy Greg Cosell liked his tape, and enjoyed meeting and interviewing Luton. It was great to see Luton take a deep shot to Chark on the first play of the game last week, and it was expected that they would try to push the ball down the field with Chark, who had 11 other targets in the game. These are all good signs, so this is not a sell-at-all-cost recommendation. But if you have the WR depth and need help elsewhere, I do have to lean toward skepticism in terms of my confidence level in Luton and Chark keeping this up. For one, the Texans were without top corner Bradley Roby last week, which definitely helped. Also, Chark’s a good bet to see a lot of top corner Jaire Alexander this week, and he’s been great in 2020. They do have a nice run of games Weeks 12-14 against Cle, Min, and Ten, but they also have Pittsburgh in Week 11, so Chark at the very least could be quiet these next two weeks.
Breshad Perriman (WR, NYJ) — I liked Perriman a lot as a pick around 100 or so picks into a draft this summer, and it only took him nine weeks to show why! He’s been a train wreck with injuries and was seen grimacing on the sideline late in Week 10, so I have no confidence in his ability to stay healthy right now. So if adding him to a deal sweetens the pot and makes a deal happen, I’m fine with it.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
None of note.