For another 2-3 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
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — I know, and I’m sorry. I’ll let you in on a little secret: one of the main reasons I keep putting Taylor here, other than the fact that his cost continues to drop like a dot-com stock in the spring of 2000, is the fact that as bad as I look now, it’ll be forgotten once Taylor starts balling, which he will. Granted, that may not happen until 2021, but I’m not closing the book on a major increase in production starting now because the Colts have a dream slate of games in four of their next five: GB, Ten, Hou, LV, and Hou. The Titans handled Taylor well last week, but the Colts did run well on them, so it’s not a bad matchup, and the other four are great matchups. I’m still willing to trade away a key depth piece or two for Taylor.
Duke Johnson (RB, Hou) — He’s hardly a must-have, but Johnson looks sneaky on the heels of a majorly disappointing performance in Week 10. But the entire offense collapsed in the bad weather, and after catching all four of his targets off the bench in Week 9, Dookie had only 1 target in Week 10. What he did have, though, is ownership on this backfield. Johnson last week handled every single one of the Texans’ handoffs (14) and played on 54-of-57 snaps. That role will lead to production, for sure.
Michael Thomas (WR, NO) — There’s way more downside to trading for Thomas than I thought possible. Then again, I never thought Thomas’ value would fall so far in a single season. But I’m all about acquiring as many high-pedigree players as possible, especially when I can acquire them at a steep discount. And this time of the year, I’m less concerned about depth and more concerned about forming the best starting lineup possible for the playoffs. Especially with Drew Brees potentially missing multiple weeks, I wouldn’t give up a key starter for Thomas unless I had fantastic depth at a certain position. But I would be willing to move 2-3 secondary pieces to acquire Thomas. Losing depth can be scary, but this year’s Waiver Wire has a seemingly never-ending supply of viable options at all the positions except maybe TE, which is bad yet again in 2020. Jameis Winston can certainly get Thomas the ball, and in fact, as covered in Graham Barfield’s Week 11 Stat Pack, Winston targeted Thomas five times on 10 attempts last week, which is a great sign. Thomas faces the Falcons twice over the next three weeks. In eight career games against them, he has scored 20+ fantasy points against them five times. Other than a matchup against KC, New Orleans’ schedule for the pass looks good the rest of the way: Atl, Den, Atl, Phi, KC, and Min Weeks 11-16.
Amari Cooper (WR, Dal) and CeeDee Lamb (WR, Dal) — Maybe I’m just looking for a good angle to get behind because the good options are running thin, but there is a perception that the Cowboys are dead on offense, and I’m not sure that’s the case. Coming out of the bye, Andy Dalton is feeling better and could return this week. If not this week, at least Garrett Gilbert was very competent in their last game. Overall, their schedule looks solid: Min, Was, Bal, Cin, SF, and Phi. Obviously, both players need to come at a palatable discount, but I can envision both players’ perceived values being noticeably higher in 1-2 weeks because their actual production rises. Basically, considering where both players are now in terms of their values, I see both players having a good chance to see their values rise starting now.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
James Conner (RB, Pit) — He was here last week and I wrote that I expected a bounce-back in Week 10 against the Bengals. We got the opposite of that, but at least his value took a major hit. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I do know Conner is volatile, so his recent collapse isn’t that shocking. I also know his HC on 11/17 gave a very firm confirmation that he remains their starter and their bell-cow, and I do believe Mike Tomlin. I would have to be a really nice value, but with his value taking another big hit last week, I have to believe that his production/value going forward will only rise. Their remaining schedule looks fairly promising: at Jax, vs. Bal, vs. Was, at Buf, at Cin, vs. Ind, at Cle.
Raheem Mostert (RB, SF) — The 49ers opted to hold him last week, and he’s on a bye this week. But he’s now a lock to return for their next game barring a setback, and Mostert should handle a large workload when he’s ready. 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 whoever is under center. If his owner needs a big win this week or is asleep at the wheel, I’d be happy to take Mostert off his or her hands if I needed a back because it’s pretty damn clear that he has to be the guy, so 15-20 touches a week are coming when healthy.
Chris Carson (RB, Sea) — He may miss another game this week, which is annoying for Carson owners since the backup situation is a disaster. But over the last two weeks, it’s looking like the Seahawks may need to recommit to the run to settle things down and get Russell Wilson back on track. 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. There’s nothing particularly scary about their remaining schedule, FYI.
Calvin Ridley (WR, Atl) — He’s been running this week, but it’s still unclear if he will practice and return to the lineup in Week 11. But he was not placed on IR which means he should be back for their next game, or at the latest Week 12. If it’s this week, 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 acquirable at a discount.
Deebo Samuel (WR, SF) — With Brandon Aiyuk on the mind, fantasy owners may be sleeping on Samuel, who is off this week but should be back for their next game. 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) — Last week was a disappointment, but Engram came close to a spectacular catch right in front of the goal line last week, so he came somewhat close to scoring. He’s off this week, but that means he may command less in a trade right now. Before Week 10, every data point and film review was extremely positive on Engram and his usage, so there's a current buying opportunity for a player more than capable of posting top-5 numbers at TE down the stretch.
SOME OTHER PLAYERS I’D BE INTERESTED IN TRADING FOR THIS WEEK:
PLAYERS TO TRADE
Deshaun Watson (QB, Hou) — Now that Watson has proven to be human in the post-B.O.B. era, I’m a little concerned with his horrible schedule weeks 13-15. Watson and the Texans have the firepower to overcome it, but make no mistake: a three-game run vs. Ind, Chi, and Ind is as bad as it gets. And God forbid one of his top targets, both with extensive injury histories, gets hurt and mises time in December. It would be risky to move Watson without a strong backup plan, but if you can move him now for a good return and can pivot over to a comparable option with better matchups, that is more than viable.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) — This inclusion is all about the short term. If you’re cruising to the playoffs with Rodgers, it would probably be foolish to move him. But, if you’re hanging on by a thread and can’t afford to lose another game, moving Rodgers may be a savvy play, since he has Indy and Chicago in his next two games, arguably two of the worst 3-4 matchups out there.
Tom Brady (QB, TB) — He was here as my top player to trade for at QB in this article last week, so I’m not flip-flopping here. This inclusion is also all about the short term, and in Brady’s case, that’s the next three weeks. Brady has a really tough matchup this week against the Rams, and then another tough matchup against the Chiefs (in TB, at least). And then he has a bye, so it’s possible that Brady will hurt you if you need wins the next three weeks. I’d want to hang on to him if I was cruising to the playoffs, though, since Tampa’s slate of games Weeks 14-16 is sublime: Min, Atl, Det.
Ronald Jones (RB, TB) — God himself doesn’t know what Jones will do this week or any week. In his last five weeks, the man scored 20 FP total in a three-game span sandwiched inside 26.1 and 24.8 FP performances. In other words, he’s all over the map. The guy ran for 192 yards last week, and 9 yards the week before. Granted, the Saints game in Week 9 was highly unusual, but still; that is absurd. He’s also fumbling lately, with two lost fumbles in his last three games, and his role in the passing game is sketchy. I think it’s worth trading Jones just so you don’t have to agonize about whether or not you want to start him. We know he can go off, but he could also end your season just as easily. They also have some tougher matchups and have a late bye still to come in Week 13.
Marvin Jones (WR, Det) — I spoke with a Lions beat writer about Jones a month ago, and he surprisingly wasn’t worried at all about Jones’ lack of production, stating the veteran receiver has always been streaky. And sure enough, Jones has been very good since that interview, ranking as the WR9 with 17.2 FPG in four games. That’s great, but if he’s streaky, he could trend back the other way at any time. That actually seems likely, since Jones is averaging 14.7 fantasy points per game without Kenny Golladay and 8.9 FPG with him. So if Golladay is back, Jones may be fairly worthless.
LISTED HERE LAST WEEK, BUT I STILL THINK THEY ARE VIABLE:
None of note.