2022 Trade Deadline Report

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2022 Trade Deadline Report

There were 10 trades on NFL deadline day, the most in the history of the league.

Some teams are all-in, some teams have folded their 2022 hands to live another day, and others are just trying to get value.

Within the 10 trades made on deadline day this year, seven skill-position players were moved. I’ll rank these moves based on estimated fantasy impact and try to give an instant oatmeal view of the move.

1. Vikings trade for TJ Hockenson

In a shocking intradivisional trade, Minnesota dealt a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to Detroit for Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.

This is the closest deal we had on deadline day to a blockbuster, and it’s easy to wonder if Minnesota makes the trade if Irv Smith didn’t suffer a serious high-ankle sprain in Week 8 (he could miss the rest of the season). Minnesota has essentially been using Smith and Johnny Mundt in a rotational type of role — Smith is their receiving tight end and Mundt is more of their blocker. (Mundt played 68% of the Vikings’ run snaps, Smith 64% of their passing snaps. Smith was also their predominant red-zone option.)

But the Vikings also don’t run a whole lot of multi-TE sets. Per Fantasy Points Data, they run the 6th-highest rate of 11 personnel in the league (76%), and the 5th-lowest rate of 12 personnel (8.3%). In essence, Smith was their passing-situation TE and Mundt their run-situation TE. In theory, Hockenson should be less of a tell for playcalling, as he was considered a fantastic blocker coming out of Iowa, but he hasn’t truly established himself in that department in the NFL.

Really, the simplest take for the rest of the 2022 season is that Hockenson will be a straight-up replacement for Smith as the Vikings’ receiving TE. That’s potentially problematic for Hockenson, the TE4 with 12.2 FPG. Irv’s season-high snap share is 64%, while Hockenson’s season-low snap share is 76% — he was an every-down player for the Lions.

But it’s also possible Hockenson is more consistently targeted on the routes he does run for the Vikings. Smith was targeted on 21.2% of his routes run for Minnesota, similar to Hockenson’s 20.9% for Detroit, and Hock is simply a more gifted receiving talent. Perhaps Kirk Cousins gravitates more to Hockenson than he did Irv. And it’s also a potential positive that the Vikings’ top receiver isn’t an inside player like Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Mostly, I consider this a lateral move from a fantasy perspective. It might boost Cousins a little bit, and Hockenson could have a little more TD equity in a better and more consistent offense, but the fact that he has to learn a new offense and the potentially shrinking snap share are concerns. From a long-term perspective, the fact that Minnesota gave up two Day 2 draft picks suggests they love the player, and Hockenson could be Minnesota’s #2 target behind Justin Jefferson as early as next season with Adam Thielen on the wrong side of 30.

For Detroit, this obviously opens up a potentially bigger target share for St. Brown, who is already one of the game’s preeminent target hogs. But a name I’m very intrigued by is fifth-round rookie TE James Mitchell, who made his first NFL catch — a 14-yarder — in Week 8.

More than likely, Mitchell is a dynasty-only type of asset, but 18% of Detroit’s targets just opened up. He’s a must-add in dynasty formats, especially TE premium formats.

2. Bills trade for Nyheim Hines

The Bills have been looking for the perfect passing-down back since the spring. They tried to sign Chase Edmonds. They tried to sign JD McKissic. They drafted James Cook. They tried to trade for Christian McCaffrey multiple times.

And now, at the trade deadline, they probably got the best of all those options in picking up Hines for RB Zack Moss and a 2023 sixth-round pick. Hines can also help them in the return game.

It’s easy to see why Buffalo wanted Hines — since he entered the league in 2018, his 235 receptions rank 6th among all RBs, behind elite fantasy options Alvin Kamara, CMC, Austin Ekeler, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott. And by pass rate over expectation, the Bills are tied with the Chiefs for the highest rate in the league this year (13.5%).

The fact that the Bills have so aggressively pursued someone in this role suggests that they want someone who is a better receiver than Devin Singletary. Singletary is fantasy’s RB27 at 11.2 FPG, and he’s done an admirable job as a receiver, but his 30 targets over the Bills’ first seven games are likely to fall over the next 10. This is also a potential blow to slot man Isaiah McKenzie, who has had an inconsistent season for the Bills.

Meanwhile, Hines is a primo FLEX option in a pristine situation.

Hines is under contract through 2024, but Buffalo can get out of the deal at no penalty after this season. So while this is a blow to the dynasty value of Cook — who had just started to get snaps — I’m not writing him off just yet. In fact, I’d consider making some buy-low offers for Cook, as Singletary is scheduled to hit the open market after this season.

3. Bears trade for Chase Claypool

The Bears have needed WR help since the duo of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall were each putting up massive seasons with Jay Cutler. And they aggressively pursued that at the trade deadline, acquiring Claypool for a 2023 2nd-round pick. It is the Bears’ own pick, not the one they acquired from Baltimore for Roquan Smith. So this is a pretty hefty investment.

Why would the Bears do this? Well, first of all, there are reports that Green Bay was hot for Claypool too. And Chicago, on account of being potentially worse than the Packers, was able to beat Green Bay’s offer.

And from an on-field perspective, the Bears like Claypool’s versatility.

I’m really intrigued to see how this affects Darnell Mooney. At a 58.2% slot route share, Mooney was the Bears’ primary slot receiver this season. But he has been far more effective outside than inside — 2.84 yards per route run outside (10th among all WRs with 50 or more total routes), just 1.12 inside (85th).

Meanwhile, Claypool has run the second-most routes from the slot in the entire NFL, behind only Tyler Boyd. On a per-route basis, Claypool is actually less productive in the slot than Mooney (1.09), though he’s also worse outside than he is in the slot (1.00). The biggest fantasy impact from this trade could well be Claypool pushing Mooney to the perimeter more, where he’s been more effective. While Justin Fields has been much better of late, the Bears are still the NFL’s most run-heavy team this year (-15.1% PROE). There isn’t likely to be more than one consistently fantasy-relevant receiver here.

Look, it’s clear multiple teams around the NFL feel like Claypool’s underwhelming 2021 and 2022 seasons, in which he’s clearly landed in Mike Tomlin’s doghouse, don’t outweigh his impressive 2020 rookie campaign in which he scored 11 touchdowns. But from my perspective, this is an overpay, and the Steelers generally know when to move on from a wide receiver.

As for Pittsburgh, their WR depth takes a big hit. Calvin Austin is out for the year, while Steven Sims and/or Gunner Olszewski figure to work into the rotation more. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens should see more targets, but do you know who has run the second-most slot routes on the Steelers?

That would be TE Pat Freiermuth, who runs out of the slot on 33.2% of his routes. Fantasy’s TE10 is a potential big winner here.

4. Jaguars trade for Calvin Ridley

This might have been the most shocking trade of the day, since Ridley has been out of sight, out of mind since his indefinite suspension for gambling.

The trade has a ton of conditions, so I’ll let Adam Schefter explain.

Remember, Ridley’s suspension was for at least a season, so commissioner Roger Goodell has to reinstate him. But this is a phenomenal risk for the Jags to take, as it will give them a legitimate perimeter winner to pair with slot man Christian Kirk — again, in theory — in 2023.

There’s a lot of valid concern about Trevor Lawrence right now, but Ridley’s dynasty value rises with him as opposed to the Marcus Mariota/Desmond Ridder/unknown 2023 rookie QB in Atlanta.

If the Falcons ever do decide to try the forward pass again, this boosts the dynasty value of Kyle Pitts and Drake London.

5. Dolphins trade for Jeff Wilson

Miami acquired the 49ers’ leading rusher — expendable in the wake of the Christian McCaffrey deal — for a 2023 5th-round pick.

Wilson immediately becomes the top backup to the very effective but often injured Raheem Mostert. And given he played under Mike McDaniel in San Francisco, he doesn’t have to learn a new offense.

He has much more value in Miami than he would have had in San Francisco, which will be getting Elijah Mitchell back from an MCL injury shortly. On the low, low end, this slightly boosts the dynasty value of Tyrion Davis-Price, though that was completely nuked with the McCaffrey deal.

The Dolphins needed a top backup RB because…

6. Broncos trade for Chase Edmonds

… they dealt Edmonds to Denver as part of the Bradley Chubb deal.

This is no big loss for Miami. Edmonds was the Dolphins’ big-money FA signing at RB this off-season, but was immediately doghoused after an ineffective performance as a runner in Miami’s opener (12 carries, 25 yards). Mostert has been far better than Edmonds all season — Edmonds averages just 2.9 YPC on the year.

Edmonds is now the third bad running back in Denver behind Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray, and based on the numbers and the film, he’s the worst of the three. But in a purely situational third-down role, he could have some value. I just don’t want to be in the business of rostering potential third-down RBs on one of the league’s worst offenses.

7. Colts trade for Zack Moss

Moss came back to Indy as part of the Nyheim Hines trade.

Indy had no more use for Hines given a shift to a more run-heavy approach under QB Sam Ehlinger. Jonathan Taylor remains a high-end RB1, as frustrating as he’s been. Deon Jackson is now the no-doubt handcuff to Taylor, while Moss is a reclamation project for the Colts. I have almost zero interest in him.

Joe Dolan, a professional in the fantasy football industry for over a decade, is the managing editor of Fantasy Points. He specializes in balancing analytics and unique observation with his personality and conversational tone in his writing, podcasting, and radio work.

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