Week 11 fantasy trade targets and ideas
After hitting on Odell Beckham Jr. as the top buy and Marvin Jones as the top sell prior to Week 10, this column took a step back with the “buys” in Week 10. Darren Sproles didn’t keep his role when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson went with the hot-hand approach — but when did Sproles ever get cold? Paul Perkins actually saw another increase in his snap percentage, but it hasn’t resulted in fantasy points (yet, at least). Jordan Reed didn’t quite hit either.
We did much better with our sells, though. You probably hope you sold Terrance West before Kenneth Dixon’s big game like we advised. Sterling Shepard was off to another disappointing game before a late touchdown saved him. Giovani Bernard was not so lucky to be bailed out by a touchdown. As we mentioned, Jeremy Hill has been the much more effective back there and the Bengals have caught on.
After fielding a lot of questions on Twitter (@DanSchneierNFL) about trades ideas and proposals, I’ve decided to throw in this reminder that you can follow me and tweet me any questions you have about trades. I will answer them ASAP and don’t plan to miss responding to any questions. Let’s jump right into this week’s slate of players.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
I have fielded a ton of questions on Twitter asking which quarterback is best to target for a late-season playoff push. I’ve got my money on Rivers. After a four-interception game in Week 10, some are skeptical about Rivers’ value going forward — they see him in the borderline QB1 range. But it was just another day at the office aside from the interceptions — Rivers threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. He now has five games of at least 300 yards passing and 20 touchdowns on the season. Only two quarterbacks have more yards and only four have more touchdowns than Rivers this season.
Even if we were to claim Rivers as only a matchup-dependent QB1 play for the remainder of the season, the schedule breaks more favorably for him than any other quarterback the rest of the way. From Weeks 13 to 16, Rivers draws the Buccaneers, Panthers, Raiders and Browns. The Raiders are the only team of the group with a respectable defense in pass coverage, but they can’t consistently rush the passer; Rivers threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders earlier this season. The Buccaneers, Panthers and Browns rank Nos. 22, 24 and 29, respectively, in our pass coverage grade overall so far in 2016.
In addition, Rivers has a bye in Week 11. As we’ve talked about in past columns, you can use this to your advantage in trade discussions. Owners are much more likely to part with players on a bye or with an upcoming bye — they see it as an advantage. This works even better when said player is coming off of a poor performance.
Rivers makes for an excellent buy-low candidate. He is going to tilt fantasy matchups down the stretch and in your playoffs weeks.
(Note: The writers at PFF Fantasy work independently of one another and come to our own conclusions. That leads to original thinking, but sometimes — like below — it leads to some confusing overlap. Tuesday, Mike Tagliere listed both of the next two guys as prime “sell” candidates, and today, they’re listed as “buy” options. Both are viable approaches, so evaluate the arguments for yourself and decide which you prefer.)
Rob Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins
I’m kicking myself for leaving Kelley out of this column last week — he just missed the cut. After I spent nearly the entire offseason bashing Matt Jones as an illegitimate option to lead any team’s backfield, I found myself reluctant to jump in on Kelley at first — the undrafted rookie free agent didn’t really jump out as a much better option talent wise than Jones. I was wrong — Kelley can play.
ESPN revealed a stat earlier this week showing that Kelley had lost yardage on just 2-of-60 carries, but that only scratches the surface when it comes to what he’s been able to accomplish on a per-touch basis in 2016. Over the past two weeks, since the Redskins have committed to him on more than just five carries, Kelley has posted an elite 120.2 elusive rating. Only two running backs have a better rating over the past two games. Kelley has forced eight missed tackles on 23 total touches and he’s averaging 3.45 yards per carry after contact.
It actually helps you when it comes to trading that Kelley didn’t score in Week 10. He finished with a monster workload and 95 yards on 23 total touches, but his fantasy line was down and that gives you one more opportunity to buy (fairly) low. 97 rushing yards on 22 carries against the Vikings defense is impressive in its own right, but Kelley’s ability to avoid negative plays, create yards after contact, and force missed tackles bodes well for him down the stretch run. The fact that Kelley runs behind our fourth-best run-blocking unit overall doesn’t hurt either.
C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Prosise was dubbed this year’s David Johnson thanks to his size/speed combination and his transition in college from wide receiver to running back, but we hadn’t see in at the pro level until Week 10. Prosise finally took over and led the Seahawks’ backfield with 77 percent of the snaps and 24 total touches. We later found out that something was certainly going on behind the scenes with former starter Christine Michael — he was released on Tuesday — but that didn’t stop Prosise from making the most of his opportunities.
Prosise wasn’t able to get much going on the ground, but that was to be expected. The Seahawks entered the game with our lowest-ranked run-blocking team overall and the Patriots have our fifth-best run defense — they’ve been in the top five all season long. Where Prosise was able to make his impact was in the passing game. He finished with seven receptions for 87 yards.
In the past three weeks, since the Seahawks have made the commitment to get Prosise involved in the game plan, he paces all running backs in the NFL in receiving yards per route — and it’s not even close. Prosise has racked up a 3.15 yards per route run average on 55 targets with 12 receptions for 173 yards receiving over the past three weeks. 11 running backs have run more passing routes than Prosise over the time frame, but not a single player in the NFL has more receiving yards.
When Thomas Rawls returns from injury in Week 11, he won’t eat much into Prosise’s new role in the offense. With the worst run-blocking grades in the NFL, the Seahawks need to utilize a running back in the short and intermediate passing game. Prosise is their guy.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Nobody wants to sell fantasy’s highest-scoring QB over the past month and change, but sometimes you have to search for big value where you can find it. Mariota’s value has likely peaked and the return is too good to pass up on. We’ve seen all the stats on Mariota’s red-zone efficiency and we’re not here to deny his merits as a real life quarterback — even if PFF does currently rank him as just the 25th-best quarterback overall.
But you can’t deny the merits of how brutal Mariota’s upcoming schedule truly is. Are we sure we’re ready to crown him matchup independent? From Weeks 13 to 16, Mariota kicks things off with a bye week before playing the Broncos at home, heading to Kansas City on the road, and mixing in the Jaguars on the road. Are we sure Mariota is a locked-and-loaded QB1? He did catch fire against a then-hapless Dolphins pass defense followed by the Browns, Colts, Jaguars, Chargers and Packers. Excluding the Chargers, you’d be hard-pressed to find an easier slate this season. And if not, are we sure that we want our QB1 for the fantasy playoffs set to match up against that slate of opponents?
You can return a fortune for Mariota right now and it’s in your best interest to sell high.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are on a four-game winning streak in large part due to an offensive blueprint they’ve followed under Adam Gase. This blueprint involves leaning heavily on Jay Ajayi and the run game. It has evolved into a plan of attack that relies on Ajayi and the ability to take deep shots in the passing game. We’ve seen them find success with their new wrinkle in recent weeks with Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker. There’s no reason for Gase or Ryan Tannehill to go away from this blueprint as long as the Dolphins continue to win, but it’s certainly not the kind offensive approach that returns value for Landry.
Even through the first four weeks of the 2016 season, before the Dolphins found their identity, Landry was a lock for weekly volume. Now that the offense has evolved, that’s no longer the case. Landry hasn’t seen double-digit targets in a single game since Week 4. He also hasn’t topped 100 yards receiving since Week 3 and he has only done it twice all season long. He has just 9 receptions over his past two games and they have totaled just 86 yards.
We’ve hit rock-bottom with Landry but not everyone realizes that yet. Sell while you still can.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Earlier this season, Hilton led one of these columns as the No. 1 buy candidate. He followed this up with a breakout performance in wake of an injury to Donte Moncrief and an inflated projected role for Phillip Dorsett. Look it up in the archive by clicking on my author page — you’ll find it. The main takeaway for targeting Hilton was to grab him as a pure volume play. Now that Moncrief is back, that guaranteed volume is all but gone. Luck has another option to spread the ball around to in the passing game.
Since Moncrief returned in Week 8, Hilton has just 13 total targets — the 25th-most in the NFL and the same as Moncrief. Meanwhile, he is dealing with another nagging and lingering lower body injury that has sapped him of his explosion and he has fallen even further down the totem pole in the red zone. It’s time to move on Hilton while you can still sell him as a locked in WR1. The highest bidder will view him as a WR1 in trade discussions.