Week 9 fantasy trade targets and ideas
The fantasy football trade market is the fastest way to upgrade your team and the most efficient one. You can take advantage of poor tendencies and logic from other owners in your league who tend to overreact to past performance.
Every week we’ll take a look at the top players to buy or sell in fantasy football. An elite fantasy owner is active in the trade market and always looking for value (plus ways to take advantage of his competition). We want you to become that elite manager and our goal is provide you with the players who you should be looking to trade for or away each week.
The Panthers just traded away top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and now is the time to trade for Newton? Of course it is. Fantasy owners take one look at the remainder of the Panthers wide receiver corps and panic, but Newton doesn’t need elite receivers to be a top fantasy contributor. He’s done it before without Benjamin, and top target Greg Olsen is due back in just a few weeks. Look for more of Christian McCaffrey in the passing game and Newton to use his legs more often — both are good things for Newton owners.
Burkhead looked a lot like the Patriots’ solution for the loss of Julian Edelman in the slot in Week 8 after finally returning fully healthy for a game. Burkhead was used on more snaps than supposed passing-down back James White and he was heavily involved in the passing game. Burkhead saw the fourth-most targets of any RB in Week 8 despite playing just 27 total snaps. He finished a perfect 7-for-7 on targets and his seven catches resulted in 68 yards with 52 coming after the catch. Burkhead finished with the third-best yards per route run (3.24) of all RBs in Week 8.
Ajayi joining a slow-paced and pass-heavy offense might not seem like a massive upgrade, but it is. Ajayi gets a massive bump in blocking, even without Jason Peters. The Dolphins rank No. 30 in run-blocking while the Eagles rank No. 7 overall. Ajayi should also be used more often in the passing game and see plenty more scoring opportunities than he had in Miami. Situation is key in fantasy and Ajayi has the advanced stats to back up a potential breakout in a new setting. Ajayi owns one of PFF’s top elusive ratings and has forced 23 missed tackles on just 138 carries in 2017. According to PFF’s Nathan Jahnke, Ajayi has averaged 3.2 yards after contact per carry over the course of his career; best for backs with 200-plus carries over last 12 years.
McKinnon is not by any means a buy-low candidate, but it’s time to buy him where he’s priced, because it’s still below his actual ceiling. The Vikings has decided to focus their post-Sam Bradford offense around McKinnon and his abilities in both the run and pass game. Latavius Murray’s touchdown from two weeks ago was a mirage, because this is McKinnon’s backfield. He played the fourth-most snaps of any RB in Week 8 en route to earning PFF’s top grade among all RBs. He’s the real deal and it’s time to trade a disappointing name brand player to snag him.
Thompson, like McKinnon, is here to stay. We all need to wake up and realize the fantasy landscape has changed in 2017. Rotational players like Thompson are now true RB1/2 plays on a weekly basis. The Redskins used Thompson on more snaps than all but six RBs in Week 8 and you can expect things to stay that way with Washington’s offensive line losing its top three players to injuries. Thompson has easily topped double-digit points in PPR and half-point PPR since his breakout game.
The Buccaneers finally decided to commit to Martin in Week 8 and they were able to get their running game going (in spite of Jameis Winston’s worst game in 2017). Martin played 39 snaps and that was 20 more than Charles Sims. The Buccaneers didn’t have the football on offense for long enough to see a true breakout game, but that will change going forward as Winston gets healthier. Buy into Martin now before it becomes clearer to his owners that the Buccaneers have decided to make him the true featured back again.
Golden Tate played in Week 8 and it didn’t matter — Jones was the featured receiver. Matthew Stafford and Jones are starting to get back some of their early 2016 magic. Jones is fully healthy and his offseason work with Randy Moss is starting to pay off. Jones saw the second-most targets of any WR in Week 8 and turned in three forced missed tackles on route to 128 yards receiving. Jones led the NFL in targets over his past two games, and with the Lions struggling to block in the run game, he could emerge as an every-week WR2 down the stretch in a pass-heavy offense.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fantasy owners have been tricked by a slow stretch with Evans in the past. Sure, it looks like Winston and Evans are in year one from a chemistry standpoint, but the volume is still there. Evans saw the fifth-most targets of any WR in Week 8 and he has been targeted more than all but five wide receivers in 2017 overall. Don’t be the one who is surprised when Winston and Evans get back on track — be the owner who buys low now on Evans.
Is Benjamin the Chargers’ new No. 1 option in the passing game? Probably not, but this was the case in Week 8 when he led the team in targets and made the biggest play in the passing game. Over the past three games no Chargers receiver has done more with his targets than Benjamin and he is only seven targets behind Keenan Allen over that span. Benjamin is shaping up as a nice WR3 play over the rest of the season and has replaced what we expected out of Tyrell Williams.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
A quarterback is only as good as his offensive line. With the Redskins suffering injuries to four of five starters on the line, some more serious than others, Cousins had his worst game of the year in Week 8 against a suspect Cowboys defense. He was under duress all game, and with elite left tackle Trent Williams expected to miss the next several games, that could be the case going forward for Cousins. It doesn’t get much easier for Cousins either — his next three games come against the Seahawks, Vikings, and Saints pass-rushers.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Deal Blount now while you can still might be able to get something for him. His role in the offense was questionable anyway after averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry during his past two games, but now it’s safe to rule him out with Jay Ajayi in the mix.
Johnson and Isaiah Crowell have flipped in the backfield again with the Browns leaning on their original starter in Week 8 and finding success in doing so. Crowell out snapped Johnson 33 to 22 in Week 8 and you can look for that to be the case going forward. Crowell showed better than Johnson both as a runner and receiver.
Richardson has three touchdowns over the past two games, but don’t let that fool you. As we always preach, touchdowns are the most likely statistic to regress over the course of a season. Richardson may have the touchdowns to show for his fantasy stock now, but he doesn’t have the volume. Richardson has just seven total targets over the past two games, two of which he turned into touchdowns. He can’t keep up that pace, so you should sell now while his value is still high.