Lloyd, Decker look to be big fantasy winners from NFL trade deadline
First, the Broncos benched their starting quarterback for Tim Tebow. Now they trade their top wide receiver. Denver may have given up on the season this year, but the trade of Brandon Lloyd to the Rams has lots of fantasy implications, and at least one Denver wideout should be on the waiver wire ready to contribute to your team.
Lloyd reunites in St. Louis with former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, now the offensive coordinator for the Rams. Last season with McDaniels, Lloyd had 77 catches for 1,448 yards (which led the league) and 11 touchdowns in Denver. It should be a smoother transition than usual for Lloyd since he already knows the offense. He's in the last year of his deal and should be motivated.
No one on the Rams has been a reliable fantasy player this year, and now quarterback Sam Bradford is in a walking cast. With Lloyd on the team, the Rams top two wideouts this year -- Danario Alexander (33 targets, 14 catches, 287 yards, 1 TD) and Brandon Gibson (31 targets, 17 catches, 214 yards, 1 TD) -- take hits, especially with Bradford suffering a high ankle sprain on Sunday. Alexander and Gibson were only being used in big leagues anyway; Alexander is the one with more upside if you're going to stash someone. (Mike Sims-Walker, signed in the offseason by St. Louis, was cut to make room for Lloyd.)
The Broncos have more intriguing options on the waiver wire. Eric Decker, owned in 77 percent of leagues, is now Denver's No. 1. He was already the Broncos' leader in targets (42) and receptions (22) and should obviously be picked up if he happens to be available in your league. He's probably gone if you're in a league that pays attention, though.
Demaryius Thomas, though, is probably available (he's owned in just 2 percent of Yahoo! leagues) and has tremendous upside. (Eddie Royal, owned in 3 percent of leagues, is a fallback option for the desperate, though reports are he may he traded, too.) Thomas' rookie season was slowed down by injuries, but last year's first-round pick is slated to return this week and should eventually be the No. 2 behind Decker. If he stays healthy, that is: He's coming off Achilles surgery in February and finger surgery last month.