- The second half of the fantasy football regular season has arrived, meaning the time available to improve your roster in the trade market is dwindling. The heavy dose of byes remaining, however, will help keep the trade winds blowing, especially over the next two weeks. Make sure these players are involved.
Six NFL offenses get the week off, with another six on tap for a bye next week. Owners may be looking to fill their open spots via trade, rather than the waiver wire. Week 8 still remains an opportune time to make a deal.
The general goal when assessing trade prospects is to buy low and sell high, but there are times when buying high and selling low makes sense, as well. And, as always, you want to be a trustworthy and responsible trade partner. No one likes the owner in their league who regularly offers terrible trades or goes into trade talks looking to make an unbalanced deal.
Looking at multiple factors for a trade target, such as schedule, potential floor and ceiling, and health of surrounding teammates, will serve you best. You’ll see references to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) metric in this column, which we rely on heavily to determine weekly matchup strength. As the season progresses and more data is available, aFPA becomes even more reliable, thanks to its rolling 10-week data.
Each week, I’ll take a look at the top players to target, and those you should aim to sell to get the best value moving forward. Here’s this week’s crop of players.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
Even with the Giants off this week, Shepard is a player worth targeting now. In fact, going after him when he’s on his bye could lower his price tag. Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall are done for the season, elevating the sophomore wideout as one the best weapons Eli Manning has moving forward. We can also check another box in the buy column with the Giants remaining schedule. Looking toward the fantasy playoffs, New York plays Oakland, Dallas, Philadelphia and Arizona in Weeks 13 through 16, teams with a combined aFPA of 36.4 PPR points to opposing wide receivers.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Bryant was on this list last week, and is still a buy heading into Week 8. His quarterback is playing extremely well, averaging 238 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns. Through Week 7, Bryant remains Dak Prescott’s number one guy, boasting 16 more targets than any other player in the Dallas offense. The Cowboys schedule is peppered with teams who play soft against the pass for the remainder of the season, so Bryant should continue to flourish. His fantasy numbers pale in comparison to other big names, creating an opportunity to acquire him for less than he’s actually worth.
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Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills
Currently 22nd in fantasy points among quarterbacks, Taylor isn’t exactly an obvious trade target on paper, yet makes a strong play for the second half of the season. His legs alone create a floor that other quarterbacks don’t have when the plays aren’t there in the passing game. The Bills already had their bye, and Taylor gets two really juicy matchups in Weeks 8 and 9, a time when 12 quarterbacks will be on the sidelines. The cherry on top is that his stretch of games from Weeks 12 through 16 also feature weak passing defenses with an average aFPA of 18.98 to opposing quarterbacks.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
Another repeat customer in the buy column, Ingram is a player I’m still high on for the rest of the season. New Orleans has already had its bye, and other big-name backs will be on their couches in the next few weeks, including Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon and Le’Veon Bell. Since Adrian Peterson was traded to the Cardinals in Week 6, Ingram has 56 touches, to rookie Alvin Kamara’s 28, with just one less target than Kamara in that time frame. That type of volume is ideal for fantasy purposes and I want a part of it. Understand, however, that you are going to have to pay up to get Ingram. This is an endorsement of shelling out top dollar for someone who projects as a high-level RB1 the rest of the season.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Scarred with the injury-risk label, Allen is a guy in a buy-low situation in Los Angeles. He is second among all wideouts in targets this season with 68, and ninth with 487 receiving yards. With such a high volume of targets, he’s bound to be dancing in the end zone more frequently, even though he has never been a guy to make big plays down the field. In short, so long as Allen keeps getting close to 10 targets per game, and continues to turn that volume into an average of 69.6 yards per game, the touchdowns will come.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
This is a painful one, because Fitzgerald has long been one of my favorite fantasy players. However, fantasy football is all business and his current situation is not exactly desirable. Carson Palmer is injured and Drew Stanton has taken up residence under center for Arizona. Stanton completely torpedoes any fantasy value that once existed in the Arizona passing game. Remember, too, that Fitzgerald has slowed down in the second half of each of the last three seasons. It may be tough to find a taker, so you’ll have to enter any Fitzgerald trade talks with realistic expectations. The best you could hope for is someone like Devin Funchess or Ameer Abdullah, and even that might be a bit optimistic. If you can get such a deal, though, take it.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
At this point we may never see Andrew Luck take the field this season, and Hilton’s fantasy numbers are suffering with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Brissett has been serviceable at times this season, but is extremely matchup-dependent. Hilton’s second-half schedule doesn’t do him any favors, either. The Colts still have four games with opponents that are among the top-eight defenses against receivers at this point of the season. Hilton is the WR16 in standard leagues and the WR23 in PPR formats, though his standing is inflated a bit by the fact that the Colts haven’t had their bye. Use that to your advantage.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
Hyde is the lead back on a team that’s struggling to find its first win. A quarterback change seems to have helped this offense, though Hyde’s outlook for the rest of the season remains a bit grim. Matt Breida has been cutting into his workload some weeks, though, to be fair, Hyde remains comfortably atop the depth chart. Still, Breida’s presence is a thorn in the side of Hyde owners. The 49ers still have their bye ahead in Week 11, and face several stout run defenses including the Seahawks, Texans and Eagles, which are ranked eighth, third and fifth, respectively, against the rush. Hyde still should command a hefty price on the trade market as a feature back and fringe fantasy RB1, so don’t settle if you make him available.
Josh McCown, QB, Jets
Admittedly, you’re going to have to find someone in desperation mode to move McCown. With 12 teams going on bye the next two weeks, none of which are the Jets, and serious injuries to Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer, desperation is out there. McCown has been surprisingly efficient this season, hammering out conescutive games with at least 22 fantasy points, and a total of 112.02 on the season. McCown ranks 12th among quarterbacks in standard-scoring leagues, and 16th in points per game. He also has two plus-matchups leading into the Jets Week 11 bye, facing the Falcons this week and the Buccaneers in Week 10. That should make him attractive enough to find a trade partner for a reasonable deal.