- Trade deadlines are fast approaching in most fantasy leagues, but there's still time to make a deal to improve your team for the stretch run.
We’re almost through the bye-week gauntlet, but first, six more teams take a rest this week. It’s crunch time, with must-win teams feeling the pressure of the fantasy playoffs looming. Owners may be looking to fill their open spots via trade, rather than the waiver wire. This 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.
Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins
After a three-week injury hiatus, Parker is returning to the field for the Dolphins, along with quarterback Jay Cutler. In the three games they played together, Parker averaged nine targets, and 15.7 fantasy points per game in PPR formats. There’s a scenario in which he’s a WR1 the rest of the season, but chances are strong he isn’t valued as such. The potential reward, and likelihood of it coming to fruition, likely outweighs the risk of acquiring Parker.
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Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Averaging more than 20 touches and 41 snaps in Martin’s last two games, it appears that Tampa Bay is finally committing to the run. Jameis Winston’s recent performances are not up to par, and it won’t be surprising to see the Bucs offense continue with a run-heavy strategy through the rest of the season. What’s most encouraging is that negative game script hasn’t taken a toll on Martin’s workload. If his owner doubts the state of the Tampa Bay offense, which is possible, this could be your last chance to buy him. Even if it comes at retail value, it would be worth it.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think there’s any need to panic about Newton’s ability to function without Kelvin Benjamin. Remember, Benjamin missed the entire 2015 season after tearing his ACL in the summer, and all Newton did that year was win the MVP and lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Given the panic surrounding Newton after the Benjamin trade, you should be able to swing a deal for him this week. He still has Devin Funchess, who’s likely just as good as Benjamin, and Christian McCaffrey should see his already large role in the offense grow. Pair that with Newton’s mobility outside the pocket, and big fantasy numbers await Carolina’s signal caller.
Jack Doyle, TE, Colts
In Weeks 6 to 8, Doyle got 32 targets, hauling in 25 of those for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He’s seen just one less ball than T.Y. Hilton this season and looks to be Jacoby Brissett’s go-to guy in the Colts’ offense. With the tight end position so inconsistent, it pays to lock up a regularly productive one as the playoffs near. After the Colts bye in Week 11, Doyle’s schedule is quite soft, with five straight games against defenses ranked 18th or worse against tight ends in aFPA.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
When Shepard returns to the field in Week 9, he’ll assume the role of Eli Manning’s top receiver. This means tons of volume, which is what we want from a wideout for fantasy purposes, especially in a PPR format. The second-year receiver was averaging 5.8 targets per contest before his ankle injury, while Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall were still in the mix. Shepard should see upwards of 10 balls a game for the remainder of the season, and I want in on the possibilities those numbers bring.
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
In his third NFL season, Winston appears to have regressed, making bad choices and poor throws. In Week 8, he tossed two interceptions with zero touchdowns, and refused go down and accept a sack several times. He’s still dealing with a sprained shoulder, and that could lead to even more Doug Martin in the offense. You may not get much for Winston, but now is the time to find out how the other owners in your league value him.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
It’s time to pull the plug on Mixon, folks. In what was to be his big breakout chalk game in Week 8, the rookie running back delivered 11 carries for 18 yards, plus one decent 67-yard scurry on a screen pass. After seven games, the former Oklahoma running back is 31st in fantasy points among rushers in PPR leagues, and 35th in standard-scoring formats. His role in Cincinnati’s offense should make him attractive enough to bring back valuable pieces in a trade.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles
This could feasibly be the last week in which Blount has any projectable fantasy value. Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman insisted Blount remains the starter, but that won’t matter if Ajayi outsnaps and/or outplays him on Sunday. If you fear Ajayi’s presence, and you should, talk up Roseman’s comments and try to move Blount while you can. In the past three games, Blount has been averaging 14 touches, with just 3.3 yards per carry, but he did hit double-digit points last week. There’s also a chance he’ll hold onto goal-line carries. All that could be enough to make a move, so long as you have realistic expectations for what you’ll receive in return.
Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks
Russell Wilson is doing his thing again, and that makes everyone in the Seattle passing game intriguing for the rest of the season. While Richardson and Tyler Lockett have had their moments, most recently for Richardson his two-touchdown game last week, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are the only sure things, other than Wilson. Richardson has three touchdowns on nine targets the last two games. His owners would be wise to try to capitalize on that unsustainable streak.
Golden Tate, WR, Lions
Despite an injured shoulder, Tate hauled in seven of eight targets for 86 yards in Week 8. Tate still has a meaty role in the offense, but Matthew Stafford has been leaning on Marvin Jones more heavily over the last few weeks. In Detroit’s last two games, Jones has 25 targets, catching 12 of them for 224 yards and a touchdown. His 25 targets the last two weeks lead the league. Tate is still a bankable, valuable fantasy asset, which will keep his trade value high and make dealing him realistic.