With trade deadlines on the horizon, in leagues in which they haven’t already arrived, this is your last opportunity to enhance your roster via player swap.
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.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
While some may be apprehensive about Prescott’s potential moving forward without Ezekiel Elliott, I say now is the time to buy. The sophomore quarterback is matchup-proof and deadly with both his arm and his legs. Elliott’s absence should mean more volume in the passing game, and that could be huge considering his upcoming schedule. The Cowboys play the Giants and Raiders, ranked 29th and 28th, respectively, in quarterback aFPA, in Weeks 14 and 15, the first two weeks of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have stolen the spotlight in New Orleans this season, but Drew Brees and his favorite target are holding their own. Brees currently has the 11th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks (152.82), with Thomas ranking eighth at the receiver position in PPR leagues, and 20th in standard formats. The second-year receiver’s lack of touchdowns could be concerning, but could also drive down his price, making him a more realistic trade target. Given his reliable target volume, the most in the Saints offense, you want to bet on Thomas.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
It’s hard to call Hunt a true buy-low candidate after what he did the first month of the season, but he is trending in that direction. Over the first eight weeks of the season, Hunt saw 70% of Kansas City’s snaps. That dipped to just 54% in Week 9. More concerning is the fact that he hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 3. He has kept his production up, though, by totaling at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven of nine games. Of course, the two games he fell short were the Chiefs last two contests before their Week 10 bye. There’s a chance the Chiefs have been limiting his workload to avoid a breakdown to keep his legs fresh for their likely postseason run, but they’re now in a battle with the Patriots and Steelers for a first-round bye. After a restful bye week, Hunt’s schedule looks nice and cushy, with four of his next six games slated against opponents ranked 26th or worse in running back aFPA.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
In a struggling Denver offense, Sanders is the bright light. He was sidelined for a few weeks with an ankle injury and used mostly as a decoy in Week 9. Last Sunday, Sanders hauled in six receptions for 137 yards, dominating New England corner Malcolm Butler for most of the game. The Broncos remaining schedule is favorable for wideouts, as they face four defenses in a row ranked 18th or worse in receiver aFPA. Despite a mediocre-to-bad quarterback situation, Sanders should see a high volume of targets, enough to make a difference for your team’s playoff run. Brock Osweiler’s presence could bring down Sanders’s asking price in a trade, too.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Does the thought of this make your stomach tighten? Good. The best trades should make you a little uncomfortable. That means you’re giving up a valuable player, which should also mean you’re getting plenty back for him. Gordon’s turf toe has been an issue this season, most evident in Week 10’s performance. Rookie backup Austin Ekeler had 15 touches in that game, totaling 119 yards and two touchdowns. Gordon’s 21 touches, meanwhile, resulted in 42 total yards with no scores. I’m certainly not saying to abandon ship at all costs, but it appears that, at the very least, Ekeler will have a role the rest of the season. This could be the time to sell out on Gordon and still get RB1 value in return.
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets
Anderson is currently riding a hot streak, finding the end zone in four consecutive weeks. He and quarterback Josh McCown have certainly developed chemistry this season, but there’s still some risk inherent in trusting the Jets offense. The Jets may also choose to bench McCown to see what they have under center for the future, if and when they fall out of the playoff race. That could hinder Anderson, who has developed into the Jets No. 1 receiver. New York’s fantasy playoffs are no picnic either, as they face teams in the top-four in receiver aFPA in Weeks 14 and 15. You can use Anderson’s recent touchdown streak to find a taker for his services.
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
Despite having the sixth-most targets among tight ends, Walker has yet to reach the end zone this season. He’s been plagued by injuries but has managed to play all of the Titans nine games. The 33-year old hasn’t eclipsed 76 receiving yards in any game this season, and will likely lose some of his previously established volume to rookie Corey Davis. Walker is still a name brand, and with so many fantasy owners struggling to make ends meet at the tight end position, there should still be a trade market for him. Even if you’re a Walker owner with no other tight end on your team, you could duplicate, or even improve on, his production by streaming at the position.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Trading Freeman requires two specific types of owners to be involved in the deal. The person who has him has to be someone who needs a couple of wins over the last few weeks to make the playoffs. If that describes you, look to the teams in your league that have already clinched playoff berths. They’re the ones who can afford to take a chance on an injured player who will not help in the short term, but could make their teams stronger in Weeks 14 through 16. Freeman won’t play in Week 11 because of the concussion he suffered last week, but it’s likely he will return in Week 12.