We’ve reached peak trading time, as fantasy owners are either preparing for heavy bye weeks, trying to reverse a bad start to the season, or loading up for a playoff run. The time to get out there and make a deal is now, no matter your motivation.
Looking at multiple factors for a trade target will serve you best, including schedule, potential floor and ceiling, and health of surrounding teammates. 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.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
Cincinnati’s offense wasn’t great in Week 5 and Boyd’s fantasy output suffered as a result. He caught four of his seven targets for 44 yards after posting 323 yards and two touchdowns over three previous contests. The Bengals next four games are against vulnerable secondaries, as the Steelers, Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints boast an average ranking of 26th in wide receiver aFPA. Grabbing a piece of this Cincinnati’s receiver room could be beneficial, and Boyd sticks out as the most attainable buy.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
Similar to Boyd, Landry is in an offense with a desirable upcoming schedule. Cleveland’s next five opponents are all 18th or worse in wide receiver aFPA, with their next two contests against the Chargers (30th) and Buccaneers (32nd). Landry is fifth in targets among receivers with 57, and where there’s volume, there’s typically production. He has a high floor and a rising ceiling, and may be undervalued after his solid, though not spectacular, start to the season.
Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
Isaiah Crowell had himself a day against Denver in Week 5, rushing 15 times for 219 yards and a touchdown. With all eyes on him, now is the perfect time to deal for Powell. He’s seen 12 or more touches in four of five games this season and has twice as many targets as Crowell. The eight-year veteran ranks 18th in the league in rushing, ahead of starting backs like David Johnson, Lamar Miller and Alex Collins, all of whom were selected comfortably ahead of Powell during draft season.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
This isn’t exactly a buy-low situation, but do not let that curb your enthusiasm. This is one of those situations where buying high makes sense, because Hines is clearly on the upswing. He saw a season-high 15 carries for 45 yards in Week 5, with another seven catches for 45 receiving yards. The rookie ranks 14th among backs in PPR leagues, and has the fourth-most receptions at his position. In an offense struggling to stay healthy, Hines stands out as potentially the team’s biggest playmaker, and, at worst, second to T.Y. Hilton. Hines may be more expensive than he was a week ago, but that should not dissuade you from making a deal for him.
Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
The following is not a typo: Ebron ranks third among tight ends in standard-scoring and PPR leagues. He’s averaging nine targets (third at his position), 13.7 standard-league points, and 16.3 PPR points per contest in his new home. Some of his early-season success, however, can be attributed to injuries to both T.Y Hilton and fellow tight end Jack Doyle. Upon their return, Ebron’s usage should trend downward. In the current landscape of hit or miss at tight end, Ebron should be rather attractive on the trade market.
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
This may sting a bit for Gordon backers, but his usage and output in Week 5 just weren’t enough for him to stand out above the crowded pass-catching group in New England. Sure, he found the end zone and totaled 50 yards on four catches, but the 27-year-old was out-targeted by James White, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. There’s a constant allure to Gordon, tied to his monster 2013 campaign, and the occasion of his first touchdown with the Patriots makes this the ideal time to capitalize on the ever-present hysteria surrounding his potential.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
Despite leading Miami’s offense in both targets and touches, Drake has yet to eclipse 53 yards rushing in a single game. His best outing was in Week 5, where he ran the ball six times for 46 yards, caught seven balls for 69 yards, and scored a touchdown. Drake is averaging .33 PPR points per snap, while 35-year old Frank Gore is right behind him with .30 points per snap. It appears that head coach Adam Gase is committed to using both Drake and Gore in a committee backfield, so now may be the only time to take advantage of Drake’s breakout 24.5 PPR-league game. As an added impetus to trade him now, Miami faces the fourth- and second-best defenses in rushing aFPA in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos
Those who drafted Freeman may be feeling a tad frustrated, which is totally understandable given his usage. Undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay is averaging just about three touches per game more than Freeman, and has double the targets through five weeks. Denver is tied for first in the NFL in rushing first downs, but just 17th in rushing attempts. Freeman has done enough, though, to warrant forward-looking optimism, even though Lindsay has been the better back. The hope would be that the Broncos figure out a way to get them more involved in the offense, which would, in turn, make both at least flex-relevant on a weekly basis.