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  • If you've got an open roster spot, here are some stashes you could consider just in case the trade deadline breaks your way.
By Michael Beller
October 25, 2018

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 30, leaving teams looking to improve their rosters with precious few days to make those moves. This has already been one of the more active trading seasons in NFL history, and we may not be done seeing brand names on the move.

Savvy fantasy owners can use the days before the trade deadline to their advantage. Not all rumored players will leave behind an empty starting spot. For example, if the Steelers bring an end to this season’s Le’Veon Bell saga by trading the superstar running back, potential league-winner James Conner, already owned in 100% of fantasy leagues, will simply have his status cemented. Golden Tate may get traded, but Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are already owned across the board. Tyrod Taylor is a logical trade candidate, but he’s a backup in real life. Long-shot trade candidates Derek Carr and Eli Manning wouldn’t be handing the keys over to a fantasy-relevant quarterback.

There are a handful of players in the rumor mill, however, who would open doors for their former teammates, should they have a new home next week. Those players would be quite popular on the waiver wire, but are sitting there for the taking as free agents before Sunday arrives. Stashing these players now could pay huge dividends after the deadline. And if the trades involving the players blocking them do not come to fruition, you can immediately drop them in waiver deals, with the trade deadline arriving before waivers process in advance of Week 9.

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Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos

Demaryius Thomas’ name has been on the trade market for weeks, and while the Broncos aren’t going to deal him before Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, he could absolutely be on the move after Sunday. For that matter, Emmanuel Sanders is a trade candidate, as well, even though he hasn’t been mentioned in the rumor mill as often. Should the Broncos deal either one of them, Sutton would step into the starting lineup for the rest of the season.

The rookie out of SMU has done well with his opportunities this season, turning 33 targets into 14 receptions for 246 yards and two touchdowns. For sake of comparison, Sutton has fewer targets and more points than Pierre Garcon, Kelvin Benjamin and Antonio Callaway, and he’s just barely behind Larry Fitzgerald and Quincy Enunwa in points scored. He has achieved this despite a 13.4% target share, which is on par with the likes of Adam Humphries and Tajae Sharpe. The Broncos used the 40th overall pick on Sutton despite having Thomas and Sanders on the roster, so they clearly view him as a significant part of their future. That could begin for him as early as next week. He’s the top player to stash in advance of the trade deadline.

Chris Ivory, RB, Bills

Ivory’s stashability took a hit when LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion, which made the former a popular waiver wire target earlier this week. Still, Ivory is available in about 70% of leagues across the industry, and he may have more than one week of fantasy viability depending on how events unfold before Tuesday. McCoy isn’t likely to miss more than one game, if that, because of his concussion, but he has been brought up frequently in trade talks all season. The Bills aren’t going anywhere this season, and may be years away from contention. The 30-year-old McCoy is unlikely to be on the next relevant team the Bills field. A handful of contenders this year, however, could use his services down the stretch.

Ivory has been surprisingly effective in the two of the three games McCoy has missed all or most of due to injury, totaling 232 yards on 42 touches in those contests. He’d be on the weekly flex radar for the rest of the season if McCoy is playing his football elsewhere in Week 9.

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Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets

This one isn’t related to the trade deadline, but a worthy stash is a worthy stash no matter the reason, right? Bilal Powell is out for the season with a neck injury, which, for the time being, gives Trenton Cannon a larger role in the Jets’ offense. McGuire, however, could make Cannon’s fantasy-relevance short-lived. He has been on IR all season because of a foot injury suffered in July, but is eligible to return in Week 9. What’s more, he has been practicing for more than a week, which is a solid indication, though not a guarantee, that the team will activate him immediately when he’s eligible. McGuire ran for 315 yards and a touchdown on 88 carries, and caught 17 passes for 177 yards and another score as a rookie last year. While the per-touch numbers don’t jump off the page, the Jets clearly had a dedication to developing his talent, and that should pick right back up once he’s ready to return.

Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals

Kirk has been on the fantasy radar for most of the season, but the ineffectiveness of Arizona’s offense has kept his ownership rate down in the 20% range. That would change if the team turns the final page on one of its most successful eras, and deals Larry Fitzgerald to a contender. Should that happen, Kirk would be the No. 1 receiver in the offense, capable of posting 10 targets per game the rest of the way. The rookie out of Texas A&M has had spurts of fantasy viability this season, totaling 28 catches on 37 targets for 368 yards and a touchdown. The team thankfully sacked Mike McCoy, handing the reins of the offense over to Byron Leftwich. Even with a rookie quarterback under center, there’s too much talent on this offense for it to be sputtering to the degree it has this year. There’s legitimate hope that Leftwich, an acolyte of Bruce Arians, can bring some much-needed life and modernity to the offense. If that’s the case, and if Kirk is atop the wide receiver depth chart when it happens, he could be a regular fantasy starter across the second half of the season.

All Jacksonville Jaguars

Should the Jaguars make a trade for a quarterback, be it an extremely unlikely candidate such as Carr or Manning, or a more plausible option such as Tyrod Taylor, it would be a shot in the arm for the entire offense. For our purposes, that means Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and maybe even Donte Moncrief if you're feeling bold. Taylor is particularly interesting, given the fact that he has no future in Cleveland and that he has already proved himself capable of leading an inferior version of this year’s Jaguars—last year’s Bills—to the playoffs. His strengths—limiting turnovers, throwing the deep ball, and extending drives and plays with his legs—would make him a perfect fit for the way the Jaguars are built. All available Jaguars, as well as Taylor, are worth stashing, but only if you have a spot to burn. Jacksonville swinging a deal for a quarterback remains a longshot.

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