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  • Several players are rumored to be on the move, and most of those deals would have a fantasy impact.
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. Here are the fantasy-relevant players who could have new homes at some point next week, and the fallout they would leave behind on their hold teams

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

This, of course, is the huge one, from both real-life and fantasy perspectives. If Bell signs his franchise tender before Tuesday, the Steelers could still ship him out of town. That new team wouldn’t have an opportunity to sign Bell to an extension, meaning he’d still hit the free agent market in the offseason looking for a mega deal, but there are likely still a handful of contenders that would be willing to treat Bell as an MLB-style rental for the second half of the season.

Potential fallout: There would be two big winners resulting from a Bell trade. Bell, and by extension the fantasy owners who have taken a shot on him, and James Conner, who would get some clarity regarding his role the rest of the season, remaining locked in as one of the few true workhorses in the league.

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, WRs, Broncos

Thomas’ name has been bandied about in the rumor mill more often, but it’s reasonable to think that the Broncos would be willing to part with either of their top receivers. The front office has said Thomas won’t be going anywhere before this week’s game with the Chiefs, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a new home in the 48 hours between that game and the trade deadline. Assuming he and Sanders are available, they’re likely the two most attractive receivers a contending team could acquire before the deadline.

Potential fallout: If either receiver is traded, Courtland Sutton would become a must-own player in competitive leagues. Sutton has 14 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns on the season, while playing 70% of Denver’s snaps. Sanders has played 86% of the snaps, while Thomas has played 75%. Give Sutton a bump in snap rate and target share, and he could easily put up WR3 numbers.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Browns

The Browns have moved on from Taylor, handing the reins to future-of-the-franchise Baker Mayfield back in Week 3. Taylor is nothing more than an expensive, short-term insurance policy for Mayfield, and while the Browns are clearly improving, they’re likely not yet a playoff contender. The Jaguars are the one contender, at least in theory, that could desperately use a quarterback upgrade, and Taylor’s style could suit what the Jaguars do best. Remember, it was just a year ago that he helped carry the Bills, a poor man’s version of the Jaguars, to the playoffs.

Potential fallout: Nothing would change in Cleveland. Assuming the Jaguars are the only suitor for Taylor’s services, everyone on that roster would get a small boost in fantasy value with the team gaining some competence under center. Still, it’s not like we’re talking about a move to Aaron Rodgers here, and Bortles hasn’t been terrible in his career from a fantasy perspective. Taylor’s presence in Jacksonville would mostly move the needle for the running game, which would benefit from having another threat in the backfield.

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LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

There was some commotion surrounding McCoy earlier in the season, particularly when Jay Ajayi went on IR with a torn ACL. That has quieted down in the last few weeks, but it’s entirely possible the Bills find a suitor and an acceptable deal to move McCoy before Tuesday. McCoy is the second-best running back theoretically available, but with the league recalibrating the value of the position, the Bills may not receive an offer they deem worthy of parting with McCoy.

Potential fallout: Chris Ivory would take over as the starter in Buffalo for the rest of the season. He 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 if McCoy is playing his football elsewhere in Week 9.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

It has been an ugly year for the 1-6 Cardinals that could finally bring the end to Fitzgerald’s likely Hall of Fame tenure in the desert. Fitzgerald’s numbers befit a receiver in his mid-30s, but it was just last season that he caught 109 balls—his third straight year with at least 100 receptions—1,156 yards and six touchdowns. If Fitzgerald is available, the Cardinals will have no shortage of calls from interested parties.

Potential fallout: Come on down, Christian Kirk. The rookie out of Texas A&M has already made himself relevant in most fantasy formats, but he would likely be among the league leaders in target share the rest of the season if Fitzgerald is dealt elsewhere. That would have him on the weekly WR3 radar, unless the combination of Byron Leftwich at offensive coordinator and Josh Rosen at the helm proves incompetent. A Fitzgerald trade could also mean more looks in the passing game for David Johnson, which should be coming no matter what with Leftwich taking over.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers

The Buccaneers aren’t going anywhere this season, and they’ve got an admirable trio of pass-catchers lined up for the future with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard. That could help make Jackson available in advance of the deadline. He’s had a nice season to date, catching 23 passes for 526 yards and three touchdowns, though he did nearly all his damage with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Jackson remains one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league, and could bring an element to a contender’s offense that opposing defenses have to scheme for during the week. That specialization could make him more attractive to certain teams than someone like Demaryius Thomas or Larry Fitzgerald.

Potential fallout: Godwin would be the big winner here. Evans and Howard are both near maximum target share, and neither is likely to fill the role that Jackson plays in Tampa. Godwin stands the most to gain from a possible Jackson trade in terms of target share. He has made the most of his opportunities, turning 37 targets into 26 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns, but he doesn’t get much of a chance to make splash plays. That would change with Jackson out of the picture.

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Jared Cook, TE, Raiders

It appears everything that isn’t nailed down in Oakland is available, and Cook is one of the few Raiders who’s having a successful individual season. The veteran tight end has 32 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns, though, to be fair, most of his damage came in games against the Rams and Browns (17 catches, 290 yards, two scores). Still, many teams are having tight end issues this year, and Cook was a valuable piece on a Green Bay team two years ago that was one win away from reaching the Super Bowl.

Potential fallout: No tight end would backfill Cook’s job in a way that’s meaningful in the fantasy community, but Jordy Nelson and Jalen Richard would likely get as many targets as they could possibly handle if the Raiders trade Cook. Both already are in line for increased target share with Amari Cooper in Dallas, but they would experience a bonanza if Cook is gone, too. Even Seth Roberts and Martavis Bryant could have some fleeting value in deeper leagues while the bye-week portion of the schedule is still active.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins

For the second straight season, the Dolphins coaching staff, particularly Adam Gase, is having issues with a player thought to be part of the future in advance of the trade deadline. Last year, it was Jay Ajayi. This year, it’s Parker, who has fallen woefully short of expectations during his NFL career. It’s unlikely the Dolphins would get much for him, but this could be a situation where they’re simply ready to wash their hands of a player who will soon be gone one way or another. Perhaps the Eagles, with whom the Dolphins have a trading history after the Ajayi deal, could come calling?

Potential fallout: There isn’t much here. Parker isn’t holding anyone back in Miami, so nothing would change there. Depending on the identity of the acquiring team, Parker may not alter their depth chart much, if at all, either. Getting traded and not changing the fortunes for either team involved, or any of their players, would be very on-brand for Parker.

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