- Taking a look at the fantasy football trade market heading into Week 9.
The NFL trade deadline is in the past, but the fantasy football trade market is still open for business. There are six teams on bye this week, creating holes in some lineups, while managers with strong playoff hopes may be thinking about improving their rosters for the postseason. No matter the motivation, the trade market should remain active in every league for at least the next few weeks.
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 metric (aFPA) 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.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
Jones turned his biggest workload of the season into his best game, running the ball 12 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. His 61.5% snap rate was his highest of the season, a sign that he is finally taking over the backfield. The Packers sent Ty Montgomery to the Ravens on deadline day, opening up more snaps, and hopefully targets, for Jones. Green Bay’s remaining schedule is a favorable one on the ground, with future opponents Miami, Arizona and Atlanta ranking 30th, 27th and 32nd, respectively, in running back aFPA.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers
Smith-Schuster is among the top 10 in receiving yards per game but has just two touchdowns, a situation that screams for positive regression. He’s averaging a 16.8 points per game in PPR formats, and ranks 11th at his position in targets. Coming off his worst outing of 2018 where he caught just four balls for 33 yards, now’s the perfect chance to deal for the talented receiver. Smith-Schuster has a solid floor—he has at least four receptions in every game this season—and is on an offense that puts points on the board.
Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
Who had Reed and Adrian Peterson as the healthiest skill players in Washington this year? The tight end has already played in more games this season than he did last year, and is coming off a game in which he had a season-high seven receptions. Those catches went for just 38 yards, but the mere fact that he’s healthy and involved in the offense places him on the fantasy radar. Reed has just one score on 29 receptions and 47 targets, making him, too, a good bet for positive regression in the touchdown department.
Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
Ebron shattered expectations in the first half of the season, catching 36 passes for 394 yards and seven touchdowns. He goes into the Colts’ Week 9 bye ranked third among tight ends in total fantasy points and points per game. The catch, though, is that he accomplished all that mostly with Jack Doyle on the sidelines. Doyle returned in Week 8, catching six of seven targets for 70 yards and a touchdown. What’s more, Doyle played nearly three-quarters of the team’s snaps, while Ebron’s snap rate plummeted to 22%. On top of all that, Ebron’s schedule takes a turn for the worse after the bye, with four of the Colts’ next seven games against teams ranked in the top 10 in tight end aFPA.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
After a hot start to the season where he piled up six touchdowns and 264 yards in Weeks 2 through 4, Ridley has returned to earth, scoring single-digit points in PPR formats in his last three games. Julio Jones may not have a touchdown this year, but he dominates the team in target share, racking up 11.7 looks per game, compared with five for Ridley. Use the name brand he created for himself, as well as the strength of the Atlanta offense, to your benefit to move him this week.
James White, RB, Patriots
White has been the most consistent player in New England’s offense, this side of Tom Brady, catching 55 passes for 459 yards and six touchdowns. He does get his opportunities on the ground, as well, though those slowed down with the emergence of Sony Michel. The rookie out of Georgia is expected to return this week, which forces White to subsist entirely on passing-game production. He has been just fine doing that this season, but it’s always a risky proposition, even for a back as skilled as White with as great an understanding he has of his team’s offense. New England faces the Packers and Titans in their next two games, defenses ranked 13th and third, respectively, in running back aFPA in PPR formats. You should hold out for a big return because White has been great, but this could be an opportune time to sell.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs
I initially had Watkins as a definite sell this week, but the news of Tyreek Hill’s groin injury lands him in the hold section. The 25-year-old had a big day against Denver in Week 8, hauling in eight balls for 107 yards and two touchdowns. When everyone is healthy, he’s third in line for targets, and it’s doubtful he’ll have too many more outings like the one he did last Sunday. Hill’s injury, though, makes Watkins a hold for this week.