Fantasy Football Players to Trade Away or Acquire
With the trade deadline in fantasy football leagues looming, we bring you fantasy football players to trade away or acquire. In this collaboration piece, Leo and Corbin discuss players at each position with reasons for concern or optimism for the stretch run. We analyze upcoming schedules, recent production, and what to expect moving forward in hopes of upgrading your team. When making trades, it's important to note that every fantasy manager values their players differently. Some managers may seem harder to trade with than others, and team and league context matter. Hit up Leo and Corbin or any of the Fighting Chance Fantasy writers for any trading advice. With that said, let's dive into fantasy football players to trade away or acquire.
Players to Trade Away - Corbin (@Corbin_Young21)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Through Week 9, let's break down a few metrics for Deshaun Watson. He currently ranks 7th with 2,376 passing yards, 18th with 37.0 team pass plays per game, and 2nd with 8.8 yards per attempt. In the past five games, Watson started scoring touchdowns in bunches and added rushing yards back into his game. During that stretch, he threw 13 passing touchdowns with two interceptions and averaged 29.6 rushing yards per game. He's chucking the ball deep, evidenced by the 2,299 air yards (No. 9) and high yards per attempt. In recent weeks, Watson's production and efficiency started trending up.
It pains me to recommend trading away an elite quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and it's mostly due to a few tough matchups coming up in Week 13-15. Assuming you make it to a Week 16 fantasy championship, then that's a juicy matchup against the Bengals. However, through nine weeks, the Bears allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points, and the Colts stifle teams and allow the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
- Week 13 vs. IND
- Week 14 at CHI
- Week 15 at IND
- Week 16 vs. CIN
On the flip side, keep in mind Watson faced tough matchups in Week 1-3 against the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers. In those matchups, he finished with 20.8 points (No. 11), 14.7 points (No. 21), and 17.1 points (No. 18). Again, Watson is an elite quarterback with the potential to overcome tough matchups. With that said, don't trade away Watson or any player without considering the rest of your roster and outlook moving forward.
Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons
In 1/2 PPR leagues, Todd Gurley currently ranks 6th in total fantasy points and 2nd with nine rushing touchdowns. He continually shares snaps and touches with a 59.7% snap share (No. 19), 62.4% opportunity share (No. 16), and 129.9 Weighted Opportunities (No. 8). Although Gurley ranks 5th with 584 rushing yards, he receives barely any involvement in the passing game with 79 receiving yards (No. 52). In terms of efficiency, Gurley looks dreadful with 3.8 yards per touch (No. 57), 31 evaded tackles (No. 16), 17.8% Juke Rate (No. 38), and -11.4 Production Premium (No. 55). It's hard to imagine the touchdowns continuing with a lack of efficiency. After the bye week, below is their schedule.
- Week 11 at NO
- Week 12 vs. LV
- Week 13 vs. NO
- Week 14 at LAC
- Week 15 vs. TB
- Week 16 at KC
The Saints and Buccaneers present three tough matchups in the next six games. However, Gurley also faces juicy matchups against the Raiders and two middle of the road matchups against the Chargers and Chiefs. Trade Gurley away in a package for running backs returning from injuries such as Chris Carson, Joe Mixon, or Miles Sanders.
Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Dallas Cowboys
After Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome injury, Ezekiel Elliot started trending down. Although Elliot caught eight of 11 targets against the Cardinals in Week 6, he only finished with 8.0 points in 1/2 PPR scoring. Below lists Elliot's fantasy points and rankings from Week 6-9.
- Week 6 - 8.0 (No. 28)
- Week 7 - 5.6 (No. 40)
- Week 8 - 7.8 (No. 31)
- Week 9 - 7.9 (No. 39)
It's time to trade away Elliot while you can because losing a quality starting quarterback in Prescott uncovers the flaws in this offense without him. At this point, I would trade him away for the running backs listed earlier in Carson, Sanders, Mixon, or even Kareem Hunt at this point.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
First off, let me say that I LOVE Adam Thielen. I came into the 2020 season expecting a massive target share for Thielen with hopes of it leading to WR1 production. Although Thielen earns a 29.1% target share (No. 6) and 728 air yards (No. 10), the Vikings rank dead last with 29.1 team pass plays per game. We experienced the floor over the past three games, where he averaged 4.6 targets, 2.7 receptions, and 38.7 receiving yards, and one total touchdown.
In the past two games, Kirk Cousins threw 15 passes and 21 passes since Dalvin Cook dominated with 226 and 252 rushing yards with six total touchdowns. On the season, Thielen ranks 3rd with a 0.71 Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), which takes into account a receiver's target share and air yards share. Moving forward, Thielen projects as more of a high-end WR2. However, attempt to trade him away as a WR1 for receivers like Tyler Lockett, A.J. Brown, or Terry McLaurin at this point.
D.J. Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
In Week 9, D.J. Chark exploded in a juicy matchup against the Texans with Jake Luton as the Jaguars quarterback. Chark caught seven of 12 targets for 146 receiving yards and one touchdown, good enough for a WR5 finish in 1/2 PPR scoring.
Chark projects more as a back-end WR2 with question marks surrounding their starting quarterback. If you can trade away Chark in a package for the likes of Tyler Boyd or Allen Robinson II, then I would consider that type of trade. Let's check Chark's schedule below with a mix of juicy and tough matchups.
- Week 10 at GB, 26th in points allowed to WR (20.9)
- Week 11 vs. PIT, 8th in points allowed to WR (27.3)
- Week 12 vs. CLE, 5th in points allowed to WR (26.4)
- Week 13 at MIN, 2nd in points allowed to WR (31.3)
- Week 14 vs. TEN, 6th in points allowed to WR (28.3)
- Week 15 at BAL, 29th in points allowed to WR (18.9)
- Week 16 vs. CHI, 30th in points allowed to WR (16.7)
With four fantasy-friendly matchups to wide receivers coming up for D.J. Chark, I can understand holding on to him through the trade deadline. However, expect some potential volatility with quarterback Jake Luton.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Chicago Bears
Outside of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, we have a chunk of tight ends from TE3-TE20 with some volatility and question marks. Even Mark Andrews hasn't performed as expected and currently ranked as the 9th tight end in 1/2 PPR scoring. Where does Jimmy Graham rank? Graham ranks as the 6th tight end 1/2 PPR with the 14th most receiving yards and tied for the 3rd most touchdowns.
Let's layout a few reasons to help negotiate in trade discussions when trading away Graham. He currently ranks 4th with 55 targets, 13th with a 15.3% target share, and 6th with 35 receptions. With the high amount of targets and total receptions, Graham racks up the points in PPR settings. It might be hard to find a fantasy manager that wants to acquire Graham, but try trading him away in a package for the following tight ends. I still consider Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson, Jonnu Smith, Rob Gronkowski, and Dallas Goedert in that next group of TE1's. Therefore, I would consider trading away Graham for those tight ends listed plus Noah Fant and Evan Engram.
Players to Aquire - Leo (@smooth1074)
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Many thought when Justin Herbert was drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, he would have to sit at least half the season behind Tyrod Taylor before he would be given a shot to play. However, when Taylor, unfortunately, suffered cracked ribs and a punctured lung in the second game of the season it thrust Herbert into the starting role at quarterback and he has never looked back.
Since taking over as the starter, Herbert compiled 2,146 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, and five interceptions. The rookie is averaging 306.6 yards and 2.4 touchdowns a game this season, which is pretty amazing. His skill set has led the Chargers to open up the offense to a new level that was otherwise suppressed when Taylor was behind center. What makes Herbert a player to trade for the most, is his second half of the season outlook, as he will have several favorable match-ups moving forward.
- Week 10 at MIA
- Week 11 vs. NYJ
- Week 12 at BUF
- Week 13 vs. NE
- Week 14 vs. ATL
- Week 15 at LV
- Week 16 vs. DEN
In the fantasy playoffs, the Chargers will face off against three opponents (ATL(1st), LV(10th), Den(9th)) who are all in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. If you have an elite quarterback that has a tough schedule in the playoffs, for instance, Deshaun Watson as mentioned above. You may be able to trade Watson to the Herbert owner and get an additional piece in return like a back-up running back or wide receiver that can help shore up your bench for a playoff run.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
You may get lucky and have Jared Goff floating around in some waiver wires out there since he is coming off a horrendous performance against the Dolphins before his bye last week. If you can acquire him before this week’s game you have a bonus of getting the deplorable Seahawks secondary twice, as they allow the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. In the first half of the season, Goff has faced one of the toughest defensive secondaries in the league. Seven out of the eight teams he has played against are ranked in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. With that said Goff has still produced 2,145 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Now let's dive into what lies ahead for Mr. Goff for the rest of the season:
- Week 10 vs. SEA
- Week 11 at TB
- Week 12 vs. SF
- Week 13 at ARI
- Week 14 vs. NE
- Week 15 vs. NYJ
- Week 16 at SEA
Goff has bookend outings with the Seahawks which makes obtaining Goff a high priority. The Seahawks give up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and to have Goff in the finals against the Seahawks is very appealing. The quarterback also has the Jets in the semi-finals, so if fantasy managers make it to the semis they will be sitting pretty. Trade for him now before this week’s game because the price will only escalate after this week’s contest.
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Some fantasy managers may have forgotten what Nick Chubb did in the two games before going on injured reserve early this year. Well, he rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries. That's 5.66 yards a carry, for those of you keeping score at home.
While Chubb’s stint on the IR has been for four weeks plus a bye, Kareem Hunt has had the opportunity to take over this backfield and he never had any explosive games. It appears Chubb will be returning to the line-up this week with news from Browns' practice that he is looking great and practicing without a knee brace. This is the time to acquire him because starting this week he has four match-ups against the top 10 most generous defenses for running backs.
- Week 10 vs. HOU
- Week 11 vs. PHI
- Week 12 at JAX
- Week 13 at TEN
- Week 14 vs. BAL
- Week 15 at NYG
- Week 16 at NYJ
By facing HOU(3rd), JAX(6th), NYG(9th), and NYJ(7th) during the second half of the season, acquiring Chubb will allow fantasy managers to make a playoff push without a doubt. The New York double-dipper happens in the semi-finals and finals which is a great way to capitalize on your prized acquisition at the trade deadline. Don’t be afraid of that Baltimore game in Week 14 because in Week 1 against them he rushed 10 times for 60 yards, proving he can run on them. It may not be as expensive if you go after him now, because after he blows up in his first game back this week, his price is going to soar.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
If there ever was going to be an opportunity to trade for Tyler Lockett, the time is now. After scoring under nine points in four out of the last five games, fantasy owners may be at the breaking point of letting him go at a bargain price. D.K. Metcalf has been getting on the love and rightfully so, but even with those four underperforming games, Lockett sits at 53 receptions for 615 yards and seven touchdowns on 70 targets. Oh did I forget to mention that the one game in the last five was a 15 catch, 200 yards, and three touchdown performance?
As the season progresses and Metcalf continues to get extra attention from opposing defenses, Lockett will start to pick up the pace soon. Lockett will be projected to have around 20 points a game moving forward and could be had for possibly an RB2 if the team needs running back help.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Would you like to get a great receiver for possibly a pack of gum and a bag of peanuts? Well, let me introduce you to Chris Godwin. This stud receiver has had nothing but bad luck this year due to dealing with a hamstring injury earlier in the season and then a finger injury that required surgery. Oh, yea and the Buccaneers recently signed future Hall of Famer Antonio Brown to make the surrounding Godwin even murkier. After missing a game due to surgery, Godwin returned and was targeted six times while playing alongside newly acquired Antonio Brown.
- Week 10 at CAR
- Week 11 vs. LAR
- Week 12 vs. KC
- Week 13 BYE
- Week 14 vs. MIN
- Week 15 at ATL
- Week 16 at DET
The main reason to make a deal for Godwin now is his playoff schedule. It’s as juicy as it gets with MIN(3rd), ATL(4th), and DET(20th). All three games should produce 20 plus fantasy points for Tom Brady’s slot receiver. Kick those tires for that Godwin owner in your league and see what it will take to get a deal done.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
If you need a double-digit weekly scoring tight end for the rest of the season Eric Ebron is your man. Before I go over his salivating schedule the rest of the way, Ebron already has 29 receptions for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He currently has a three-game double-digit scoring streak going and looks to be a possible league winner. Check out this sweet schedule for the veteran tight end:
- Week 10 vs. CIN
- Week 11 at JAX
- Week 12 vs. BAL
- Week 13 vs. WAS
- Week 14 at BUF
- Week 15 at CIN
- Week 16 vs. IND
Every team that Ebron faces in the second half of the season are in the top six defenses that allow the most fantasy points to tight ends, with the exception of the Ravens who are ranked 18th. Even against the Ravens two weeks ago he scored 14.80 PPR fantasy points them too. Ebron is a set it and forget it tight end that could be had for an RB3 or WR3.
Featured photo credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports