It’s hard to believe that the fantasy season is almost two-thirds over, and in a mere three months the football season will come to a close – time flies when you’re stressing about your fantasy team! Then we enter into what can be referred to as the “dead zone” of the sports cycle: where all we have to look forward to is regular season NBA and NHL, and Premier League too, if you’re into that. Bleh. No disrespect to basketball/hockey/soccer fans, but I personally find it difficult to fill the void when football ends. At least we have March Madness to look forward to.
Now that I’ve probably offended the majority of the Rotoworld fanbase, let’s talk trade targets! It looks like those of you in Yahoo leagues with standard league settings had your trade deadline last week. If you fall into this category, I wish you all the best in your fantasy endeavors, and best of luck to you in the playoffs (since, if you’ve been following the advice of this article, you’re already headed to the ‘ship!). For those of you in ESPN leagues (or Yahoo leagues with league managers that like to make their own rules), we still have some time left. Again, the relevancy and applicability of these suggested moves will depend on your playoff situation: are you (a) securely playoff bound, (b) clawing your way for a playoff spot or (c) have already tanked but are trying get one last shot in on your biggest fantasy foe?
Buy or Sell
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green is in his own special category because it depends on your fantasy team’s playoff situation, as his situation can help both sides of the trade. Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Green would likely be out until December, which would have him returning for Week 13. Any team with A.J. Green that needs to mostly win-out to make the playoffs, should probably trade Green away to a playoff-bound team for an asset that will be available the next few weeks. Of course, you can just trust your team depth and hope you scrape by, but you need to make the playoffs before you can do damage there. Conversely, any playoff-bound team should try to acquire Green from more desperate teams, giving you an elite wide receiver for the fantasy playoffs. In Weeks 15 and 16, Green will do battle with the unimposing Raiders and Browns secondaries.
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Alex Collins, RB, Ravens: This call makes me uneasy because in looking back at Collins’ stat lines, he would typically be the type of player I’d want to sell (and yes, I admittedly called him a “sell” a few weeks ago when he was heading into the tough part of his schedule). He’s averaged only 11.9 carries per game at 3.7 yards per carry and only 15 total receptions. He’s the definition of touchdown-dependent, and his four TD’s the past four games means you wouldn’t necessarily be “buying low.” However, Collins’ fantasy owners might be worried about the Ravens’ acquisition of Ty Montgomery, but I think Montgomery will eat more into Buck Allen’s passing game workload and help out on special teams. There’re a couple forward-thinking reasons for optimism with Collins, most notably the Ravens’ schedule. They just finished a tough four-game stretch before the bye where Collins was lucky to emerge with the aforementioned four touchdowns, but now he gets the Bengals, Raiders, Falcons, Chiefs and Buccaneers, all top-9 defenses in allowing fantasy points to opposing running backs, entering Week 10. Those next two games in particular: home matchups against the Bengals and Raiders, who have yielded the 2nd and 3rd most rushing yards per game, respectively, are dream spots with expected positive game script. There’s also a small, but non-zero probability that we see Lamar Jackson make starts. Jackson’s dual-threat skill set would have the potential to open up running lanes for Collins. Joe Flacco is currently nursing a hip injury, and with the Ravens on a losing streak, it’s possible they try to shake things up. If you’re in a must-win situation, Collins could be the gamble you need.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos: Even prior to the Broncos trading Demaryius Thomas to the Texans, Sutton maintained a surprisingly consistent floor playing behind the Sanders-Thomas duo. After the trade, Sutton was expected to be much more involved but had a quiet first game as a full-time starter, catching 3-of-5 targets for 57 yards. He did lead the team in air yards though and should see weekly deep shots and red zone targets. I think it’s likely many Sutton owners will assume the Week 9 game before their bye will be the norm for Sutton, but it’s more likely part of the typical variability that comes with the wide receiver position. Sutton will likely be inconsistent from week to week, but he’ll mix in some big weeks and I’d feel great with him as my fourth receiver. His schedule moving forward is a mix of average and good matchups, so test the waters, and see if owners would be willing to give away Sutton for little.
Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons: Hooper is coming off one of his more productive games of the season, catching 10-of-11 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was on what was probably an ill-advised heave by Matt Ryan (where I wouldn’t be surprised if his eyes were closed when he threw it), but it still counts. If Hooper is your only tight end, then you’re probably going to roll with him moving forward, and he should remain productive relative to the tight end landscape, and he does get to play the Panthers in fantasy championship Week 16, who have been getting thrashed by enemy tight ends. But if he’s your second tight end, or you’re looking to make an aggressive move to stack the odds in your favor by every possible percentage, Hooper has a tough TE-schedule moving forward, and you can get maximum value after the big game. The Falcons’ remaining opponents before the aforementioned Panthers are the Cowboys, Saints, Ravens, Packers and Cardinals, all top-13 defenses in preventing fantasy points to opposing tight ends entering Week 10.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears: It was great to see A-Rob have a big game against the Lions in Week 10. With talented cornerback Darius Slay out with a knee injury, Robinson exploded for his first big game of the season, catching 6-of-8 targets for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to this week (and before his groin injury), he had not once eclipsed 100 receiving yards and was only averaging 56 yards per game, not counting his one catch for seven yards Week 7 when he played through that injury. I actually love Robinson as a player, and his big Week 10, while part variance, is also probably a sign that he’s getting more comfortable in the Bears’ offense – free agent receivers that change teams often do initially struggle on their new teams. However, for fantasy owners who need wins now, Robinson might be best to sell as the upcoming schedule is not great. Over the next three weeks, the Bears face the Vikings, Lions again and Giants, which are all top-11 in preventing fantasy points to opposing receivers. The Lions would likely have Slay back by the rematch in two weeks. Robinson’s playoff schedule isn’t bad, however, as he gets the Rams, Packers and 49ers, so hold on if you’re already playoff-bound.
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