Tuesday Trades: Week 10 Playoff Prep
Welcome back to Tuesday Trades, a weekly column that will highlight players to target today before their prices change tomorrow.
That old Fitzmagic has me in its spell.
That old Fitzmagic that you weave so well.
Despite entering almost every season as a backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick has averaged 13.5 games played over the last nine years. On Sunday, he’ll notch his 117th career start–and first as a Buc–against none other than the Jets. Somebody better take a closer look at that Jameis Winston “acupuncture doll” Fitzpatrick keeps in his locker.
This week I’m putting a little bit more focus on playoff preparation, whether your team is scrambling for a playoff spot, or you’ve got a bye all but locked up. One strategy I’m recommending for teams on the bubble who happen to have top QBs is flipping the QB for help elsewhere and adding one of the targets below. At wide receiver, I have some bounce-back candidates for needy teams, and a sell high for playoff-bound teams shedding risk. And at running back, as always, get them cheap.
Here are some of the best buys and sells at each position.
Brett Hundley – I’m going back to the well here with Hundley. Everyone watched the Monday Night game, in which the announcers seemed to hammer Hundley from the outset with a narrative that he throws too many picks and takes too many sacks, dating back to college. Neither of these are particularly true, especially the picks–in his final college season Hundley threw five interceptions versus 22 touchdowns.1
The relevant facts are that Hundley didn’t turn the ball over, made the throws he was supposed to, and was the QB12 on the week with 18 fantasy points, which is equivalent to 250 yards passing and two TDs. This happened in a game where the Packers only had nine offensive drives, and his receivers left plenty of plays on the field.2 The upcoming schedule remains tough, but Hundley can be a near-elite runner if the Packers let him. I’d especially target Hundley for cheap, or off the wire, if you have a hot QB you can flip for a pressing need elsewhere–for example, Carson Wentz, who has a bye this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Jameis Winston has been declared out for “at least” two weeks, and with the Buccaneers playoff hopes likely over, that could easily mean three or four. The Bucs have the league’s second-best QB schedule over the next four weeks, according to the Buy Low Machine.3 Despite Dirk Koetter’s best efforts to run the clock out with Peyton Barber, Fitzpatrick still rushed for 30 yards and threw for a TD in one half of football last week. This is a bit of a desperation play, but if you are scrapping to make the playoffs and can flip your current QB for a needed RB/WR/TE piece, then Fitzpatrick fits the bill.
Cam Newton – This is another solid play if you can flip a more valuable QB for Newton plus a piece. The perception of Newton is that he hasn’t done much, but he’s been a low-end QB1, and has the best Buy Low Machine schedule over the next four weeks. The Panthers face the Dolphins, Jets, and Saints, with a bye in Week 11. A likely streamer for Week 11 is Blake Bortles against Cleveland.
Carson Wentz – The Eagles have been on fire, so you might be able to get a nice return on Wentz right now, especially if you need to win out to make the playoffs. Philadelphia is on bye this week and every start counts. Notably, Wentz has five TDs this year on drives where his starting field position was already inside the 20.4 For teams locked into the playoffs, it’s nice that Wentz has Oakland in Week 16, but the Rams and Giants in Weeks 14 and 15 haven’t been favorable QB matchups–not a must-trade by any means, but something to consider.
Leonard Fournette – If there is an owner that is running from the smoke, get an offer out there before more good news starts filtering out of Jacksonville. The Jaguars have a favorable RB schedule over the next four weeks, which is ideal for teams making a playoff push. Between the chronic ankle injuries and the mystery benching, playoff-bound owners looking to reduce their risk might be willing to sell. Meanwhile, Doug Marrone has already said he expects Fournette to play this week.
Matt Forte – [Update: Forte sat out Wednesday practice with knee-swelling, so proceed with caution] The player that everyone loves to hate for some reason. Forte just won’t go away and continues to lead the Jets backfield in snaps and touches. He’s totalled 23 receptions over the last four weeks, during which time he is the RB11.5 Maybe an owner is tired of seeing him blow up on the bench, and if you can’t swing a deal this week, perhaps you can next week when the Jets are on bye.
Isaiah Crowell – Perhaps a forgotten man after the Week 9 bye, Crowell quietly managed six targets in both of the last two games. If he’s an afterthought on a playoff team’s bench, see if you can get him cheap. Duke Johnson has been cleared from his Week 8 concussion, but he has a history of brain injuries, and any setback would be a major boost to Crowell.
Corey Clement – This three-TD game feels like a fluke, so on the off chance you can get a spot starter at WR or TE from a RB-desperate team, do it.
Jordy Nelson – No risk, no reward. There is real danger here that Mike McCarthy is going to strangle the Packers offense to death with Aaron Rodgers out. However, after three straight losses, they may be forced to let Hundley play to win, and if that happens Nelson could go back to being a WR1 that you can get at a major discount right now. Nelson did have 95 air yards last night and would’ve likely connected on a long pass play had the refs not allowed Darius Slay to perform the Heimlich maneuver on him mid-route. To be clear, I’m not arguing that Nelson is likely for a bounce-back. This is a high-risk target in an unpredictable offense. But even in this game, Hundley did take multiple downfield shots to Nelson and could’ve found him early in the game for a TD, but got sacked by Tahir Whitehead. It was much closer to a solid day for the WR than some naysayers might think, which provides a buying opportunity.
Michael Thomas – Some people were sleeping on Michael Thomas this off-season because they thought he wouldn’t see enough target volume. Now they are sleeping on him because he “doesn’t win weeks.” I argued previously that Thomas could be a target leader and the first Saint to reach 100 receptions in a season. Through eight games he has 50 receptions. Thomas is a nice target for playoff-bound teams, as the Saints have the seventh-worst schedule over the next four weeks, but a solid playoff schedule against the Jets and Falcons twice. One scenario I recommended in the forums was “downgrading” from DeAndre Hopkins to Thomas, and adding another piece in the process.
Stefon Diggs – Diggs hasn’t done anything notable since Week 4 and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 3. An owner who is tired of having him on the bench could be ready to move on, which represents a rare opportunity to add a player that can be a solid WR1 when healthy. Although quietly, he played a full game in Week 8 and had the bye week to recover.
Marvin Jones – Jones has averaged a whopping dozen targets over the last three games and just showcased his ability on Monday Night Football. The Packers, however, were possibly the best WR matchup of the year for the Lions, who see Chicago, Minnesota, and Baltimore over the next four weeks, as well as Chicago and Cincinnati in Weeks 15 and 16. Jones is the WR14 on the season, so I wouldn’t give him up cheap, but he’s a player to possibly move on from if you are a playoff team looking to reduce your risk.
Garrett Celek – [Update: San Francisco has re-signed Logan Paulsen, who is probably more of a move TE than Celek, who they need for blocking. Watch the news out of SF closely to see if Paulsen suits up this week, but the uncertainty with him hanging around probably means Celek is a pure dart throw. As someone asked in the forums, I’d rather start Eric Ebron against Cleveland this week.] I know, right? The relevant factors here are that Pierre Garcon’s season is over, George Kittle has an ankle injury and there is no reason to rush him back, and Cole Hikutini is also headed to IR. Oh, and the 49ers threw 51 passes last week. Celek turned his four targets against the Cardinals into just one catch for 13 yards, but Arizona is the worst matchup for TEs in the league. Celek at least is a
must start against the Giants in Week 10.
Jimmy Graham – I’m not at all worried about Graham but wanted to note that Seattle has the second-worst TE schedule over the next four weeks. If you have multiple starting TEs on your roster, now would be a decent time to move Graham for help at another spot.
THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: Seahawks @ Cardinals
The big news for the Hawks is that C.J. Prosise is supposed to play this week. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure this is a nasty committee no matter what. I’m selling if there’s a truther holed up in my league, but otherwise Prosise is a hold in case he has a big game. Then I’m selling after the big game.
Russell Wilson had a season-high 77 rushing yards against Washington. He was my preseason bold prediction for QB1, and he has lived up to it through Week 9. Tyler Lockett fell back to Earth this week but still managed eight targets. He and Paul Richardson are likely to trade weekly relevance, but it’s worth noting that Richardson continues to dominate the snaps. Doug Baldwin is a solid target, despite his likely high price. He’s been dinged up but finally played 84 percent of snaps this week–the first week clearing 80 percent since Week 4.
All the Cardinals scare me with Drew Stanton at the helm, even though he did a yeoman’s job against the 49ers. It could get ugly against Seattle.
They’re going to lean heavily on Adrian Peterson, which makes him a decent volume play, but don’t get overly excited by his 159 yards. This was like Kobe Bryant’s 60 point farewell on 50 shots. Peterson set a career-high with an insane 37 carries to compile that yardage–it seems doubtful that he can sustain it. David Johnson remains a stash option, especially for playoff teams–Bruce Arians’ comment that he’s unlikely to return this season means he’s probably been dropped in more than a few leagues.
That is a wrap for Tuesday Trades. I’ll be recapping last weeks picks on Thursday in the forums. Let me know in the comments if you have specific player questions or roster dilemmas you’d like to see addressed next week.
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- His overall college TD to INT ratio was 75:25 (back)
- Davante Adams just decided not to catch one ball, and two shots to Jordy Nelson could’ve hit or been pass interference. Can’t blame Jordy for the plays where he wore Darius Slay like a $500 Diane von Furstenberg. (back)
- NYJ, MIA, ATL, GB (back)
- h/t to Scott Kacsmar (back)
- RB5 on total points, but some players have only three games. (back)