During the course of the fantasy season it is important to know when to make the right moves. Knowing the right time to dump an aging veteran, a big name that isn’t producing, or a guy who is playing way worse than he should can be the key that wins your season. Below is a list of players you should consider trading now, or soon, to receive maximum value in return.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Since week two, Watson has scored 128 fantasy points. He is currently the top ranked QB, as well as the top overall fantasy scorer. So why sell? For one, he’s a rookie. His crazy numbers are hard for a veteran to replicate week-in and week-out, let alone a rookie who only has five career starts. He also has a rather difficult schedule for the rest of the season.
ROS (Rest of season)- The rest of the season schedule for Watson includes four matchups (two of which are playoff weeks) with top-10 defenses in terms of least passing yards allowed:
- @Seattle week 8, 8th overall
- @Baltimore week 12, 7th overall
- @Jacksonville week 15, 2nd overall
- Pittsburgh week 16, 1nd overall
Keep in mind that Watson’s big games were against four of the top-12 worst passing defenses in the league (Kansas City and New England being 28 and 32 respectively).
Selling Point-Regression is bound to happen for the rookie. It would be wise to sell while he has incredible value, unless you don’t have another option.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith has looked like a stud this year! He’s already thrown for 15 touchdowns (had 15 in 2016) and has scored above 14 points every week. We have also seen Smith take more of a gunslinger approach this season, which is a far cry from the usual game manager mentality he’s had throughout the years. Smith has never produced at this level in his entire career and should be sold due to a tough schedule ahead.
ROS – The rest of the season schedule for Alex Smith includes two top-10 pass defenses.
- Denver week 8, 6th overall
- LA Chargers week 15, 8th overall
Selling Point- Alex Smith is having a career year, which is likely to regress with a tough road ahead and lack of receiving options. Trade him while his value is high.
DeMarco Murray, Tennesse Titans
The Titans backfield has looked less than stellar on multiple occasions so far this year, and the fact that Derrick Henry has largely looked better than Murray doesn’t bode well for the seventh-year back. Murray’s durability has been a question all season long and it’s only a matter of time before he sits out a game and allows Henry to take over.
ROS– DeMarco actually has an easy upcoming schedule. The Titans don’t face any top-10 rushing defenses for the rest of the year.
Selling Point– Murray remains on the injury report weekly and is in danger of losing his job if Henry continues to do well in an expanded role. Sell before Henry takes over and you’re stuck in a 50/50 timeshare or worse, unless of course you own both.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
The reasoning should be obvious to most. Zeke is set to finally serve his suspension in the next few weeks. Now, there’s still a chance he could play for the remainder of the year, but it would be wise to sell him now or risk losing him for nothing. As the Eagles continue to make the Cowboys’ playoff hopes look slim, it may be more incentive for Elliott to serve the suspension this season.
ROS- Zeke is one of the few fantasy studs you would start regardless of matchup. If you own him and his suspension is lifted, start him with confidence every week.
Selling Point– If you own Elliott, you’ve been in this spot all year. But now that his inevitable suspension is looking like it’s right around the corner, try to sell for as much as you can get.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
The loss of Aaron Rodgers is devastating to the Packers offense, and will undoubtedly affect Jordy Nelson the most. Together, the duo have connected on 64 touchdowns over their careers, which currently is the most in the league. At this stage, third-year backup Brett Hundley is largely an unknown, and the chemistry between him and Jordy is mostly untested. Because of Hundley’s lack of experience and McCarthy’s refusal to take chances with the young quarterback, look for the Packers to lean more on the running game and quick-hitting passing attack, likely leaving Jordy’s big play ability under utilized.
ROS- The Packers only have two games against top-10 defenses in terms of least receiving yards allowed (Pittsburgh 1st overall, Baltimore 7th overall).
Selling Point- The Rodgers/Nelson connection was a thing of beauty and will undoubtedly go down as one of the best duos of all time. Nelson will still produce some weeks, but not at the level he enjoyed with Rodgers. Sell high and hope that Hundley doesn’t end up being a Rodgers 2.0.
Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
The Patriots have so many weapons that it’s nearly impossible to predict who will go off in a given week. Through seven games, Brandin Cooks has only amassed over 100 yards once and has only scored three touchdowns. While he’s posted fairly respectable games, four games over 85 yards, the touchdowns just haven’t been there. Looking ahead at the schedule, it doesn’t look to get any easier for the former Oregon State Beaver.
ROS- Brandin Cooks has one of the more difficult schedules ahead for any number one receiver:
- LA Chargers week 8, 5th overall
- Denver week 10, 6th overall
- Miami week 12 & 14, 17th overall (but underrated)
- Pittsburgh week 15, 1st overall
Selling Point- Brandin Cooks will still have his breakout games here and there, but due to the unpredictability of the Patriots offense and the strength of schedule, selling him high may be the way to go.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Much like the Murray/Henry situation, the Titans drafted rookie Jonnu Smith in the third round to compete with Delanie Walker. Although Smith’s numbers aren’t alarming, they may be a cause for concern for Walker owners. Through six games, Smith has two receiving touchdowns to Walkers zero (one rushing). Walker does have the advantage in receptions (32 to 11), but the early success of Smith is something to keep an eye on.
ROS- Walker has good matchups against Baltimore, Houston, and Indianapolis. However, he has two matchups against top-10 defenses against tight ends in the playoffs.
- Cincinnati week 10, 4th overall
- Pittsburgh week 11, 9th overall
- San Francisco week 15, 3rd overall
- LA Rams week 16, 5th overall
Selling Point- Walker still has some good matchups left to create value, but has a tough end to his season. Consider trading him if his value goes up, because the threat of Smith stealing touchdowns in the red-zone is real.
Honorable Mention Sell-Highs:
QB- Russell Wilson, Cam Newton
RB-Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram
WR- Amari Cooper, Dez Bryant, Will Fuller V
TE- Austin Serferian-Jenkins
Just like how you need to know when to sell players, you also need to look for opportunities to buy low. Looking for stars that are underwhelming, a backup who is close to taking the starters job, or players who have a favorable upcoming schedule can greatly increase your championship aspirations. Buying low is essentially trying to steal players who might have high value later in the season.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Last season’s second overall fantasy quarterback has certainly not looked the part this season. Currently ranking 24th Ryan has left a lot to be desired from his fantasy owners. Obviously Matty Ice is normally one of the top quarterbacks, and with weapons like Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman at his disposal, the tenth-year quarterback out of Boston College should rebound in a big way.
ROS- The Falcons have a few tough matchups including:
- @Carolina week 9, 4th overall
- @Seattle week 11, 8th overall
- Minnesota week 13, 12th overall
The majority of his schedule is favorable, including two matchups against the Saints in the playoffs.
Buying Point- Ryan is far too talented and has too many weapons to stay at his current level of production. Look for Matty Ice to rebound and have a great second half.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Saying Big Ben has struggled this season would be an understatement. During weeks four through six, he threw seven interceptions and scored a lowly total of 26 points. Although there may be a sign of better things to come after his week seven matchup against the top-ranked Bengal’s pass defense. While his numbers didn’t jump off the page (224 yards, two touchdowns, 0 turnovers), he looked much better than in weeks past.
ROS- Big Ben has a mostly favorable upcoming schedule, only playing three top-10 defenses:
- @Cincinnati week 13, 3rd overall (updated ranking)
- Baltimore week 14, 7th overall
- @Houston week 16, 10th overall
Buying Point- Big Ben has a ton of weapons around him to produce big numbers and finally looks as though he may have figured it out. He has a favorable regular season schedule, which makes him a great buy low candidate.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
It seems every week people are waiting for Joe Mixon to finally breakout and become the unquestioned lead back of the Bengals. Luckily, Mixon is trending in the right direction. With the talent level of Mixon and increasing workload, look for the breakout to be sooner rather than later.
ROS- The Bengals face only two top-10 defenses against the run the remainder of the year:
- @Denver week 11, 2nd overall
- @Minnesota week 15, 3rd overall
Buying Point- Mixon’s usage is increasing weekly; it’s only a matter of time before he actually does have a breakout game. Get ahead of the curve and buy Mixon low.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry has been breathing down Murray’s neck since the Titans drafted him in the second round in 2016. After his week six performance against the Colts where he went for 131 and a touchdown, we may be seeing the tides turn. Murray has been hobbled by injuries all year and hasn’t looked like himself.
ROS- See DeMarco Murray.
Buying Point- The Titans are a run-first team, and DeMarco Murray remains on the injury report this week. Buy Henry low before he steals Murray’s job and becomes much more valuable.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Unfortunately, Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin got on the same page this week, but may the Baldwin owner think they’re selling high. Baldwin has only topped the 100-yard mark once this year and scored only two touchdowns. The last two years Seattle as been a great second half offense, which means we should see the Wilson to Baldwin connection start to heat up.
ROS- The remaining schedule for the Seahawks features only one top-10 defense:
- @Jacksonville week 14, 2nd overall
Buying Point- The Seahawks have a relatively easy schedule ahead, and Baldwin is too talented to remain this inconsistent. Try to buy low before his production returns to the norm.
Evan Engram, NY Giants
The depleted Giants receiving core opens the door wide open for Evan Engram to be the number one option. Eli Manning will look to Engram early and often for the remainder of the season. Despite Engram playing well so far this season, many are still not sold on him as a reliable option. Take advantage of that.
ROS- Regardless of Matchup, Engram should get his looks due to being the number one passing option.
Buying Point- Engram will likely be a top-10 TE the rest of the way.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
When healthy, Jordan Reed is one of the league’s best tight ends in the league, but the problem is Jordan Reed is almost never entirely healthy. He’s already suffered a broken toe and a rib injury that kept him out a week. Reed appears to be close to 100 percent, because he isn’t listed on the injury report for the first time all season. Given the success Reed and Cousins have shared in the past, look for this duo to get back on track in the coming weeks. Unfortunately the above was wrote before the Monday night game, but much like Baldwin, the Reed owner may think they are selling high.
ROS- The Redskins schedule is all over the place as far as difficulty goes. Their toughest opponent, according to least points per game given up to tight ends, is the LA Chargers at 8.3 (week 14 matchup).
Buying Point- Reed is extremely talented and has very low value at the moment. Try to steal him and hope that he remains healthy for the remainder of the year.
Honorable Mention Buy-Lows:
QB- Marcus Mariota
RB- Alvin Kamara, Marlon Mack
WR- DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery
TE- Martellus Bennett, Hunter Henry
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