In this edition of Trade Calls we set our sights on three players to make a move for in trade negotiations, one way or the other. Whether it's upcoming schedules, overreactions due to underperformance or unexpected fantasy-point explosions, look to move this list of players ahead of the Week 11 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Since the Dolphins traded away Jay Ajayi, the offense has become more pass-happy. In Weeks 2 through Week 8, Miami owned a 60/40 run to pass ratio. That has flipped to 40/60 in the two weeks since Ajayi was jettisoned. In fact, not a single player on the team has notched double-digit rush attempts in either of their last two games. Much of that has to do with the fact that Miami was playing from behind in Week 9 against the Raiders and Week 10 against the Panthers. And because the Dolphins offense isn't what one would call productive and/or efficient, we should expect more of the same going forward with two matchups against high-scoring offenses like the Patriots (twice) and Chiefs in coming weeks.
No player has benefitted more from the negative game scripts the Dolphins have faced the last few games than wideout DeVante Parker. Since his healthy return in Week 9, Parker leads Miami in Next Gen Stats percentage of team air yards, or TAY, with a 40 percent share. That number ranks him 11th in the NFL among all wideouts during that two-game span. Parker also leads the team in receiving yards with 142 on 11 receptions in the last two weeks. What's more, over half of his opportunities have come in the second half. Of his 17 combined targets, 58 percent have come after halftime, with 54 percent of his receiving yards also coming after intermission. Rotoworld fantasy writer Patrick Daugherty even noted on Monday night that he can't remember the last time a player "bossed garbage time" the way Parker had. True statement, Pat. Especially when the guy is making catches like this.
You might be wondering about Jarvis Landry. In the two games that Parker has been back from injury, Landry has just as many targets (17) and receptions (11) as his teammate, and has scored twice compared to no touchdowns for Parker. You can't bank on touchdowns, and a huge fantasy red flag for Landry is his lack of yardage production. As my fantasy cohort Alex Gelhar recently pointed out, Landry leads the NFL in receptions, yet he ranks 61st in yardage.
Landry is not the player in the Dolphins offense who is going to benefit from negative game scripts. It's going to be Parker. And those matchups against high-scoring offenses that I mentioned earlier (Patriots, Chiefs) are also against two of the league's worst pass defenses. Parker is set up for a productive stretch run, so buy-in now before his matchup against Tampa Bay in Week 11.
SELL: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green dropped 115 yards and a touchdown on the Titans last week, marking his best fantasy performance in a month. That kind of performance should be expected from an elite wide receiver against a defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the position. But since the Bengals' Week 6 bye, Green has failed to eclipse 42 receiving yards in three of four contests. Yes, that includes the Week 9 game that he was ejected from after just one catch, but not including that game, Green's average targets per game have dipped from 10.2 to seven, with a 3.6 receptions per game average during that span.
Green is obviously the key cog in the Bengals offense, but his elite talent is being wasted as Cincinnati team has struggled this year, averaging just 203 pass yards per game, sixth-worst in the league. His best fantasy games this season have come in favorable matchups against the Packers, Browns, Bills and Titans. But he's failed to produce in tougher matchups against the Ravens, Steelers and Jaguars (he had one catch for six yards before getting tossed a few minutes before halftime). When it comes to trade calls, a lot of predicting sell-highs is based on matchups the rest of the way, and Green's are far from favorable.
The Bengals face four top-four pass defenses in their next five games including the Broncos, Steelers, Bears and Vikings. So when you combine Green's inconsistent production since the bye, overall struggles on offense for the Bengals and the scary matchup outlook down the stretch, you can see why it might be time to move Green for some depth if you're looking at a fantasy playoff run. Just don't sell yourself shy.
BUY: Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Ajayi is the three-down back the Eagles never knew they needed, that is, until they became the best team in the NFL. The team liked him so much, that they were confident giving him the ball eight times in a big win over the Broncos just days after he joined the team. And what did Ajayi do with that opportunity? He averaged 9.6 yards per carry which included an explosive 46-yard touchdown rumble in his Eagles debut.
He's now had a full bye week off to study Philadelphia's offense, and every report coming from the Eagles coaching staff and team beat writers points to Ajayi having an increased role starting in Week 11. Coach Doug Pederson praised Ajayi's football smarts this week, as well as his understanding of the game and his ability to quickly pick up the offense. It's a stark contrast to what Dolphins coach Adam Gase was saying about Ajayi just a few weeks ago. Clearly, the fourth-year back is a major part of the Eagles' offensive plan going forward, and Week 11 presents an ideal situation for him to thrive.
The Dallas defense can be attacked via the ground game and will be without linebacker Sean Lee leaving even more opportunity for Ajayi to thrive. Philadelphia is already averaging 136.8 rush yards per game, fourth-best in the league, and runs the ball 31.6 times per game, second most. They're the only team with over 30 rush attempts per game but fewer than eight rushing touchdowns, and Ajayi is going to change that.
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