In this edition of Trade Calls we set our sights on five 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 8 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
SELL: Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
Any time a player explodes for a career-best game as Amari Cooper did last week, it's wise to shop that player for potentially massive returns on the fantasy trade market. After struggling mightily for over a month with a total of 8.4 combined standard points in five games, Cooper dropped a 33-point outing against the Chiefs last Thursday, setting career highs in targets (19) and receiving yards (210) adding two touchdowns along the way. That game alone accounts for 61 percent of his season total in standard scoring, so clearly the man has reached his ceiling.
Cooper likely won't have a game like that again this season, and some of his success can be attributed to the fact that it was an extremely favorable matchup against a vulnerable Kansas City pass defense. The Chiefs were already allowing the seventh-most yards per game to wideouts (176) and more touchdowns to receivers (10) heading into Week 7 than any other team in the NFL. It was a perfect storm for Cooper to post a peak fantasy performance that not many saw coming.
Going forward, the Raiders have matchups against the Bills, Dolphins, Giants and Broncos in the coming weeks. Together, those four teams allow a 4.0 percent touchdown rate to wideouts, well below the league average of 4.6. That makes Coopers' potential production going forward inconsistent at best, so move him while he's at his peak value.
BUY: Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins receiver has scored in three straight games and is second in the NFL among all wideouts with 68 targets ... and already had a bye (Week 1). So if you're considering a move for Landry, which is wise, it's probably going to cost you a little more than it would have a month ago. Still, there are more than a few reasons I like Landry for the rest of the season.
Like it or not, Jay Cutler's injury might be the best thing that's happened to the Dolphins offense all season. He had only eclipsed 200 passing yards twice and left the game with a six-week interception streak. Ugh. Anyway, Matt Moore will take over under center for the time being, and in the eight games that Matt Moore has quarterbacked in Landry's career, the Miami receiver averages more yards and touchdowns per game (72/0.75) than without Moore (61.7/0.22).
The Dolphins receivers are set up to thrive with the sixth-most favorable strength of schedule among PPR wideouts for the rest of the season, and that includes two dream-scenario matchups against the Patriots (Week 14) and Chiefs (Week 16) in the fantasy playoffs. Landry has a tough matchup against Baltimore's stingy pass defense that's only allowed three touchdowns to receivers this season, so you can use that as a negotiation metric. Or if Landry ends up struggling on Thursday night, buy low on him after the game. Either way, keep Landry on your trade-for radar with an eye on those juicy fantasy playoff matchups.
SELL: Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
Texans receiver Will Fuller broke his collarbone in the preseason and missed Houston's first three games. He returned in Week 4 with a bang, posting two touchdowns on his four receptions against the Titans. Some of you probably added him off the waiver wire at that point, and many of you likely didn't buy in. But in Week 5, he did it again. Two receptions, two touchdowns against the Chiefs. Fun while it lasted, right? Wait, what? You can't be serious. ANOTHER touchdown on one of his two receptions against the Browns in Week 6!? Stop the madness!
Now, Fuller leads all NFL receivers in fantasy points per game, averaging a ridiculous 15.43 through three contests. Yep, that's more than even Antonio Brown. Fuller has caught eight passes and scored on five of them. His 62.5 percent touchdown rate is complete lunacy. But maybe you noticed something about the three teams he's faced: Tennessee, Kansas City and Cleveland. All three of them have something in common. They're all extremely bad at pass defense. In fact, the trio is allowing a 7.4 percent touchdown rate to opposing receivers which is way, way above the league average of 4.6. Combined, the trio has allowed an average of 9.6 touchdowns to wideouts on the season, compared to the league average of 5.8. Told you they were bad.
So, with Fuller averaging 2.6 receptions per game, there is no chance he keeps up this kind of fantasy production. He does have a few more favorable matchups in the second half, but nothing like this three-game run he's already enjoyed. Fuller will face Seattle on the road in Week 8, with away games against the Rams and Ravens in the next month. Then, he gets the Jaguars (Week 15) and Steelers (Week 16) in the final two weeks of the fantasy playoffs. In case you haven't heard, those are the top two defenses against fantasy receivers. Literally, no teams are better than the Jags and Steelers in that category.
BUY: Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
Coming off a season-low 6.5-point fantasy outing against the Carolina Panthers, Howard is a buy-low candidate for owners looking to upgrade at running back. Since Mitchell Trubisky took over under center in Chicago in Week 5, Howard's workload has been massive. The second-year running back is averaging 25 carries and over 100 rush yards per game in that span. Howard's 76 rush attempts over the last three weeks are second in the NFL only to Le'Veon Bell (82). The Bears are the most run-heavy team in the league with the rookie quarterback finding his way under John Fox, and Howard owns 78 percent of his team's rush attempts and 63 percent of the Bears offensive touches with Trubisky as the starter.
You would think opposing defenses would have caught on by now, and just stack the box full of defenders to limit Howard's production. In fact, that is the case, but it hasn't seemed to matter. Per Next Gen Stats, Howard faced eight-plus defenders in the box on 38.1 percent of his carries with Mike Glennon as Chicago's quarterback. That number has spiked to 46.1 percent with Trubisky under center. Yet Howard's ability to gain yards after defenders close in on him (defender within one yard) has increased from 3.81 without Trubisky to 4.2 with Trubisky. Basically, defenses know Howard's getting the ball, they're loading the box against him, yet he's producing at a better rate than before. Jordan Howard is shaping up as one of the best running backs in the NFL, and while his overall situation will cap his ceiling in fantasy, it's difficult to turn away from a runner receiving such a colossal workload.
Howard hasn't scored in three weeks now, so it's a clear buy-low scenario. He has three favorable matchups over the next month, too. Howard faces a Saints defense that is one of just five in the league to allow 4.7 yards per carry or more to opposing running backs this year; a Packers defense that's already surrendered eight total touchdowns to running backs (one of them being Howard in Week 4); and a Lions defense that was gashed by the Saints backfield in Week 6 for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
SELL: Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
Chris Thompson found the end zone for the fifth time in six games last Monday night against the Eagles. But he totaled just 12 touches in a game where Kirk Cousins attempted 40 passes in a negative game script. The Redskins coaching staff seems to be holding true to comments from earlier in the season about limiting Thompson's workload because of his size, which is concerning for his value going forward, especially with Rob Kelley back healthy. Right now, Thompson is averaging 11 touches per game, which includes Week 6 when he logged a season-high 20 touches (16 carries) as the team's "primary" back with Kelley inactive.
Thompson has been awesome for owners to this point as his 85.9 fantasy points rank him seventh among running backs in standard scoring. That's exactly why you should sell him now, before his production regresses. It's really his incredible 7.5 touchdown rate that's totally unsustainable. Thompson's fantasy points per touch of 1.3 are on another level and likely won't hold up. Even Tevin Coleman, who led running backs in fantasy points per touch last season, had a rate of 1.13. And with games coming up against the Seahawks and Vikings, Thompson's market value is set to plummet in the next few weeks.
*-- Follow Matt on:
Instagram: @mattfranchise. (Tune in to his IG Live sessions every Sunday morning.)
Twitter: @MattFranchise. (You may @ me. I may or may not block you.)
Facebook: Matt Franciscovich NFL.(Need them likes, yo.)
TV: watch for the video version Trade Calls on Thursday's episode of Fantasy Live on NFL Network! *