In this edition of Trade Calls we set our sights on six 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 10 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY: Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Kareem Hunt fantasy owners have gone from absolute elation the first three weeks of the season, to riding the wave of a high-volume, high-yardage back to full-blown panic mode. Hunt has broken the 12-point mark just once in his last six games, hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3 and has failed to post 100 scrimmage yards in back-to-back outings after reaching the century mark in each of his first seven contests. As he heads into a Week 10 bye, it's a prime spot to take advantage of the Hunt owner in your league who may want out.
Hunt's value bottomed out following his bizarre nine-carry workload in Week 9 against the Cowboys. But even with his slow production in recent weeks, Hunt still owns an 84 percent share of the Chiefs' rush attempts on the season. The rookie leads the NFL in scrimmage yards and is one of only three players with 300 rushing and 300 receiving yards on the year. Hunt has also maintained an 88.9 rushing yards per game average, the fourth-best mark in the league.
It's no secret that the Kansas City offense is funneled through three players. It's Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. In fact, the Hunt/Hill duo has combined for 1,779 scrimmage yards this season which is a 50.9 percent share of the Chiefs' team total and is the second-highest percentage of any teammate duo in the NFL.
Hunt's two worst games of the season fantasy-wise have come in the last two weeks against the Broncos and Cowboys, both defenses rank in the top half of the league in terms of limiting opposing runners. But after his Week 10 bye, things are looking bright for Hunt's late-season matchups. He'll face the Giants (107.9 rush yards per game allowed to RBs), Bills (seven total TDs allowed to RBs), Jets (138.9 total yards per game allowed to RBs), Raiders (161.3 total yards allowed per game to RBs) and Chargers (4.7 yards per carry allowed to RBs) in the next five weeks. Safe to say, those are all favorable matchups for Hunt down the stretch.
If an opportunity presents itself for you to buy-in at basement-level value on one of the best running backs in the NFL, take advantage.
SELL: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
T.Y. Hilton reached his 2017 ceiling with 29.1 fantasy points in Week 9 on the heels of 175 yards and two huge touchdowns of 45 and 80 yards against the Texans. But a word of caution, don't let the fact that Hilton ranks fourth in standard fantasy points among wideouts and is second in the league in receiving yards deceive you.
The Colts wideout has been the most boom-or-bust fantasy receiver in the league collecting nearly 80 percent of his points for the in just three games, all of which were extremely favorable matchups against the Browns (Week 3, 21.3 points), 49ers (Week 5, 17.7 points) and Texans (Week 9, 29.5 points). I think we can agree that when the matchups are favorable, Hilton produces. But there's a catch. Hilton doesn't have a single matchup left this season that can be considered favorable. Here is his rest of season schedule with opponent and where they rank in terms of fantasy points allowed to wideouts this year (1st is least favorable, etc):
T.Y. Hilton's opponents RoS
Week 10 vs PIT (2nd)
Week 11 BYE
Week 12 vs TEN (11th)
Week 13 at JAX (1st)
Week 14 at BUF (8th)
Week 15 vs DEN (4th)
Week 16 at BAL (3rd)
Four of the above teams are top-four pass defenses in the NFL, three of which have allowed fewer than 1,000 receiving yards to wideouts, combined, the entire season. By my count, not a single receiver has a tougher string of matchups to finish out the year than Hilton. That's five top-10 pass defenses in his final six games, plus a bye! Get the picture? Liquidate your Hilton shares coming off his season-best game, before his value plummets.
BUY: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
LeSean McCoy just posted a season-low 2.5-fantasy point game in Week 9 after two straight 22-point performances, opening up a prime buy-low window for Buffalo's feature back. Shady owns a 74.5 percent rush attempt share out of the Bills backfield and leads his entire offense with 38 receptions (on 47 targets) for 242 receiving yards. McCoy also has a 44 percent share of his team's red zone touches and ranks in the top six among running backs in both rush attempts and receptions this season. He's collected at least 20 touches in six of his eight games, so clearly volume is not an issue -- the Buffalo offense runs through him.
His schedule the rest of the way is a dream come true for fantasy purposes. McCoy faces four bottom-eight units in terms of limiting fantasy running backs, including the Chargers (174.9 total yards per game allowed to RBs), Colts (10 total TDs allowed to RBs) and Patriots (500 receiving yards allowed to RBs, second-most) twice. When you combine the high-volume workload and the unreal matchup schedule for McCoy, an investment in him now is sure to pay late-season dividends.
SELL: Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
... If you still can.
It's obvious that the absence of Aaron Rodgers in the Packers offense has negatively affected every skill position player's fantasy value on the team. In the nearly three full games that he's been sidelined, Green Bay's offense has averaged just 266 yards per game (ranked 30th in NFL), and 14.7 points per game (ranked 29th in NFL). The team's wideouts have averaged a mere 166 receiving yards per game, combined as Brett Hundley struggles to find his way as a pro.
This lack of overall production is also extremely detrimental to the run game. Aaron Jones managed to rack up 131 rush yards and a touchdown against the Saints in Week 7 thanks in part to two big runs of 46 (TD) and 21 yards. On his 33 additional rush attempts in the three games that Rodgers has been hurt, Jones has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry for a total 117 yards. Jones was thrust into a featured role while Ty Montgomery recovered from a Week 4 rib injury, but as we saw last Monday night against the Lions, Montgomery is healthy again and looks to be running at full strength.
In that Week 9 game, Jones recorded just seven total touches as the Packers trailed nearly the entire contest. Following his six first-quarter touches, Jones was completely phased out of the offense registering just one touch for three yards in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Montgomery saw work, averaging 6.6 yards per carry for 33 yards on five attempts.
Further dinging Jones' fantasy outlook, just ahead of Week 10, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that he "liked the rotation" of his backs and that going forward he plans on using Montgomery, a converted wideout, on passing downs. Add to this alarming quote from McCarthy the fact that the Packers backfield faces three top-five fantasy running back-stopping defenses for three straight weeks during the fantasy playoffs, and the fact that starting offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga was lost for the season with a torn ACL, you can see why it's time to weasel your way out of this backfield via trade negotiations if at all possible.
A FEW FOR THE ROAD:
SELL DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans - His quarterback is Tom Savage. Somehow, when you compare Hopkins production with Deshaun Watson vs Savage under center, the wideout averages fewer receiving yards per game (70.5 vs 91.8) despite seeing more targets per game (6.5 vs 6.3). Sure, the increase in targets is meaningful, but the quality of those targets comes way down. Plus, Hopkins faces four top-four pass defenses in his seven remaining games through Week 16, including the Jaguars and Steelers in the fantasy playoffs.
BUY Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, WRs, Miami Dolphins - I wrote about buying Landry in this space a few weeks ago, arguing that Matt Moore was better for the Miami passing game than Jay Cutler was. Well, first off, that didn't exactly pan out. Cutler is back in action and actually moved the offense in a favorable matchup against the Raiders last week. Plus, the team jettisoned running back Jay Ajayi in a trade to the Eagles, so rather than loading one running back up with 25 touches a game, the offense is now more unpredictable with a tandem backfield and Parker back healthy. The matchup schedule is friendly for wideouts for the majority of Miami's remaining games, too, with matchups against the Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Patriots twice through Week 16.
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