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 7 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
After gaining just 11 yards on three receptions in Week 6, Michael Thomas' value has nowhere to go but up. The New Orleans receiver didn't need to be heavily involved last week in a game where his defense scored three touchdowns of their own and the backfield was running wild over the Lions. Thomas' 1.1 standard fantasy points were his lowest mark of the season, which makes him a prime buy-low candidate. In his three previous games, Thomas averaged nine targets, 88 receiving yards per game and scored two touchdowns in that span.
Thomas is 13th among NFL receivers in targets and owns a 23.8 percent target market share in the Saints offense which a pass-heavy team with Drew Brees averaging 36 pass attempts per game. With favorable matchups upcoming against the Packers and Buccaneers in two of his next three games, it's time to diversify your wide receiver portfolio by trading for this certified stud.
SELL: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
A Week 6 fantasy point eruption has landed Fitzgerald on the sell high radar. The 34-year-old wideout posted 138 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers in his second-best outing of the season. Why sell a receiver who owns a 25 percent target market share in his offense? That monstrous workload may decrease going forward with Adrian Peterson established as a reliable option out of the backfield. Coach Bruce Arians doesn't want Carson Palmer averaging the 45 pass attempts per game he was logging before the Peterson trade, and we saw a much more balanced approach Sunday with Palmer throwing just 22 times, a season-low. This will likely continue, meaning less volume going Fitzgerald's way. The veteran's schedule moving forward is not favorable either. He has tough matchups against top-half pass defenses in seven of his next nine games, including opponents such as the Texans, Jaguars and Seahawks in coming weeks.
BUY: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan's slow start has created an excellent buy-low scenario for owners in need of an upside quarterback for the second half of the fantasy football season. Ryan's touchdown rate is unusually low as JJ Zachariason of numberFire recently pointed out. That means that Ryan's numbers should course-correct in the coming weeks as he's performing well below his career average.
A Week 7 matchup with the Patriots' league-worst pass defense could be just what Ryan needs to get back on track. Ryan's 29.8-point decline in passer rating from last season is the largest drop among 24 qualifying quarterbacks (14-plus passes per game) in both seasons. New England is allowing a 104.4 passer rating to opponents this season. The Patriots have allowed at least 18 fantasy points to every quarterback they faced this season. Plus, Ryan and his offense will enjoy six friendly matchups in their next nine contests including games against the Jets, Cowboys, Saints and Buccaneers twice.
SELL: Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Following a week of whispers about a hot-hand committee backfield in San Francisco, Carlos Hyde went and put up a two-touchdown spike week against the Redskins quelling fears that rookie Matt Breida might get more work. But those fears may linger considering that Hyde's rushed for just 39 yards combined in his last two games, for 1.8 yards per carry. A massive 55 percent of Hyde's total fantasy points on the season have come from his two multi-touchdown games, and with rookie quarterback C.J. Beathardtaking over for Brian Hoyer under center in Week 7, Hyde's upside could be limited. It's a good time to cash out your Hyde shares before his tough matchups against the Eagles and Cardinals in two of his next three games.
BUY: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
An ankle injury to Emmanuel Sanders should mean even more looks in the passing game for Thomas. The veteran is already seeing an average of 8.8 targets per game, and owns a top-15 mark among wideouts with 44 targets on the season. His 25 percent target market share should creep even higher in the coming weeks, making his weekly floor an even safer bet, especially in PPR leagues. Sanders also led the Broncos with six red zone targets before his injury, and most of those looks should fall on Thomas for as long as Sanders is out.
SELL: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
The reason to sell Nelson is obvious: Aaron Rodgers is out for the season with a collarbone fracture. It's an unfortunate development for one of the most high-flying fantasy offenses in the league, and Rodgers' absence signals a downgrade in the outlook for Green Bay's skill position players. Nelson was scoring touchdowns (six in technically five games, missed Week 2 with injury on the first play) with Rodgers under center, but his yardage totals were concerning. Nelson is averaging 58 receiving yards per game this season compared to 85 per game in his previous three campaigns. Nelson was also averaging fewer targets (7) in the four games he played in with Rodgers under center compared to his 8.9 targets per game average the last three years. Hopefully, Nelson's fantasy value can stay afloat with Brett Hundley now calling the shots, but we'll see how this all plays out against the Saints in Week 7. Consider moving Nelson beforehand.
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