With four weeks left in most fantasy football regular seasons, your fantasy team likely fits into one of three categories:
- Coasting toward the playoffs
- Battling for a playoff spot
- Staring down elimination
Regardless of where you fall, this is a great time to make some moves to help retool your roster before the trade deadline.
The key to any successful midseason trade is to get rid of players on your roster that could slump over the remainder of the season and replace them with undervalued players that could get hot down the stretch.
Using the fantasyomatic algorithm, I've determined the top players to trade for based on their remaining schedules and the "Defese Rating" that the algorithm produces for the teams they will face. The higher the number, the better the matchup.
Below I profile players with favorable upcoming schedules to trade for, and you can find players to trade away HERE or in the tab/link above.
Quarterbacks - Best remaining schedules, Week 10-16
If you are desperate to make the playoffs and need to fix your quarterback position, then Bortles has the matchups to make it happen. No other quarterback has an easier schedule between Week 10 and Week 13.
Of Bortles' remaining seven games, only two are negative matchups while two are "great" rated matchups.
Bortles' Week 9 matchup against the Jets was his toughest matchup of the season and he turned it into one of his best performances of the year. Bortles faced five negative matchups this season and is averaging a healthy 20 fantasy points per game against them. His performances against negative matchups have his player rating rocketing upward at just the right time of the season.
If Bortles is available on your waiver wire, grab him and lock him in as your starter and stop streaming quarterbacks on your run to the playoffs.
Quarterbacks - Best fantasy playoff schedules, Week 14-16
Tom Brady is already helping many teams secure the top spot in their fantasy leagues, and it seems clear that he will also be the quarterback you will find on the majority of this season's championship rosters.
The rest of the quarterbacks with the best remaining schedules are backup quarterbacks in weekly scoring leagues. Savvy fantasy footballers who plan to be in the fantasy postseason will be well served to lock down a viable backup in case something happens to their starter at the worst possible time. The quarterbacks on this list are the best ones to roster for that purpose.
Week 2 was the last time Alex Smith did not post a double digit fantasy performance. Smith's player rating increased by 88 percent between Week 6 and his Week 9 bye, just in time for the most important part of the fantasy season.
Smith's fantasy playoff matchups consist of three defenses ranked in the top 12 in touchdowns and passing yards allowed to opposing fantasy quarterbacks.
Running backs - Best remaining schedules, Week 10-16
Teams in the same division play the same opponents in a given season, so desirable schedules tend to cluster within divisions. Over the second half of this season, running backs from the NFC South will share the best remaining schedules.
Jonathan Stewart has only two negative matchups out of his final seven games, giving him the second-best remaining schedule for all fantasy running backs. Stewart has five of the desirable "great" rated matchups between Week 10 and 16, more than most players have in an entire season.
Stewart's trade window may be back open if his owner feels that his six-point stinker in Week 9 is a sign of regression. This may be the last chance to buy Stewart since his matchups and player rating have the makings of a top-12 fantasy running back finish to the season.
Running backs - Best fantasy playoff schedules, Week 14-16
T.J. Yeldon's string of four consecutive double-digit scoring efforts coming into Week 10 has him knocking on the door the top 20 fantasy running back ranks. Yeldon is hitting his stride just in time for the playoff push and is a sneaky add for your fantasy team. No other fantasy running back has a better remaining schedule than the Alabama product.
After a tough-ish Week 10 matchup against the Ravens, Yeldon has six consecutive positive matchups including one "great" rated matchup in Week 12.
His matchups combined with his increasing touch volume could make him a weekly RB2 as your fantasy team marches to a playoff berth. If your team is already in the fantasy playoffs, Yeldon's three top-15 rated matchups should make him a weekly contributor during your championship run.
Wide receivers - Best remaining schedules, Week 10-16
Randall Cobb certainly made his fantasy owners suffer through the first half of the season. Coming into his negative matchup with Carolina in Week 9, he hadn't scored more than five fantasy points for four consecutive weeks. Hard to believe, but Cobb was outside the top 25 fantasy receivers for most of the first half of the season. This was an excellent example of the negative effect that bad matchups can have on a good player.
In his first nine weeks, Cobb faced four "worst" rated matchups. That was the second-most difficult first half schedule of all wide receivers, and it caused his player rating to drop by almost 400 percent. His player rating got a huge boost after he posted his second-highest fantasy point total of the season against the Panthers, the second-toughest rated matchup for fantasy receivers.
Frustrated Cobb owners should be feeling some relief after the Panthers game, but there will be some that see this as chance to "sell high" on Cobb. If you can get Cobb for high WR2 value, you will be rewarded with a top-five easy remaining schedule. Pick him up before a Week 10 matchup with Detroit that will likely mark the beginning of his second half WR1 comeback.
Mike Evans' first half was plagued with games missed due to injury and negative matchups when he did start. When Evans was finally healthy and saw a positive matchup back in Week 7, he exploded for over 20 fantasy points.
Evans has grown into the No. 1 receiving option in Tampa Bay in his second season, after destroying easy matchups as a rookie. His trade price may still be low because of his slow start to the seaosn, but his Week 9 performance could mean the trade window is closing quickly.
Evans can be had in exchange for high WR2 value. Acquire him in a lateral trade for another high WR2 and enjoy five of his remaining matchups against defenses that he should be able to exploit on his way to what could be a top-10 wide receiver finish.
Wide receivers - Best fantasy playoff schedules, Week 14-16
Stefon Diggs' player rating took a hit after his game against the Rams (a "worst" rated matchup), but that also created a perfect trading opportunity. You should take this dip in production as an opportunity to acquire him if his owner is disenchanted after Diggs posted his worst stat line of the season.
Although Diggs does have one more "worst" rated matchup in Week 13, his fantasy playoff matchups are all inside the top-12 rated for wide receivers, including a rematch against a Bears defense that Diggs scored 15 fantasy points against earlier this season.
Tight ends - Best remaining schedules, Week 10-16
Although Travis Kelce was widely expected to finish as one of the top scoring tight ends in 2015, he was sitting just inside the top 10 at the half way point of the fantasy season.
If you are in the market for a TE1, then Kelce is a great trade target. After his Week 9 bye, four of his next five games are against positive rated matchups. If you think your season may go down to the wire, Kelce has a "great" rated matchup against the Raiders in Week 13. Acquiring Kelce at the right price could be just the help you need to make a late-season run to the postseason.
Tight ends - Best fantasy playoff schedules, Week 14-16
Greg Olsen's up and down weekly performances may give the impression that he is too inconsistent to be considered one of fantasy's elite tight ends. In reality, Olsen takes advantage of positive matchups more consistently than any other tight end in the league.
Olsen scores 10 more fantasy points against positive matchups than he does against negative ones, which will serve him well in the fantasy playoffs when he enjoys three top 11 easy rated matchups. Feel free to pay a decent price for Olsen in a trade as his ability to take advantage of his excellent remaining schedule could make him the second highest scoring tight end by season's end.