While drafting smartly and managing the waiver wire are keys to fantasy success, few teams lift up a trophy at season's end without swinging some trades along the way. All season long I'll try to help you figure out when the time is right to trade for and trade away certain players in this weekly series, dubbed "Trade Calls." Six weeks of NFL action are officially in the books, and while the names you can trade away might be getting a little thin (in my opinion), there are still some great values to target in trades before talented players buck some troubling trends.
Let's take a look at some options to trade for and trade away as Week 7 approaches.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills: Look, the "trade away" names are a little unsavory this week, but that's because I had a harder time finding players who I could readily argue for parting ways with. So forgive me if these aren't the hottest takes this week. However, if you haven't jumped ship on Watkins yet, now is the time. I know he's injured and arrived in London in a walking boot, but perhaps others in your league were buying into his plea for more targets (and the team's response last week). You might be able to flip Watkins for an upside RB or WR based on his name value and this #narrative. Otherwise, you'll just be wasting a spot on your fantasy bench or in your flex with a player whose production is likely to be extremely volatile the rest of the season. I'd rather use that spot on someone who has a better chance of breaking out.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos: Yes, Hillman has been the more productive back in the stat sheets for the Broncos, but I'm with Matt Harmon in that I just can't buy into him as a viable fantasy starter. We've seen this movie before. It's the one where Sean Bean dies (aka, all of them). Hillman hasn't been a legitimate starter at any other point in his career, so what's to make us believe he is now? He splashed last year, and C.J. Anderson still took over the job down the stretch. If you can parlay Hillman's recent success into some decent assets, do so.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: If you can get anything for him -- and I mean ANYTHING -- do it. Otherwise, he's completely droppable at this point. Single-digit points in four of his six games so far, and he's been outscored by Brian Hoyer, who hasn't even started every game for his team. Manning's had a great run, but he's not worth a roster spot at this point.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: Woof. Frankly, I don't quite know what to say, other than I still don't think you should trade away Lacy, even after he disappointed last week in what was supposed to be his bounce-back matchup. His head coach said this week that Lacy's still banged up, and that he'll ride the hot hand going forward. Sorry, Mike McCarthy, but forgive me if I don't quite believe that sentiment. McCarthy echoed similar sentiments last season after Lacy's sluggish start, only to feed his big back an average of just over 20 touches per game from Week 8 on. The bye week comes at a critical time for the Packers, as their entire offense is struggling amidst a rash of injuries. Randall Cobb, James Jones, Ty Montgomery, Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang are all battling injuries, and the team has been without Davante Adams and Andrew Quarless for several weeks as well. My guess is that the team heals up, goes back to the drawing board, and comes out ready to rock in Week 8. Granted, they'll have to do so against a tough defense in the Denver Broncos, but this is one of the league's best offenses (top five in scoring, top 10 in total yards despite the myriad injuries) and we've seen them beat tough matchups before. You likely will not find a better time to buy low on Lacy than now (unless of course, he struggles again in Week 8), which is why I'm advocating targeting him again. His touchdown-potential alone in this high-octane offense will put him on the weekly RB2 radar if he returns even close to his 2014 form. That alone is worth the risk of a mid-season trade, and his upside is of the league-winning variety if he turns in a stellar second half of the season as we've seen him do in each of his first two professional seasons.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins: I thought about banging the table for Miller last week, and regret not doing so, as Dan Campbell did exactly what we expected him to do: He gave the ball to his good player. Miller had "struggled" in the early parts of this season, largely because he hadn't received more than 15 touches in a game at any point in the season. He had two games with single digit rush attempts -- it's not easy to produce for your team (or fantasy owners) when the ball is not in your hands. Any way, Miller's owner in your league might be looking to sell high, which means now is the time to strike. Miller is a very talented back in an offense that seems determined to utilize him more moving forward. His volume of the offensive touches should at least stay flat, if not increase (he averaged just over 15 per game last year). Get on the Miller train before it leaves the station if you can.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown, the picture of consistency, saw his remarkable 35-game five-catch, 50-plus receiving yard streak end in Mike Vick's first start of the season in Week 4. Including that game (three weeks), Brown has managed 11.1 fantasy points combined. Martavis Bryant came back with a bang last week, which could have soured Brown's owner's even more. It is evident on the field that Brown is getting frustrated, and that'll surely change once Big Ben returns to the lineup (likely in Week 8). Now is probably the last chance you have to buy low and get Brown on your roster at the best possible value. Float out some trade offers and see how his owner is feeling. Once Roethlisberger comes back, this offense will quickly return to it's dominant ways and you'll have the most reliable piece on your fantasy team.
As was the case last week, I received an overwhelming number of trade questions when I put out the call on Twitter. Apologies if I didn't get to yours in this space or on Twitter. Send me another tweet later this week (when my mentions aren't on fire) and I'll try my best to get to as many as possible. For now, here are some of the most interesting questions I received for Week 7:
Hooray, a dynasty question! I love Calvin Johnson as a player, but now is not the time to shop for him in dynasty formats. While Lewis might not have banished #Belitricks for good, he's a super-talented back who secured a mid-season contract extension from the notoriously tough negotiating New England Patriots. That's as good a sign of faith as you're going to get from Bill Belichick, which is why I think it's too early to ship him off in PPR for a talented, but aging wideout like Megatron.
I see your need to flip a tight end here, seeing as you have three on your roster currently (what the what?). But I would not move Antonio Gates for Donte Moncrief, as high as I am on Mocrief. Tight end is an extremely volatile position right now, and Gates is one of the few trustable players at the position. He's first in receiving yards among tight ends in the last two weeks, and second in touchdowns. He's been targeted a ton by Philip Rivers, and will continue to be from here on out. I'd rather try and package Ertz or Carrier with someone else to get wide receiver help, or target someone like Stefon Diggs off of the waiver wire.
Man, this is an interesting question. Cobb has long been a WR1 when healthy, but that's the problem -- he's been banged up all season and hasn't been able to shed consistent double coverage. Now, could the Packers correct this coming out of their bye when their receiving corps is healthier? Absolutely. Had Robinson not suffered a knee contusion last week, I'd have been more inclined to do this trade. However, given the fact that Cobb has Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, a week to get healthy and a (hopefully) rejuvenated offense, I'd have to stay the course for now. Though I wouldn't call you crazy if you did the trade anyway.
I would not trade Gurley. As I sit here writing this, I'm trying to think of what I'd have to be offered to part ways with Gurley, and it'd have to be a lot. Certainly a lot more than one of the least efficient fantasy running backs and a banged up (though hopefully improving -- see above) wide receiver. Gurley is a generational talent, whose ceiling for the rest of the season is sky high. I'd have to basically be knocked off of my feet by a trade offer to consider parting ways with him, and this one doesn't get that done.
I fortunately own Hopkins in almost all of my leagues, but if I didn't I would be trying to trade aggressively to get him. However, I feel this trade is a bit too aggressive. I'm not scared that the arrival of Ahmad Bradshaw will dampen Gore's fantasy output too much, and Edelman has a pretty safe week-to-week floor in the Patriots offense as Brady's most trusted (and targeted) option. If you can swap one (or both) of these players out for a slightly lesser commodity to package for Nuk, then I'd say send that trade off and see what happens. It never hurts to come in a little low with your initial offer (don't be an a**hole, though), as the worst they cam do is reject it, or counter. Work your way back up to a comfortable deal from there.
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