Week 8 has come and gone and fantasy owners are in a frenzy over who to add, drop and put on the trade block. Some players' trade value will never be higher, while others are ideal buy-low candidates meaning you should try to capitalize on the fear generated by a slow Week 8 outing for players who have positive outlooks for the season.
That's why this column, "Trade Calls" will come at you each and every week. It's pretty simple: I do the heavy lifting, you get some information and start making offers. So ahead of Week 9, here are some players to think about trying to acquire on the low, and moving after a big Week 8 performance.
PLAYERS TO TRADE AWAY
Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks
We've had a pretty awesome run with Christine Michael this year. It's been real. But now it's time to be realistic.
For weeks, Michael has been the only fully healthy running back in Seattle. But rookie C.J. Prosise had 11 touches in Week 8 and is working into the mix, while Thomas Rawls works his way into shape following a leg injury that has kept him out since Week 2. Within a couple of weeks, the Seahawks backfield could look a lot more like the committee we expected it to be with all three backs healthy in the preseason.
Michael, who has played well as the feature back, is averaging 4.2 yards per carry for the season, and has scored 50 percent of Seattle's 12 offensive touchdowns this year. But his efficiency has fallen off in recent weeks: He's averaging just 53.5 rushing yards per game (3.2 ypc) over the team's last four games compared to 77.3 rush yards per game (5.2 ypc) in the first three contests. He's also seen his volume take a significant dip. Following his season-high 20 rush attempts in Week 3, Michael's carry totals per game are 18, 18, 16, 10. Even in a dream matchup against a Saints defense that is allowing more fantasy points per game to running backs, Michael could only muster 40 yards (though he did score).
Some of this downtick in production has to do with Seattle's poor offensive line play (the team ranks 27th in run blocking according to Football Outsiders). Some of it can also be attributed to Russell Wilson's struggles as he plays through several injuries. And all of it has to do with Seattle's overall lack of offense; the team ranks in the bottom 10 in the NFL in points per game (18.7), total yards per game (339.9) and red zone touchdown percentage (46.6).
And with matchups against CAR, GB, LA and ARI in the fantasy playoffs, even if Michael were to remain the feature back, his strength of schedule is not favorable down the stretch.
The Awakening tour has been an awesome ride, but it's time to move on as fantasy owners prepare for a playoff run.
Rob Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins
When Matt Jones was ruled out before the Redskins' Week 8 game against the Bengals, fantasy owners charged the waiver wire to add rookie back Rob Kelley. He had gotten some limited action behind Jones and Chris Thompson earlier in the season but nothing significant enough to make him a viable fantasy back. With Jones out though, Kelley projected as the team's lead back and responded with 87 yards and a touchdown on his 21 carries in front of a London crowd. His 14.70 fantasy points for the week was enough to rank him as the RB11, making him a perfect sell-high candidate.
Washington has a bye in Week 9 after the team's trip across the pond, which gives Jones some extra time to recover from the knee injury that sidelined him. We're not yet sure if he'll be ready to play by Week 10, but even if he's not, the Redskins face the Vikings, which is anything but a favorable matchup (yes I know Jordan Howard went off for 202 total yards against Minnesota in Week 8, but we're treating that as an outlier). The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Redskins backfield down the stretch either, with five games against top-10 ranked rush defenses in their final seven games of the season. After the Week 10 contest against the Vikings (8), Washington faces GB (2), DAL (9), ARI (14), PHI (20), CAR (3), CHI (16) and NYG (10).
If that's not reason enough for you to try and move Kelley now, consider how pass-happy of an offense Washington is running. The team runs the ball just 37 percent of the time versus a 63 percent passing rate, and in the red zone Washington ranks eighth in the NFL with a 59 percent passing rate.
Lest we forget about Chris Thompson, who has out-snapped every other running back in Washington's backfield all season. Thompson averages about 33 snaps per game compared to Jones' 31 (Kelly's average snap count per game of 11 is skewed due to his low-volume).
Send the rookie away on a high note while your league-mates have a solid two weeks to stare down his 14.70 fantasy points from Week 8.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
Two weeks ago, fantasy analysts were squawking about how Jordy Nelson was done as a top fantasy receiver. And then he goes and drops 94 and a touch in Week 8 against the Falcons. But look, he's definitely not the same receiver he was before his ACL injury, and his inability to separate from defenders speaks to that. According to Next Gen Stats, Nelson's yards of separation ranks 26th out of 29 receivers with 40-plus targets when lined up outside. That means he's not open when he's targeted, which leads to contested catches and passes defensed against him.
It's also not a great sign that Aaron Rodgers is really starting to spread the ball around more among his receiving corps. Devante Adams leads the team with 33 targets over the last three weeks and has seemingly emerged as the No. 1 option in the Green Bay pass attack. Nelson has 20 targets in that same span. No-name wideouts like Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis are getting looks. Randall Cobb may return from a hamstring injury this week. Ty Montgomery is also not 100 percent healthy but he's a huge threat for targets when he plays. Heck, even Jeff Janis is emerging. My point is, Nelson is no longer the go-to guy in this offense. He'll still have his nice games, but he doesn't possess that week-winning upside he once did.
Add to all of this the fact that the Packers receiving corps has the hardest strength of schedule in the NFL in terms of matchups down the stretch. They face PHI, HOU, SEA and MIN in the next few weeks, and all of those defenses rank in the top half of the league in terms of least fantasy points allowed to wideouts.
If you can get someone in your league to bite, try to move Nelson following his big Week 8 outing for a wideout with a more favorable fantasy playoff schedule.
PLAYERS TO TRADE FOR
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
With Spencer Ware's Week 9 playing status up in the air due to a concussion, fantasy owners may not have a more ideal window than now to make a move for him.
Jamaal Charles was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, ending the narrative that he would eventually become a threat to Ware's workload. Ware has been one of the most consistently effective running backs in fantasy this season averaging 5.0 yards per carry which has him tied for fifth in the NFL. He's also one of just six running backs averaging over 100 total yards per game, ranking sixth with 117.7 scrimmage yards per contest. And despite ranking 27th among running backs with 17 receptions, Ware has recorded the third-highest receiving yards among running backs with 313 for the year. Simply put, there's no denying that Ware has been extremely valuable for fantasy owners.
Add to his success the fact that he has cake matchups down the stretch with games against TB, OAK, ATL and TEN coming up, and you can see why he's on the trade-for list.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
Since his healthy return in Week 6, Jonathan Stewart has posted ridiculous fantasy numbers. He's scored twice in each of his last two games and has piled up 180 rushing yards on 44 attempts in those contests. The stigma with Stewart is that his fantasy ceiling is limited due to Cam Newton's tendency to take the ball into the end zone himself in goal-line situations. But in recent weeks that hasn't been the case. Newton has six red zone rush attempts compared to Stewart's 11 in the last two games, and obviously J-Stew's owners have only benefitted from that.
For anyone worried about Fozzy Whittaker or anyone else in the Carolina backfield stealing work, consider this: Stewart has shouldered 93 percent of the Panthers running back attempts in the last two games. There's virtually no threat to his workload, which makes his favorable schedule even more enticing as a trade target.
The Panthers have upcoming games against NO, OAK, SD, WAS and ATL, all of which spell success for Stewart from a fantasy perspective. So go out and get you the best piece of the Carolina backfield before he blows up again.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
What more reason than that do you need to trade for him? Okay, okay ... here are some additional numbers for you to look at so you can decide for yourself.
Despite Jeffery's lone touchdown on the season, he still ranks as fantasy's WR25 in standard scoring. He's posted consistently high yardage totals for the most part and has collected 583 on the season, ninth most among wideouts. He's also tied for 12th among wideouts with 63 targets through eight games.
Because Cutler won't ignore Jeffery the way that Brian Hoyer did, he boosts his top receiver's fantasy value, especially in red zone situations. The Bears have a ton of favorable matchups down the stretch that give the star wideout an awesome outlook for the rest of the season. With games coming up against TB, SF, DET and GB things are looking up. Jeffery is averaging over 10 targets per game in his last three contests and finally has potential to be the week-winning wideout in the fantasy playoffs that owners drafted as back in August.
Since the Bears are on a bye in Week 9, you might be able to slip one by on the Jeffery owner in your league and attempt to acquire a player that may lead you to the fantasy promised land.