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 9 slate. Let's dig into the good stuff.
BUY: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
He's not necessarily a buy-low, but Alvin Kamara is a trade-for candidate to potentially anchor your fantasy roster for the rest of the year. He has averaged 13.5 touches and 17.4 PPR points per game over his last four contests. That includes games of 25.6, 11.7, 15.7 and 16.1, and he's only scored one touchdown in that span. Kamara's 21 receptions rank him second on the Saints (Michael Thomas, 25) in New Orleans' last four games. Since the departure of Adrian Peterson, Kamara has split snaps with Mark Ingram, with an increasing share of 42, 49 and 51 percent of the snaps in each of the last tilts.
Kamara currently ranks as a top-20 fantasy back in both standard and PPR scoring on the heels of his 500 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns this season. His versatility keeps him on the field and he can play from, and produce from pretty much every alignment, which creates mismatch nightmares for opposing defenses:
As James Koh profiled in his latest edition of Koh Knows (which is a weekly must-read by the way) the Saints are employing a more run-heavy offense than they have in recent years, which obviously means more volume for the backfield. And while Ingram has been the primary back, he did lose two fumbles last week which nearly cost the Saints a win against the Bears. We have seen coach Sean Peyton bench Ingram before for similar gaffes, and Kamara has given the coaching staff absolutely no reason to limit his role, which could increase further given Ingram's ball-security issues.
SELL: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
To put it simply, the 2017 version of Tom Brady is not the fantasy-point producing powerhouse he was a season ago. Still arguably the best quarterback in the league from a real football perspective, Brady is averaging just 16.19 fantasy points per game over the last month. He's posted 18 or fewer fantasy points in five of his eight games this season.
The main reason for his limited ceiling, is likely due to injuries in New England's receiving corps. It's old news that Julian Edelman is out for the year. But his top target, Chris Hogan has been banged up too, landing on the injury report with knee and rib injuries but played through them. Last week, Hogan left the game early with a shoulder injury that reportedly was on the verge of requiring surgery. Rob Gronkowski has endured groin and thigh injuries. Danny Amendola, never durable, has dealt with head and knee injuries. Even Brady himself injured his non-throwing shoulder a few weeks back.
There's no doubt the 40-year-old veteran has overcome these injuries, leading his team to a 6-2 record, but we've grown used to bigger fantasy output from the GOAT. Given what seems to be capped upside, Brady is a brand-name to sell ahead of upcoming matchups against the Broncos, Bills, and Steelers coming up in the second half.
BUY: Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Coming off his lowest fantasy outing of the season, Dak Prescott has created a timely buy-low window for managers in the quarterback market. In a rain-soaked game against the Redskins, Dak handed the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott 33 times and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all year. His 7.32 fantasy points might leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who started him, so take advantage if the opportunity presents itself.
Prescott has been on fire this season, averaging 20 fantasy points per game this year, and 25 FPPG over his previous four contests, including three-straight three-touchdown performances. He's thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in just two games all year. There was a preseason narrative that Dak was ready to take the next step in his development at the pro level and his play this year has cemented that he has.
With Elliott's looming six-game suspension hanging over the Dallas offense, there could be more passing volume in store for their quarterback, especially closer to the end zone as Alex Gelhar pointed out in his Zeke suspension breakdown.
Boosting Prescott's outlook even further is his matchup schedule the rest of the season. His next three games are against the Chiefs, Falcons and Eagles, each bottom half in the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. And beyond that, Prescott won't face another top-eight pass defense the rest of the way, with his only real test coming against Seattle in Week 16, but even that is a home game for the Cowboys.
SELL: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are sitting pretty atop the NFL with a league-best 7-1 record. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is playing like a superstar and is tied for the league-lead with 19 passing touchdowns through eight games. But his "No. 1" wide receiver, Alshon Jeffery has only been on the other side of three of those touchdown throws all year.
It's obvious that Jeffery isn't being utilized as the red zone monster some may have thought he'd be heading into the season, and that's had a negative effect on his ability to be a consistent fantasy contributor on a weekly basis. Tight end Zach Ertz leads the team with 10 red zone targets, and Jeffery ranks third with just five all season, behind Nelson Agholor (six). It's a crowded offense with a lot of mouths to feed. Jeffery is getting target volume, as he ranks 10th in the NFL among receivers with 62 (T-Michael Thomas), but his 8.0 standard fantasy points per game land him just outside the top 25 receivers. As important as target volume is in fantasy football, it's not always the end-all-be-all when determining a player's value.
Considering that Jeffery has four or fewer catches in all but one game, now seems like a good time to ship him away as he's coming off a 14.2-point "spike" week, his second-highest total of the season.
A FEW FOR THE ROAD:
BUY: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons Despite his struggles lately, Devonta Freeman remains on pace for the same amount of rush yards he's posted in each of the last two seasons. He averaged 1,067 rush yards in 2015 and 2016 and is currently on pace for 1,065 this year. He just hasn't found the end zone in a few weeks and isn't getting the same high-volume receiving workload his fantasy owners have enjoyed previously. He's a buy due to favorable upcoming matchups in the fantasy playoffs: Freeman faces the Buccaneers and Saints in four of five games between Weeks 12-16. The Falcons' offense isn't what it used to be, but Atlanta is still a top-12 team in rush yards per game (123.3) and ranks fourth in yards per carry as a team (4.8).
SELL: Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins The Washington passing game is completely unreliable on a week-to-week basis. Four different players have led the team in receiving in a given week through seven games. Last week it was Jamison Crowder's turn as he logged 123 yards on nine receptions against Dallas. Those 123 yards accounted for 45 percent of Crowder's total yards on the season and has struggled all season, even putting up two separate weeks with negative fantasy points in standard scoring. Now, he's dealing with a hamstring injury. If you can, ship him away before he disappears from the box score again.
BUY: Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings In what was supposed to be a triumphant return from injury against the Browns in Week 8, Stefon Diggs posted just 27 yards on four catches against a poor Browns secondary. That performance combined with the Vikings Week 9 bye could have the Diggs owner in your league growing impatient. It's a good time to buy low considering the extra week off to make sure his groin injury is fully healed, and there are whispers that Teddy Bridgewater could return under center for Minnesota. Case Keenum is fine as a temporary stop-gap, but if Teddy can return, Diggs could really take off. Don't forget that Diggs ranked third in the NFL in receiving yards after Week 3.
SELL: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns The Cleveland running back had the best game of his life in Week 8 against the Vikings. Okay, that's a stretch, but it felt like it because Isaiah Crowell has not done much for fantasy owners all year. Week 8 marked his second game all season in which he averaged over four yards per carry, and his 64 rush yards was his highest total of 2017. Crowell plays on a less-than-mediocre offense with a mess of a quarterback carousel. His snap count is basically a 50/50 split with Duke Johnson, and while you might not get much in return, now is the time to put the Crowell feelers out to a running-back desperate manager in your league.
Just for kicks, here is a recap of some fantasy-relevant trades that #actually happened this week in the NFL, and our staff's analysis on each:
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