This week's edition of Trade Calls looks at running backs that just now find themselves in favorable situations, as well as those that appear to have already peaked.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills: After weeks of waiting patiently, it appears the Bills have finally decided to use rookie running back Devin Singletary as their feature back. Not only did he produce his finest performance to date last week against Washington -- 20 carries for 96 yards and a score with another 45 yards coming off three receptions -- but Singletary out-touched Frank Gore by a greater than 2:1 ratio. Situations like Buffalo's have burned fantasy managers before, but Singletary's has provided his team the proof of concept necessary to make him the feature back.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: In October, Melvin Gordon looked like a shell of himself. The Pro Bowl running back could barely muster 2.5 yards per carry over the four games he played that month and never topped 38 yards from scrimmage in any of them. The ground game struggled so completely that the Chargers became the first team to rush for less than 40 yards in four consecutive games since 1946. The poor showing forced head coach Anthony Lynn to fire longtime offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and replace him with Shane Steichen, a first-time play-caller with an eye toward reviving the run game.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: With the Falcons season all but officially over, it's easy to overlook some of the players not named Julio Jones on their roster. That holds especially true for Matt Ryan, who didn't play in Week 8 due to an ankle injury before entering the bye last week. Ryan has returned to practice and should play without any significant limitation due to the injury and shouldn't cost all that much relative to his output (he ranks seventh in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks).
D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: The return of Nick Foles doesn't necessarily mean that first-half breakout star D.J. Chark will fall off the map, but it could take some time for the quarterback and wideout to build chemistry. Foles has only played part of one quarter of regular-season football with his teammates and hasn't seen live snaps in two months. Chark's value remains high right now, and if your team cannot afford his productivity to fluctuate during the Foles transition process, trade him now.
Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: No one in the Kansas City backfield has proven reliable in the long term, but the appeal of a primary running back might still elicit a decent return in a trade. Damien Williams just had his best game of the season -- 14 touches for 128 yards and a score -- and could easily go back to single-digit yardage outputs as soon as this weekend. Trade him before that happens to you.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals:Kenyan Drake looked like a superstar in his debut with the Cardinals, producing explosive play on the ground (a 36-yard run) and through the air (21-yard reception on a screen). However, that production appears unlikely to repeat, especially after Arizona returns David Johnson to the lineup.
A blockbuster trade offer indeed. Chris Godwin's prospects over the second half of the season look strong and Emmanuel Sanders could become a weekly flex if he continues to see at or near double-digit targets in the 49ers offense. I also have concerns about Terry McLaurin's production given interim head coach Bill Callahan's focus on the run game. Still, I don't think you get enough in return for Christian McCaffrey here, and you don't need help at wide receiver badly enough to justify it.
Adam Thielen's lingering hamstring issues should concern you and we have no way of knowing how A.J. Green will perform given his lack of practice reps in Zac Taylor's offense. Meanwhile, Davante Adams just returned from his turf toe injury last week and remains a bona fide No. 1 receiver. I would stick with Adams.
This deal makes sense for the team receiving Tyreek Hill and Nick Chubb. Julio Jones should continue to perform at a high level during the second half of the season, but Tyler Boyd's production could wane with Ryan Finley taking over at quarterback and the return of A.J. Green to the receiving corps. Don't buy that level of risk for relatively small potential gain.