Well friends, this is it. With the fantasy football trade deadline hitting this weekend in most leagues, this will be my final Trade Calls column of the season. It's been fun checking the market each week and recommending plenty of hits and misses along the way. Football is an unpredictable game, which makes reading the tea leaves and forecasting who to trade away or for even more difficult. Hopefully, you're still in a position for the postseason, and with that in mind, here are some moves I'd recommend trying to make before the deadline comes. Once trades are no more, the only way to improve your roster is through waivers, and I don't know about your leagues but the waiver-wire in mine is looking more barren than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. As a result, 'tis the season to swing some trades.
Let's see what the trade market looks like as we enter Week 12.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys: When the Cowboys first swung their real-life trade for Cooper, I wanted nothing to do with the former first-round pick. The situation was far from ideal, as Cooper was coming off an extremely up-and-down season and joining one of the least pass-happy offenses in the league. Nothing about that sounded appetizing from a fantasy perspective. However, the Cowboys immediately started treating Cooper like a No. 1 wideout, and in his three weeks with the team he leads them in target share (23 percent), air yards share (37 percent) and has scored one of three receiving touchdowns as well. This volume still isn't game-changing in Dallas' run-first offense, but Cooper has a favorable fantasy playoff schedule with matchups against the injury-ravaged Eagles, Colts, and Buccaneers (the league's worst defense). Cooper is coming off a three-catch, 36-yard performance so the time is right to make a move for him. The cost likely won't be too steep but the reward could be huge if Dallas leans on its new No. 1 wideout to help them chase a division title.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Finally healthy, Cook was supposed to come out of the Vikings' bye and dominate down the stretch. Well, he ran into a bit of a roadblock last week better known as Khalil Mack and the Bears defense. Cook and Latavius Murray combined for a whopping 17 rushing yards on Sunday Night Football, likely sending their fantasy managers into a panic. This potentially creates an opportunity to pounce on Cook, who has a pretty favorable playoff schedule and a head coach dedicated to establishing the run. Cook gets the Packers this weekend, which could be a prime bounce-back opponent as they'll be without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels. Then once the playoffs roll around, Cook gets the Seahawks, Dolphins and Lions, the latter of which both rank in the bottom eight in terms of fantasy points to opposing running backs (meaning they give up a lot of points to the position). It might be hard to pry Cook away from a manager who drafted him early and has held onto him this long, but the potential reward makes it worth the effort.
The Chicago Bears passing attack (again): I made a case to make moves for the Bears last week, but I'll double down again as this crew might be easier to acquire after a relatively quiet game against the stout Minnesota defense in a primetime game. Mitchell Trubisky posted just 5.3 yards per attempt last week, his lowest average since Week 1. Allen Robinson followed up his 133-yard, two-touchdown explosion in Week 10 with a three-catch, 39-yard outing. Recency bias, especially from an island came, could cause fantasy managers to sour on this bunch. But the upcoming schedule for the Bears is ripe for the picking, as they face the Lions on Thanksgiving followed by the Giants, Rams, Packers, and 49ers to close out the year. Two of those final four games are at home, and all of those opponents can be beaten through the air. The Bears have their eyes on a division title, and if they want to secure that crown they'll need to rely on the strong arm of their young quarterback. The players I'd try to target first are Trubisky, Robinson and then Anthony Miller. Trey Burton could work as well if you're desperate for a tight end, but even he's been volatile this year in terms of week-to-week output.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins: Much like with the Bears, I'm doubling down and once again recommending you try to package Peterson in some sort of deadline deal. The hits just keep coming to Peterson in what has otherwise been a fantastic season. After losing multiple offensive linemen to injuries, Alex Smith was lost for the season last week after suffering a gruesome lower leg injury. So now Peterson has to run behind a second-string offensive line with a second string quarterback handing him the ball. Yeesh. Making matters worse is that four of Peterson's final five games (of the fantasy season) are on the road. And for just a little bit more sad icing on this depressing cake, Peterson's fantasy splits between when the team is winning and losing are ghastly (h/t JJ Zachariason for the stats). Peterson can still definitely provide some nice scoring down the stretch. He's running well and is a goal-line favorite for the team. However, the con column appears to far outweigh the pro column, making this a fine time to try and get as much as possible for A.D. before the market closes for the year.
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barber took full advantage of a plus-matchup against the Giants last week, rushing for a season-high 106 yards and finding the end zone. Barber's production is extremely volatile, which isn't too hard to imagine given the wild inconsistencies plaguing the Bucs offense in general. In two of Barber's last five games he's gone for 80-plus yards and a touchdown on the ground, but in the other three, he's averaged just over 40 yards per game with no scores. Who knows what will happen from here on out with the Bucs? Honestly, who knows? No one. Jameis Winston is starting but for how long? Barber isn't likely to keep grinding out 100-yard games, and he has an ugly schedule upcoming with teams like the Saints and Panthers who figure to force the Bucs into a pass-heavy game script early. It could be worthwhile to shop if him you have him.
Trade Calls Hotline
If you need a one-week filler, look to the waiver-wire don't trade away a starting running back. Guys like Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and even Eli Manning are all probably available. Drop a backup now that we're mostly through the bye weeks and pick up a free-agent as a one-week starter.
While I understand the urge to go for Nuk Hopkins here, who's scored six touchdowns in the last five weeks, I think you're better off staying pat with Golladay and White. Golladay has 27 targets, 14 catches, 191 yards and two scores over the last two weeks. Marvin Jones is battling an injury right now and Matthew Stafford is pummeling his second-year star with targets as a result. With Kerryon Johnson injured, the Lions will likely have to pass even more keeping Golladay's insane volume afloat.
I would rather have Chubb here, to be honest. Boyd is having a great year but isn't the same without A.J. Green commanding attention from defenses. Chubb, meanwhile, is the clear-cut featured back in a solid offense.
No, I would not trade away T.Y. Hilton. His air yards profile and target share were trending in the right direction for weeks as he healed up and hit a crescendo this past week with his 155-yard, two-touchdown explosion. Andrew Luck is playing lights out and Hilton is his No. 1 wideout. With the Colts contesting for the postseason, I would be inclined to keep Hilton as Luck will likely rely on his top option often.
This is a tough one. Lindsay has been great, but Woods is in one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. For me, I think this comes down to the scoring format. Since it's standard Lindsay is probably the safer play here, and wide receiver is deeper than running back at this point in the season.
*-- Alex Gelhar is a freelance fantasy writer for the NFL and a full-time law student. You can find him on Twitter @AlexGelhar. *