The clock is ticking: The fantasy football trade deadline in ESPN standard leagues arrives one week from today, at noon ET on Wednesday, Nov. 25. (And, to be clear, that’s the deadline by which trades must be accepted, not offered.)
It’s therefore your last chance to significantly upgrade your team, so get your offers ready! After that point, there’ll be no way to improve your team other than by free agency, which generally won’t provide you immediate, high-impact players.
With time running short, I’m here again to help you out with some trade-candidate nominations. Listed below are four players you should try to acquire now, while their value is perceived to be low, as well as four players you’ll want to peddle in order to strengthen your roster in other areas.
Go get ’em
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Looking ahead at what the Ravens have coming up on the schedule in December and January, you’re going to want some piece of their passing game. Quarterback Lamar Jackson hasn’t looked close to his 2019 MVP self, and his managers would probably still press you for top-five positional value in trade. Tight end Mark Andrews has averaged 7.2 PPR fantasy points in the Ravens’ past four games. So why not Brown, who has the advantage of facing four plus wide receiver matchups in his final five games (the one reasonably tough one coming against the New York Giants and James Bradberry in Week 16)? Brown remains by far Jackson’s preferred deep threat, with 24 vertical targets and a 15.2-yard average depth of (all) targets, and he’s also a top choice in scoring position, his seven end zone targets have him tied with Andrews for the team lead.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers: His PPR fantasy point totals this season have been modest, but have you checked out his expanded amount of usage of late? In the past four weeks combined, Ebron has played 85% of the Steelers’ offensive snaps, most among any of their receivers, has averaged 35.8 routes (third on the team) and 6.3 targets (fourth) and has six red zone targets (second). Yes, there are a lot of mouths to feed in the Steelers’ passing game, but use that to your advantage in trade discussions, as the Steelers face a bunch of matchups that put a lot more pressure on the wide receivers than the tight end: The Ravens (Week 12), Washington Football Team (Week 13) and Buffalo Bills (Week 14), in particular, fit the description. If your team is otherwise sound, absorbing into your lineup a risk/reward, touchdown-dependent tight end with a favorable remaining schedule isn’t a bad strategy.
Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills: Things have already begun to swing in Moss’ direction in the Bills’ backfield; you just might not yet have realized it. In each of their past three games, he enjoyed a larger snap percentage than Devin Singletary, and Moss has also averaged more PPR fantasy points (11.9-6.2) and total touches (11.0-8.3). With the Bills on bye this week, it’s prime time to pounce with a trade offer, considering desperate teams are probably scratching and clawing for any useful part they can get in the short term. In those aforementioned three games, Moss is 3-of-4 converting his goal-to-go rushing opportunities, on which he showed his toughness by garnering 11 of 15 yards on those plays after first contact. He’s a lock to get the team’s goal-line carries, and it’s clear that the Bills are comfortable giving him a more-than-50/50 share of the carries between the 20s, too.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions: Count me all-in. Swift has paced the Lions’ backfield in snap percentage in each of the past four weeks, culminating in Week 10’s 71% (39-of-55), in a game where Kerryon Johnson (9) and Adrian Peterson (7) played sparingly. In that game, Swift managed three runs of 10-plus yards, adding a 5-of-5 performance catching his passes for 68 yards and a score, with one play of each type flashing his breakaway speed (each clocked at 20-plus mph). There’s a lot of upside in the rookie during the second half of 2020, and his performance while facing the next four weeks’ matchups could propel a lot of his fantasy teams into the playoffs: the Carolina Panthers (Week 11), Houston Texans (Week 12) and Green Bay Packers (Week 14) are the sixth-, second- and third-best matchups for a running back using full-season data. Swift’s future, especially the immediate, looks awfully bright.
Trade ’em away
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills: A repeat name from last week’s “strength of schedule” column, Allen — for both the rest of the year and the fantasy playoffs — has one of the least favorable schedules in the league, ranking second-worst and worst among quarterbacks even after updating the stats to account for Week 10. He’s coming off a pair of excellent fantasy performances, his 36.0 and 27.4 points his best and fifth-best outputs of 2020, but they also came while facing two of the easiest matchups a quarterback could ask for (Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals). Allen could be a more difficult player to deal, with this being his bye week, and that lost game hurts when it represents 14% of his remaining schedule — 17% if your league excludes Week 17 — and he doesn’t have a single average-or-better matchup in the season’s final five weeks. If you can get value anywhere close to his current QB2 standing in terms of fantasy points, or QB4 using points per game, deal him now.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: He exited the bye week to a 92% snaps-played rate, 28 routes run and six targets, and while his 7.3 PPR fantasy points probably won’t push the needle to the point that you’ll net a hefty haul, Goedert is still someone to peddle aggressively via trade despite his full return to health and rising role in the Eagles’ offense. Besides the fact that Carson Wentz has been leaning a good share on Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor in the passing game, Goedert’s matchups during the fantasy playoffs rank among the least attractive at the position. The Packers (Week 13) and New Orleans Saints (Week 14) rank among the toughest defenses against opposing tight ends, and the Dallas Cowboys (Week 16) have given the position considerable trouble as well.
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers: Coming off a 19.6 PPR fantasy point performance, and with four games of 14-plus points in his past six, Moore is a player you should certainly be shopping. His WR21 production to date seems like a mirage, considering he has only three red zone targets, the league’s most drops (6) and the fourth-worst wide open rate (7.2%) among receivers with at least 40 targets. Robby Anderson has taken over as the Panthers’ top wideout this season, while Curtis Samuel has seen a surprisingly large amount of looks in recent weeks (19 targets and three in the red zone, compared to Moore’s 17 and zero, in the past three weeks alone). That the Panthers haven’t yet had their bye week, not to mention have matchups with the Packers (Week 15) and Washington Football Team (Week 16), only further supports the trade-him case.
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: He has been one of the breakout stories of 2020 thus far, but it’s also important to point out that he has feasted upon two of the most favorable matchups for a running back — the aforementioned Texans and Packers — the past two weeks en route to the full-season’s RB3 position in terms of PPR fantasy points. Robinson’s stock might be perceived as high right now, but he has arguably the most challenging schedule of any running back during the fantasy playoffs, with matchups with the Ravens, Bears and Colts rounding out his season. Remember, the Jaguars aren’t a good defensive team, and while Robinson does do things via the receiving game, it’s not going to be enough to make up for a workload of 12 to 15 carries (or worse) if those foes mount early leads. If you can cash in on a Robinson trade valuing him as a RB1, take the deal and find a safer running back to carry you to a championship.