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Talkin’ Trades Week 9: Look for the Helpers

Welcome back to Talkin’ Trades, a weekly column that will highlight players to target today before their prices change tomorrow.

Is your fantasy team the fourth single from American rock band HAIM’s debut album? Because it looks like you fumbled it when it came down to the wire. Not to worry, a good trade can allay your waiver woes.

Let’s take a look at some of the best buys and sells at each position.

QUARTERBACK

BUY

RUSSELL WILSON – Only Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have put up a full season TD rate of 9.0 percent or higher. Patrick Mahomes currently sits at 9.1 percent, but Wilson is right behind him at 8.8 percent.1 This is the double-edged sword of Seattle’s low passing volume, but the rushing is situational for Wilson and could return at any time. Right now Wilson is cheap, and you should always buy rushing upside when it’s cheap.

SELL

RYAN FITZPATRICK – We’re seeing a Chiefs situation here, where everyone is realizing that a stellar receiving group has been propping up the incumbent QB. Fitzpatrick should continue to do his thing, but the risk that the team goes back to Jameis Winston at some point will loom over every week. It’s hard to trade QBs, but Tampa Bay’s pass-friendly game scripts make Fitzpatrick a desirable short-term addition for struggling teams that can’t find a better option on the wire. If you can net yourself a Danny Amendola or a Trenton Cannon, that’s probably a win.

RUNNING BACK

BUY

ROYCE FREEMAN – Freeman keeps testing out his ankle in practice, but the reality is that he has a high ankle sprain and would be best sitting through Denver’s Week 10 bye. Phillip Lindsay has been running away with the job, so many Freeman teams are ready to cut bait. If you have room to stash him, he could be a playoff difference-maker as the Broncos face the 49ers, Browns, and Raiders in Weeks 14-16. That championship matchup in particular is looking like a dream right now.

TY MONTGOMERY – The window to acquire Montgomery will likely stay open for a while, since the odds are low that he participates heavily against the Steelers having just joined the team mid-week (and then the Ravens have a bye in Week 10). Nevertheless, John Harbaugh’s expectations for Montgomery have been pretty tempered in the media so far. If Buck Allen falters again this week, and the glowing media reports begin, Montgomery will become much trickier to acquire. Allen has been passed on the depth chart by virtually every RB the Ravens have rostered in his career. We need to have an open mind that the opportunity for RB2 upside that Allen flashed last year will fall to Montgomery sooner than later. Allen is currently ranked in the top 10 for RB receptions. If Montgomery steals that role, he could have a stellar stretch run–the Ravens have the 3rd best strength of schedule coming out of their bye week.

2018 Week 9 - BAL rb sos

THEO RIDDICK – I want to attack  teams that have contracting depth charts in the passing game. Riddick offers a chance to do so at the lowest cost of all Detroit pass-catchers, despite being the player who is the clearest 1-to-1 replacement for the kind of after-the-catch playmaking that Golden Tate provided. Matt Patricia could opt towards developing Kerryon Johnson into more of an every-down back, but it’s likely worth the cost of finding out. Riddick can play out of the slot even with Johnson on the field, and is on a short list of RBs that can go off for double-digit targets. Over the last four years, Riddick is tied for the league lead in double-digit target games (seven) with Le’Veon Bell.

SELL

DEVONTAE BOOKER – It will only take a setback to Royce Freeman’s ankle injury for Booker to become a valuable commodity the rest of the way. He’s being used in the passing game when game-script dictates it, and the Demaryius Thomas trade vacates 20 percent of Denver’s targets. Nevertheless, he’s more likely to be useful in the short term than the long term, so he’s a nice piece to send to teams that are in desperation mode with six teams on bye this week. If he’s expendable for your squad, I’d move on while his 100-yard game is still fresh in people’s minds.

WIDE RECEIVER

BUY

TRE’QUAN SMITH – After his breakout game in prime time versus Washington, Smith has fallen flat, providing a rare window to acquire a top three target in a Saints offense. Smith has led the team in air yards two of the last three weeks. You’re getting Marvin Jones usage at T.J. Jones prices.

DOUG BALDWIN – Baldwin has probably gotten cheap enough that he’s worth kicking the tires on. Wilson is fourth among QBs in passing touchdowns per game. Despite his struggles, and the frighteningly low passing volume, the arrow is probably pointing up on Baldwin, even as the faith in him is at an all-time low. In standard or 0.5-PPR leagues, you can take advantage of the outsized negativity emanating from the wider fantasy community.

SELL

BRANDON POWELL – The bane of every fantasy player’s existence is writers that tell you who to add, but won’t tell you who to drop. The phenomenon of teams dropping high value players for fringe guys is real, and Powell is the likely candidate of the week as the dust settles on the Golden Tate trade. Tate heaped praise on Powell over the summer, which is fueling a number of breathless takes from analysts, but Powell is much more likely to be a difference maker in 2019. In the meantime, you will probably not be able to wait long enough to see if he can pass T.J. Jones for what is likely the fourth best target share on an overrated Lions offense. I think we should probably think about Powell the way we think about Chris Moore, but perhaps you can quickly flip him for an Ito Smith or possibly Alfred Morris if you’re lucky.

TIGHT END

BUY

KYLE RUDOLPH – Rudolph is quietly seventh in receptions among TEs, but hasn’t had a TD since Week 3. Rudolph has thrived in the past when Stefon Diggs has been forced to miss time with injuries, and it looks likely that Diggs will sit this week with a rib injury. If Rudolph makes sense for your roster, I’d try to get him before the Lions game this Sunday.

SELL

CHRIS HERNDON – Everyone needs TEs and Herndon has a TD in three straight weeks. Somebody is going to be willing to give you something for that past production, despite Herndon only seeing two targets in two of the last three weeks. There’s some upside for Herndon on a really disheveled Jets depth chart, but if you can get help at another position2 and pick up someone like Jordan Thomas for free, I’d do it.

For further questions and discussion, please check out the Talkin’ Trades thread in the RotoViz Forum.

  1. Tom Brady‘s career best is 8.7 percent  (back)
  2. like a QB fill-in for a bye week  (back)

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