Jack Miller has done an excellent job this season using the Strength of Schedule Streaming tool to help you buy players before they benefited from easier schedules. In this companion piece, Shawn Siegele suggests a few sell options to make those purchases.
Week 7 of the 2019 NFL season was among my five worst weeks in 12 years of high stakes competition. Three of my highest-started players were David Johnson, Kerryon Johnson, and Will Fuller. Not only did all three get hurt, but they all got hurt early enough to deliver a near-goose egg for fantasy purposes. And they’re all either already on IR or in that injury limbo where you’re not sure if you’ll be able to rely on them again this season.
But injuries are a part of fantasy football, and overcoming key injuries can make for an even better story later.1
The Difficult Decision to Trade Good Players
Whether you’re making the decision to trade away the best player in a 2-for-1 deal or you’re simply moving equal players at different positions, it’s always difficult to part with players who are performing well and contributing to your success. Our Strength of Schedule tool with advanced schedule strength metrics from Dave Caban helps to make these decisions easier. In this piece, I’m going to recommend selling two running backs and two wide receivers to help revamp your roster for the playoff push.
In looking for RBs to trade, I want to focus on players who’ve been the beneficiaries of good schedules to this point but face difficult slates down the stretch.
RB Strength of Schedule – Weeks 1-7
The Ravens have had the easiest RB schedule by a country mile, and it’s contributed to solid results and good win rates for Ingram.
While redraft formats where you can trade players are unlikely to feature identical dynamics, these results suggest Ingram will enjoy a solid trade status in most leagues. The best time to trade Ingram was probably a week ago, but his down game can also play to your advantage. Many owners will believe they’re taking advantage of you as you sell-low after his 6.3-point result and with a Week 8 bye looming. As I discussed in this week’s Zero RB Watch List, the truth is probably very different.
And that’s before we look at his upcoming schedule.
Only seven teams have worse RB schedules through the end of the fantasy regular season.
It’s always possible that a more difficult schedule will force the Ravens to rely more heavily on their bell cow than they have in some of their blowout victories, but the risk in holding Ingram is significant.
Carson has played much of the last year and a half in Rashaad Penny’s shadow. That’s always going to be the case when a former seventh-round pick has the No. 27 overall pick drafted to take his position. Penny’s early-season injuries put the committee on hold but kept the specter in place. His virtual healthy scratch in Week 7 moves Carson out into the sunshine.
With his RB1 status solidified, his trade value spikes, but it also moves into an area where it now features more risk than reward. That makes it time to sell.
The Seahawks had the seventh-best RB schedule through seven weeks. That’s a sharp contrast to what Carson’s faces through the rest of the season.
RB Strength of Schedule – Weeks 8-16
Only the Colts and the Texans have a more difficult slate. The Seahawks have a bye and six negative matchups in nine total weeks.
The impending difficulties only highlight a nagging issue with Carson’s current profile. He’s struggling as a runner, recording negative fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) in every game but one.
Carson currently ranks No. 4 in carries and No. 18 in targets, which gives him an expected points (EP) rank of No. 9 at the RB position. His workload provides a ton of value in trade, but if his rushing inefficiency worsens against the tougher slate of defenses, it reopens the door for Penny, or even a forgotten back like C.J. Prosise. It also creates a scenario where his volume simply decreases as the Seahawks ask Russell Wilson to win games.
Frequent readers know how we feel about Moore. He’s been a mild disappointment in his second season, but only because the expectations were so high. Kyle Allen will take the reins for at least one more week, and that may be a mistake for multiple reasons. He’s certainly benefited from a soft schedule.
WR Strength of Schedule – Weeks 1-7
The Panthers have had the easiest 2019 schedule by a wide, wide margin. It’s also a sharp contrast to what they face over the next three weeks.
This is the worst schedule any WR group faces during this crucial window with squads trying to navigate the bye-week crunch.
If you’re a Moore fanatic, you can still flip him with the idea of reacquiring in as many leagues as possible.2 After this brutal stretch, the Panthers have the second-best schedule through the rest of the fantasy slate.
It’s been a weird season for Diggs to say the least.
After a horrible early stretch that saw him score fewer than 12 points on four occasions and Antonio Brown his way to the edge of team purgatory, he’s rallied with back-to-back big games. Following his 43-point explosion in Week 6, Blair Andrews explained why it wasn’t necessarily a one-week fluke. Although he let a potential long TD slide through his fingers against Detroit, he confirmed at least part of that thesis with 142 more yards.
Now, with Adam Thielen limited and always in danger of an in-game hamstring aggravation, Diggs looks set up as a league-winner.
Of course, this Jekyll-and-Hyde stretch occurred despite the second-easiest schedule in football. It gets a lot tougher from here.
Only five teams have a more difficult final stretch. The soft matchup with Washington gives you roughly 24 hours to take advantage of Thielen’s status to swing a big trade.
Don’t own these sell options? Use the Strength of Schedule Streaming tool to discover which players on your roster have benefited from a soft early schedule and may be heading into more difficult territory.
Image Credit: Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Chris Carson.
- My team that won the 2013 Primetime lost Julio Jones in Week 5 and Rob Gronkowski at the beginning of Week 14 – just as the race for the big money started. (back)
- For owners playing in multiple leagues, it’s often possible to sell in one league before a difficult stretch and then buy in a different league once that portion of the schedule has concluded. (back)