Week 9: The trade deadline was lit
Jimmy Garoppolo to 49ers
The Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick in the 2018 draft.
For fantasy purposes, this is a wait-and-see situation. I have little doubt that Garoppolo will take over as the starter in San Francisco, but I really don’t think a change at quarterback is going to make the 49ers’ offensive issues magically disappear. The 49ers have allowed 27 sacks, which is second most in the NFL. San Francisco has lost a total of 202 yards because of those sacks. That’s the most in the league. That’s not all on the quarterback. Let’s talk about the weapons on this San Francisco team: Pierre Garcon, tight end George Kittle and running back Carlos Hyde. Those are the team’s top three pass catchers (though Hyde has more receptions than Kittle). No player has caught more than one touchdown all year. That is a QB issue but still, the pickings are slim in the receiving corps. It’s hard to endorse Garoppolo as anything other than a low-end streamer for bye weeks, but that’s just what this situation looks like on paper. Things may be completely different in practice. After all, Garoppolo was drafted to be Tom Brady’s replacement.
Kelvin Benjamin to Bills
The Panthers sent Benjamin to the Bills for a third- and seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft.
This is great news for the Bills and Benjamin, with the latter having the opportunity to become a true No. 1 receiver in Buffalo. That’s reality. For fantasy, Benjamin’s outlook remains more or less the same as he’s in a similar situation: He’s top dog in a run-heavy offense with an inconsistent but talented (though not Cam Newton talented) quarterback. Benjamin’s former defensive coordinator is now the head coach of the Bills so there’s some familiarity there and I think Benjamin will fit in well.
The real winners here are Tyrod Taylor and Devin Funchess. Taylor gets another weapon to throw to in Buffalo and a legitimate, big-body, red zone target. Whereas Funchess is presumably Newton’s go-to receiver in Carolina now. Already thrust into a larger role with tight end Greg Olsen out, Funchess just got a whole lot more work added to his plate.
Jay Ajayi to Eagles
The Dolphins traded Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
This is a nice upgrade for Ajayi. While he’ll lose out on the massive volume he received in Miami, he lands in a new situation on a Super Bowl-contending team that can move the ball up and down the field. That offensive potency is something he lacked with the Dolphins. Despite having 138 of the Dolphin's 168 running back carries, Ajayi was held to just 465 yards, a 3.4 yards-per-carry average and no scores. The only cause for concern is that Ajayi will be joining a crowded backfield with LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. There’s a good chance the Eagles move on from Blount in some fashion but right now, he’s still on the roster. The bottom line is that both Blount and Smallwood have been fantasy relevant and I don’t expect them to just sit the bench now that Ajayi’s in town. Ajayi will likely take over as lead back but I still think Blount and Clement will have roles in the offense. I’m most worried about Blount vulturing Ajayi at the goal line. Right now, Ajayi is the running back 30 or so in overall fantasy points scored this season. This move should drastically increase his value.
The Ajayi trade also leaves a vacancy at running back for the Dolphins. Though Kenyan Drake is behind Damien Williams on the team’s depth chart, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly says Drake took over in practice when Ajayi was out and coaches liked what they saw. Drake is widely available in a majority of leagues. Williams is worth an add as well.
Other Waiver Targets:
Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, RBs, Dallas Cowboys
Here we go again. A United States District Judge dissolved Ezekiel Elliott’s temporary restraining order and denied his motion for for an injunction, effectively restoring Elliott’s six-game suspension.This means that Morris and McFadden are thrust back into fantasy relevance. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Morris will be the top running back and that McFadden and Rod Smith will have roles. Morris is likely the best back to have but owners who can should pick up McFadden as well and see how things play out when the Cowboys host the Chiefs Sunday.
Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Richardson may be a risky asset for fantasy owners given that the high variance of performance in Seattle’s pass catchers from week to week, but it’s hard to ignore what the former University of Colorado wideout did Sunday. Richardson caught six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans in an epic shootout Sunday. He now leads the team with five touchdowns on the year but is fourth in receptions.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers may be on bye but I like the pickup of Benjamin who is coming off a 5-catch, 64-yard, one-score game in which he had a team-high nine targets, the most he’s had all season. He had a bad special teams gaffe that resulted in a safety for the Patriots but he’s now scored in back-to-back games. With Tyrell Williams failing to impress, Benjamin could be in line for a larger role in the offense.
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Collins earned more work after the running back rushed 18 times for 113 yards last Thursday against Miami. The Ravens have long looked for someone to take over the backfield and Collins may be their man for the season. Javorius “Buck” Allen figures to get the passing down work but Collins should be the top dog on the ground.
Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins
Davis makes for an attractive option at tight end with starter Jordan Reed expected to miss Week 9 with a hamstring injury. Davis has performed well this season and caught a touchdown in Washington’s Week 3 game against the Raiders when Reed was out.
Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
Anderson continues to be an asset for the Jets as a top pass-catching option for quarterback Josh McCown. Anderson leads the team in receiving yards, has scored in back-to-back games and has had more than 75 yards receiving in two of his last three games. He’s a decent option as a replacement wideout during a bye week.
Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs
I know what you’re thinking. “A kicker on waiver wire list?” But listen, Butker is the truth. He’s scored double-digit fantasy points in four of his five games. #buttkicker is for real. Do know that the Chiefs go on bye after Week 9.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos
Week 8 Takeaways
NFL is elementary for dear Watson- The blockbuster 4-touchdown performance at Seattle proves it, Deshaun Watson is for real and it’s time for the fantasy community to take another look the passing game in Houston. Watson is an elite, set-it-and-forget-it quarterback who deserves to be compared to Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady in fantasy. Also, with Watson's emergence, receiver DeAndre Hopkins has reclaimed his place as one of the league’s best receivers.
Brutal Broncos- That title could be indicative of the entire Denver offense but the focus this time around is on the Broncos’ backfield, which has slowly morphed into a full-blown committee. C.J. Anderson is difficult to trust with Jamaal Charles picking away at his carries here and there and then Booker vulturing the goal line work. Luckily, fantasy owners probably didn’t pay much for Anderson in drafts, but the man’s fantasy stock is at all-time low (during the times he has been healthy).