Fantasy Impact: Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate and Ty Montgomery Trades
Demaryius Thomas to the Texans
The Texans traded for Thomas to try to offset Will Fuller’s season-ending knee injury. Thomas won’t replace Fuller’s deep speed, but he’s a capable receiver that can work short and intermediate routes and occasionally go deep. His arrival hurts Keke Coutee’s outlook, since he was likely to see most of Fuller’s targets once he returns from his hamstring injury. Coutee has been playing in the slot but he can play outside as well. It’s an upgrade for Deshaun Watson since he’ll have another solid weapon to throw to. I believe this is a downgrade for Thomas since he’s changing teams midseason and joining a receiving corps that is dominated by DeAndre Hopkins. He’s getting an upgrade at quarterback, however, so that’s good. A target from Watson has been worth 1.90 fantasy points over the last two seasons while a target from Keenum has been worth 1.58 fantasy points in 2018. That’s a 20.3% increase from Keenum to Watson, and that can offset some of the decrease in targets that he’s likely to experience.
In Denver, Thomas’s departure opens up a boatload of snaps and targets for Courtland Sutton, who is immediately upgraded to a fantasy WR3 with WR2 upside. He’s the big winner in this trade. Emmanuel Sanders may see a slight target bump, and this is a downgrade for Keenum. Tim Patrick (1-24-1 on one target in Week 8) likely serves as the Broncos’ WR3 while DaeSean Hamilton recovers from his sprained MCL.
If Sutton is available on your waiver wire, I believe he’s worth a rest-of-budget bid. You’re essentially adding a 6th- or 7th-round draft pick to your receiving corps.
Golden Tate to the Eagles
The Eagles are adding another weapon for Carson Wentz, so it’s an upgrade for him. Tate will likely play most of his snaps in the slot, though Nelson Agholor has been running about 61% of his routes out of the slot this season, so that role will need to be sorted out. Tate’s arrival likely pushes Jordan Matthews to the bench, though he had a productive Week 8 in London and could stay involved as the team’s WR4.
Given that he was seeing 9.9 targets per game in Detroit and had a long-standing rapport with Matthew Stafford, it’s difficult to see a move to Philly as an upgrade for Tate. It is a bit of a quarterback upgrade from Stafford (1.76 fantasy points per pass attempt) to Wentz (1.82 FP/PA), but it’s not enough to offset the likely drop in targets and the lack of rapport he’ll have with a new quarterback. Alshon Jeffery, Agholor and Zach Ertz all should be downgraded slightly to accommodate for Tate’s usage in the offense. Don’t panic on Ertz, he’s still a top two option at his position, but Tate will be working the same area of the field that he does.
In Detroit, Tate’s departure is a downgrade for Stafford, but both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones should see extra work as the team tries to replace Tate’s production. I would rank both as low-end fantasy WR2s rest-of-season. T.J. Jones seems to be the most likely candidate to replace Tate’s snaps in the slot. Detroit wants to run the ball more than they have in recent years, so the Lions’ offense may not be able to support three fantasy receivers, unless they’re a serious underdog. Jones is nothing but a PPR flier/WR5-type.
Ty Montgomery to the Ravens
After witnessing (firsthand) Montgomery’s decision to bring the ball out the end zone on the Rams’ final kickoff, and then learning that he reportedly did it out of spite due to his lack of playing time in the game, I am neither surprised nor disappointed to see the Packers cut bait. He robbed my son of seeing an Aaron Rodgers game-winning drive in person, and for that he cannot be forgiven.
Anyway, his skill set is quite similar to that of Javorius Allen, so if anyone in Baltimore should be worried, it’s probably him. Alex Collins should continue to serve as the Ravens primary runner, and he has a great schedule after Baltimore’s Week 10 bye. (In other words, I’d be trading for Collins, not looking to move him.)
In Green Bay, Montgomery had been playing 26%-37% of the snaps since Aaron Jones’s return from suspension in Week 3. In Week 8, that snap share dropped to 12%. Meanwhile, Jones saw 25%-38% of the snaps prior to Week 8, and subsequently played 62% of the snaps against the Rams, turning 12 carries into 86 yards and a touchdown. He’s now averaging 6.23 YPC on the year after averaging 5.53 YPC on 81 carries as a rookie. He’s clearly a better runner than Jamaal Williams, but Williams will still have a role as a pass blocker—he’s elite in that facet of the game—and occasional change-of-pace back with Jones in the lead role. Against the Rams, Williams only played 25% of the snaps after playing 37%-44% of the snaps from Week 3 to Week 6, so the Packers obviously came out of their bye wanting to give Jones more run.
I view Jones as a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 with RB1 upside. The only thing standing in Jones’s way is workload, but it’s never wise to expect Mike McCarthy to make rational decisions with his running backs.