Trader's Alley: Week 9 Players to Buy Low, Sell High, Hold
With only a few weeks remaining to secure playoff spots, fantasy managers cannot be as conservative as real NFL general managers were this trade deadline, which passed with about as much fanfare as a fart in the wind. As usual, I try to read the tea leaves and suggest several players to trade for, trade away, or hold tight within the space below. Hopefully one or more of these moves will help give your team the necessary boost to make a postseason appearance.
Trade for … Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
I received some Twitter heat earlier this year when I had recommended trading away Chubb. Part of that reasoning was Chubb’s complete absence from the passing game (he saw just three targets over his first four games). However, Chubb was getting it done on the ground in this revamped Browns rushing attack, and with Chubb set to return to action in Week 10, now is actually a good time to try and trade for the Browns stud running back. The Browns have faced some tough matchups since Chubb went down, but the difference in rushing output for the team is stark. In the four games Chubb played, the Browns rushed for a whopping 818 yards (204.5 per game), with Chubb accounting for 41% of that yardage (despite leaving the fourth game early, which was also the team’s best rushing performance against the lowly Cowboys).
Since Chubb landed on injured reserve, the team has amassed just 382 rushing yards (95.5 per game), with Kareem Hunt accounting for 66% of those yards. The Browns were operating better with Chubb as the workhorse and Hunt as the change-of-pace back who excelled catching passes, and it’d stand to reason that the team tries to get that formula back in Week 10 following their bye. The Browns get some favorable matchups leading to the fantasy playoffs (Texans, Jaguars), so acquiring Chubb now, as he heads into his bye and has already missed four weeks, might be wise. If he returns to the field and dominates, his price tag is only going to go up.
The market: Nick Chubb’s market is a little quiet right now, either players aren’t moving for him, or his managers are holding tight. But Chubb and Robert Woods were traded for DeAndre Hopkins in one league. Chubb was traded straight up for Travis Fulgham in another. Chubb and Daniel Jones were exchanged for Joe Burrow and Raheem Mostert in a different league.
Trade away … Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
OK, the usual caveat when I recommend trading away a very good/high-profile player: I don’t think he’s bad or going to bust. There are, however, some peripheral numbers around Hill that could point to a downtick in production, which means if you use his big name and current status as the WR4 overall (PPR scoring) as a trading chip, you could get a lot back in return. Hill currently ranks inside the top-10 in air yards share in the league, has a 19% target share on the Chiefs, and is tied for the lead in touchdowns among wide receivers with seven. He’s on pace for 108 targets, which would be the second-most of his career, but also a far cry from the 137 he saw in 2018 (his best fantasy/NFL season).
What is slightly concerning is the rate at which Hill has been scoring, as he’s found the end zone on a whopping 13% of his targets, trailing only Mike Evans, who has scored on 15% of his targets (though Evans’ total is boosted when he was the Buccaneers defacto goal-line back). The average percentage of touchdowns among the top 50 targeted players in the NFL this season is 5%. Now, Hill is the top wideout in one of the league’s best offenses with Patrick Mahomes under center, so regression isn’t likely to come hard and fast. But, Mahomes has more weapons now than in years past, with Mecole Hardman stepping up and Le’Veon Bell joining Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the backfield. This could mean Hill’s target share stays below 20%, and if his touchdowns dry up that could be concerning for Hill’s fantasy production. He’s seen six or fewer targets in six of his eight games to date. You don’t have to trade Hill, but if your roster could use multiple reinforcements, maybe see what Hill could get you in return.
The market: Hill was traded straight up for James Conner, Michael Thomas, Marquise Brown, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire across leagues. He was traded solo for Calvin Ridley and James Robinson in one league and then Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley in another. Hill and Kyler Murray were swapped for Tom Brady, Mike Evans, and Leonard Fournette. He and Gurley were exchanged for James Conner and Tee Higgins, and in another league, Hill and Cam Newton brought back Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Williams.
Trade for … T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
Hockenson’s usage dipped a bit during the middle of this young season, but he’s bounced back in the last two weeks, catching 12 of his 16 targets for 124 yards and a touchdown. That is good for a 20.5% target share the last two weeks, a number that could stay elevated (or even grow) with Kenny Golladay (hip) out for at least Week 9. Hockenson’s playing time has increased each week since the team’s bye, jumping from 60% to 71% to 74%. Hockenson is an extremely gifted tight end who should create mismatches against almost anyone he lines up against. If the Lions are beginning to realize that, and start featuring him more, the returns for Hockenson’s fantasy output could be staggering. You’ll have to buy high on him now, but it could be worth it, giving you a massive advantage at the already thin tight end position that just lost George Kittle for eight weeks.
The market: Hockenson was traded straight up for D.J. Chark, Emmanuel Sanders, Dallas Goedert, Corey Davis, Antonio Gibson, Chase Claypool, and Cole Beasley across leagues. He was paired with Marquise Brown for Evan Engram and Kenny Golladay. Hockenson and Myles Gaskin were swapped for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And Hockenson was traded solo in exchange for Cole Beasley and Robert Tonyan.
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