Staff Playbook: Best Trade Targets before the Deadline
Welcome to the QB List Staff Playbook Series. Every week throughout both the season, we will conduct a staff survey, asking multiple fantasy analysts to share their insights on some of fantasy football’s most pressing questions. Essentially, we’re sharing our “playbook” with you, revealing the hard choices and strategic moves we would make to stay ahead of the competition.
This week, the QB List Staff was asked which players fantasy owners should be targetting ahead of their trade deadlines:
Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs): Chris Godwin, WR (TB)
Reasoning: Chris Godwin opened the year on fire, racking up target totals of 6, 9, 4, 14, 9, and 12 during the first six weeks of the season. During that stretch, Godwin had four games over 120 yards receiving, two games with ten or more receptions, and scored six touchdowns. He was the number one receiver in fantasy at the time. Coming out of the Week 7 bye, however, Jameis Winston has been force-feeding Mike Evans the ball more and more. The Bucs have lost both games since, and Godwin totaled just 104 total yards receiving on eleven catches over the two contests. No receiver could keep up the torrid pace Godwin was on, and Evans’ explosion might actually have depressed Godwin’s value in the eyes of his owner. It should be noted that Godwin’s targets were still there (eight targets in Week 8 and nine targets in Week 9). In fact, despite Evans going nuclear the last few games, PFF has given a slightly better grade to Godwin than Evans through nine weeks. Additionally, Godwin remains the team’s best red-zone threat, while Evans stretches defenses deep.
The upcoming schedule should make Godwin even more enticing. This week, Tampa Bay plays an Arizona defense that has allowed 24 touchdowns to opposing receivers, most in the NFL. They’re also 24th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Afterward, Tampa Bay gets New Orleans in Week 10; you may recall that CB Marshon Lattimore shadowed Evans in their prior meeting, holding him without a catch while Godwin erupted for seven catches on nine targets for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs then draw Atlanta in Week 12 (30th in pass defense DVOA) in what could be a must-win game for owners trying to make the playoffs in their leagues. During the fantasy playoffs, Godwin will face Detroit (300.9 Yds/G allowed to opposing receivers, 3rd most in the NFL) and Houston (2,656 yards allowed to opposing receivers, 2nd most in the NFL). Godwin’s talent is undeniable, and he’s unlikely to take a backseat to Evans in every matchup moving forward. He not only has WR1 upside, he has overall WR1 upside in this offense with the upcoming schedule. The fact that he might be had for a WR2 price makes him an ideal trade target.
Mike Miklius (@sirl0inofbeef): Ronald Jones, RB (TB)
Reasoning: If you’ve watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year, I’m sure you’ve seen what I have: a young, talented back who looks like he has a bright future in the league… and then also Peyton Barber. Ronald Jones runs fast and cuts hard. He looks like he could be something special if he is given the chance to be the workhorse. Bruce Arians just told us Ronald Jones will be getting that chance. Public opinion still seems low on Jones, so I imagine you can get him for cheap. Grab him now before he breaks out against Arizona.
Ronald Jones ran 18 routes today, per @PFF. His previous high for routes run this season was 10. To me, that's more important than the 18 carries from a forward-looking fantasy perspective.
— Jim Sannes (@JimSannes) November 4, 2019
Eli Grabanski (@3li_handles): Devin Singletary, RB (BUF)
Reasoning: Devin Singletary has been great with the work he’s received this year, taking 40 carries for 267 rushing yards (6.7 YPC) and catching 12 passes for 103 receiving yards. He’s finally healthy again and it showed last week when he carried the ball 20 times for 95 rushing yards, caught three passes for 45 receiving yards, and scored a touchdown while Frank Gore struggled and only took 11 carries for 15 yards. It’s clear that Singletary is going to be the lead back for the 6-2 Buffalo Bills during the second half of the year, and now is a good time to get him to be your RB2. Bonus: If you are in a keeper or dynasty league, Frank Gore is a free agent at the end of the year, so Singletary’s value may explode next year.
David Fenko (@velcronomics): Curtis Samuel, WR (CAR)
Reasoning: As you likely saw this week, Cam Newton has been placed on the IR meaning that it is now Kyle Allen’s season. With Kyle Allen, Curtis Samuel has seen a fairly consistent 6-10 targets a game. Those targets are coming with a 12.7% target/snap share, which is just behind D. J. Moore. Coming into the season, it was expected that Newton’s big arm would allow Samuel to capitalize on a big-play or two per game, but the usage with Allen is actually better with regards to player-floor. Given that Samuel is seeing consistent targets matching WR2 or better production without the need to make a “big play,” he is the type of player you’ll find in your lineup more often than not and likely with a lower acquisition cost. Not to mention, Samuel far outpaces Moore in air yards. If Allen can connect with him downfield, some big games are in store.
Air Yards leaders heading into Week 10:
1) DeAndre Hopkins 825
2) Curtis Samuel 819
3) Mike Evans 803
4) Odell Beckham Jr. 722
5) Terry McLaurin 700
6) DJ Chark 658
7) DJ Moore 614
8) Kenny Golladay 577
9) Jarvis Landry 576
10) Tyler Lockett 560#FantasyFootball #NFL #NFL100 pic.twitter.com/pCm528BGZC
— Gridiron Experts (@GridironExperts) November 7, 2019
Rich Holman (@nextdoorFFguru): Christian Kirk, WR (AZ)
Reasoning: Here I am, white-knuckled and still holding on tight to the Christian Kirk bandwagon. After missing three weeks with an ankle injury, Kirk returned against the Saints and saw 11 targets. Since his return, Kirk has a 28% target share, which is the ninth-highest in the league. With the state of the Cardinals running backs reaching super-desperation level, I expect the Cardinals to lean on Kyler Murray’s arm more moving forward. The icing on the cake for me is the Cardinals’ matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 where they get the Browns and Seahawks.
Christian Kirk (19% slot rate in Week 9) played as a primary outside WR for the first time all season last week.
5 targets weren't ideal — but he's still plenty capable of winning from the outsidepic.twitter.com/tSxoTFQLCv
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 6, 2019
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(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)