Injuries and byes remain a constant reality on the fantasy football landscape, and some owners may need more than just the waiver wire to fill in the blanks in their rosters. At the same time, owners who are 5-2 or better may be thinking about strengthening their rosters for the playoffs. No matter the motivation, the trade market should remain active in every league for at least the next few weeks.
Looking at multiple factors for a trade target will serve you best, including schedule, potential floor and ceiling, and health of surrounding teammates. You’ll see references to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric (aFPA) in this column, which we rely on heavily to determine weekly matchup strength. As the season progresses and more data is available, aFPA becomes even more reliable, thanks to its rolling 10-week data.
Golden Tate, WR, Lions
Tate is running back a typical Tate season, averaging 17.6 points per game in PPR leagues. He leads the Lions with 57 targets, and is tops among the team’s big three receivers in fantasy points. With a solid floor, a decent ceiling, all eyes on Kenny Golladay, and his bye week behind him, Tate is a player to target this week. He’s also had a couple down games in a row, which may have reduced his price. The Lions have a fairly soft schedule on the horizon, with no opponent ranked higher in wide receiver aFPA than 14th through Week 12.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
With the spotlight on Adam Thielen in the Vikings offense and around the league, Diggs has become the forgotten receiver. He has just 66 yards and zero touchdowns in his last two games, but this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a disappointing season. The 24-year-old is still fifth in targets among receivers, and seventh in targets per game at 10.6. Three of Minnesota’s next four opponents rank 24th or worse in wide receiver aFPA, including a game this week with the 32nd-ranked Saints. Diggs’ status as the second banana to Thielen could make him easier to trade for than he should be.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams
The third-year signal caller started off hot, but cooled off in recent weeks. He threw fewer than 30 passes and totaled just 403 yards in his last two games. That could be bound for a significant change. The Rams play the Packers, Saints and Chiefs in three of the next four weeks, all of which could, and maybe should, be shootouts. All three of those defenses rank in the lower half of the league in both quarterback and receiver aFPA. With Todd Gurley seemingly in the engine in the Rams’ offense, trading for Goff could be a less expensive way to get a line of investment in the league’s best offense.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
I know everyone is excited about Johnson running for 158 yards on 19 carries against the Dolphins, but allow me to throw a dose of cold water on the party. Miami has been a sieve against running backs this season, allowing players like Dion Lewis (22 points in PPR leagues), James White (31.2), Joe Mixon (20.5) and Tarik Cohen (23.1) to put up monster lines. With Theo Riddick sidelined, it was reasonable to expect Johnson to see an uptick in targets, but he got just three looks from Matthew Stafford. The goal-line work is also still a question mark, with LeGarrette Blount vulturing a short-yardage touchdown in Week 7, too. Johnson has a tough upcoming schedule, facing the Vikings, Bears twice, Panthers and Rams, all teams ranked in the top 10 in running back aFPA. In Weeks 9 through 13.
Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings
Murray has assumed bellcow duties with Dalvin Cook on the shelf for the past three weeks, but his high usage should be coming to an end sooner rather than later. The fifth-year back found the end zone three times in his last two games and averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry on 39 total rushes, but Cook should get back in the starter’s chair when he’s ready to return. The Vikings face the Saints and Bears in upcoming weeks, defenses ranked second and ninth in running back aFPA, respectively. The Vikings also have problems up front, with the line ranked 24th by Pro Football Focus. Even if Cook’s return remains stalled, selling Murray after his recent production could serve your team better in the long run.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Mack busted out in Week 7, with 126 yards and a score on 19 carries, plus another two catches for 33 yards and a receiving touchdown. He seems to have put the hamstring injury that cost him three games earlier this season behind him, and is in command of the Colts’ backfield. Still, hamstrings can be fickle, especially for running backs, and the Colts schedule is about to take a turn for the worse. After a favorable matchup this week with Oakland, the Colts have a bye, then play the Jaguars and Titans, defenses ranked in the top five in running back aFPA, in three of four games.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
Dalton put up a surprising, disappointing dud against Kansas City, completing just 15 of 29 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. Better days are ahead, however. He gets Tampa Bay and its 32nd-ranked defense in quarterback aFPA this week, followed by a bye, and then a Week 10 tilt with the Saints, the No. 31 defense in quarterback aFPA.