When I was a kid, I traded one of my toys to my friend for a Kirby Puckett figurine — which remains the best trade I have pulled off in my life to date. I can’t even remember what I gave up, but I know it was dumb, and I have that Puckett figurine to this very day. So, in a way, you could say I’m a decades-long trade guru, pertaining to life both inside and outside the fantasy football realm. Today, we’ll focus on the latter, and I’ll detail the framework for three-potential season-changing trades you should look into making in your fantasy football league. Notice the word “framework.” While some of the players involved in these deals may be close enough in value to pursue a straight-up deal, it’s fantasy trading 101 to shoot high and then work your way down. Not ever player listed will be a one-for-one match, but evaluate where your potential trade partner has needs, and where you might be able to find common ground. I’ll break down the framework for all of these deals in each blurb, but at the end of the day, we’re looking to steal value at a particular position by moving a player with a higher positional ranking for an asset with a more promising rest-of-season outlook. Alright, let’s go find your Kirby Puckett figurine!
Receive: Darrell Henderson
Swift has performed as the RB4 overall in PPR formats and RB8 in half-PPR to this point in the fantasy season, but is coming off a disappointing Week 8 performance and his next-three matchups following the Lions’ upcoming Week 9 BYE look like this: at Steelers, at Browns, vs. Bears. As it currently stands, Swift has a higher RB ranking on the season than Darrell Henderson (RB11 in both PPR and half-PPR), but that’s unlikely to hold throughout the remainder of the season. Swift faces one of the toughest remaining schedules after enjoying a handful of cupcake matchups in the first-eight weeks of the season, and the Lions figure to be playing from behind a heck of a lot between now and Week 18. Meanwhile, Henderson faces a relatively meager schedule and should benefit from much-more favorable game scripts moving forward. With the Rams defense further bolstered with the addition of Von Miller, you want a piece of the LAR run game — and this is really the only place to find it, like Sprees in a box at the dollar store (CC: Mike Leach). And while Cordarrelle Patterson (RB 8/9) is great, continues to prove the doubters wrong and will undoubtedly exceed all ROS expectations, I think there will still be minor regression while Henderson continues to surge. Other options worth exploring: Elijah Mitchell. Depending on your league’s format and degree of competitiveness, a straight-up deal involving Henderson for Patterson may not be possible. But Patterson-for-Mitchell might be. I’d even consider cutting bait with Swift for Mitchell in a package deal if you need help at another position, and you could make away with a steal by doing so. We all want a bite of Kyle Shanahan’s run game, and it appears as though Mitchell is emerging as the bell cow in San Francisco, tallying 18 carries in two-straight weeks. Oh, and the 49ers BYE is already in the rearview. Mitchell won’t have many difficult matchups remaining after he gets past the Cardinals in Week 9. Explore creative options and, as my good friend Chazz Michael Michaels would say, “capture the dream.”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Is Hobbs seriously telling us to trade away Mike Williams for Michael Pittman Jr.? Well, yes — but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a straight-up deal. Now, with Williams struggling to the tune of four catches for 46 yards the last-two weeks combined, it might have to be. But if you’re able to pry away Pittman Jr. and a complimentary piece away from a leaguemate in exchange for Williams, I’d jump into that pool quicker than Joe Buck in a man thong at Troy Aikman’s birthday party. For rest-of-season purposes, I’ll take Johnson straight-up over any other name listed above, so that logic is relatively clear cut. The consistency and volume of targets with Diontae is tremendous, as he’s seen double-digit targets in five of his six games this season. With that has come a floor of 12.0+ half-PPR points every single week, and that should continue, as his ROS schedule doesn’t have many red flags in it outside of a Week 11 road matchup at the Chargers. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Tyler Lockett, whose team’s QB situation is in flux and has produced 8.0 half-PPR points or less four times and 26.0 points or more three times. There’s just too much volatility there, and while the weekly upside is great, he’s bound to lose you your matchup on occasion even with a healthy Russell Wilson. I’d be open to trading any of the three names in the “Trade” category PLUS a complimentary (non-starter) piece for Diontae, and while I’d prefer to get a piece along with Pittman Jr., I’m okay with straight-up deals at the end of the day if it’s all you’re able to get done. Just be sure to start big and work your way down. My fiancé happens to be a die-hard Colts fan, so I’m unfortunately forced to sit through four quarters of mediocre Indianapolis football every week, and my biggest takeaway is that Pittman Jr. is far-and-away the best receiver on the field — and has quickly developed outstanding chemistry with Carson Wentz. He was 12 targets in Weeks 2 and 3 before peaking at 15 targets (to which he converted to 10 receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns) in Week 8. I won’t be shocked if Pittman Jr. posts more ROS fantasy points than the other-four receivers in this blurb. Other options worth exploring: Kadarius Toney, Rashod Bateman, Darnell Mooney. None of these three are straight-up fits for the three trade candidates listed above, but if you have depth at WR and/or glaring needs at QB/RB/TE, it’s worth exploring a trade of Cooks or Lockett in exchange for one of these three packaged with a complimentary player at a position of need.
The “OR” here separates two different trade frameworks. Yes, I would trade any tight end not named Travis Kelce for Darren Waller at this point in the season. Kyle Pitts is a phenom, but his offense is unreliable and he’s susceptible to weekly busts. Mark Andrews is a top-five ROS tight end, but his remaining schedule is slightly less attractive than Waller’s and the talent is basically a wash — while Waller is the top receiving threat in a Las Vegas offense that has passed the pigskin on 62.1% of plays this year and Andrews is competing for targets with electric talents such as Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman on a Baltimore offense that ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing play percentage (45.4%). So, yes — this is a blanket statement. Trade any tight end other than Kelce for Waller, and make it creative if you have to (remember, these are not straight-up trade suggestions only). Which means, you got it, now you’re really connecting the dots… I would trade away Hockenson (TE3) straight-up to get Waller (TE10). But that also brings us to part two of my trade suggestion at the tight end position: Hockenson for Dalton Schultz. Hockenson faces arguably the toughest remaining schedule for tight ends moving forward and faces a BYE in Week 9. Oh, and his team sucks. Meanwhile, Schultz’s BYE is in the rearview and Dak Prescott should be back to rebound his outlook in the near future. Plus, even with the bust week in Week 8, he saw seven targets from Cooper Rush. Pursue this one and then feel free to come after me in the comments if I’m off base. Other options worth exploring: Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz. Paired with a complimentary piece at a position of need only.
That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.