The fantasy football trade market is the fastest way to upgrade your team and the most efficient one. You can take advantage of poor tendencies and logic from other owners in your league who tend to overreact to past performance.
Every week we’ll take a look at the top players to buy or sell in fantasy football. An elite fantasy owner is active in the trade market and always looking for value (plus ways to take advantage of his competition). We want you to become that elite manager and our goal is provide you with the players who you should be looking to trade for or away each week.
It took Newton a few weeks, but now he’s rolling in this revised Panthers offense that utilizes a more horizontal and intermediate-based attack. All the well for Newton who has thrown just 14 incomplete passes on 62 attempts over the past two weeks and they’re not all dinks and dunks — Newton has thrown for 671 yards and six touchdowns over that same span. With the easiest stretch of his schedule coming up: Philadelphia, Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta, it’s time to move on the weekly difference maker before he’s off the trade block entirely.
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Mack’s biggest red flag coming into the 2017 draft was his tendency to bounce runs outside, according to our college analysts. They weren’t sure if that would translate, but the Colts are quickly learning that Mack’s freakish speed and agility does translate. Mack saw just 17 snaps in Week 5 but earned the best PFF grade of any Colts back, produced the most on the field, and after the game head coach Chuck Pagano admitted they had to find ways to get him the ball more going forward.
The Buccaneers wanted to win in 2017 like they did during the final eight-game stretch of 2016 when they went 6-2. Their preferred style requires production on defense and they’re not getting it both in the secondary and at linebacker (with the latter being a direct result of injuries at the position). The Buccaneers waited too long to open up the passing game against the Patriots and it cost them a winnable game. At some point soon they will take advantage of the perfect fits for Winston — a vertically attacking offensive scheme with Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson who both fit perfectly well.
Ajayi has all the signs of a fantasy producer right now, but he’s not scoring points. Ajayi is still getting the lion’s share of snaps and he is still producing as one of our top backs when it comes to elusive rating (a measure that combines forced missed tackles and yards after contact per carry). In trade talks, Ajayi is now being dealt for the likes of packaged wide receivers and running backs like Chris Thompson and Terrelle Pryor. We’re not saying Ajayi is going to live up to his original draft slot, but the chances of him turning things around given his volume and individual efficiency metrics far outweigh his current price on the trade market.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson was still working his way into the Buccaneers offense and Winston’s favor over the first three weeks. Over the past two games, Winston realized he needs to lean more on Jackson in an offensive scheme that is vertically-oriented and thus an excellent fit for his skill set. Over the past two games, Jackson has just one fewer target than Mike Evans, with more receiving yards, and he’s creating more yards after the catch. Get Jackson on your team before this Buccaneers passing game fully opens up.
It turns out, I was a year too early on McKinnon. This dynasty piece on McKinnon I wrote in May before the 2016 season was not my finest moment — or so I’ve thought for almost a year now. It turns out McKinnon needed offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s revised 2017 offense to get him rolling. In Week 5, he wasted no time supplanting starter Latavius Murray for total snaps and touches. McKinnon ended up playing 25 more snaps than Murray and made the most of them with 146 yards and a touchdown on 21 total touches. It’s his backfield now and the Vikings offense is moving the ball with Sam Bradford or Case Keenum.
In his first chance at extended action in Week 5, Gallman racked up 57 rushing yards on 11 carries and 25 receiving yards on five receptions. Gallman was averaging more than 6 yards per carry and the Giants ran for over 100 yards in the first half before play caller Ben McAdoo inexplicably went away from Gallman and the run game in the second half. Big things are ahead for Gallman now that he’s showed himself as the Giants’ most talented back. In Week 5, only five running backs finished with a better elusive rating. Gallman averaged 3.82 yards per carry after first contact.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Although this may seem like an odd time to buy on Giants, Shepard offers fantasy owners a very interesting prospect. Since Shepard is currently dealing with a minor injury, and one that is expected to keep him out one week, now could be a great time to trade for him before his owner realizes that he will be the primary target on an offense playing from behind for the remainder of the season with a play-caller who features heavy doses of pass attempts and no-huddle offense. Shepard could be the sneaky target hog down the stretch that pushes teams over the hump. Before Week 5, Shepard had the most yardage in the slot of any wide receiver.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Manning has been fantasy football’s ninth-highest-scoring QB through the first five weeks, but your main selling point here is that he has racked up nine touchdowns as a bona fide top-five quarterback over the past three weeks. Manning is a timing-based quarterback in a timing-based offense and subbing in new faces at wide receiver has hurt him in the past (and will likely drop his numbers again). Trade Manning away before it’s too late and he no longer has any value.
Ellington was a trade target of ours two weeks ago after racking up 25 targets in a two-week span. The addition of Adrian Peterson could completely derail Ellington’s fantasy value as he was valuable in large part due to his snap and touch volume. With volume no longer guaranteed and the Cardinals looking to move toward a power-based offensive attack behind Peterson, this is likely the highest selling point for Ellington.
The Chargers passing offense did not look right in Week 5 against a Giants defense that was torched the week before, and it haven’t looked right all year. The target volume is still there for Allen, and you can certainly use that as your main talking point in trades, but it’s best to get out ahead of this. Allen has matchups with elite cornerbacks of the Broncos and Jaguars in two of his next three games.
The Lions offense has been derailed in recent weeks due to the collapse of their offensive line and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. Elite left tackle Taylor Decker is still looking at a late-season return at best and there’s no magic remedy awaiting the Lions at left tackle on the free agent market. Tate has reached double-digit targets in just two games so far and he has been held to five targets or fewer in two games. Touchdowns aren’t typically his calling card, and they haven’t bailed out his low-volume role yet — he has just one on the season.