Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from NFL trade deadline

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (11) celebrates his touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

  • T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings: Minnesota adds a tight end after Irv Smith Jr. suffered an injury to keep him out for the majority of the season.
  • Chase Claypool to the Bears: Chicago makes an instant upgrade to their wide receiver room, which is good news for their quarterback
  • Calvin Ridley to the Jaguars: Ridley is still suspended for the 2022 season, but makes the Jaguars offense look scary on paper in 2023.
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2022.


T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings

Biggest Winners: Josh Reynolds, Kirk Cousins

Biggest Losers: Jared Goff, Irv Smith Jr.

Impact on the Lions: The Lions' tight end room will look very similar to how it did at the end of the 2021 season.

  • Brock Wright was the Lions' lead tight end late last season after Hockenson was injured, leading the team in both routes run and run blocks.
  • The 2021 undrafted rookie only saw one game with more than three targets, but he was playing in over 70% of Detroit's offensive snaps, which is better than some other starting tight ends.
  • He’s remained clearly ahead of others on the depth chart, with 181 snaps this season compared to 21 by fifth-round rookie James Mitchell.
  • Once the Lions are fully out of playoff contention, they could give Mitchell more opportunities.
  • This largely means more targets to go around. Amon-Ra St. Brown is already pretty maxed out on targets, but it could lead to more opportunities for their other wide receivers.
  • We have already seen Jared Goff’s fantasy production fluctuate depending on the number of strong options he has available. This will hurt his chances of having enough good targets to be a fantasy starter even in the right matchup.

Impact on the Vikings: The Vikings' offense gets a major upgrade at tight end, which should help everyone on the offense.

  • Hockenson’s 1.87 yards per route run this season are the fifth-most for a tight end this year.
  • Neither of the Vikings' starters is above 1.0.
  • This move was necessary after Irv Smith’s injury, which leaves him out for the rest of the regular season, but Hockenson would have been a clear upgrade regardless of the injury.
  • This will hurt Smith's long-term value, as he will likely be restricted to two-tight-end sets going forward.
  • Minnesota doesn’t pass to tight ends quite as much as the Lions, which could mean fewer targets for Hockenson, but he’s also going from a bottom-10 in red zone plays to a top-10 one. This could lead to more touchdowns and not a huge difference for Hockenson’s fantasy value.
  • The move, in general, helps the offense, which could mean even more red zone trips and more opportunities for everyone on the offense to score.


Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears

Biggest Winners: Pat Freiermuth, Justin Fields

Biggest Losers: N’Keal Harry, Kenny Pickett

Impact on the Steelers: The trade opens up an opportunity for a young player to step up in the slot, but it should mostly mean more targets to go around.

  • Miles Boykin, Steven Sims and Gunner Olszewski have all played between 10-20 offensive snaps for Pittsburgh over the last three weeks.
  • Sims has taken the most snaps of the group from the slot. He and Olszewski will likely split snaps over the rest of the season.
  • The fact that neither player is expected to be a full-time starter means neither player needs to be added in the vast majority of fantasy leagues.
  • Claypool was posting a respectable 15.9% targets per route run this season. Sims and Olszewski likely won’t see as many targets, leading to more opportunities for their starting wide receivers.
  • The Steelers have used 11 personnel on 78.2% of their offensive snaps this season, the fourth-most. This will likely decline.
  • More snaps in 12 personnel on early downs will mean more snaps for both Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry. Freiermuth was already a fantasy starter in most leagues, but this should mean a few more targets for him throughout the rest of the year.

Impact on the Bears: The Bears' wide receiver room was already undergoing change, and now Claypool moves almost everyone down the depth chart.

  • The Bears invested enough in Claypool to almost instantly make him a top-two wide receiver on the roster.
  • He is taken in the vast majority of leagues, so he can’t be picked up off the waiver wire.
  • Claypool has the opportunity to greatly increase his targets per route run with less competition for targets, but it comes at the cost of a less pass-happy offense.
  • The Bears have been the third-most run-heavy team this season, running on over half of their plays. He was with the Steelers, who were the sixth-most pass-happy offense.
  • Claypool is WR41 on the season, with one week as a WR6 and the rest outside the top 40. We could see something similar in Chicago.
  • He was sticking almost exclusively in the slot in Pittsburgh, which might have been the wrong position for him, but that might not be the case with the Bears.
  • N’Keal Harry seemed to have worked his way up the Bears' depth chart but now falls to third, at best. Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis and Byron Pringle could also mix in this season.
  • Justin Fields is the biggest winner. He was already a waiver-wire target, and having another weapon can only help his passing production and the Bears' chances of scoring.


Chase Edmonds to the Denver Broncos

Biggest Winners: Chase Edmonds, Jeff Wilson Jr.

Biggest Losers: Melvin Gordon III, Latavius Murray

Impact on the Broncos: The Broncos were a team full of two-down backs, as their third-down backs were all injured. Edmonds gives them a healthy one.

  • Javonte Williams took most of the third downs early in the season, and Mike Boone was the clear third-down back after Williams’ injury. Both players are on injured reserve.
  • Boone, Melvin Gordon III and Latavius Murray all rank bottom 10 in PFF receiving grade over the last two seasons among 99 running backs with at least 75 routes run. 
  • Edmonds was not looking great as a receiving back in Miami, but he’s been above replacement level as a receiver these past three seasons — an upgrade to what the Broncos currently have.
  • This is bad news for Gordon and Murray, as they will now be splitting early-down work only, with fewer opportunities to share.
  • Edmonds will, at least, see the field more in Denver than he was in Miami and is in an offense that would like to throw a lot to running backs.
  • Edmonds probably won’t be a fantasy starter in Denver, but there is at least a chance he can earn playing time over Gordon or Murray on early downs.
  • This also means Boone probably won’t have a role in the offense once he’s healthy.

Impact on the Dolphins: The Dolphins immediately traded for Jeff Wilson Jr. from the 49ers, which will be covered below.


Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins

Biggest Winners: Jeff Wilson Jr., Elijah Mitchell

Biggest Losers: Raheem Mostert, Myles Gaskin

Impact on the Dolphins: The Dolphins felt the need to upgrade instead using their other backups, which isn’t good for any of the backs on the roster.

  • Wilson worked with head coach Mike McDaniel in San Francisco, as he was the offensive coordinator and run game coordinator before that.
  • This trade not only shows the Dolphins don’t think highly of Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed, but Wilson could also cut into Raheem Mostert’s playing time.
  • Mostert has consistently been playing 45-55 snaps each of the last five weeks — something he had never done in his NFL career. Miami might be looking to scale that down.
  • Mostert is RB26 on the season, and has been a borderline fantasy starter, but this trade might nudge him out of the fantasy starter range.
  • Wilson was about to get phased out of the 49ers offense entirely after the Christian McCaffrey trade and Elijah Mitchell‘s likely return, so this can only help Wilson’s value.
  • He likely won’t have standalone value, but he is Miami's top handcuff now.

Impact on the 49ers: San Francisco already had too many running backs on its roster, so this adds a player that it potentially would have cut had it not found a trade partner.

  • Christian McCaffrey is the 49ers' clear starter going forward, and Elijah Mitchell should be back soon will be the backup.
  • They also have rookies Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason on the roster, and they likely want to keep both for the long run. They didn’t need five halfbacks on the roster once Mitchell is ready for action.
  • If anything, this is just a good sign Mitchell should be back sooner rather than later.


Calvin Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars

Biggest Winners: Calvin Ridley, Trevor Lawrence

Biggest Losers: Marvin Jones Jr., Desmond Ridder

Impact on the Jaguars: The Jaguars offense has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL in 2023 if everything goes as planned.

  • Ridley is still suspended for the rest of the 2023 season.
  • We’ve seen a number of young quarterbacks live up to their potential once they have a true No. 1 wide receiver.
  • Jacksonville’s offense has several number-two receivers, but Ridley will change that.
  • The Jaguars' receiving group will likely be Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones out wide with Christian Kirk in the slot next season.
  • Marvin Jones Jr. has been getting phased out of the Jaguars' offense a little bit in the last two weeks. He’s 32 years old, and his contract is up at the end of the season. This makes it even more likely this is his last year in Jacksonville.

Impact on the Falcons: Atlanta seemed ready to move on from Ridley for a while now, so the impact is minimal.

  • An offense with Ridley, Drake London and Kyle Pitts could have been really fun to see, but ideally, we can see a great passing offense with London and Pitts at some point.

Nyheim Hines to the Buffalo Bills, Zack Moss to the Indianapolis Colts

Biggest Winners: Nyheim Hines, Jonathan Taylor, Deon Jackson

Biggest Losers: Devin Singletary, James Cook

Impact on the Bills: The Bills go from Devin Singletary being their main running back to a two-back committee with Hines likely taking passing downs.

  • Hines is a much better receiver than Singletary. His 1.67 yards per route run over the last three seasons are tied for second-best among running backs with at least 500 routes run. Singletary’s 0.74 is the third-worst.
  • Singletary is still the better rusher, so Hines is unlikely to start.
  • Buffalo typically rotates by drive rather than situation, so we could see both backs get used interchangeably, or the team could change how they rotate their running backs.
  • Singletary was RB28 on the season, which makes it unlikely he can be trusted in fantasy starting lineups going forward.
  • The trade means Hines should play more than he did in Indianapolis. There is a chance Hines could become a viable fantasy player in Buffalo depending on how much playing time he receives and the Bills' willingness to throw to running backs more often.
  • Hines is the biggest waiver-wire target thanks to the trade.
  • This is bad news for James Cook, who falls back down to third on the Bills' running back depth chart. Luckily, the Bills should be in a lot of blowouts coming up, so Cook could still get chances in fourth quarters to show he deserves more playing time.

Impact on the Colts: Jonathan Taylor could play even more once he’s 100% healthy while Deon Jackson’s role will increase.

  • Hines was still playing on some third downs and mostly during two-minute drills. The trade will allow Taylor to take the two minute drills if he’s 100%.
  • This could be enough to push Taylor back toward the top of the running back in rest-of-season rankings once he’s healthy.
  • He was showing up on the injury report in Week 7 due to an ankle injury but didn’t show up on the report at all last week, which is a positive sign.
  • This move likely became an option after Jackson’s breakout performance in Weeks 5 and 6.
  • Jackson ran the ball 25 times for 104 yards and caught 14 passes for 108 yards over those two games.
  • He is Taylor's handcuff going forward and should be on the field any time Taylor needs a break.
  • Zack Moss was also thrown in the trade. He didn’t see a snap for Buffalo these past two weeks. He probably only sees action if Taylor gets injured again, rather than bringing up Phillip Lindsay from the practice squad.

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