Week 11 trade deadline fantasy football buy or sell — 32 seconds for 32 teams
Digging into the numbers before your trade deadline to set you up for a run to your fantasy football Super Bowl
This is it. Your trade deadline is almost certainly looming and it’s time to make your final moves. And make no mistake about it — no team is perfect, and every team has a move to make.
If you’re sitting on 2 or 3 wins, gamble on some high variance guys and go for broke, you never know. At 4–6 wins every move is crucial and it’s all about getting to the dance. And at 7+ wins you should be lining yourself up for weeks 14–16 now while also doing everything you can to secure a first-round bye if it’s available.
If you’re in a keeper league and at 3 wins or fewer, or maybe 4 if you’re certain your team has no shot, then it’s time to mortgage everything you have to set yourself up for next year. Don’t hold back. Sell anything useful and tear down your roster for young useful option.
It’s go time! So who should you sell and where can you buy low?
Baltimore 28, Cleveland 7
There hasn’t been a lot of fantasy value from past or present Browns this year. The Ravens improbably find themselves leading the division but each of the seven games remaining is against a playoff contender. Terrance West has under 100 rushing yards the last 3 games combined and isn’t being used in the passing game. Kenneth Dixon had 11 touches for the second straight week and had only 8 fewer snaps than West. There’s simply no one on Baltimore you can rely on in fantasy. West, Smith, Wallace, and Dixon are all low-upside flex plays. I’d roster Dixon of any of them — at least there’s upside.
It’s not much prettier for the Browns but at least the picture is clearer. Isaiah Crowell is averaging just 14 touches a game but he’s at least being used a bit in the passing game and at the goal line. Terrelle Pryor has seen his value drop off too. In four of the last seven games, he’s had 5 catches for 46–48 yards, a remarkably blah consistency. With Cleveland floundering, Crowell and Pryor are low-end RB2 and WR3 types as bye weeks wrap up.
At 0–3 with a different playcaller in five straight games, how much worse could it really get?thecauldron.si.com
Philadelphia 24, Atlanta 15
The Eagles have not stopped baffling us in fantasy all season. At this point anyone with a good game is just a frustrated sell, so that makes Ryan Mathews this week’s winner. Just when it looked like Darren Sproles had taken control of the backfield with Mathews at 8 snaps two weeks in a row, Mathews puts up 139 yards and 2 TDs and steals the show with his second most snaps of the season. Sproles saw a lot of passing action but lost carries to Mathews and Wendell Smallwood too. Everything here is a mess other than WR3 Jordan Matthews. Just get out on the rest while you can.
The Falcons head to their bye week, which means you probably can’t sell more now even if you want to. But if you haven’t sold yet, you’re here for the long haul anyway — and weeks 15 and 16 should reward you if you make it that far. Tevin Coleman can be a bye week cut if you need space.
Washington 26, Minnesota 20
Kirk Cousins remains a passable (pun intended) QB1 with multiple TDs in six of the last seven games and plenty of attempts and yards. This is a great time to buy a stud TE from an owner desperate for RB/WR help, and Jordan Reed a perfect buy option. Jamison Crowder continues to be a useful WR as well with 5 receptions a week and 5 TDs now. Pierre Garcon could even be an option this week with a sweet matchup and DeSean Jackson on the shelf. Meanwhile there’s been a change in the run game and it’s Rob Kelley’s show now. Kelley is running well and has neared 100 yards two straight games. He’s a goal line threat too, though he hasn’t been used in the passing game much. Matt Jones was a healthy scratch in this one, so the carries are Kelley’s now. He looks like a solid RB2, and the passing game could save teams or win fantasy leagues with an easy game against Green Bay this week and then Carolina and Chicago weeks 15 and 16. Go get a Washington football player! And cut Jones and Jackson for better options.
I went down the rabbit hole looking for some reason to believe. I’m still looking…unprofession.com
The Vikings have fallen apart, from 5–0 to 5–4. They’ve now lost three offensive tackles for the season, and the run game shows it. Jerick McKinnon can be cut, and Matt Asiata is a meh flex option that needs a goal line TD to be worth it. The guy you want is Stefon Diggs, but regular readers know that by now. He leads the league in receptions the last three weeks with 34 on a ton of short routes, and he’s become gold in PPR leagues. In five healthy games this year Diggs is on an absurd 160/1936/6 pace, yet his price tag is probably still relatively low. Get him if you can. Kyle Rudolph has 5 TDs now and remains a passable TE if you don’t have a stud. The Vikings are still somehow the best team in the division and have a super soft schedule in the playoffs, so guys like Diggs and Rudolph could come through in a big way.
Los Angeles 9, NY Jets 6
The Rams have somehow scored 0 or 1 touchdown in six of their nine games this year. You’re welcome, L.A. Call me absolutely crazy, but it might actually be time to trade for Todd Gurley. He’s still over 21 touches a week and his YPC is up almost a full yard over the last month. The opportunity is still there and the schedule is about to get very soft, including a dream matchup week 16 against San Francisco. If you’re looking toward the playoffs, Gurley might be the perfect target to backdoor your dreams. Meanwhile Kenny Britt has become a really nice WR3 too. He’s a weekly start and a great plug and play.
The bye came at the right time for the Jets, who should be in better shape with Petty after. Brandon Marshall still seems like a good buy low option and a volume WR2 play if your opponent has finally given up, and Matt Forte is still looking good and has a great closing schedule. He’s a low end RB1 if need be. Both Jets are good targets if you can afford to sit on them during the bye.
Tennessee 47, Green Bay 25
While no one noticed, the Titans suddenly averaged over 29ppg the last six games, and Marcus Mariota has been straight fire with 19 TDs in those games. Delanie Walker has been excellent and is the top option in the passing game and a good weekly TE, and the big benefactor has been Rishard Matthews with 6 TDs during these 6 weeks. Meanwhile DeMarco Murray continues to roll up great RB1 numbers even with Derrick Henry starting to get a few more touches albeit in garbage time. Henry is a great RB to grab if you have an extra roster spot, and Murray should continue to roll against a nice rushing schedule. But what about the passing game? You have a decision to make. You can ride Mariota and Matthews into the fantasy playoffs with cushy matchups against Indy and Chicago the next two weeks, but then it’s a bye followed by Denver and KC so you’ll need other options once you’re there. Or you can dangle those tasty next couple weeks to someone desperate for a playoff push and pick up a piece that’ll actually help you weeks 14–16. I recommend the latter.
Which 2015 bottom feeder will win its division in 2016?medium.com
Aaron Rodgers is on fire with 3+ TDs in four straight games. James Starks is back at RB but this is still a pass-first-pass-second team and Rodgers is rolling. Starks is worth rostering but is just a flex option — all he really does is kill off Ty Montgomery’s value. It’s too late to buy low on Jordy Nelson but you’re sure happy if you did. His 14-TD pace is not an aberration. But is Davante Adams? He’s had 35 catches and over 300 yards in the last four games and seems to have become the top downfield threat, while Randall Cobb was healthy again but back to useless early season Cobb. So what’s going on with these Packers? I would sell on Adams and might still buy Cobb in a PPR league, but overall it might be a good spot to sell on the whole Green Bay experience. Rodgers can’t keep throwing 3–4 TDs a game forever, and the Packers have to play the Seahawks and Vikings in weeks 14 and 16 so that spells trouble. The value can’t get any higher than right now, and the numbers these two weeks are inflated after a ton of garbage time against two bad AFC South teams.
Denver 25, New Orleans 23
The Broncos head into the bye off a huge needed win, still somehow 7–3 despite a broken offense for over a month now. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both continue to produce at back end WR2 levels, and Sanders continues to see redzone looks. He’s a cheap buy low option if you need a WR down the stretch. I’m still a big fan of Devontae Booker too, a workhorse seeing 20 touches a game. He’s only a RB2 with a tough schedule but has the look of one of those young RBs who could come on down the stretch.
The Saints continue to light up the scoreboards and now see the schedule lighten up too. After selling the Saints for so long, it’s finally time to buy. Drew Brees has been a stud and will continue to be. Michael Thomas had a brutal game with 2 fumbles after I sang his praises the last few weeks but he remains a pretty stable fantasy option — though Brandin Cooks has finally earned my respect as the go-to guy here. Both are weekly fantasy starts but Cooks has the higher upside. Willie Snead is more of a desperation play, hoping for another random multi-TD week like this one and otherwise looking for heavy receptions in PPR. At RB Mark Ingram finally retook the snap lead back but still had just 13 touches to 10 for Tim Hightower. Ingram is a useful RB2 with upside if he can take more of the job. Hightower seems worth rostering and flexing if necessary but the upside is low.
Tampa Bay 36, Chicago 10
You’ve heard for awhile now to trade for Doug Martin and you have one more chance. Martin was pretty blah in his first action after injury with 2ypc but scored a TD and should see a clear path to playing time with a nice schedule in the playoffs. Mike Evans was a big disappointment in such an easy matchup but remains locked and loaded, and Jameis Winston had another good fantasy game. Be aware that KC and Seattle are on tap so if you need big Bucs games to make the playoffs, you might need to find someone other than Jameis. Cameron Brate is an obvious sell candidate with a TD in three straight; you need to find another TE still.
Using the numbers behind the numbers to predict future fantasy success — is it time to sell high or buy low?medium.com
Chicago fans have quickly transitioned from Cubs to Blackhawks season and left the Bears for dead, and you might be tempted to do the same. Now Alshon Jeffrey is suspended four weeks and you can drop him from your roster. He hasn’t been a slam dunk even when he does play, and who knows if he’ll ever play for the Bears again. Jordan Howard continues to look like a strong RB2 play but was injured this week — watch reports closely but hopefully the Bears don’t shut him down. He could be a speculative sell just in case, though he’s got a nice schedule coming too and is getting a lot of touches. Cam Meredith should be back on your radar too. He’s the presumptive lead guy now and a useful WR3 in fantasy. Meredith and a healthy Howard could still be nice fantasy players down the stretch.
Houston 24, Jacksonville 21
As useless as the Texans have been most of the season, it’s hard to find a much easier schedule down the home stretch. And with a half-injured Lamar Miller you’ve got another last chance to buy! He could be a game changer with the soft schedule if he’s healthy. Go get him. DeAndre Hopkins still looks useful too, racking up a ton of targets even if they’re all over the map from Osweiler. The Texans offense has regressed and he’s seeing a much greater target share now, so he still looks like a WR2. But the focus will be the run game, so get Miller if you can — and look to Akeem Hunt in the short term if he misses time.
Speaking of WRs we’ve waited all season on, Allen Robinson finally showed up with a big game! It’s probably too late to buy low now, but if you do have him, this week is a reminder that you need to keep starting him. He should be good down the stretch and could even be a low WR1 if you get lucky. It’s ugly but Blake Bortles continues to produce numbers if you’re desperate at QB (and a riverboat gambler). And if you’re even more desperate, TJ Yeldon is the RB to grab especially in PPR though both he and Ivory are flex plays at best. Marqise Lee has worked his way into the flex conversation too. The Jags are an unreliable mess. If you want to just completely go for broke, throw Bortles and a WR into your lineup and hope you get mad lucky.
Kansas City 20, Carolina 17
The Chiefs are pretty good but their players haven’t done much for your fantasy team. Travis Kelce has shaped up as a low-end TE and disappointed this week with Maclin out, and Maclin has gone from 4th rounder to buy low to no-really-buy-low to waiver fodder. Spencer Ware looks like a decent buy low option if you’re desperate for a RB2. Don’t get too excited about Tyreek Hill unless your league counts return yards.
Using the numbers behind the numbers to predict future fantasy success — is it time to sell high or buy low?medium.com
I’ve been telling you to go get Panthers for awhile now, and things started in the right direction this week even against a tough D. Cam Newton is running again and producing well, and Kelvin Benjamin saw another big target day. Expect those two and Greg Olsen to put up some monster numbers against the Saints and Raiders the next two weeks. There’s still time to get a Panther for your stretch run.
Arizona 23, San Francisco 20
I was hoping for much better from the Cards out of the bye, though David Johnson did his thing like usual. I told you I was back in on Larry Fitzgerald, now at 31 receptions the last 3 games. He’s not exactly cheap but could be a WR1 if you’re willing to pay a bit for this final stretch. The other WRs have been a mish-mash all year. Michael Floyd is the one with the best upside, always capable of a long play or TD, a real wildcard play if you want to take a risk. Carson Palmer is back on track too with over 360 yards a game the last 3 weeks. The TDs have been inconsistent but he’s another wildcard play. If you need to go for broke, you could do worse than a Palmer-Floyd platoon.
Carlos Hyde was back and a terrible disappointment with just 14 yards on 13 carries. He is the perfect buy low candidate for an owner that can either sit and wait a few weeks or one that needs to go all or nothing. He may just not be healthy again this year — see last season — but he’s also a workhorse if healthy in a running team and has a workable schedule. And for the truly desperate out there, Colin Kaepernick is running well and that gives him fantasy value at QB.
Miami 31, San Diego 24
Jay Ajayi continues to look like a stud and should be locked into lineups. Get him if you have a chance for some reason. The refocused run game has cut into Jarvis Landry’s targets and dropped him to WR3. His upside is limited but he still seems a worthy fantasy start for most teams.
Is it time to sell high or buy low?medium.com
The Chargers head to the bye week which maybe just maybe gives you a chance to trade for Melvin Gordon from a desperate owner. Doubtful. Philip Rivers may be gettable though especially since he’s probably one of two useful QBs on his owner’s roster. He’s continued to put up excellent numbers even with no weapons and is a very useful QB with a great schedule down the stretch. Tyrell Williams continues to produce too, now sprinkling in a few TDs with a high YPC. His production may be sporadic but could save your season as a great WR3 or even WR2, and the ageless Antonio Gates has scored a TD in three straight too. Both of them are technically sell highs at peak value but with the bye week you’re probably better off just plugging them into your lineup.
Dallas 35, Pittsburgh 30
This was an awesome game, and these are two great teams. Each has a QB, RB, and WR that are in your fantasy lineup and should stay that way. Hope you traded for Steelers while you still could, because it’s sure too late now. Other than that, you don’t need me to tell you that Zeke, Bell, ABrown, Dez, etc are good. Eli Rogers may be the WR2 now in Pittsburgh. He should be owned and looks flex-worthy in that offense. You can cut DeAngelo Williams if you need a roster spot as he’s out a month. And I’m still insisting that Alfred Morris should be rostered, a league-changer if Zeke ever gets hurt.
Using the numbers behind the numbers to predict future fantasy success — is it time to sell high or buy low?medium.com
NY Giants 21, Cincinnati 20
For all the Twitter hype, it hasn’t translated to much fantasy value yet for Paul Perkins. He’s seeing almost half the snaps but it was Rashad Jennings getting the carries late with the game on the line. Jennings doesn’t have much value anymore either more than a flex option and a TD hope. I’d rather stash Perkins and hope his role grows further. OBJ is a stud as always even in a tough match-up, and Sterling Shepard still looks like a WR3 even with Cruz out. He’s a low volume slot receiver and that just isn’t enough. Eli Manning has been the ultimate boom or bust QB this year with four weeks of 3+ TDs and the other five with 0 or 1. If you’re a real contender, you absolutely cannot rely on that for your team. If you’re a longshot, Eli makes for a nice shot in the dark play. With the Bears and Browns the next two weeks, Eli looks like a useful play and Perkins could finally break out.
The Bengals are 3–5–1 now and appear to finally be headed for a long overdue coaching change. For now A.J. Green is still a stud and Tyler Eifert looks like he’s back to must-start status. He’s still something of a buy low if you have the luxury to make a move for a stud TE. Jeremy Hill is a very frustrating player to own but he’s actually predictable and useful — just look at the rush defense. If Cincy is playing a tough run D like Miami or Dallas weeks 4–5 then he’s useless and the team barely even uses him, but against poor run Ds like Denver, Cleveland, and Washington they feed him. That’s bad news if you’re making a playoff push with BAL/PHI two very tough Ds weeks 12–13, but it’s great news once you get there with CLE/PIT/HOU all on the soft end. Hill is an actual RB2 for your playoffs if you can stash and wait.
Seattle 31, New England 24
Russell Wilson is officially back. Well, sorta. He’s had two of his three best games of the season with 600+ yards and 5 TDs in the air the last couple weeks, and Seattle seems to have found its usual midseason form. I’d urge caution though. He’s still not running the ball at all, on pace for barely 100 yards all season, and might have just played the right two opponents — teams without a big pass rush. We already know Wilson can stand in the pocket and deliver. He could still struggle against Philly this week and in weeks 15–16 against tough pass rushes from L.A. and Arizona. I’m not sold on him yet and I’d sell and find a safer QB with so many good options out there. That makes Doug Baldwin an obvious sell high as well after a TD spike, but I’d keep playing Jimmy Graham. And what about the RBs? Christine Michael appears to have fallen totally out of favor with 46–28–18–11 snaps the last month. He’s a must bench and can probably be cut if needed. But temper expectations a bit with CJ Prosise too. He looked awesome but might return to more of a third down role when Thomas Rawls returns as soon as this week. Seattle insiders still think the job is Rawls to lose when he’s back. Prosise is a top waiver pick-up but also a sell-high. Rawls is the sneaky waiver stash if he’s available. I’m urging caution on this whole team in fantasy.
It’s kickoff time, and you need someone to start for your favorite team. Who’s it going to be?unprofession.com
It was finally a down game for Tom Brady in fantasy, but he was never going to continue that crazy pace. He moved the ball just fine but all the TDs went to LeGarrette Blount. Blount is an obvious sell-high as this was probably his last big game of the season. He’s already only playing around half of the snaps and that will drop further once Dion Lewis plays. Lewis is a top waiver pick-up if he’s not stashed in your league. Wait til he proves it on the field but he could be a big player for you. Julian Edelman has had his three best fantasy games of the season the last three weeks. He’s still a high-end WR3 at worst if you can snag him. Martellus Bennett is still a must-own and a useful start, especially if Gronk misses time with the lung injury. He’s on pace for a 70/900/7 season. The key with New England is they are always going to take what’s there. Gronk is always the #1 option in the pass game but it might be Bennett, Edelman, or a RB any other week depending on the defense. That makes them inconsistent but not totally unpredictable. New England only has one more possible loss on the schedule. Ride them hard. Any Patriot not mentioned above (White, Amendola, Hogan, etc) can be dropped.
Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland bye
The Bills have a light closing stretch and this is your reminder to go get Sammy Watkins and especially LeSean McCoy if you can. Watkins is able to return starting next week, and McCoy has been a stud all year when healthy and should be in shape after the bye. He’s the one stud RB you may have a shot at getting after a quieter month.
The Lions are suddenly leading the division at 5–4 and have a very doable schedule, but there’s been a lot of smoke and mirrors so far. Matt Stafford has played well but is an unpredictable fantasy QB so you can probably do better elsewhere. Golden Tate is the Lion you want right now and he could be available coming off the bye, a nice WR2 for your team. If you want to gamble, think about taking a shot on Marvin Jones. His targets have disappeared but he’s also dealt with some injuries. Maybe the bye week helped and there’s WR1 upside if you’re right with a WR3 floor if not.
I’ve been worried about the Colts all season but the team has a pretty winnable stretch to close the season, so you never know. Andrew Luck should continue to score steady points and has proven repeatedly that he can get them even in garbage time, and Frank Gore continues to be the consummate RB2, though I doubt he keeps his 12-TD pace if you can sell for that value. Donte Moncrief is still a cheap WR3 option if you can grab him, and TY Hilton is one of the few stud WRs that might actually be available after a quiet stretch. Don’t forget he’s been a top 5 WR this year. Get him if you can.
The Raiders certainly look like the real deal but it’s going to be a tough closing stretch, so they’ll need to hang on for dear life. Derek Carr continues to get MVP hype but not in fantasy where you should find a better option. We covered the RB situation last week — Latavius Murray actually has pretty steady usage and continues to get TD opportunities. He’s a volatile RB2 but he’s a RB2 nonetheless. Amari Cooper is the guy you want if you have to pick, but Michael Crabtree is still the go-to redzone threat if you find someone looking to sell after a quieter stretch. He looks like a low-end WR2.
That’s it! Thanks for reading the series all year. Good luck!
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