By Paul Maughan (@morny7)
The end of the Fantasy season is approaching ladies and gents, faster than modern offensive concepts whizz past Jason Garret’s head. Only a few more weeks of going to bed on a Monday night desperately hoping your tight-end can find a way of scoring 49 points on MNF.
It’ll be no time at all until we’re ignoring our family the week before Christmas whilst we try to guess if we can put OBJ in for the playoffs because “surely to God he has to have a big game eventually!”.
This week’s trade targets have an eye on the next week or two, for those of you still scrapping to secure playoff places. However, for those of you who have already as good as made it (or who are cocky enough to start planning now), there’s a fair consideration for who will be well-matched in weeks 15 and 16.
Obviously, there’s risks associated with picking so far in advance (injury! Suspension! Mono!). But if you’re a gambler – and let’s face it, if you’re reading this website, you probably are – then you’ll be excited by the opportunity to play “chess, not checkers”. Be more Bellichek, less Gase.
And for most of you, it’s the last week the trade window is open so you need to make your moves now!
Bring on Board
RB – Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos
Very decent running-back, very poor team. He’s also stuck in a time-share with Royce Freeman, and with a catastrophic QB in Joe Flacco which doesn’t help his pass-catching potential.
That said – he’s got a reasonable next four weeks, against two tough run defences (Vikings, Texans) but also two poor run defences (Chargers and the capitulating Bills). However, his two playoff weeks he comes up against the Chiefs and the Lions. It’s nigh-on impossible for running backs to fail against these defences. They’re the worst two teams against fantasy RBs all season and basically they’re running-back heaven.
Go and make a sneaky off for Lindsay in your league, and hope his owner has considered all the first paragraph, and none of the second paragraph.
WR – Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers
Apparently we’re exclusively recommending players with “two first names” this week, but don’t let that put you off. Samuel is an incredibly exciting young player, and one you’ll likely get cheap, but he’s got a very generous next few weeks; two games against the Falcons, a home tie with the Redskins and a playoff week battle with the Seahawks maverick defence.
He’s not a big name but is averaging 14.8 points per game over his last four matches – the one single-digit effort was against the insane 49ers defence. You shouldn’t have to spend big, and he can help you get those last couple of wins to get you into the post-season.
WR – TY Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
You’ll have to (once again) invoke your gambling spirit, this time hoping you’re lucky enough for Hilton to get back from fitness this week – he’s considered day to day right now, which is often a reasonable sign. At the very least you should get him back next week.
Assuming he is fit, he’s a great pick-up – he’s the clear number one in a good team, with a promising QB with whom he has a great rapport, working under a superb offensive mind and with an upcoming schedule (both pre and during-playoffs) that is very generous to WRs. The Colts are also, suddenly, fighting for a Wild Card spot so will be pulling out all the stops.
Now’s the time to use his fitness issues to get yourself a value TY Hilton and bit extra playoff ammo.
Put on the Block
RB – Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
He’s great, but he’s not been himself this year. And more importantly, neither have the Saints offence – with both Bridgewater and Brees they’ve looked solid in offence without been mind-blowing. Their defence is the real strength, and with the exception of Michael Thomas I’d be clearing out most Saints players. Their schedule, in terms of running-back matchups, is very tricky and he’ll struggle to be at his best.
Kamara is still high-quality of course, and will get you reasonable points, but in some leagues you’ll be able to get rid of him, on name-value alone, for a very impressive bounty. Take that opportunity.
WR – John Brown – Buffalo Bills
In deep leagues, he’s been a bit of a catch this season and has put up great points as Josh Allen’s main deep threat. But the Bills schedule, in terms of WR-friendliness, is incredibly difficult – they’ve got superb pass-defences (Steelers and Patriots) in the playoff weeks, and even ahead of that, the likes of Denver and the Ravens don’t give up points easy. Even the Dolphins have stopped folding each week.
It’s a tough environment for any receiver, but one who is relying on Josh Allen to beat tight coverage and pass well under pressure……get rid of him whilst you can and whilst his stock is somewhat high.
TE – Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens
He’s probably the next tight-end star in the middle of a very impressive season, and he’s got a great connection with the most (justifiably) hyped-up QB going right now. Why on earth would you get rid?
But the devil is in the detail. As has been mentioned everywhere, the Ravens are playing three tight-end sets, meaning he is always going to have players taken some of his workload.
On top of that, their schedule is absolutely horrifying in terms of tight-end fantasy production – they’re playing three of the four stingiest TE defences in the run-in, as well as a few other tricky ones. Also, for all his fantasy numbers are solid (an average of 13.8 over 9 games) they’re fleshed out massively by the first games of the year – against Miami and Arizona teams who were giving up the world defensively.
Take them out and his average is 10.6 – solid, but, after his week last week, now may be the time to try and use him to build your roster elsewhere.