May 21, 2024

LAST CALL to get your fantasy football trades in!

The deadline in ESPN standard leagues arrives on Wednesday at noon ET, your final opportunity to improve your team via the trade market. Considering all the injuries and unpredictable performances we’ve seen this season — though, really, don’t all fantasy football seasons seem unpredictable? — right now is an ideal time to review your roster and send out a few offers.

To give you a head start, below are eight players you should consider trading for and eight more you should consider trading away. I’ll go in-depth on one at each skill position and offer a secondary option as well. Factors evaluated are the player’s skill set, role, recent performance and strength of remaining schedule.

Trade targets

Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers: He has averaged 16.6 fantasy points in his past six games, 14th best among quarterbacks. That stretch includes a forgettable Thanksgiving night game (10.46 points), but also a pair of games played without his full complement of receivers and another against his toughest matchup (@CLE, Week 6). On the whole, Purdy has been one of this year’s most accurate passers, helming the game’s best offense (using ESPN’s offensive efficiency metric), and he’ll face one of the position’s most favorable remaining schedules. A highlight on that front: the championship-week (Week 17) matchup against the Washington Commanders.

Also trade for: Joshua Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings

Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: He’s coming off a season-best performance and finally seems to have coach Arthur Smith’s backing as the centerpiece of the offense. Still, fantasy managers might not realize how lofty Robinson’s statistical ceiling might be — yes, even this season — and he has a dream playoff-weeks schedule (@CAR, IND, @CHI from Weeks 15 to 17) against defenses that are all top-six-favorable for the position when schedule-adjusted.

Also trade for: D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles

Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore Ravens: He’s a toughie among trade targets, first because he’s coming off a season-best performance of his own, and second because he and his team are now entering their bye week (mathematically speaking, late-season byes are terrible from a rest-of-year valuation standpoint). Flowers fits, however, because his eight-target, one-carry (for a 37-yard touchdown) Week 12 underscored his importance in the Ravens’ offense following the likely season-ending loss of Mark Andrews. Flowers’ playoff schedule (@JAX, @SF, MIA) ranks among the position’s most favorable — matchups that lean potentially pass-heavy — and you might still be able to get him at a WR3’s valuation.

Also trade for: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers: Speaking of players’ importance to their offenses, Freiermuth’s role expansion in the Steelers’ first game under new offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner was notable. Freiermuth dazzled with 24- and 29-yard receptions on the first two drives and later saw an end zone target, being the factor in scoring position that he has been in the past. Best yet, he has one of the most favorable remaining schedules among tight ends, especially during the playoff weeks (@IND, CIN, @SEA).

Also trade for: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns


Trade ’em away

C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans: This one’s much more about what you might get in exchange for one of the year’s most compelling storylines as it is about a prospective decline in production — though with the schedule ahead, the rookie faces that risk. In the next five weeks, the Texans face two of the season’s best defenses against quarterbacks (@NYJ, Week 14; and CLE, Week 16), as well as the hottest defense against the position (DEN, Week 13). And to be completely fair in evaluating his breakthrough, Stroud’s off-target rate (17.8%) ranks 28th among 32 qualifiers, and he has four interceptions in the past three weeks, hinting that he could be set to experience regression in his accuracy.

Also consider dealing: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Commanders: He has averaged 18.5 touches over the past four weeks, but bear in mind that backup Antonio Gibson was dealing with a toe issue for two of them (he did, however, play on Thanksgiving Day), providing Robinson with a cleaner path to elite playing time. This backfield still shapes up as a bit of a timeshare, and the Commanders are one of two teams (Arizona Cardinals) with the curse of a Week 14 bye — that’s about the worst possible draw for fantasy leagues. Additionally, the Commanders face the New York Jets, 49ers and Ravens in the season’s final three weeks, all of them suboptimal matchups.

Also consider dealing: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Calvin Ridley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: He’s a boom/bust type performing at his peak level for the season currently, though his past two matchups were among the most favorable on his 2023 schedule. Ridley and the Jaguars have a far tougher go of it beginning in Week 14, with the Browns, Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (that’s a plus matchup, at least) and Carolina Panthers over a four-week span, and the wide receiver has shown a pattern of struggling against tougher defenses.

Also consider dealing: Mike Evans, Buccaneers

Dalton Schultz, TE, Texans: Schultz is the No. 5 tight end in PPR fantasy points in the past nine weeks, thanks to his massive usage in scoring position, as his six end zone targets in that span are tied for the position’s most. Unfortunately, the Texans’ receiving depth leaves him subject to variable weekly target shares otherwise, rendering him too touchdown-dependent to truly trust during the fantasy playoffs. Speaking of those playoffs, from Weeks 14 to 17 he’ll face the Jets, Tennessee Titans (twice) and Browns, all of which rank among the eight toughest schedule-adjusted defenses against tight ends over the past five weeks.

Also consider dealing: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

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