Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23): Over the past week, we’ve seen a pair of major NFL transactions with the trade deadline still a few days away. The Browns parted ways with veteran RB Carlos Hyde as the Jaguars add to their backfield and the Raiders continued cleaning house by shipping WR Amari Cooper to the Cowboys.
These two trades affect the rest of season outlook for a number of players on the four teams involved, including RBs Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson, T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette, along with members of the passing games like WRs Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley and QB Dak Prescott.
Among these many players, along with the two who actually find themselves on new teams, who are the winners and losers for the rest of the season outlook? Who gets the biggest value bump and who can now be dropped to the waiver wire?
Rich Hribar (@LordReebs): The clear winner here for fantasy stock is Nick Chubb. He went from the end of bench stash that may be a roster paperweight to a locked-in RB2 now for the rest of the season. After 16 touches through six games to 18 in his first NFL start after the Browns shed Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson was not a threat to him at all. I do believe Chubb will still be a tad touchdown dependent like Hyde was since he doesn't appear to be much of a factor in the passing game, but he's a more explosive version of Hyde, who was already an RB2 option for rosters.
As for the Amari Cooper trade, I guess I would say Jared Cook is the biggest beneficiary here, but Cooper already had so many games with little to no volume that it's hard to see a major spike for any one player in Oakland other than someone getting more snaps. Cooper already had games with just 3, 5, 1 and 1 target on the season. Cook melted the Rams Week 1 in the first game, but in the latter three of those games, Cook totaled just 61 yards on 11 catches. The Oakland offense is just a dumpster fire that I really want no part of, but with the tight end position being so depleted, Cook is the one guy I could tell myself a story on there that I could actually stomach based on his position.
As for Cooper himself, players changing teams is a big deal for short-term results when they have an offseason to acclimated, let alone a player changing teams mid-season. I wouldn't count on him getting a true boost this season that nets major fantasy results. Even though he had a ton of down games in Oakland, he's still had games with double-digit volume, something unlikely to happen often in the Dallas offense that solely runs through Ezekiel Elliott.
Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin): Yeldon is a major loser here. He is not going to disappear because Hyde is not someone you want catching a ton of passes, but it appeared as if he would be a workhorse until (if) Leonard Fournette returned. Now that is highly unlikely to happen. Perhaps he is still worth a look in the FLEX this week as Hyde settles in -- it also helps the Eagles are more susceptible to receiving backs than the run -- but I think he is a pretty good candidate to be over-ranked and over-used in DFS this week.
On Oakland, I agree the offense is probably a dumpster fire which is best avoided if possible, but that will not be an option in deeper leagues. A name to keep in mind in those formats is Seth Roberts, who has 13 targets over the last two games and played 73 percent of the snaps with Amari Cooper sidelined against the Seahawks. We have watched Derek Carr force touchdowns to him before. It would not be a shock if it happened again.
Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco): I’m still trying to wrap my head around this Hyde trade. Obviously, he gives the Jaguars some much-needed insurance with Fournette out and Corey Grant on I.R., but what does it mean for Fournette’s rest-of-season outlook? The fact that they went out and made such a drastic move tells me the Jaguars aren’t confident in his recovery and have essentially accepted he won’t be 100 percent this year. Hyde will probably be eased in, especially with Jacksonville’s bye coming up in Week 9, but once the dust settles, I imagine he’ll take the lead on early downs with Yeldon settling into more of a pass-catching role. Hyde would probably be the favorite for goal-line work as well. Both of them will take a backseat to Fournette upon his return, though I think we’re still a ways off from that.
Duke Johnson has sort of been a forgotten man this year, seeing just 5.4 touches per game compared to the 9.8 he averaged last season. I think he’ll still get work in the passing game since that’s not one of Chubb’s strengths (he hasn’t caught a pass in the pros yet), but if last week was any indication, the bell-cow role in Cleveland is Chubb’s to lose.
As for Oakland, I agree with Reebs that Cook stands to benefit the most from Cooper leaving. It’s obviously not a high bar to clear, but he’s been Oakland’s top receiving weapon all year, leading the team in yards (400), catches (32) and targets (43). Cooper’s departure only adds to Cook’s fantasy appeal. Aside from a 173-yard explosion against the Dolphins in Week 3, Jordy Nelson has largely been a non-factor, averaging just 30 yards in his other five games this year. Martavis Bryant, who has yet to score a touchdown since leaving Pittsburgh, is also off my radar. Cooper was only averaging 5.2 targets per game, so I don’t anticipate his absence having a huge domino effect on Oakland’s other receivers. Also, who’s pumped for #DougMartinSzn? I know I am (but not really).
Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat): Chubb is certainly the biggest winner. He's the only one whose fantasy stock has been completely transformed. He's an RB2 who is going to be an RB1 some weeks. I think he is for Week 8 with four teams on bye.
I wish I could say Martavis Bryant in Oakland, but his struggles have mostly had to do with his own mistakes and not a lack of opportunity.
I actually do think Cooper will see an immediate boost in Dallas despite the issues that Rich laid out. The Cowboys are not the sort of team that is going to flip a first-round pick for a player and then decline to force the issue. Cooper will be the clear 1B to Elliott's 1A.