Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23): It’s deja vu all over again. Let’s talk more trades! The NFL trade deadline brought a flurry of activity including the Broncos dealing WR Demaryius Thomas to Houston, WR Golden Tate moving from Detroit to Philadelphia and RB Ty Montgomery getting out of Green Bay and heading to Baltimore. Obviously, these moves have major ramifications for each team and many players.
Most have been pointing to wide receivers left behind as the biggest winners from these deals. Thomas’ departure opens the door for rookie WR Courtland Sutton to see a major bump in playing time, while Lions WRs Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay will almost certainly benefit from Tate leaving town.
Who do you see as the biggest fantasy winner and loser from these three trades?
Nick Mensio (@NickMensio): My three biggest winners of the day were Demaryius Thomas moving on from Case Keenum to Deshaun Watson, Courtland Sutton saying goodbye to Thomas and inheriting a larger role for the second half and moving forward for years to come, and then Kenny Golladay in Detroit. The three biggest losers I'd say are Nelson Agholor in Philly, who was doing his best Jarvis Landry impression the first eight weeks, Keke Coutee in Houston who now goes back to third wideout work if he can get over his bum hamstring that he's injured three times since being drafted, and MAYBE Zach Ertz. Ertz and Tate both run the majority of their routes in the middle of the field. Ertz should still be heavily involved in the red zone, but I think it's going to be difficult, borderline impossible, to keep up his volume in terms of targets. Ertz is 10th in the NFL averaging 9.25 targets per game over the last four weeks. He's still an obvious elite TE1 up there with Travis Kelce, but his numbers could see a tick down the rest of the way.
Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin): In addition to the names Nick mentioned, I think Ty Montgomery could potentially be a big winner here. An afterthought in Green Bay who had touched the ball 41 times in seven games even before going rogue at the end of last week's loss, Montgomery now appears likely to inherit a role which was netting Javorius Allen around 30 percent of the carries and 10 percent of the targets before the Ravens realized he is not very good, and that was with a healthy Alex Collins, now an open question after he sat out Thursday's practice. We have seen Montgomery be productive when healthy and given the opportunities, and both of those things could be true moving forward. I added him to my waiver column following the trade, and I would have him even a bit higher now with Collins' health in question.
Rich Hribar (@LordReebs): I'm not really looking towards the players that have moved on to new teams as being fantasy viable week in and out the rest of the season, but more focusing on what their departure means for their old team and their arrival means for their new one. The obvious standouts are Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Aaron Jones as guys who get an immediate bump. Golden Tate had led Detroit in targets in 6-of-7 games so far and was averaging 9.9 targets per game, which was tied for eighth at the position. With no tight end presence and just Brandon Powell and T.J. Jones to take over in Tate's vacant slot role, the ball is just inherently going to find the two boundary receivers more often.
The Packers came out of the bye week and Jones set season-highs in snap rate (61.5 percent), routes run (17) and touches (14). He also made them count as he totaled 88 yards from scrimmage. Jones now has 44 carries on the season and 10 have gone for 10 or more yards. In 216 career carries, Jamaal Williams has 11 carries of 10-plus yards. Jones still needs more touches than 14 to be an elite weekly option, but that's a touch count that can have him in the weekly RB2 conversation given his ability to pick up chunk yardage and with one less running back involved in the offense, his post-bye usage should be sticky moving forward.
As for the teams picking up players. Nelson Agholor can finally be mercifully set free if he already hasn't been. This also is a dent in Keke Coutee's rest of the season outlook as he was in line to get a bump in targets. Like Nick, I am also curious to see what this does for Zach Ertz's ceiling since Golden Tate has been such a strong presence in the short target, run after the catch game, but the tight end position is so poor and Ertz's volume was already so high, that he can have a bit shaved off the top and still be a top option moving forward.
Jesse Pantuosco (@JessePantuosco): To me, Golladay was the big winner of Tuesday’s deadline deals. I know they play slightly different roles—Golladay lines up outside while Tate mostly works the slot. But Tate is leaving behind so much volume that it shouldn’t matter. The Lions actually have a semblance of a running game this year, which is new for them, so maybe they’ll be a little more balanced now that Matthew Stafford’s safety net is gone. When it comes to the Lions receivers, I’m just glad we finally have some clarity on the matter. The weekly game of trying to choose between Tate, Golladay and Marvin Jones was getting old.
I didn’t get him anywhere but I definitely put a few bids in for Courtland Sutton this week. Nothing about Sutton’s early performance has stood out. His catch rate (45.9 percent) is actually among the league’s lowest and the rookie definitely has some boom or bust to his game. He’s mostly been used as a deep threat and those aren’t high-percentage throws. But volume will always be king in fantasy and though Thomas was definitely playing second fiddle to Emmanuel Sanders by the end of his Broncos tenure, his seven targets per game will have to be accounted for somehow. I think we also have to consider game script as the Broncos have found themselves playing from behind on a near-weekly basis. That favors the passing game, which will obviously work in Sutton’s favor. The rookie has been pretty hit or miss for fantasy purposes, but he’s coming off his best game (career-high 78 yards in Week 8) and I think the Thomas trade gives him a much safer floor than he had before.