We're wrapping up another fascinating week of NFL football, and as such, it's time to make some moves to benefit your fantasy football teams in the coming weeks. It's crunch time, as we face the critical weeks that could mean playoffs or bust in your fantasy leagues. Let's dive in.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers Offense has been a disappointing one, notably since the return of Melvin Gordon, but that doesn't mean that all is lost for fantasy purposes. Mike Williams was drafted as a borderline WR2/WR3 but has yet to deliver on his capital. He's ranked 27th in total receiving yards, but unfortunately, the touchdowns just haven't come his way. The good news? Williams appears due for some positive regression. Through the last four weeks, Williams leads in air yards, ranks tenth in targets, and ties for seventh-most end-zone targets among all wide receivers. All metrics point to a breakout game on the horizon, but his performance as the WR30 in that span should allow you to acquire him at a steep discount.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Josh Jacobs looked (almost) human Week 8, which means that your tiny window to acquire him is about to snap shut. It wasn't surprising to see him come back down to earth Sunday, given that he entered the week with a questionable tag coming off a shoulder injury. Jacobs is looking like the first-round pick the Raiders drafted him to be. Among all running backs with 50 or more carries, Jacobs ranks first in yards after contact per attempt, fourth in avoided tackles, ninth in the number of runs of ten or more yards and has yet to fumble this season. Why trade for him now? Why, that running back-friendly schedule on the horizon, of course! The Raiders face the Lions, Chargers, Bengals, Jets and Chiefs in the coming weeks, all of whom rank top twelve in fantasy points allowed to the running back. If you can spin a running back with a tough upcoming schedule for him (such as Chris Carson), it may prove to pay huge dividends to set you up for your fantasy playoffs.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The return of Melvin Gordon to the Chargers Offense seems to have tanked most of the perceived value of Austin Ekeler. Now might be the time to buy. Though Ekeler has been averaging just four rushing attempts per game since Gordon's return, his work in the passing game is where he's making his money. In that time, Ekeler leads in targets, has racked up the second-most receiving yards, and ranks eighth in air yards among all running backs - the RB10 in full-PPR formats. Should the Chargers find a potential trade partner to unload their training camp holdout, Ekeler would easily maintain his pace as an RB1 rest of season. He won't be free, but the window to acquire a running back with the upside that we've seen from Ekeler this season is rarely open.
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Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
As much as it pains me as a Steelers fan to place a Cincinnati Bengal on this list, it had to be done. Though the Bengals continue to struggle on both sides of the ball, it doesn’t mean that the potential for fantasy points isn’t there. In the last three weeks, Auden Tate is tied for the fifth-most targets among wide receivers, third-most air yards, and leads the team in average depth of target (13 yards). While the run game continues to struggle and Tyler Boyd leads the league in dropped passes in that span and John Ross on IR, it's been Tate that has seen the biggest bump in production this year. Tate has just two games with less than 50 receiving yards, has the upside of a WR2 given his market share of targets and air yards and can likely be acquired as a throw-in piece with another trade.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Honorable mention goes to Rashaad Penny, former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. Penny has struggled to find a place in the Seahawks run game behind RB Chris Carson, who has seen 406 carries in the last two seasons compared to Penny's 115. Penny has shown flashes in his time in Seattle but hasn't quite established a rhythm to take over the job as many had hoped. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, October 29th at 1 PM, and it wouldn't be overly surprising to see Penny traded before then to a team with mounting injuries at the position. He's averaging 5.1 yards per rushing attempt in 2019, has been capable in the passing game, and shouldn't cost much if you're able to acquire him before the trade deadline. If he's traded, his value gets a bump, and if not, he's at least a handcuff for Carson, who's seen the second-most rushing attempts in the NFL for 2019.
Sells of the Week
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
If you sat Miles Sanders (and I'd venture to say you did), you left an RB1 on your bench and were likely kicking yourself for missing the breakout game. Sanders managed 118 yards from scrimmage Sunday, an incredible feat considering he played just 18% of offensive snaps. He's seen just 12 total carries in the last three games while dominating in the receiving game. He leads all RBs with at least 20 targets in yards per route run but continues to see limited usage. Sanders left Sunday's contest banged up with a shoulder injury, and though the severity isn't yet known, it may be worth seeing if you can spin a believer after an overly-efficient game. Sanders surely has the talent to be the lead back, but Doug Pederson seems committed to his running back-by-committee approach and has an affinity for Jordan Howard.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Kenyan Drake is the latest piece to be moved in the Miami Dolphins' fire sale, traded Monday to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick. Drake has been a massive disappointment for fantasy, as he has not seen enough volume to be considered relevant in any format. He's averaged just 11.5 touches per game and just 348 yards from scrimmage so far without a single touchdown on the season, finishing Week 7 the RB37 in full-PPR scoring formats. It seemed unfathomable that he wouldn't see more touches this season, considering his electrifying 5.8 yards per touch in 2018, but it's hard to fault him for the production considering Miami's efforts to #TankForTua. Drake will now work his way into an improved offense behind a banged-up David Johnson and Chase Edmonds. It's turned into one of the more confusing situations at the running back position, so if you can sell high on the hope of an increased workload, make it happen.