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It has become apparent that 2018 will be known as the year the NFL decided to embrace the trade deadline, and no position has been dealt more than wide receivers. Josh Gordon was sent to New England. Amari Cooper was shipped to the Cowboys. Demaryius Thomas to Houston. But those guys had been struggling with their current team. Detroit rocked the Fantasy landscape on Tuesday by dealing its top target to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third round pick.
Tate has received a massive 27 percent of the Lions target share, so this will have an enormous impact to their offense. He's also been a remarkably steady option in Detroit with at least 90 receptions each of the past four seasons.
It's always difficult to know how midseason receiver transactions are going to play out. Tate must learn the Eagles playbook, build rapport with Carson Wentz, and carve out his share of the targets. We have very little historical guidance when it comes to receivers switching teams, but what evidence we have is not positive.
Let's take a look at the winners and losers from this deal:
The Lions other receivers are clearly the biggest winners from this deal. Both Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have been outstanding when they've received targets, but they've both had games where they've been ignored by Stafford. Between the two of them they have nine games with at least six targets, they've scored double-digit Fantasy points in seven of those games. With Tate out of the picture, Jones and Golladay should be consistent top-20 receivers with reliable targets and enormous ceilings each week.
There will be an opening for a third pass-catcher in this offense. Neither of the tight ends are particularly exciting, but if Theo Riddick could get healthy, he could turn into a high-volume PPR asset again. If Riddick remains out, Kerryon Johnson should continue to see more work in the passing game.
After a bumpy debut to 2018, Carson Wentz has been pretty spectacular. He has multiple touchdowns and at least 286 yards in each of his past five games. Once he comes back from his bye, I would expect he will be a top-eight quarterback most weeks with top-three upside. His receiving corps of Tate, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz is one of the best trios in the league. It also seems likely his pass attempts will go up with the struggles the Eagles have had running the football.
Tate may be going to a better football team, but he's almost certainly going to lose opportunity. Ertz has dominated targets in Philadelphia with a 28 percent target share. Jeffery is going to be the downfield and red-zone threat, and should get a share of near 20 percent. So Tate's upside is definitely limited by this trade, but that doesn't mean he's useless.
I wouldn't expect much the first couple of weeks as he acclimates himself to the offense, but by the time the Fantasy playoffs roll around, you should expect Tate to be a low-end No. 2 receiver in PPR and a high-end flex in non-PPR. If I was a Tate owner, I'd at least be listening to offers because some may view the move from Stafford to Wentz as an upgrade.
Stafford hasn't quite been a starting caliber quarterback this year, but it could get worse, especially against teams that have good outside corners. Tate was the safety valve in this offense, and now Stafford will either be tasked with more downfield shots or he'll be dumping the ball off to less talented players.
Even in Week 9, with six teams on a bye, Stafford is not a top-12 quarterback for me without Tate. If he's your only quarterback, I would strongly consider dropping him for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Things had not been going great for Nelson Agholor as it was. His 9.1 Y/R was the worst among receivers with at least 40 targets this season, and he'd seen those targets dwindle in recent weeks. But he's still 70 percent owned, so obviously a lot of you were holding out hope. You can stop now. Agholor will be fourth at best in this offense as a low-volume, low-efficiency wide receiver. There is no reason to have him on a redraft roster in any league smaller than 16 teams.
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