The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday without much news of note for Fantasy players to care about, which isn't much of a surprise. We always come up with wish lists of players who will find new homes, but more often than not, few big moves actually happen at the deadline -- and trades that do seem significant at the deadline often don't end up panning out. The NFL just isn't a league where big mid-season trades typically make an impact.
There was some news to catch you up on despite the slow deadline, and while we'll have a full rundown of all the injuries you need to know about in Thursday's newsletter, we'll start today's with what you need to know from Tuesday. Which unfortunately begins with some tragic news out of Las Vegas.
Henry Ruggs III was arrested for a DUI resulting in the death of another driver after being involved in a car crash early Tuesday morning. He is potentially facing multiple years in prison if convicted after being charged with two felonies. It's an absolute tragedy that Ruggs' decision led to the loss of a life, and though the Raiders released him Tuesday evening, his NFL status at this point is the least important thing. The Raiders will move forward without him for the rest of the season.
Here are a few quick-hitter notes before we move on the rest of the newsletter:
- Noah Fant was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It's possible he'll be able to play in Week 9, but that generally isn't how these situations have worked out this season, so expect Albert Okwuegbunam to see a larger role. He's an interesting streamer against the Cowboys.
- Michael Thomas is dealing with a new ankle injury and announced he will not be playing in 2021. Disappointing news for those who stashed him.
- The Rams released DeSean Jackson. He had just 15 targets so far and will try to land with another team. It's going to be hard to find enough of a role for Jackson to be Fantasy relevant, of course.
- The Titans officially signed Adrian Peterson to their practice squad. They also added D'Onta Foreman, who spent time with the team in 2020. It wouldn't shock me if Foreman was a factor this week, given that he's more familiar with the offense than Peterson, but I wouldn't be looking to add him outside of very deep leagues.
- Logan Thomas (hamstring) could return after the team's bye this week. He'll be a must-start tight end when healthy.
- Corey Davis (hip) has yet to practice this week. The Jets play Thursday against the Colts, so he's looking pretty unlikely at this point. Jamison Crowder is an intriguing starting option in PPR formats if Davis remains out.
In the rest of today's newsletter, I've got three players I'm looking to buy heading into Week 9 and three I'm looking to sell, plus a look at every position with Heath Cummings' position previews. You can see a list of all the injuries we're watching for each position there, along with our consensus expert top-12, matchup notes, numbers to know, and more. And, as always, if you've got any questions about trades, your lineup, or anything else, send them my way at Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com with the subject line "#AskFFT" to get included in a mailbag column tomorrow.
I've also got my rankings for each position available below, updated with some of my thoughts on some of the most interesting players and decisions of the week here:
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Hopefully, that helps you get an understanding of what to expect for this week. Here's what the rest of today's newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 9:
- 📈Week 9 Stock Watch📉
- 🔍Position Previews
One piece of advice before we start: If you added Adrian Peterson this week, why don't you go ahead and see what you can get for him in a trade right now. It is, of course, entirely possible Peterson will prove effective in a run-first offense and end up being a viable starting Fantasy option, but I think the more likely outcome is this is the peak of his value for Fantasy. Obviously, if you need a Week 9 starter, it might be tough to move a guy I've got ranked as a top-30 RB this week, but if you have other options, dangling him in trades to RB-needy teams who weren't able to get him when waivers ran and see if you can convince them to give up something of real value.
One particularly interesting option would be flipping Peterson for someone like Javonte Williams, who could be in for a big second half if he ever overtakes Melvin Gordon as the lead back. His upside as a potential three-down back in Denver is a lot greater than Peterson's. Along the same lines, see if you could flip Peterson for David Montgomery, who could be back as an every-down back by Week 11.
Make sure you've got your bearings before you go make offers with the help of Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart, and here are three players whose stock I'm buying and three I'm selling ahead of Week 9.
Three to buy
Here are three players I'm buying into moving forward. Things are only going to get better from here.
You don't always have to sell high or buy low. Sometimes a hot start is just the beginning of something big, and there's value in trying to buy those situations before their perceived value catches up.
- Michael Carter -- Carter really hasn't done much in the running game so far, and I'm not sure that's likely to change moving forward. But the Jets seem to have discovered something with Mike White in at quarterback, as Carter has 17 catches for 162 yards on 23 targets in the past two games. They've struggled to push the ball down the field, but leaning on Carter and shorter targets proved to be a winning formula in their upset of the Bengals in Week 8. Hopefully, they'll keep leaning on Carter like that. He has top-15 potential even if he isn't doing much as a runner.
But if you do want to buy low, here are a couple of players I think have seen their worst days already:
- D.J. Moore -- Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he wanted to establish the run better, and they did so in Week 8 -- leading to all of 19 points and one offensive touchdown. Things have been pretty ugly of late, with Sam Darnold having just two touchdowns to four interceptions over the past four games, leading to the worst stretch of Moore's season to date. But I'll just note that, even during that four-game stretch, Moore is on nearly a 1,000-yard pace over a 16-game season, so he's still been useful. The Panthers are using him as a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver with a target share among the league leaders, and I believe better days are coming for the passing game -- Darnold's drop off really coincided with Christian McCaffrey's injury, which may not be a coincidence as it cost him a valuable release valve when pressure came. When the offense starts playing better, I still have faith Moore can be a No. 1 Fantasy WR.
- Brandon Aiyuk -- I mean, you might be able to add Aiyuk as a free agent -- he was under 50% rostered in CBS Fantasy leagues going into Tuesday's waiver run and I don't think many people were rushing out to grab him coming off a four-catch, 45-yard game. But I was. He played his biggest role of the season for the 49ers, leading them in targets, snaps and routes among wide receivers in Week 8. I don't think Aiyuk is going to usurp Deebo Samuel as the No. 1 WR in this offense or anything, but I do think there's still room for him to emerge as a viable Fantasy starter, and Week 8 may have been the prelude.
Three to sell
I'm not saying these guys won't be useful or good moving forward, but I think you can probably get more in return for them than you're likely to get from them:
- James Conner -- We know the Cardinals create a lot of scoring opportunities for running backs, and with Kyler Murray alongside them in the backfield, it's easier than for most backs to score. So, it's not really surprising that Conner has found the end zone a bunch, though I think it's being overstated how sustainable this current pace is. Conner has eight touchdowns in his past six games, after Kenyan Drake had 10 in 15 games in 2020. Conner has been a lot worse than Drake otherwise, averaging nearly 20 fewer rushing yards per game, which seems like a sure sign that what he's doing isn't sustainable. Another sure sign? Conner is second among running backs with eight rushing touchdowns but is sixth in rush attempts inside the 10-yard line. He has the same number of carries in close as Aaron Jones with four more scores; he has five fewer carries than Jonathan Taylor with three more scores. Conner is going to score his share of touchdowns, but unless his overall profile changes significantly, he's going to be a lot more hit-or-miss moving forward. If someone is desperate for RB help, make an offer.
- Melvin Gordon -- I don't know when or even if the Broncos are going to turn to Javonte Williams as the lead rusher, because they'd shown no real interest in doing so to date. But I don't want anyone to mistake that for Gordon being a valuable Fantasy option. He's been a viable starter with 30.4 PPR points the last couple of weeks thanks to three touchdowns, but he averaged just 9.9 PPR points in his previous five games while scoring just one touchdown. That's more like what I expect from him moving forward, and it's hard to see the Broncos really increasing his role absent an injury to Williams. It's more likely the Broncos slip out of the playoff race and decide to see what they have in Williams. Maybe that won't happen, but even if not, I don't think you're going to regret trying to sell Gordon high right now.
Sometimes, getting off a sinking ship is better than hoping they'll be able to fix the breach in the hull. I'm willing to sell here based on name value:
- Hunter Henry -- It might be too late to move Henry coming off a dud, but I would still be trying to. We're nearly halfway through the season and he's 15th at the position in targets, which is even worse than it sounds because he has played eight games; Henry has just two more targets than Evan Engram, who has played two fewer games. Henry is averaging just 37.1 yards per game, his lowest total since he was a rookie back in 26. The Patriots offense has been one of the more conservative in the league, so Henry isn't even getting particularly valuable targets; he actually has fewer targets inside of the 10-yard line than teammate Jonnu Smith. Henry still has four touchdowns in his past five games, and if someone takes that to mean he can solve their tight end problem, let him be that person's headache.
🔍Week 9 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know about and our expert consensus top-12 rankings before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
- Injuries: Dak Prescott (calf), Russell Wilson (finger), Sam Darnold (concussion), Jameis Winston (ACL), Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip), Tyrod Taylor (hamstring), Zach Wilson (knee) and Taysom Hill (concussion).
- On a bye: Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Taylor Heinicke and Jared Goff
- Number to know: 23.1 -- Taysom Hill averaged 23.1 Fantasy points per game in his four starts last year.
- Matchup that matters: Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU (28th in points allowed to QB)
- Top streamer: "Taysom Hill. If you're set at running back and quarterback-needy, Hill could legitimately be the top waiver wire priority this week."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Josh Allen
- Matthew Stafford
- Patrick Mahomes
- Jalen Hurts
- Kyler Murray
- Kirk Cousins
- Justin Herbert
- Joe Burrow
- Carson Wentz
- Dak Prescott
- Daniel Jones
- Ryan Tannehill
- Injuries: Derrick Henry (foot), James Robinson (heel), Elijah Mitchell (ribs), Miles Sanders (ankle), Josh Jacobs (chest), Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kareem Hunt (calf), Christian McCaffrey (hamstring), Chris Carson (neck), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee), David Montgomery (knee), Jamaal Williams (thigh), Latavius Murray (ankle), Malcolm Brown (quad), Damien Williams (knee), Justin Jackson (quad), Tevin Coleman (hamstring) and Chris Evans (hamstring)
- On a bye: Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, Giovani Bernard, D'Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, Alex Collins, Rashaad Penny, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic
- Number to know: 25.6% -- Michael Carter leads the Jets with a 25% target share over their past two games.
- Matchup that matters: Myles Gaskin vs. HOU (25th in points allowed to RB)
- Stash: "Jeff Wilson. Wilson is returning to practice this week and could be ready to play in the next three weeks. Elijah Mitchell is nursing a rib injury as well."
- Top DFS play: "Nick Chubb. Chubb is my No. 1 back this week in non and half PPR. This has been a good Bengals defense, but they got exposed a little bit last week and I love the opportunity to play an underpriced Chubb without Kareem Hunt. Expect 20-plus touches and Fantasy points."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Najee Harris
- Dalvin Cook
- Austin Ekeler
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Alvin Kamara
- Jonathan Taylor
- Aaron Jones
- Joe Mixon
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Nick Chubb
- Darrell Henderson
- Khalil Herbert
- Injuries: Calvin Ridley (personal), Deebo Samuel (calf), Davante Adams (illness), Antonio Brown (ankle), Julio Jones (hamstring), Michael Thomas (ankle), Corey Davis (hip), Sterling Shepard (hamstring), Kenny Golladay (knee), T.Y. Hilton (concussion), Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Will Fuller (finger), Curtis Samuel (groin), Michael Gallup (calf), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring), Terrace Marshall (concussion) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin)
- On a bye: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Terry McLaurin, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown
- Number to know: 5 -- Mike Williams has five targets or fewer in three of his past four games. One more game like that and I'm going to get very nervous.
- Matchup that matters: Marvin Jones vs. BUF (1st in points allowed to WR)
- Stash: "Kenny Golladay. We don't expect Golladay back this week, but he's getting closer. Once he's 100%, I would expect him to be a No. 3 wide receiver with top-20 upside in non-PPR."
- Top DFS play: "Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs will likely be chasing the score against the Packers, and the Packers don't currently have a shutdown corner, which should mean double-digit targets for Tyreek Hill. He's scored at least 22 Fantasy points in four of five games with double-digit targets this season."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Cooper Kupp
- Tyreek Hill
- Stefon Diggs
- Justin Jefferson
- A.J. Brown
- Ja'Marr Chase
- Deebo Samuel
- Diontae Johnson
- Adam Thielen
- D.J. Moore
- Keenan Allen
- CeeDee Lamb
- Injuries to know: George Kittle (calf), Darren Waller (ankle), Rob Gronkowski (back), Dawson Knox (hand), Robert Tonyan (ACL) and Logan Thomas (hamstring)
- On a bye: T.J. Hockenson, Rob Gronkowski, Ricky Seals-Jones and Gerald Everett
- Number to know: 25.5% -- Dallas Goedert has seen more than a quarter of the Eagles targets since Zach Ertz was traded.
- Matchup that matters: Kyle Pitts @NO (5th in points allowed to TE)
- Streamer: "Pat Freiermuth. I actually prefer Dan Arnold for the rest of season, but Arnold has to face the Bills this week, so Freiermuth's Week 8 edge puts him over the top."
- Top DFS play: "Travis Kelce. Putting my money where my mouth is with Kelce this week. I see no reason he won't be TE1, and you're getting him at a discount due to his recent scoring drought."
Consensus Expert Top 12
- Travis Kelce
- Kyle Pitts
- Dallas Goedert
- Dalton Schultz
- Mike Gesicki
- Noah Fant
- Tyler Higbee
- Hunter Henry
- Pat Freiermuth
- Zach Ertz
- Jared Cook
- Evan Engram
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