We're a month away from the fantasy playoffs and we're all trying to identify the risers and the fallers. Here are some situations that could include both:
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The week after Carolina dealt wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin
to the Bills, the Panthers carried the ball 38 times for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns in a victory over the Falcons. The compelling context behind the rushing stats is the distribution of the workload among two receivers, three runners, and its quarterback. There were also a variety of misdirection plays used to earn that production, including conventional downhill and perimeter runs, read option, play-action QB keepers, option pitches, and a creative version of the Statue of Liberty Play. Christian McCaffrey
earned a career-high 66 yards rushing, and Devin Funchess
earned a season-high 86 yards receiving. It doesn't sound like much, but upward trends often have modest origins.
- Do you think that the Panthers will be a better fantasy offense without Benjamin based on last week's performance or is this just a fluke?
- What kind of fantasy production do you project for its main cogs moving forward?
- And will there be an emerging producer or existing mainstay who benefits most?
Let's discuss these points in detail.
The decision to trade away Kelvin Benjamin
was curious, at first blush. He's the team's most dynamic receiver. He was also experiencing a reasonably solid bounce-back season, averaging 14.8 yards per catch and notching a career-best 62.7% catch rate.
His stats (32 receptions and 475 yards) weren't eye-popping, but that has as much to do with usage and Cam Newton
's poor play as anything Benjamin was doing wrong. However, the trade does make sense if you look a little deeper. The Panthers know by now they're not winning this year thanks to a resurgent passing attack.
They also know Benjamin is due to make more than $8 million next season. And I'm sure the team remembers Newton's lone elite season—his 2015 MVP year—came with Benjamin shelved on Injured Reserve.
All-in-all, sending Benjamin away probably doesn't alter the Panthers playoff chances and sets them up to get better return versus waiting for him to leave in free agency in two seasons.
The subtraction of Benjamin won’t hurt this offense. Devin Funchess
can basically serve in the same role that Benjamin had in this offense, which is to be the big bully against smaller corners and to win contested jump balls. In fact, getting rid of Benjamin may have given them some clarity about what they need to do going forward, which is to use Christian McCaffrey
and Curtis Samuel
increasingly and in diverse, inventive ways. If the Panthers stick to this recipe, they’ll have success. If they go back to the old template that wasn’t working, we’ll see them regress.
I don't know that I would say better because I don't believe this is addition by subtraction. I will, however, echo the overall sentiment that the offense won't change a ton without him and that a guy like Funchess can fill a similar role in it.
The biggest issue with the offense here has been its general inconsistency and that, to me, had nothing much to do with Benjamin. So again, I think the impact isn't big. They'll improve or not regardless.Wood:
As to the broader question of whether the Panthers will have a better fantasy offense? It's too early to say. Sure, the Panthers committed to the run and beat the Falcons. Sure, Cam Newton
ran for a season-high 86 yards. However, Newton completed a meager 13 passes for 137 yards.
This preseason I made the case that Newton's MVP season was the outlier, not the norm. This year he's proven me right. He's a limited passer.
The Panthers remaining schedule is essentially neutral for the run game, but it's lumpy. The team has difficult rushing matchups against Miami, the Jets, and Minnesota in three of its next four games. It then gets easy matchups against Green Bay and Tampa Bay in the key fantasy playoff weeks (15 and 16). If the team can continue to play strong defense and commit to the ground game, they can vie for a playoff spot and set up well for fantasy playoff contenders.
I came into the season a big Christian McCaffrey
supporter and expected him to push for RB1 numbers as a rookie. Until this week, he's been more Danny Woodhead
than Marshall Faulk. I still think he has the skill set to be an every-down back at the NFL level, and am hopeful his workload will increase. But head coach Ron Rivera discussed keeping a lid on McCaffrey's touches just a week ago, so can I really trust the play-calling?
As to the passing game, we can't ignore the potential Week 12 return of Greg Olsen
. He's instantly the team's best receiver and best red-zone option. And we know he's got legitimate chemistry with Newton. If he's back on the field for the final month, it could be enough to put a low-end QB1 floor on Newton (combined with Newton's rushing production).
Mark Wimer: I don't think last week's performance was a fluke—in fact, I think that it marked the week that Christian McCaffrey is moving into the clear-cut No. 1 running back on the roster, with Jonathan Stewart beginning a second-half fade. Curtis Samuel (5 targets for 3/23/0 receiving) started to come out of his rookie cocoon, while Funchess appears "good enough" to keep the team afloat until Greg Olsen returns.
As Jason noted: "As to the passing game, we can't ignore the potential Week 12 return of Greg Olsen. He's instantly the team's best receiver and best red-zone option. And we know he's got legitimate chemistry with Newton. If he's back on the field for the final month, it could be enough to put a low-end QB1 floor on Newton (combined with Newton's rushing production)."
I agree 100% with this, and it is why I have carried Olsen for all the weeks since his injury in one of my fantasy leagues that don't have an IR option. To have a healthy, well-rested Olsen in the fantasy lineup during the run into and during the fantasy playoffs should be (fingers crossed) huge for that team and for anyone who has held onto Olsen - if he's still on the waiver wire in your league, go grab him now!
I expect to see McCaffrey approaching 100 yards combined each week, while Funchess/Olsen should have the potential for 100 yards receiving from week to week. Samuel may be more of a boom-bust option with some strong weeks but other performances like we saw against Atlanta. The one knock on McCaffrey is that Newton loves to run in TDs, so Carolina running backs get less scoring opportunities than backs on other teams.
Simpkins: I expect if they use their personnel the way they used it against Atlanta, we’ll see Cam Newton in the middling QB1 territory for the rest of the season, Christian McCaffrey as a top-10 option in PPR, and Devin Funchess solidifying himself as a WR2. If they go against rational coaching and return to the old gameplan, Newton will revert to being a low-end QB1, Christian McCaffrey will go back to his floor of being a top-15 PPR option, and Devin Funchess will slip to WR3 status.
McCaffrey is the existing mainstay who benefits the most. This offense is so dangerous when they remain unpredictable and defenses have to account for him and Newton. As good of a player as Jonathan Stewart is, the offense becomes much easier to predict and contain when he’s the primary guy in the backfield.
We could see Curtis Samuel
be an emerging producer in this offense. He showed us some good things on his three touches in Sunday’s contest, including a great route that left the defensive back unsure which way to commit and some nice footwork on the sidelines to stay in bounds and move the chains. It’s going to be interesting to see if he hits a rookie wall or if he continues to grow into his role each game.
We should see an uptick in Funchess' targets and overall work until Greg Olsen
comes back, at least. He's not the same receiver as Benjamin—you can't throw it up in the air for him to make a play in the same way — but he's a solid receiver who has improved in technique this year.
We may see a little more running, though again as was pointed out above, the Panthers are looking to keep a lid on Christian McCaffery's carries so his production still seems heavily linked to the passing game. We may see a continued good volume of targets there with one less target in the group.
If anyone sees an uptick, Funchess is the guy. He steps into the WR1 role for Cam Newton
and friends and as long as Cam stays on track, Funchess has the ability to put up some good numbers.
Benjamin's departure may hurt Cam Newton
a bit since it removes a weapon from his arsenal, but the effect won't be large, especially because it will be offset by Greg Olsen
's impending return.
For Devin Funchess
, it helps because he's now the clear No. 1 WR on the team instead of competing on relatively even ground with Benjamin for targets.
To a lesser extent, it will also help Ed Dickson
and eventually Greg Olsen
because, as with Funchess, their competition for targets is reduced.
It could help Curtis Samuel
's fantasy prospects, but probably not enough to make him worth considering starting in normal fantasy leagues.
I don't think Benjamin's departure helps Christian McCaffrey
or Jonathan Stewart
at all. McCaffrey's role in the offense should continue to increase, but that would have happened with Benjamin still on board as well. It's a coincidence that McCaffrey had his best game as a runner the week after Benjamin left.
On the whole, I don't see anyone's fantasy prospects changing radically just because Kelvin Benjamin
is gone. Funchess benefits the most, but the upgrade is still pretty marginal.
Waldman: I believe we're going to see an uptick for McCaffrey. The Panthers tried to use McCaffrey on a lot of east-west runs from wide receiver and wing alignments that didn't work well. One of those reasons could be the presence of Benjamin, whose size only seems to matter when he's one-on-one with a defender in the air.
His press coverage skills are so lacking that FSU and Carolina both used him 2-4 yards behind the line of scrimmage, which is not an ideal starting point to set up as a blocker. Because his 10-yard quickness isn't great, either, he's not as likely to run off defenders and he's not a threat to get the ball as a runner unless he's already moving north-south and well past the line of scrimmage.
The addition-by-subtraction element could be there for Carolina's offense because it frees the Panthers to use McCaffrey and Samuel with greater versatility. I also liked that the Panthers used McCaffrey as a downfield runner far more often in this game than before.
While possible that McCaffrey's volume increase occurred in part to Jonathan Stewart
's two first-quarter fumbles, the variety of built-in plays benefitting McCaffrey while also diversifying the rushing attack leads me to think there may be more than meets the eye than simply a one-game thing. I think Funchess sees a small uptick and Newton, already a mid-range QB1 could remain that way as a runner. The Dolphins, Jets, Packers, and Buccaneers don't have the greatest linebacking corps and could be vulnerable to a ground-first offense with this kind of misdirection and variety.
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Waldman: Now that Benjamin is a Bill, let's discuss the following points:
- Is it realistic to expect an instant fantasy impact from Kelvin Benjamin now that he's a Bill?
- Since Week 7, Deonte Thompson has been the WR16 in standard leagues and WR17 in PPR. How much will Benjamin's presence help or hurt Thompson?
- Is Jordan Matthews overrated, a bad match in Buffalo, or do you have another reason for his inconsequential fantasy performance this year?
What do you make of this big acquisition? Let's being with the impact of Benjamin.
Tremblay: I wouldn't be surprised if Kelvin Benjamin makes an instant fantasy impact. Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones have both been pretty disappointing, leaving the Bills without much in the way of competent receivers. Deonte Thompson has been getting targets more by default than because he just has too much talent to keep off the field.
Benjamin himself has the potential to make an impact simply because, frankly, anything can happen in the volatile state of affairs that is the Bills' passing offense. He could succeed as the Bills' clear No. 1 receiver, or he could be held back by the general ineptitude of the overall passing game. That uncertainty is what gives him some hopeful upside for the time being, though.
I feel like he should be a solid fit there and Tyrod Taylor
is clearly excited. He also gets that the key to Benjamin can be to just throw it up and let him make a play which is something I think Taylor can do. It may take a couple of weeks to sync up but I believe Benjamin could put up some low-end WR2 numbers even though this is still a running offense.
Wimer: I don't expect an instant fantasy impact from Benjamin, and I plan to fade him in DFS lineups for a couple of weeks as he acclimates to the Bills' team. After Week 11, I'll consider playing him depending on how he's trending.
Stephen Holloway: Benjamin was not that successful in the system that he is well versed in and moves to Buffalo which as a team passes even less often and for fewer yards than Carolina, so instant impact should not be expected.
Simpkins: Benjamin isn’t much of a route runner and the value he adds to this offense is the same value he added to the Panthers squad—he can be the guy who you throw it up to and trust to come down with it. Both Newton and Taylor demonstrate that they are not afraid to make those types of passes.
I expect you’ll see his production with the Bills mirror what you got with him in Carolina, which is that he’ll have some lousy games sandwiched between some decent stat lines. In standard formats, you can live with that out of your WR2, especially in a season where the big names have been a massive disappointment. In PPR, that’s only going to be a worthy proposition for you if he’s serving as your WR3.
The Bills rank 30th in pass attempts, 30th in passing yards, and 24th in net yards per attempt. Kelvin Benjamin
goes from a run-heavy team to an, even more, run-focused team. One would think the Bills didn't trade for him to not give him a large role.
And since Benjamin is due $8 million next year, it behooves the Bills to figure out if Benjamin can be a centerpiece of the rebuilding project. I think it's reasonable to expect Benjamin to be the team's top target for the rest of the year, but I don't see his numbers warranting fantasy relevance beyond a low-end WR2 in most matchups.
Waldman: On the positive side, Sean McDermott was a coach in Carolina so he's been around Benjamin enough that one hopes he knows what the receiver can do. On the negative, the items I listed about press coverage.
I like the fit with Tyrod Taylor
a little more than I did with Newton. Many people will say both passers have a lot of similarities, but I'd argue that Newton is either hanging in the pocket and throwing or breaking the pocket and running. Taylor is better at creating on the move and finding the open man as a passer while improvising and it could help Benjamin's production.
I am not enthusiastic about Benjamin elevating his production in this offense this year. I fear that the desire to shoehorn specific plays that fit Benjamin may detract from the flow of the offense. If the Bills can avoid a heavy-handed, overzealous approach to their new toy, Benjamin could deliver as Daniel expects. If not, we might see it backfire.
I'm anxious to see how it unfolds. Let's move onto the Benjamin deal's impact on Deonte Thompson
Holloway: Benjamin’s presence should hinder Thompson’s production simply by reducing his opportunities. It would not be surprising to see Thompson fall back quickly as his success has been primarily based on his providing a speedy deep threat for Buffalo.
Wimer: Thompson has developed some chemistry with Taylor, and there isn't another "starting" caliber wide receiver on the team, so expect to see him continue to garner his fair share of targets. However, he may fall to more WR3 levels as there aren't all that many targets to go around in run-obsessed Buffalo.
I see Benjamin's presence as a big negative for Thompson's fantasy prospects. Zay Jones
might actually benefit by drawing weaker coverage, but I think Thompson and Matthews will both see a decline in snaps and targets going forward.
Wood: Thompson's play has been one of the bigger surprises, but he's fool's gold. Sure, his last three week's have been solid. But look at the target count. Thompson has 15 targets in the last 3 weeks, but 10 of those came in Week 9. One game does not a trend make. With Benjamin entering the fold, I don't see Thompson getting the snap count/target share necessary to be a fixture in fantasy lineups. If you can convince someone that he's a Top-20 receiver, trade him now. But I don't think you'll find many takers at that price.
Garda: I've never been sold on Thompson so I am biased. I don't think he will sustain the production anyway. so I think it decreases the targets from Thompson. Having another legitimate receiver helps clear out the defense though, so he could be more productive with fewer targets, though I'm not betting on it.
Waldman: Thompson's rapport with Taylor that spans as far back as their years together in Baltimore could sustain his volume whereas Taylor will have had two weeks of practice with Benjamin, who is already a limited talent. Let me clarify that there are tons of limited talents with specific skills that make them productive and Benjamin qualifies. However, I believe that defenses will now focus more attention on Benjamin and it should deliver mismatches in Thompson's favor.
Daniel, am I the lone voice in the wilderness?
Simpkins: Get your fur hat ready, Wildman, because Benjamin’s acquisition doesn’t bode well for Thompson. The Bills’ offense prefers to run and limit passing attempts. With more of those attempts going to Benjamin, Thompson won’t have the volume he needs to sustain his top-twenty weekly production.
Waldman: So what does this mean for Jordan Matthews? I think he's the player who sees any volume he had snuffed out. Then again, maybe Benjamin's presence opens things a little more for Matthews in the slot.
Is Matthews overrated, a bad match for the Bills, or is there another reason he's been inconsequential in Buffalo?
Wimer: Matthews didn't "click" with Taylor, and he isn't good enough to insist on getting the football. In short, I think he was over-rated after the trade to Buffalo was announced. We'll see what he looks like in Year Two with the Bills (if he isn't cut after the season) but I expect him to underwhelm for the rest of the 2017 season.
Wood: As a lifelong Eagles fan, I was excited by Jordan Matthews. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries, system changes, and poor quarterbacking derailed his time in Philadelphia. His role in Buffalo has been disappointing since the team lacks clear playmakers in the passing game outside of Charles Clay — who is injured.
But with just 28 targets through half a season, and Benjamin arriving, I don't see why we should expect a leap forward. Is he overrated?
Waldman: I meant to phrase that question, "Has Matthews been overrated all along?" But I sense you didn't think his talent is a question as much as a variety of circumstances that hurt him, so no need for you to answer that question.
Wood: That makes sense. I wasn't sure what to say there because I don't think fantasy owners think much of him right now. Matthews is 70th among receivers in our Top 200 [which projects value of players for the remainder of the season], so I was thinking 'Who really overvalues him?'
Simpkins: I think he’s both overrated and a bad match for Buffalo. For one thing, the injury history for Matthews doesn’t give us faith in his ability to stay healthy. He’s also been a guy throughout his career who can flash supreme athleticism on one play, but then demonstrate drive-killing inconsistency on the very next play.
This offense is one of the more conservative in the NFL, one that doesn’t have much margin for winning games when its players are making critical mistakes. I’m open to him being a role-player with another team, but I don’t see him blossoming into more than that.
Tremblay: I feel the same about Matthews as Thompson. Forget them.
Garda: Matthews is not the receiver we hoped he would be when he was drafted, but I also think he was never a good fit as a top receiving option for a passing offense. We saw that in Philly so it is no shock to me he has struggled in Buffalo.
Having Benjamin there to draw defenders away might help him, but ultimately, I think this is a lost season for him and I can't trust him in a lineup.
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Feast or Famine WR1s
Waldman: The following receivers are top producers in PPR formats but their weekly stat line is a rollercoaster ride:
- T.Y. Hilton: A top 5 WR in many leagues, he's earned 25 points or more in 3 games, but less 8 points in 4 others.
- Alshon Jeffery: A top 10 WR in many leagues, he hasn't reached double digits in 4 of his 9 games and his Week 9 total was the best performance he's had since Week 2.
- Tyreek Hill: This top 10 WR in PPR has 3 elite tier fantasy performances, but 4 others that are sub-par in most formats.
Which player scares you the most? Which do you covet the most?
Jeffery scares me the most as Carson Wentz
usually spreads the ball around more than we saw in Week 9 — Jeffery has seen double-digit targets in three of nine games so far and hasn't gone over 100 yards receiving in any effort, with four weeks under 50 yards receiving. He's a fantasy WR2 that may approach WR1 numbers from time to time.
Hilton and Hill are the unquestioned No. 1 wide receivers on their teams and have the eye of their quarterbacks — both should continue to rack up 100+ yard receiving efforts in the second half (Hill crossed that line twice in the first nine weeks; Hilton has gone over 150 yards receiving three times to date). Hilton is the most explosive player of the trio so he's the guy I'd covet the most for the second half.
Hilton scares me from the standpoint that his team is a tire fire placed in a nuclear reactor which is melting down. You know you aren't getting his full value and it can all go sideways instantly.
I most like Jeffery as I think we're seeing the true Jeffrey again after Week 9, and I feel like he is finally on the same page with Carson Wentz
. He's a guy who I think will get better from here on out.
Tremblay: All of these guys are big-play receivers, and all will, therefore, have inherently strong boom-or-bust tendencies.
Hilton scares me the most. He has the least competition for targets, so when the game-plan breaks his way, he can do a tremendous amount of damage. But he also draws the most defensive attention and plays in the weakest passing offense, so he's the most likely of the group to be shut down for whole games at a time.
Jeffery should be the least volatile of the group because he plays in the most consistent passing offense and is also the least dependent on getting big chunks of yardage all at once on a few big plays.
But I definitely like Hill the best overall. Hill has every bit as much big-play ability as Hilton does and plays in a better offense. He doesn't get as many targets per game as his fantasy owners would like, but the targets he gets are very high-quality targets. Andy Reid sets up big plays for Hill with other aspects of the offense so that when Hill's number is called, it's often to exploit an opportunity to get behind the defense and take it to the house.
Hilton is obviously the most productive, but due to Andrew Luck
’s injury, Indianapolis has by far the most suspect quarterback play for the remainder of the season. The typical week to week variance in wide receiver production should be magnified by the lack of quality quarterback play. Therefore, even though Hilton may be the most talented of the three, he is the scariest week-to-week start.Alshon Jeffery
has historically produced when he can stay healthy and he is coming along nicely the past two weeks, catching 8 passes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has a gifted quarterback in Carson Wentz
and has the added incentive that he will again be a free agent after the season.Tyreek Hill
has performed well, even though he is somewhat miscast as a true No. 1 wide receiver and Kansas City utilizes him well, but going I prefer Jeffery.
I don’t doubt T.Y. Hilton
’s ability, but I am worried about how consistently he can produce when game scripts are weak with a team that isn’t competitive. Unfortunately, there are many of those games ahead for the Colts sans Andrew Luck
I would most want to have Alshon Jeffery
down the stretch. I like their schedule going forward, for one thing. The Eagles performances are not a fluke. Carson Wentz
is bold but not stupid with the football, and playing with a kind of swagger that could land this team in the Super Bowl. I also see Jeffery getting increasingly involved on high-value targets.
Receivers, by nature, are prone to variance. I wouldn't worry about any of these players too much. All three have key roles going forward. To me, it comes down to whether expectations are in-line with reality. Throw the preseason hype out of the window and ask yourself who each of these players are right now?
Hilton is the most talented and accomplished of this trio, but he also has the worst situation. His team is going nowhere, his franchise quarterback is done for the season, and his coaches are lame ducks. If this were purely a question of talent, Hilton would be the easy choice, but marrying talent and situation, he's the biggest risk right now. I think trading him coming off his monster Week 9 performance makes sense. I wouldn't be looking to acquire him.Tyreek Hill
is averaging just 6.6 targets per game. When you're 33rd in targets (among receivers), it's hard to deliver fantasy WR1 value with a disproportionate catch rate and/or touchdown rate. Luckily for his fantasy owners, Hill has both. He has a 68% catch rate and a hyper-accurate quarterback. He also has zero credible threats to lose targets as the rest of the wide receiver corps is average to below average. And just as he did in his electric rookie season, Hill is scoring routinely. He's got four touchdowns already. Given Hill's lower target rate, it stands to reason he's going to have up-and-down weeks. I think he remains an elite WR2 if you can pair him with a high volume, possession type.
Jeffery is the most interesting. Once a rising star, he washed out in Chicago and had to take a one-year "prove it" deal with Philadelphia. In spite of the Eagles offensive dominance, and Carson Wentz
' MVP-caliber start to the year, Jeffery has been irrelevant for most weeks. He finally took a star turn against the Broncos, but that came in a game without Zach Ertz
. I think fantasy owners no longer view Jeffery as a fantasy star, and if he's slotted as your WR3 each week, you can't ask for a better option. If you still want/need him to become a weekly WR1, you're asking too much.
I agree with Wood about Jeffery and I'd prefer Hilton to Jeffery despite the differences in offensive quality. I think Jacoby Brissett
's improvement has been steady. I'll also side with Hill as the safest option and agree with Maurile's rationale. Speaking of the Chiefs, let's move onto our final topic.
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Kareem Hunt's Recent Production: Is There Reason For Concern?
Hunt was the top fantasy PPR RB after five weeks. Since Week 6, he's the No. 13 RB. The past two weeks, he's the No. 24 RB.
- Why has Hunt's production declined?
- Is there a reason for concern this year?
- What type of deal would compel you to trade Hunt if your league doesn't have a trade deadline?
What are your thoughts on this small dip in production?
Holloway: Hunt has likely declined as the Chiefs’ offense has declined, losing three of their last four games. Hunt continues to be featured in the passing game and could again get a heavier rushing workload if the Chiefs can get ahead on the scoreboard more often.
Garda: I think its a combination of fewer opportunities and more tape on him. Defenses are a bit more hip to him and Andy Reid's plans.
I think he'll bounce back a little more down the road as the team leans on him more because of weather and a need to burn the clock, but I don't think we're going to see him reach his early-week numbers.
He does have a decent schedule down the stretch, so if I saw a reasonable combo offer - a good tier two receiver and some depth or a solid RB plus an upside receiver - I would strongly consider it. Especially if I could manage to get him and keep whoever my top RB is.
Hunt's production has declined because over the first few weeks of the season, to everyone's great surprise, he burst onto the scene as the most valuable fantasy player in the league. That was never going to be sustainable, and the only place to go from there was down. So he's come back to earth, but that was normal and expected.
Over the past two weeks, his fantasy output was especially pedestrian, but still quite within the normal ups-and-downs of a solid fantasy running back. It's not a reason for concern. He'll come out of the bye and continue performing as a solid every-week fantasy starter.
There's not a quarterback or a tight end (or, it should go without saying, a kicker or a defense) that I would trade Kareem Hunt
for in standard fantasy leagues.
The only wide receiver I'd part with him for is Antonio Brown
There are a number of running backs I'd rather have — LeVeon Bell
and Todd Gurley
for sure, Leonard Fournette
and Melvin Gordon
probably, LeSean McCoy maybe
— but that's it. I wouldn't trade him for Mark Ingram
or Jordan Howard
, for example. I still see Hunt as a solid fantasy RB1 down the stretch.
Andy Reid is a brilliant head coach, but he's prone to forgetting about his best players at times. How often in prior seasons did we hear Reid apologizing for not getting Travis Kelce
the ball enough? Or when he was with the Eagles apologizing for a game-plan that seemingly de-emphasized the top playmakers?
The good news for fantasy owners is, those streaks are always transient. If Hunt's elite start was purely due to touchdowns, and suddenly his snap count plummeted, it would be cause for concern. But Hunt remains the centerpiece of the offense and I see no reason he won't deliver Top-10 production over the final half of the year.
Assuming your trade deadline hasn't come and gone, I would pay a lot for Kareem Hunt
, and it would cost a lot to give him up. A top 10 PPR receiver would be a solid start. I don't think there's a quarterback I would give up for him.
Among running backs, I would give him up for the likes of Alvin Kamara
and another piece, if that kind of deal is out there. Trade questions are always difficult because it's all about the context of what's available and your team's needs. If you're asking me what running backs I would rather have than Hunt for the rest of the season, the list is short: LeVeon Bell
, Todd Gurley
and perhaps Leonard Fournette
Simpkins: Hunt's schedule has been more difficult and we’ve seen his snap counts fall off a little bit, perhaps because they want to preserve him for late in the season and in the playoffs. From a real football perspective, it makes complete sense. From a fantasy football perspective, it stinks for his owners.
I don’t think we should be concerned. He’s got a very favorable schedule down the stretch and as the cold weather comes and the fatigue of the season sets in, you should see them use Hunt to bully other teams. I really would be trying to acquire him if an owner in your league is discouraged about the drop-off.
In PPR, unless someone is offering me something like Christian McCaffrey and Tyreek Hill for him, I don’t want to trade Hunt. He’s got a very favorable schedule. The Giants, the Bills, the Jets, the Raiders, the Chargers, and Miami — none of those run defenses are stifling. In standard formats, I am not sure I would deal him unless I can get a more sure asset, such as a Gurley or Bell.
Wimer: As Jason noted above, Andy Reid has a long history of odd game plans that seem to forget about a key player from time to time. I think it is intentional, a way of creating uncertainty in opposing defensive coordinators' minds, but from a fantasy owners' perspective, the sudden changes in emphasis on his game plans are baffling and annoying.
Daniel pointed out the favorable upcoming schedule for Hunt, and I agree that Hunt should eat in those games, so no worries about the second half here.
Regarding trades for Hunt, I am in accordance with Daniel's points.
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