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Fantasy football: Players to buy, sell before the trade deadline

Players’ matchups the rest of the way can help decide which players to target or move in trades.

Derek Carr is a strong buy-low candidate before

Derek Carr is a strong buy-low candidate before the fantasy football trade deadline. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann

For many, fantasy football’s trade deadline is almost here. Savvy owners likely are scouring rosters for ways to sure up for a playoff run — assuming postseason hopes are still alive through 10 weeks.

One of the best ways to improve at this stage of the season is targeting players whose remaining schedules are statistically friendly for their position group. If one running back faces a majority of defenses which have been burned all season by RB, he’s a prime target. The inverse holds true, too — avoid or consider moving players with troublesome matchups ahead.

What follows are some recommended buy-sell candidates, based mostly on opponents’ 2017 track record of points allowed to a player’s position. Because many leagues complete their seasons before the final week of the NFL season, Week 17 has been omitted from consideration.


Derek Carr (Raiders) has been a letdown after his impressive 2016, but he’s set up to succeed the rest of the way. Every matchup through Week 16 looks cushy enough that the Oakland passer may play like a top-10 QB again. Other bargains include Eli Manning (Giants) and Tyrod Taylor (Bills) — in the latter case, after he faces the Chargers this weekend.

Matthew Stafford’s (Lions) owners may want to shop him around. Only one of his remaining games is against a defense (Tampa Bay) in the bottom-half of QB points allowed.

Running back

Todd Gurley (Rams) is the No. 1 non-QB in fantasy this year. He’s also got the toughest remaining schedule, by far. His value cannot be higher, so now is the time to sell for a king’s ransom, if possible. Also looking at tough sledding down the stretch are top-10 RBs Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) and Carlos Hyde (49ers).

On the other end of the spectrum is LeSean McCoy (Bills), who has some juicy matchups ahead. If his owner is down on him not being a full-on top-10 back, pounce with a solid trade offer. Same goes for Kareem Hunt (Chiefs), who has calmed down from his amazing first few games. He’s poised to bounce back against some porous RB defenses.

Wide receiver

Buy-low candidates include Kelvin Benjamin (Bills) and Sterling Shepard (Giants), both of whom are outside the top 30 in scoring and are staring at friendly schedules the rest of the way.

Owners of A.J. Green (Bengals) and T.Y. Hilton (Colts), however, should see if they can get a good return on this pair of high-drafted receivers. No team’s remaining schedule is less friendly to WRs than Indianapolis, and Cincinnati’s isn’t much better. Green, in particular, could net a strong return in a potential deal.

Tight end

Hunter Henry (Chargers) hasn’t been quite as strong as hoped to this point, but his schedule down the stretch makes him a good trade target. He’s unlikely to cost much, either. Jared Cook (Raiders), Jason Witten (Cowboys) or Evan Engram (Giants) all face TE-friendly defenses more often than not, top 10 players like this aren’t cheap.

Don’t bother pursuing Cameron Brate (Buccaneers) or Jimmy Graham (Seahawks), though. Both could find matchups through December to be troublesome.

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