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Welcome to the Week 8 edition of Trader’s Alley for the 2021 fantasy football season. As we make our way through the mid-season slog, it’s important to stay diligent in our upkeep. Some fantasy managers are beginning to pay less attention than they did to begin the season, while others may be overreacting to their current situation, overly focused on a win-now move.
In both situations, we can pounce on their desperation (or plain ineptitude), and make a deal that solidifies our squads as bona fide championship contenders.
Below are my Trade For and Trade Away recommendations heading into Week 8. In addition to this article, don’t forget to use the 4for4 Trade Evaluator to try and mine even more value out of your moves. And remember, these recommendations are just the beginning of your fantasy trade considerations. Every league and every team is different. These are just some of the players who I’m interested in this week.
The Chiefs haven’t looked anything like their typical selves offensively over the last three weeks, losing two out of their last three games and struggling on both sides of the football. Worse, Tyreek Hill has been hampered by a lingering quad injury that has seen him miss an inordinate amount of practices throughout the month of October. Hill hasn’t had a quintessential ceiling game since Week 4 when he led the slate in fantasy points, and while he ranked 10th in fantasy scoring in Week 7, he did so on just 71 air yards and by scoring a touchdown.
However, I see Hill as one of the best targets in fantasy football right now. His leg injury is improving, he’s earned nine-plus targets in five of seven games (and 12-plus in four), and while the public perception of the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs offense might be faltering, the underlying metrics suggest their offensive prowess, at least on a per-play and per-series level, is still as elite as ever, suggesting the entire team as a positive regression candidate.
The Chiefs also have several above-average matchups for wide receivers before their Week 13 bye, according to 4for4’s Hot Spots tool.
Trade for Darrell Henderson
Coming off his worst performance of the year, now might be the perfect time to pounce on a deal for one of fantasy football’s most consistent performers throughout the first half of the NFL season. Before Week 7, Henderson hadn’t scored fewer than 15.7 fantasy points in a game, but Henderson’s usage remained entirely unchanged last week compared to the past. He still saw 21 total opportunities, directly in line with his three-game average of 20.6. He even saw six targets, tied for the most he’s seen all year. The only thing missing from last week’s game was a trip to the end zone, something he’s managed to do in every game this season except for two.
Henderson’s underlying metrics suggest an unequivocal RB1 in fantasy football, as he ranks sixth in opportunity share, 11th in total red-zone touches, and fourth in route-participation rate, and he’s playing on an offense that constantly finds itself in positive game scripts. He’s the RB7 in expected fantasy points per game, just ahead of Dalvin Cook, Jonathan Taylor, and Aaron Jones. That’s elite company. I’m all-in on acquiring pieces of this Rams offense for the playoff push. The Hot Spots tool indicates the Rams have only one below-average matchup for running backs the rest of the season.
Trade Mike Williams
Williams is in the midst of his finest season as a pro, and as a fan, it’s been great to see Williams start to live up to the potential that got him drafted in the top-10 of the NFL Draft five seasons ago. But Williams is hurt and, worse so, has a history of these lower-body injuries nagging throughout the remainder of the season, as he attempts to power through. Williams played on just 38.5 percent of the Chargers’ snaps in Week 6, running just 15 routes. In that context, his five targets indicate he got a look once every three routes run, an absurdly high rate. He’s still a vital and valuable part of the Chargers’ overall game plan, but at far from 100%, it’s hard to see him living up to the 16.6 expected fantasy points per game (using PFF’s model) he’s averaged so far this season.
Keenan Allen is a massive positive regression candidate, particularly in the touchdowns category, where Williams has arguably over-performed expectations this season, ranking fourth in total touchdowns. Williams has only two games where he’s earned more than 100 air yards and only three where he’s earned over 75. While there are certainly better days than last week’s 4.7 fantasy point game, with the Chargers’ bye week behind them — adding extra appeal for the team acquiring Williams — now is the perfect time to utilize Williams in a trade-up for a healthier, higher-floor wideout, or even a low-tier RB1, to help keep your fantasy scores more consistent as you push for a playoff spot.
A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position in middle school, Matt has been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, he loves to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone.
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