Committees and pecking orders have mostly revealed themselves as we head into Week 7, which means time is ticking to make a league-altering fantasy trade.
The NFL’s ridiculous non-guaranteed contracts and salary cap have made player-for-player trades fairly rare over the years, but it’s a market that can be exploited in fantasy by focusing on both potential mistakes in popular public opinion and seasonlong trends.
Let’s break down some of this week’s top fantasy football trade targets, as well as players you should consider selling sooner rather than later.
Top Fantasy Football Trade Target for Week 7
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The only teams to beat the Chargers this season are two of the most-popular Super Bowl contenders: The Chiefs and Rams. The Chargers are one of only six teams with a point differential of +31 or higher, and have accordingly coasted to two-score victories in three of their four wins.
Essentially the only disappointing factor in Los Angeles this season has been the production of the Chargers’ No. 1 receiver. Overall, Allen has failed to find the end zone or clear 100 receiving yards since Week 1. He’s ranked as the league’s PPR WR22 through six weeks after finishing 2017 as the overall WR3.
Of course, we’ve seen this same old song and dance before. Allen had one touchdown and two games with 100-plus yards between Weeks 1 and 10 of the 2017 season before finding the end zone five times and totaling five more 100-plus yard performances in Weeks 11-17.
There’s again reason to believe a second-half breakout could be on the horizon for Philip Rivers’ No. 1 target. Allen is one of only 12 receivers with a target share higher than 25% this season, and he leads all Chargers receivers and tight ends in red-zone targets (5).
Melvin Gordon’s early season success could continue, but betting against talented players who are receiving plenty of volume typically isn’t a winning proposition.
Go get Allen before he inevitably regains his status as one of the league’s most-productive fantasy receivers.
Honorable Mention Trade Targets
Geronimo Allison and/or Randall Cobb, WRs, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is #back … at least as far as being a weekly-fantasy star is concerned. Overall, he’s thrown for 425-plus yards with multiple touchdown passes in consecutive games.
His Week 6 performance against the 49ers made Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jimmy Graham the 13th and 14th receivers who Rodgers has helped gain 100-plus yards in a game since taking over in 2008.
We’ve seen consistent evidence for the better part of the past decade that whoever lines up in three-receiver sets with Rodgers under center will maintain fantasy relevance. Allison and Cobb were firmly entrenched alongside Davante Adams before both suffered hamstring injuries.
The Packers’ upcoming bye gives each player another week to recover, and another week for you to trade for them before the passing game’s productive second half gets underway.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals haven’t asked rookie quarterback Jose Rosen to make too many difficult throws this season, but he’s still managed to lead the offense to at least 17 points during each of his three starts in offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s prehistoric scheme.
Surprisingly, Rosen’s target distribution hasn’t featured the offense’s long-standing No. 1 receiver Larry Fitzgerald:
Cardinals target leaders with Josh Rosen under center:
Christian Kirk 21 👀
Larry Fitzgerald 17
Ricky Seals-Jones 16
David Johnson 13
Chad Williams 13
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 16, 2018
There isn’t a ton of fantasy value to go around in Arizona, but Kirk’s emergence as Rosen’s No. 1 target bodes well for a relatively-soft upcoming slate of games against the Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers.
Fantasy Football Players to Sell in Week 7
Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills and/or Danny Amendola, WRs, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins receivers probably don’t hold much value to most in fantasy, but it’s worth checking the trade market after they managed to eviscerate the Bears’ top-ranked defense in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA behind a career-best performance from Brock freaking Osweiler.
Wilson in particular balled out, as the league’s self-proclaimed No. 1 receiver in yards after the catch caught 6-of-9 targets for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
There’s plenty of speed and talent in the Dolphins offense, but it will be incredibly difficult to project each player’s weekly usage once everyone gets healthy. Amendola (75 snaps), Stills (67), Wilson (50) and Jakeem Grant (31) saw plenty of snaps against the Bears, and DeVante Parker (4) figures to see more time as he regains his health.
The larger issue for these receivers is the questionable week-to-week upside of anyone involved in one of the league’s most pass-averse offenses that also happens to operate at the slowest overall pace.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
Howard averaged 21.3 combined rush attempts and targets per game in Weeks 1-3, but has seen only 27 combined opportunities over the Bears’ past two games.
This is particularly concerning when you consider that one of the latter two games was a blowout victory with an ideal game-flow for Howard’s run-first nature, and last week’s matchup in Miami featured an extra 10 minutes of overtime action to pad the stats.
The emergence of Tarik Cohen has coincided with the Bears’ recent offensive explosion. Cohen has seized control of the backfield as both a rusher and receiver:
Bears RBs per-game averages in Weeks 1-3
Jordan Howard: 17.7 rush attempts, 3.7 targets, 48 snaps
Tarik Cohen: 4.7 rush attempts, 2.7 targets, 31.7 snaps
Howard: 12.5 rush attempts, 1 target, 34.5 snaps
Cohen: 9 rush attempts, 8.5 targets, 36.5 snaps
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 16, 2018
The Bears have averaged 24.6 points per game in Cohen’s nine career games with double-digit offensive touches, but only 15.2 points per game in the 12 games in which he had fewer than 10 touches.
Head coach Matt Nagy has apparently started to figure out that more Cohen and less Howard is better for the offense, so look to trade Howard before your fantasy rivals reach the same conclusion.
Pictured above: Keenan Allen
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports