NFL Trade Deadline Preview: Fantasy Implications for 8 Targets, Including Kareem Hunt & Chase Claypool
Getty Images. Pictured: Kareem Hunt (left), Melvin Gordon (center) and Chase Claypool.
There may be more skill-position players available at the NFL trade deadline than usual. We’ve already seen Christian McCaffrey and Kadarius Toney traded, and there’s an elite running back class of free agents coming this spring.
We’re here to help you get ahead of the moves. Below, you can find players who might be moved before Tuesday. Our experts are here to help you plan accordingly for if/when they are traded.
Here’s how Sean Koerner recommends handling a big trade involving a fantasy-relevant player at the deadline, which is Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. ET:
Go through the three different things we process whenever a fantasy-relevant player is traded:
- Wow, fantasy-relevant player went to Team X! I wonder how that impacts his fantasy value.
I wonder how fantasy relevant player going to Team X impacts his new teammates. Are Players X, Y or Z no longer playable?
Now that fantasy-relevant player is on a new team, that means Player X moves up the depth chart as the team’s starter or now could potentially become the starter/fantasy relevant based on good play and/or an injury
The faster you can get to No. 3, the sharper a fantasy manager you will be. Nos. 1 and 2 are probably the most interesting and the ones that come to top of mind initially, but there usually isn’t an action you can typically take for either. No. 3 is usually involving a player who is widely avail and it’s a race to add him.
Hunt is set to be a free agent after the season and he was unhappy that he hadn’t been given a new contract during training camp. Hunt almost held out but ultimately stayed the course and has continued being a productive RB this season. He has been among the NFL hot stove of late.
Sean Koerner: D’Ernest Johnson would become a bench stash with upside. He’s unlikely to inherit the full Hunt role, so he will likely need Nick Chubb to miss time in order to offer any real value, but he has proven that he can handle a full workload when needed. He would become an RB2 in the event of a Nick Chubb injury.
I would still prefer to have Khalil Herbert or Rachaad White, who would be in similar situations, but they actually have a path to offer RB3/Flex value without needing an injury. Nick Chubb is too talented to fall into a time share with Johnson.
Chris Raybon: Hunt was hogging roughly 30% of the backfield carries and 40-50% of the backfield routes, so Chubb will be in the running for overall RB1 with him out of the picture. Johnson will likely see an uptick in usage, but will likely fall short of inheriting Hunt’s entire role.
During training camp, there were rumblings that the Raiders weren’t the biggest fans of Jacobs, who has run like a man possessed this season. Set to be a free agent after this season because his fifth-year option wasn’t picked up, it would make sense for Las Vegas to cash in on Jacobs.
Sean Koerner: Zamir White would be an immediate priority add since he would likely become the Raiders’ lead back and offer RB2/3/Flex value the rest of season. His upside would be capped since he would likely concede passing down work to Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah, but the new Raiders regime likely took White in the fourth round with the intention of starting him in 2023. A Jacobs trade would push that start date to this season.
Chris Raybon: White figures to get the first crack at replacing Jacobs on early downs, but does Josh McDaniels trust him in pass protection? Bolden and Abdullah will see most of Jacobs’ vacated passing-down snaps. White could have RB3 value but likely won’t catch many passes. Bolden and Abdullah will be difficult to predict on a weekly basis and will have a capped ceiling unless they start seeing 8-10 carries, which is unlikely.
If I told you that Javonte Williams would be out for the season by Week 8 but Gordon might be the third RB on the Broncos’ depth chart, you’d think I was crazy. Well, Gordon is a free agent after the season, and Denver has Latavius Murray and Mike Boone already in the backfield. It would make sense for the Broncos to take a draft pick for Gordon if possible.
Sean Koerner: Murray would become the clear lead back for the Broncos and offer RB2/3 value rest of season. He should already be rostered in most leagues considering he has a path to becoming an every week RB2/3 option even if Gordon isn’t traded and he stays healthy.
Chris Raybon: With Boone on IR and Gordon now out of the picture, Murray will likely become a workhorse in the short term. He could see usage similar to his Broncos debut, when he recorded 16 touches for 64 yards. Murray will have RB2 value in the short term but Hackett will likely turn back to a committee approach sooner rather than later.
The Bears’ Week 7 win puts them in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC at 3-4, so selling might not be the way they go. But Khalil Herbert has proven himself to be a high-quality backup RB, and Montgomery is out of contract after the season. Could Chicago sell Montgomery for a draft pick to give Herbert the reins?
Sean Koerner: Herbert would become a mid-range RB2 with RB1 upside in plus matchups. He should already be rostered in pretty much every league by now. Trestan Ebner would become Herbert’s handcuff but he wouldn’t see a big enough workload to provide any fantasy value sans a Herbert injury.
Chris Raybon: With Montgomery out of the picture, Herbert immediately becomes an RB1. Herbert averages 5.0 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per reception for his career and finally gets to couple his efficiency with a full workload in the Bears’ run-heavy offense. The Bears also like Ebner, who will likely see an uptick in usage on passing downs, but he’s unlikely to be useful in fantasy.
There’s a lot to like about Williams, who has been productive throughout his career in Green Bay and Detroit. One of the league’s elite backup RBs, he’s a free agent after the season and is playing for a team that has little/no playoff aspirations.
Sean Koerner: D’Andre Swift would obviously be a RB1 rest of season when he’s healthy. He’s already rostered in every league, so there wouldn’t be any real action item regarding him. Craig Reynolds would become his handcuff and may be able to inherit enough of Jamaal’s role to provide RB3/Flex value at times. However, his upside is capped with the presence of Justin Jackson, so this really wouldn’t be a situation I would be looking to target.
Chris Raybon: Trading Williams may signal that the Lions are finally ready to let Swift carry the load. Remember, Swift had a 33-carry game last season. He becomes a high-end RB1 for as long as he’s healthy. Reynolds and Jackson will split work behind Swift.
Claypool has been moved to the slot this season for a Steelers team that is building toward the future. He is talented, but Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are the go-to guys on the outside for Kenny Pickett. Claypool has been rumored to be frustrated with his role and might be available for a trade.
Chris Raybon: Trading Claypool should eventually make way for Calvin Austin to take over as the WR3. However, with him on season-ending IR, the Steelers will have to make due with some combination of Steven Sims, Gunner Olszewski and Miles Boykin in that role. This should funnel more targets to Johnson, Pickens and Pat Freiermuth, who each get a bump. Pickens should benefit the most and should be able to fully break out down the stretch.
Broncos country is not riding smoothly this season. Cortland Sutton is clearly the number one in Denver for whoever is under center, while Jeudy has been inconsistent throughout his career. Like Claypool, the talent is there, and maybe it can be unleashed somewhere else.
Sean Koerner: There’s a chance K.J. Hamler could get traded as well so there is some potential for a Broncos wideout to move up the depth chart. Unfortunately, it’s a bit unclear exactly who that will be as Montrell Washington really hasn’t seen much opportunity as a rookie and Kendall Hinton doesn’t have the talent to produce consistent fantasy value. I think this would just pave the way for Greg Dulcich to become an every week TE1, especially if the Broncos cut Albert O loose.
Chris Raybon: With Jeudy out of the picture, it’s now or never for Hamler. He likely won’t put up Jeudy-type numbers, but Hamler is an explosive second-round talent who is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues. Jeudy being gone should also bump Dulcich up to the No. 2 target after Sutton and allow him to post consistent TE1 numbers the rest of the way.
Cooks is no stranger to being traded. He’s under contract through next season and is as reliable a playmaker as you’ll find on the trade market right now. Houston would surely take a draft pick for the veteran receiver, who would immediately boost any offense.
Sean Koerner: Nico Collins would step up as the Texans’ No. 1 wide out, but he just suffered a pretty significant groin injury and it’s unclear as to when he will be able to return. Phillip Dorsett, Chris Moore and Tyron Johnson would form an uninspiring starting trio while Collins is out and Moore may be the best bet to possibly eke out WR4 value. This is Dameon Pierce’s offense and it’s probably a situation to avoid, aside from stashing Nico Collins for when he returns to action, he has WR3 upside.
Chris Raybon: Trading Cooks clears the way for Collins to get a crack at the WR1 role once he returns from his groin injury. Collins could post WR3 numbers with increased volume. Moore and Dorsett will round out the top three WRs but are unlikely to provide a consistent floor.