Raybon’s Fantasy Football Trade Targets: Which Players to Buy and Sell for Week 12
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11)
- Which players should you be looking to add to your fantasy football roster in Week 12? Which ones should you let go?
- Chris Raybon breaks down the targets on this weekend's slate that present value in the fantasy football market.
Remember when Zach Pascal was a thing?
If you’re still reading this column each week, you’re likely in the playoff hunt and have a late (or no) trade deadline, so just continue to look for ways to improve your team with trades even if you don’t have any gaping holes.
Sometimes simply selling high on a guy whose regression is clear as day like Pascal can help you avoid start/sit traps that could’ve up ended up negatively impacting your playoff seeding, while buying low on guys like Kenyan Drake or Joe Mixon could benefit you when you least expect it.
And sometimes an exchange can work in your favor simply due to injury luck. There was no way of predicting past sell-high recommendations like Alshon Jeffery, Matthew Stafford, and, most recently, Damien Williams, would get injured in short order, but peaking value generally comes with good health as a prerequisite.
So although we talk more explicitly about injury in regard to buying low on players who are returning from injury, there’s also an injury regression factor working in your favor when selling high that often goes overlooked. It’s all about attempting to net as many positive edges as you can leading up to the playoffs.
But without further ado, here are three trade targets and three sell-highs ahead of Week 12.
Week 12 Trade Targets
WR DeVante Parker, Dolphins
Parker is more of a straight-up trade target than prototypical buy-low, as he’s coming off a 7-135-0 performance against Buffalo, his first time topping 70 yards since Week 1. But if a hasty owner doesn’t quite trust Parker and tries to sell after the big day, I’d be more than willing to take him off their hands.
Since Ryan Fitzpatrick took back the starting job in Week 7, Parker has been getting true No. 1 receiver usage, drawing 24% of the targets and 29% of the air yards (per AirYards.com). And in the two games since Preston Williams (ACL) hit the IR, those figures have jumped to 26% of the targets and a whopping 43% of the air yards.
To close out the season, Miami gets a middling matchup with Cleveland (17th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers), followed by smooth sailing against three bottom-five units (Giants, 31st; Jets, 30th; Eagles, 28th), and then a Bengals outfit that currently rates as the best matchup in the NFL for opposing WR1s, according to Football Outsiders DVOA vs. receivers metric.
I’d target Parker as a rest-of-season WR2 with weekly WR1 upside as long as the gun-slinging Fitzpatrick is at the helm.
RB Derrius Guice, Redskins
When now-fired former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden healthy-scratched Adrian Peterson in Week 1 so that he could feature Guice, word out of Washington was that he lost the locker room by casting aside a decorated vet in AP, so you had to figure interim coach Bill Callahan would tread lightly in Guice’s first game back since coming off IR.
Peterson got nine carries to Guice’s seven, but Guice still managed to salvage his fantasy day with a 45-yard receiving score. On the surface, the performance is unlikely to have moved the needle for many Guice owners, as Washington fell behind 34-3 and third-stringer Wendell Smallwood ended up leading the backfield in snaps in mop-up duty.
But a gamble on Guice could result in a player who flirts with rock-solid RB2 value for a team that has run the ball at the fourth-highest rate in the league since Callahan took over (53%). Guice out-snapped Peterson, 20-17 and ran 10 routes to Peterson’s four, which marked a season-low for AP.
With the ‘Skins needing to see what they have in their 2018 second-round pick who only has two games of NFL experience under his belt to this point, Guice’s role is all but certain to grow, and Washington’s remaining schedule presents the ideal environment to feed him.
Their remaining slate includes four great matchups — the Lions, who rank 18th in run-defense DVOA and allow the most fantasy points in the league to opposing running backs, the Panthers and Packers, who rank 32nd and 28th, respectively, in rushing DVOA, and the Giants, who are allowing the third-most carries (25.4) and seventh-most rushing yards (107.8) per game to opposing backs. Their lone difficult matchup comes against the Eagles, who rank seventh in rushing DVOA.
Guice is a low-risk, high-reward gamble who you should be able to acquire for WR3/FLEX types.
WR Adam Thielen, Vikings
A hamstring injury has forced Thielen to miss three of the last five games and leave the other two before running even a half-dozen routes, but he is reportedly on track to make his return following this Week’s bye. In the six games Thielen played start to finish, he led the team with a 25% target share and also amassed 36% of the air yards.
At 8-3, the Vikings are in the thick of the playoff race and their Weeks 13-16 opponents net out to a .575 winning percentage, so Thielen figures to resume putting up high-end WR2 production with WR1 upside upon his return.
With Minnesota on bye this week and Thielen not officially in the clear yet, you can afford to be patient, but I would gear up to pounce while his stock is still suffering due to the long hiatus.
Week 12 Sell Highs
WR John Brown, Bills
On the surface, Brown is exactly what you want from a fantasy wide receiver this time of year: consistent.
The former Cardinal and Raven is yet to be held to fewer than 51 yards in a game. With last week’s nine-catch, 137-yard, two-touchdown demolition of the Dolphins, Brown is now perched among the top five fantasy wide receivers over the past five weeks.
Time to sell.
Despite the solid weekly yardage totals, Brown failed to generate much upside in Buffalo’s low-volume passing attack, reaching the end zone in only two other games.
And Brown has feasted on sieve-like defenses, racking up most of his digits against the defenses that rank in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.
He has faced three bottom-five units — the Giants (31st), Jets (30th), and Eagles (28th) — plus the Dolphins twice (20th), Titans (18th), and Redskins (17th), in addition to a Bengals defense that ranks 11th in fantasy points allowed to all wide receivers, but as mentioned earlier, is dead last in efficiency vs. No. 1 wide receivers.
On tap for Brown is a far less forgiving schedule that features three top-five defenses in terms of fantasy production allowed to wideouts: Week 12 vs. Denver (third), Week 13 at Dallas (fourth), and Week 16 at New England (first).
In between, he’ll face two defenses in the top 12 in DVOA vs. No. 1s in the Ravens (seventh) and Steelers (12th). Brown’s stock is a good bet to never be higher, so this is the time to capitalize and avoid a nightmarish five-game string that culminates with a dreaded trip to Foxboro during fantasy championship week.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Every so often a quarterback who isn’t quite every-week starter material puts together a hot enough stretch that they may come into enough value to be a useful trade chip. Garoppolo certainly qualifies after averaging 329.7 passing yards and 3.0 touchdowns over his past three games.
His numbers scream regression after he attempted just 27.0 passes per game over the first seven before uncorking 42.7 per outing over his last three.
His remaining schedule includes three top-10 defenses in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (Packers, ninth; Ravens, seventh; Rams, 10th), as well as matchups against the Saints, who rank eighth in pass-defense DVOA, and the Falcons, who have allowed 6.55 yards per attempt and no touchdowns on 96 attempts since Dan Quinn moved Raheem Morris from wide receivers coach to defensive backs coach.
TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Rudolph has an unsustainable 20 catches and five touchdown catches over his last five games, including four scores over his past three games. But once the touchdowns regress, it could get ugly, as Rudolph has been held to 23 or fewer yards in three of those past five contests and eight of 11 overall.
The tight end position is so banged up and generally ugly that you may be able to parlay Rudolph’s recent hot stretch into a player that, you know, actually gains meaningful yardage in more than 27% of his games.
He won’t be in high demand this week given the bye, but I’d at least start to put feelers out in hopes of moving him before any positive news regarding Thielen is confirmed, as Rudolph averaged 1.5 catches for a scores 12.0 yards per game in the six full games Thielen played.