A rather unorthodox Thanksgiving Week is upon us, and in a good number of fantasy leagues, so is the trade deadline.
So while you’re (hopefully) planning for a safe and socially distant holiday, you’re also putting together some late-November deals, shipping off some sell-high players and/or acquiring some buy-low targets.
With those ideal trade scenarios in mind, this week’s TT&T is highlighting a buy-low and sell-high candidate at each of the four main fantasy positions. We’ll also throw in a few other names as well as you get your rosters in order for the fantasy playoff push.
One quick qualifier: These trade and player suggestions obviously are not one size fits all as they depend largely on the overall context of each roster and league.
Here goes, starting (as usual) at …
Buy low: Jared Goff, L.A. Rams
Goff upped his value Monday night, riddling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a season-high 376 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s still ranked 14th among quarterbacks who are still active with an average of 22.2 fantasy points per game.
Even with Goff’s trio of TD tosses Monday — which gave him only his fourth top-12 weekly finish among QBs in 10 games — he’s a mediocre 15th with 16 scoring passes on the season while throwing half as many interceptions and fumbling six times.
Most everything else, though, is set up for Goff to succeed big, including Sean McVay’s impressive-as-ever offensive scheme and an above-average cast of targets, including a four-deep wide receiver corps and pair of solid pass-catching tight ends.
And then there’s the Rams’ Week 12-16 slate, which according to The Huddle’s useful Fantasy Strength of Schedule tool, is the most favorable stretch for a fantasy quarterback.
So if Goff can still be acquired for a mid-level QB2 price, he’s certainly worth it considering his QB1 upside the rest of the way.
Other buy-low QBs: Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones
Sell high: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson is a sell high here, largely based on name only.
The Ravens’ QB currently ranks ninth at the position with an average of 23.3 fantasy points per game, but that’s a far cry from a season ago when he averaged 30.9 points per contest — 4.8 more than any other quarterback — in his record-setting MVP season.
Jackson still has a solid floor, finishing as a weekly top-20 fantasy QB in nine of 10 games this season, but he’s only topped 26 fantasy points in three contests after hitting that mark in 10 of 15 regular-season games in 2019.
A big reason has been Jackson’s aerial touchdown regression. He led the league with 36 passing scores a season ago, but only has 15 through 10 games, putting him on pace for 24.
On the ground, Jackson still ranks among the QB rushing leaders with 575 yards and three TDs. But he’s on pace to finish the year with 920 yards and five scores, which would be a marked decline from his record 1,206 rushing yards and seven TDs a season ago.
Still, if you’re a Jackson owner who’s picked up Aaron Rodgers or Justin Herbert earlier in the season and there’s a QB-needy owner in your league who’s still willing to pay 75 or 80 cents on the dollar for Jackson, the first QB drafted in most leagues, then by all means deal him and upgrade your team elsewhere.
Other sell-high QBs: Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson
Buy low: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor, the rookie from Wisconsin, was an early-round pick in the majority of leagues, but he’s been a mild disappointment, ranking 26th at the position with an average of 12.4 fantasy points (PPR scoring) per game.
It was especially rough in Weeks 8-10 as he totaled 22.2 fantasy points on 30 touches in those three games.
But, just when he had been relegated to the bench on many of his teams, he came through Sunday with one of his best games (15.4 fantasy points) of the season as he totaled 114 yards on 26 touches in the win over the Green Bay Packers.
Taylor’s 26 touches not only were his second-highest game total this season, they accounted for 65 percent of Indy’s 40 total RB touches in the game.
Perhaps that’s an indicator that the rookie has finally found his footing and is back in the Colts’ good graces as coach Frank Reich and Co. have maddeningly been riding the dreaded hot-hand approach in the backfield of late.
If you believe as much, swing a deal for Taylor and bank on some quick benefits as Indy’s immediate upcoming schedule (Titans, Raiders and Texans, twice) is one of the most running back-friendly in the league.
Other buy-low RBs: Myles Gaskin, David Montgomery, D’Andre Swift
Sell high: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott on Sunday came through with his best fantasy game (19.4 points) since Week 5 as he topped 100 rushing yards for the first time this season (103 on 21 carries) and added a receiving touchdown.
Still, Elliott finished with 16 fantasy points or fewer in each of his previous four games prior to the Week 10 bye and ranks eighth on the season with an average of 17.2 points per contest.
Going forward, the Dallas schedule is loaded with formidable fantasy rushing defenses (Washington, Ravens, 49ers and Eagles), but if a fellow owner in your league is willing to pay an elite RB trade price for Zeke, go ahead and jump at the chance to sell.
Other sell-high RBs: James Conner, Kenyan Drake, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Buy low: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas’ season-best Sunday outing (nine catches for 104 yards on 12 targets) have thrown a bit of a wrench into these buy-low plans, but perhaps the fantasy owner in your league is still ready to cut bait with the first-round pick, who has only produced one game with more than 10.1 fantasy points out the four he’s played while missing the other six with an ankle injury.
Injured QB Drew Brees might not be back until mid-December, but it was very encouraging to see Thomas targeted on 12 of Taysom Hill’s 23 throws Sunday and account for half of Hill’s 18 completions.
And considering that that the Saints’ remaining six games only contain one matchup (the Chiefs in Week 15) unfavorable to fantasy wide receivers, it’s a good gamble to bank that you’ll be acquiring a low-end WR1 talent on the rebound in Thomas at just the right time.
Other buy-low WRs: Robby Anderson, Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel
Sell high: Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
This precocious rookie ranks as the Steelers’ top fantasy receiver at 14th overall with 15.7 fantasy points per game, thanks largely to his 10-touchdown total, which is tied for third among all wideouts.
Claypool has one more TD than fellow Pittsburgh wideouts Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined despite the fact that Johnson (9.0) and JJSS (7.5) are averaging more targets per game (6.5).
And then there’s the Steelers’ schedule over the next five weeks, which features three unfavorable (Baltimore, Washington and Indy) and two neural matchups for fantasy wide receivers.
That established, any wide receiver buyer in your league who’s overly entranced by Claypool’s raw TD total is a prime mark to target in a deal if you’re comfortable otherwise with your wide receiver depth.
Other sell-high WRs: Mike Evans, Tee Higgins, Julio Jones
Buy low: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
Due to the continued fantasy scarcity at tight end, the buy-low, sell-high pickings are considerably slimmer here, so we’re speaking strictly in relative terms at this position.
Among the best buy-low values is Fant, the second-year Bronco who ranks eighth at the position with 10.4 fantasy points per game, but is fourth among tight ends with 6.4 targets per outing.
Fant’s two receiving TDs came in the first two games of the season, and his seven scoreless games since — several of which he’s played at less than full strength — might have the Fant owner in your league open to swinging a deal.
A final check in Fant’s favor is the Broncos’ schedule over the next five weeks, which ranks as the second-best fantasy tight end itinerary over that span, according to The Huddle’s fantasy strength of schedule metrics.
Other buy-low TEs: Evan Engram, Hunter Henry, Dalton Schultz
Sell high: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans
Again, it’s not advisable to part with a productive tight end, but there are a few worth selling if you happen to be rostering a couple of legit starting options.
Smith, averaging the sixth-most fantasy points per game at 11.2, is tied with Travis Kelce for the tight end lead with seven TD catches, but he’s done so on 41 fewer targets (90-49) and 36 fewer receptions (66-30).
In all, that’s means touchdowns have accounted for a whopping 37.5 percent of Smith’s 111.9 overall fantasy-point production, and you don’t need an analytics degree to realize that hauling in a scoring pass on every 4.3 receptions as Smith has this season isn’t overly sustainable.
Other sell-high TEs: Jared Cook, Jimmy Graham, Robert Tonyan