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Fantasy Winners and Losers - NFL Trade Deadline

The NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and it was a doozy this year. In a league where deadline deals used to be incredibly rare, Tuesday was a breath of fresh air. It was almost like we were watching the NBA or MLB trade deadline happen.

Here's a quick summary of the deals from Tuesday and the week or so preceding the deadline that we need to talk about: Amari Cooper is a Cowboy, Demaryius Thomas is a Texan, Golden Tate is an Eagle, Ty Montgomery is a Raven. Some defensive players moved around too, but there's not much of a point in going into all that right now.

Alright, let's get to the winners and losers of this deadline!

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Trade Deadline Winners

Courtland Sutton - Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos

Sutton is the big winner of the day because the promising rookie now has a clear spot in this team's rotation. Demaryius Thomas had a target share of 20 percent or higher in five of eight games, and now Sutton will step into that role and should see a good bump in his targets. Considering he's already second on the team in air yards per game, an increase in targets should lead to some good things for Sutton, who is 19th in average air yards. Keenum should be pushing the ball down the field toward the rookie.

Baller Move: Is he still on waivers in your league? Probably not because you are reading this the day after waivers typically run, but if he's still sitting there in the free agency pile for some reason, grab him. Now.

Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. - Wide Receivers, Detroit Lions

Golden Tate has had a target share between 22.9 and 30.8 every week, so at a minimum, this opens up some things for the Lions other two receivers. While Jones and Golladay have both had games where they were heavily involved, Jones has four games with a target share under 20 percent, while Golladay has five. I expect both guys to see a more stable piece of this offense, and that consistency will make it a lot to easier to insert them into your WR2 spot.

Baller Move: First, make sure they're not on waivers. They shouldn't be, but Golladay was in one of my leagues last week. If you don't own either player and you want to, maybe go out and explore the trade market a little, but don't be surprised to find owners unwilling to part with them. If you have one of them, play him.

My T.J. Jones Dynasty Shares - Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions


I was getting tired of having Jones sitting there uselessly on my bench on a team that was running the same three receivers over and over, but space is now opened up for Jones. It may not be this year in terms of fantasy production, but getting him on the field and familiar with Matthew Stafford can only lead to better things than he's had going for him lately.

(Of course, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that Brandon Powell is likely to see a lot of time as the third receiver, so he also gets a lift here, especially in dynasty leagues.)

Baller Move: Is Jones available in your dynasty league? Do you have a lot of bench spots and are willing to take risks to make good things potentially happen next year, even though they probably won't? Jump on it! (And Powell too. If you have space for both, great. I still think Jones is a better option in the long run, but on a team that's proven it likes to use three receivers, both guys have some deep league potential.)

Deshaun Watson - Quarterback, Houston Texans

You could put Demaryius Thomas in this spot, but I think Watson is the real winner in the wake of the Will Fuller injury that landed Fuller on the IR and made Houston desperate for a receiver. Remember that without Fuller or Keke Coutee to start the year, Watson wasn't very good. He completed just half of his passes in the season opener, throwing a touchdown and a pick against the Patriots. He was very likely trending that direction before that deal, but now we can rejoice because Watson is about as valuable today as he was heading into this past weekend. Thomas isn't a huge deep threat, but Houston can use him underneath and stretch the field with Coutee. This can work.

Baller Move: Just, umm, keep starting Watson? You may have been tempted to bench him if the offense became limited post-Fuller, but now you can keep him in there with confidence.

Ty Montgomery - Running Back, Baltimore Ravens

Montgomery isn't the big winner or anything, and it's unlikely that you'll want to go out and grab him for your fantasy team as he heads from one crowded backfield to the next, but after Sunday's implosion in which Montgomery disobeyed team orders and ran a kick-off out of the endzone that resulted in a fumble and no chance for Aaron Rodgers to lead a comeback for the Packers, a change of scenery is an improvement on the disappearing act he would have done in Green Bay.

The Ravens two main running backs, Alex Collins and Javorius Allen, have negative defense-adjusted yards above replacement on the year, while Montgomery has a slightly higher negative number in that category. Among backs when looking at receiving yardage, though, Montgomery's DYAR of 32 is better than both players, and he ranks 11th among backs in adjusted receiving value over average. There should be opportunities for Montgomery to play in this backfield and it's quite possible he's the most talented player in it now.

Baller Move: Ty Montgomery is both available in a lot of leagues and should remain available in most, but if you're playing in a deeper league and want to take a chance on him maybe delivering production equal to the good version of Javorius Allen, go ahead.

Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper - Quarterback and Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys

Amari Cooper might still struggle with his consistency since the Cowboys don't have a top-tier quarterback to get him the ball. I could see the lows being higher, but the highs being lower at the same time, but that still puts him in a little safer territory on a week-to-week basis, while Prescott has a little more upside with an actual go-to receiver. (Probably. Amari Cooper is probably a go-to guy, right? He just needed a change of scenery, right?)

Baller Move: I actually like Prescott in two-quarterback leagues right now, but I don't foresee this being enough for me to like him in the leagues where you start one quarterback on a consistent-enough basis to pick him up anywhere. And for Cooper, I'd be a little more confident playing him because I imagine those one-catch games aren't going to keep happening in Dallas.


Trade Deadline Losers

Nelson Agholor - Wide Receiver - Philadelphia Eagles


I don't love the Golden Tate fit, but I'm also not quite ready to call it a loss for Tate. Agholor, though, becomes the third receiver on a team where the current third receiver, Jordan Matthews, averages a 7.9 percent target share. With Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, and Zach Ertz clearly ahead in the pecking order and Dallas Goedert growing into a threat as well, is there any room for Agholor? Probably not.

Baller Move: I'd already be ready to move on in shallower leagues. The Eagles have a bye this week, so by the time Week 10 rolls around they'll likely have Tate ready to go. Hold Agholor in deeper leagues just to see what happens, but be ready to jettison him if he sees the third receiver usage that other Eagles receivers have received.

Javorius Allen - Running Back - Baltimore Ravens

Let's assume Alex Collins is still the lead back in Baltimore, but the Ty Montgomery acquisition sure casts doubt on Allen's role as the receiving back. He's already seen a fairly significant drop in snap rate over the past three games mixed Gus Edwards into things. Montgomery's advanced receiving numbers, as covered above, surpass what Allen has done, and I fail to see Allen having nearly as much of a role once Montgomery has worked his way into this offense.

Baller Move: If you don't own Allen, good. If you do and don't need to make an immediate move for any reason, feel free to hold onto him and see how the offense looks.

Any Dallas Receiver Not Named Amari Cooper or Cole Beasley

Maybe I have the wrong read on this, but there are, in my opinion, two good wide receivers on the Dallas Cowboys roster. There's Cooper, who just became part of that roster, and there's Cole Beasley, who is a good slot guy that I wrote in-depth on a few weeks back. But the rest? Michael Gallup likely will be good at some point, Allen Hurns was good a few years ago but has been a non-entity most of the time, and Deonte Thompson is Deonte Thompson. Tavon Austin's big-play abilities are too inconsistent to start him in fantasy lineups. Tight end Geoff Swaim has shown flashes, but he's currently dealing with a knee issue.

Baller Move: Don't own any Dallas receivers in re-draft leagues aside from those two guys. Maybe in a 14-team league I'll bite on Gallup's potential. Maybe.

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