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NFL Trade Deadline Winners and Losers for Fantasy Football - Nyheim Hines, Chase Claypool, Jameson Williams, Calvin Ridley

The NFL trade deadline has come and gone, and like always, nothing happened.

Wait. I'm being told that actually a whole lot happened, as we ended up with the most active NFL trade deadline ever. A day that has just been kind of perfunctory forever actually meant something on Tuesday.

Now that the trade deadline dust has settled, let's look at some fantasy winners and losers from Tuesday. An important note: I'm only looking at trades that happened on deadline day, so no Kadarius Toney or Christian McCaffrey here.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Fantasy Football Winners of the NFL Trade Deadline

Nyheim Hines - RB, Buffalo Bills

It feels like it's been talked about all season that the Bills needed to add a dynamic running back who could make plays in the receiving game, and that's exactly what they did on Tuesday.

Per PlayerProfiler, Hines leads all running backs in catch rate this season and is seventh in yards per route run. He hasn't been as involved in the passing game in Indy as you'd like to see because it's tough to take Jonathan Taylor off the field.

It'll be a lot easier to take Devin Singletary off the field. Hines is now Buffalo's most talented running back and while the team might end up playing Singletary too much still, Hines at least has upside now, something he didn't necessarily have before.

T.J. Hockenson - TE, Minnesota Vikings

The Lions surprised everyone by trading T.J. Hockenson in the division, but I guess when you get offered the draft capital that Detroit did, you don't say no.

The former Iowa tight end has been having a career year, catching three touchdowns already and averaging a career-high 56.4 yards per game, and now he joins a Vikings team that should have a better passing attack, though it's worth noting that Jared Goff has more yards and touchdowns than Kirk Cousins this year.

Hockenson is in a much more solid situation now, and he should be a threat to finish as a top-five fantasy tight end every week.

Jameson Williams - WR, Detroit Lions

With Hockenson gone, there’s going to be a new pecking order behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, and in the immediate term, Jameson Williams won’t benefit from that since the rookie is still not ready to make his NFL debut.

But at some point in the near future, he will be, and if he’s anything like he was in college, he’ll instantly command the No. 2 receiver role. Before, that role would have put him third in line for targets, but with Hockenson gone, Williams moves up a spot.

Justin Fields - QB, Chicago Bears

I’m really not sure what to think about Chase Claypool in Chicago — less competition for targets but also a lower volume offense, so it likely cancels out — but his addition should benefit quarterback Justin Fields, as he’ll now have another good wide receiver to throw to, so it won’t just be him throwing to Darnell Mooney and then some random assortment of misfit parts.

Fields has taken a step forward over the last few games, and he's coming off his best game of the season from everything but a yardage perspective, completing 73.9% of his passes in a loss to the Cowboys.

But Fields has been throwing to a really shallow receiving group. Last game, Darnell Mooney and Dante Pettis tied for the team lead in targets, for example. Dante Pettis. N'Keal Harry caught a touchdown—that's how bad this situation is.

Claypool's not an elite receiver, but he gives Fields an above-average option, which should lead to the Bears upping the passing volume for Fields just a bit.

Calvin Ridley - WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Ridley is suspended right now, so his being traded to the Jaguars doesn’t really do much this season, but it’s potentially huge news going forward, as quarterback Trevor Lawrence now has a potentially elite receiver to throw the ball to.

Now, the last two years for Ridley have been tough to parse through. He left the Falcons last season for mental health purposes, and then he was suspended this season for betting on the NFL.

But assuming he comes back next year, he now goes from a Falcons team that's full of question marks at quarterback—Marcus Mariota? Desmond Ridder?? Drafting someone in 2023???—to a Jaguars team whose quarterback is Trevor Lawrence. And while Lawrence hasn't been as impressive as some might have expected, he's been good enough to ensure he's the Jaguars starting quarterback at least through his rookie deal. It's a much better situation for a player like Ridley to be in.


Fantasy Football Losers of the NFL Trade Deadline

Devin Singletary and James Cook - RB, Buffalo Bills

Nyheim Hines could be the big winner of the deadline for the reasons I detailed above, and therefore Singletary and Cook would be the losers. This is just a case of a team adding a player with more talent to your position. Singletary probably loses some of the receiving role that he's had, so expect his career-high 26.1 receiving yards per game number to go down.

Brandin Cooks - WR, Houston Texans

Cooks wasn’t traded on Tuesday, and that’s probably bad news for him, especially considering he tweeted this just three minutes after the deadline expired:

I don't know what that means, but it seems bad!

On a more football note, the Texans are using Cooks less and less these days. Last season, he averaged 8.4 targets per game. This year, he's down to 7.6, but it's much starker if you filter out the first two weeks of this season. In the last five games, Cooks is averaging 6.2 targets, and he's gone over four receptions just once. For Cooks to have the kind of fantasy value that managers expected when they drafted him, he needed a change of scenery.

Melvin Gordon - RB, Denver Broncos

The Broncos are still apparently saying that Melvin Gordon's the starter, but after trading for Chase Edmonds, this situation isn't good.

Like...how do we make sense of that? We can't in a way that's good for Melvin Gordon, can we?

Kareem Hunt - RB, Cleveland Browns

After all the trade rumors, the Browns held on to Kareem Hunt through the deadline. He could have ended up in Buffalo with a Nyheim Hines bounce, but instead, he stays in Cleveland.

And, well...that's not great. He's down 10 rushing and seven receiving yards per game from last season, and he's gone over 50 rushing yards just once all year. And he hasn't carved out much of a receiving role, as his best game from a production standpoint was this week when he had four catches for 30 yards.

Hunt remains a low-upside fantasy play because of his role backing up Nick Chubb. Fantasy managers were really hoping that was going to change this week.

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