If you have Ezekiel Elliott on your fantasy team, chances are you’re feeling a bit uneasy about his situation at the moment.
The next hearing for the Cowboys running back will be held next week, which means he’ll be able to play this weekend against Washington. Elliott ran for 147 yards with two rushing touchdowns in Week 7 against San Francisco. He also caught a 72 yard touchdown pass on his way to 40 fantasy points in point-per-reception leagues.
There’s no debating Elliott is one of the best backs in the league, but it remains to be seen if he’ll have to serve his six-game suspension this season. Elliott’s owners should have a backup plan.
That could be stockpiling running backs, or simply protecting the investment with Darren McFadden and/or Alfred Morris. Despite being inactive every game this season, McFadden is the player Elliott owners should have, as he’s more suited for a bigger role than Morris if given the opportunity. With that said, you’d be silly not to see what you can get for Elliott.
If you are currently outside of a fantasy playoff spot, the time to flip Elliott is now. If he does get suspended next week for six games, he would miss Weeks 9-14. That would be a big blow to anybody’s chance of making the playoffs. Look for an RB1 in return as well as a WR2 or WR3. Think Mark Ingram and Stefon Diggs or Chris Hogan. Whatever it is, make sure you ask for the moon, then start lowering your demand. If you’re looking for a trading partner, look to the people atop your league standings. They may be more willing to take a risk.
Amari Cooper has been a buy low candidate for weeks, and now that he exploded for 11 catches, 210 yards, and two touchdowns, why not see what you can get for him? This is what fantasy is all about. If you paid 50 cents on the dollar for Cooper, now flip him for double the price. Cooper is going to have games like he did through Weeks 3-6 (nine catches for 51 yards), and if you need some depth to get into the playoffs he’s the best guy to trade.
Cooper has a tough matchup this week in Buffalo, he’s on bye Week 10, and then he plays the Broncos and Giants in Week 12 and 13. The Giants are not the same defense we are used to seeing, but Cooper only has 16 catches for 151 yards on 36 targets in his career against Denver. He had two catches for 9 yards on eight targets earlier in the year against them, and he had an eight target, zero catch game against them a couple years ago. Staying put is understandable, as Cooper jumped from WR84 to WR25 in PPR formats with last week’s performance, but at least flirt with the idea of selling high.
Outlooks on players change week to week. Much like Cooper’s value has changed, so has Adrian Peterson’s. He was a sell high candidate last week and now that he had a bad performance, and the Cardinals are heading into the bye, it’s likely the AP owner wants nothing to do with him anymore. Especially with Carson Palmer being sidelined from anywhere to 4-8 weeks with a broken arm. Peterson probably doesn’t have a whole lot to offer, but he won’t cost much for someone in need of running back depth. He draws the 49ers out of the break, and has some easy games coming up on the schedule.
In standard leagues, it’s tough to roll Javorius Allen out there because the offense in Baltimore is so bad. With all the injuries to the team’s receivers, it leaves Allen as one of, if not the No. 1 option in the passing game. He led all backs last week with 11 targets and eight catches. It probably won’t take much to get him or Jerick McKinnon. People saw the week from Latavius Murray, and although some runs like that may happen (mostly against teams like Baltimore), McKinnon is the guy to own in PPR formats. There’s a window here with Allen and McKinnon to buy. Go take it.
If you’re looking for a quarterback, Matt Ryan likely continues to frustrate his owners. He only has one 300-yard game after having four at this time last season. Ryan has a 7-6 touchdown to interception ratio, and has only hooked up with Julio Jones once this year. Ryan is currently QB25, and his upside is high enough where it’s worth the risk to acquire him if you lost Aaron Rodgers.
It’s always nice to find some production at the tight end position, so it’s understandable why O.J. Howard has some appeal. Jameis Winston certainly likes to throw, but he has a lot of weapons. Howard is at best the fourth option in the passing game behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate. The Bucs’ other tight end isn’t going anywhere, and has four touchdowns on the season, after having a position high eight last season. Howard won’t be consistent enough to play week in and week out.