As trade deadlines approach for many of you this week, I want to take one more shot at some high-upside plays for the playoffs. However, I recognize that some of you are still fighting to get into the playoffs, so unlike last week, when I strictly focused on playoff plays, this week I will highlight one short-term play along with one playoff play.
As a reminder– make sure you check your trade deadlines! This is super important! I have fallen victim to getting my deadlines confused with each other in the past and there are very few things worse in fantasy than working out a sweet trade and realizing that it’s past the deadline and you can’t even do it.
Now is the time to think ahead about getting your rosters set for the home stretch, especially if your deadline is this week or next.
WEEK 11 BUY-LOW
Austin Ekeler is back on the buy-low list (after he was initially a buy-low in week 5). Ekeler is a known quantity and a proven league winner. I don’t need to run through all of his accolades; you all already know. Somehow though, I feel like he is still being undervalued because he hasn’t had that one huge week yet this season (he hasn’t cleared 100 rushing yards since week 1).
Let’s be clear here: Austin Ekeler is a stud, especially in PPR formats. I know he’s only averaging 3.6 ypc. That’s realistically the only reason you likely have a chance to trade for him. A fantasy player asked me for advice today because he was offered Ekeler and Jahmyr Gibbs for Christian McCaffrey and wasn’t sure if he should do it. I would rather have Ekeler than CMC the rest of the way, just straight up and with Gibbs thrown in. This shouldn’t even be a question.
Ekeler plays the Broncos twice and the Raiders once in the final four games of the season. Despite the recent success of the Broncos, they still can’t stop the run. Those games are fantasy bonanzas waiting to happen for Ekeler. He is the single running back that I want most going into this year’s playoffs, and it’s not close. If I lose with Ekeler, then I lose with Ekeler, I’ll take that chance.
All of the hype is on Keenan Allen and the passing game from the Chargers’ shootout game with the Lions (rightfully so). Take advantage of the fact that Ekeler is coming off of solid but unspectacular numbers and treat him as priority No. 1 for any playoff run.
Realistically, I am picking Deebo Samuel here rather arbitrarily. If I’m fighting for my playoff life, I want any piece of the San Francisco passing offense I can get my hands on for the rest of the season. This move can help you immediately (playing Tampa Bay once and Seattle twice over the next month). This is also a move that can help you long-term, as Baltimore is the only team remaining on San Fran’s schedule that is tough on receivers.
If you prefer Brandon Aiyuk or George Kittle as your San Francisco pass catchers, I have no problem with going after one of them instead since it’s so volatile week-to-week. However, Kittle had that big catch this past week. Aiyuk also had a few impressive catches and a TD. While Deebo scored, it was on the ground, and he only had 30 receiving yards this week.
Basically, this is a situation where we’re taking advantage of the pillow matchups, and Deebo seems like he might be the cheapest get right now. I don’t have a preference between Deebo and Aiyuk, though, I think they have about even odds to be the guy on any given week. I’d rate Kittle as the third option, but he’s a good choice if you need a tight end.
Either way, go after whichever 49ers’ player you feel most confident in and/or whichever one is easiest to acquire. These players prioritize teams that need to win now but also want a solid asset throughout most of the playoffs.
WEEK 11 SELL-HIGH
I always hate recommending a sell on guys that I love. Kenneth Walker is a player that I really like. However, I have to focus on what makes the most sense. In this case, there are reasons for concern with Ken Walker.
My first red flag on Walker is that he was held under 10 carries for two of the past three games. He had a rebound last week with 19 carries, but still, the volume is slightly in question. The second red flag is that the Seahawks have a gross schedule against the run for the rest of the season.
Walker has a 4.1 ypc this season as a whole, but he has only gone over 4 ypc one time in the past five weeks. That one time was against Cleveland and can be attributed to one 45 yard run that accounted for 68% of his rushing yards that game. He’s always a bit hit or miss as a big play guy, but we don’t want to rely on a big play against tough defenses for our playoff lives.
Realistically, Walker has been a positive surprise this season, but it’s time to move on. Regardless of whether you’re playing for right now or stocking up for playoffs, I’d expect the production here to dry up a bit. Coming off of 120+ all-purpose yards and a TD, now seems like the appropriate time to cash in with him.
Let me start this off with two tweets:
In fairness, Stefon Diggs did not tweet this out. These tweets came from Trevon Diggs, his brother. I firmly believe that every person is responsible for their actions. Despite that fact, I have to imagine that Trevon knows his brother better than I do. If Stefon really wants to shut his brother down, he probably can. To my knowledge, Stefon has done no such thing.
The Bills do not look like a good team right now. Diggs also had some kind of blow-up with his coach (and maybe Josh Allen) before the season. I don’t feel like we ever really got the details of what happened there, other than we know there was some issue. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Diggs is unhappy with the Bills.
Compounding things further is the fact that the Bills have to play the Jets great secondary this week and a bye a few weeks later. These do not all feel like a recipe for great production from Diggs over the next month. The schedule lightens up a bit for fantasy playoff time, but who knows what will happen with this team by then.
Diggs is coming off of a crappy week (3 for 34) but has been mostly great for the past month and the season as a whole. Somebody in your league will be willing to ignore any warning signs and just take the talent.
If you are a playoff contender, I am fine with waiting things out and seeing how it goes with Diggs. If you’re fighting for a spot, however, you must strongly consider moving Diggs for a package of players. Ideally trying to get one of the San Fran boys and something extra for him. Sometimes, it takes a bold move to take down a title!