We're almost through six weeks of fantasy football - a critical time for fringe teams who need a win to stay in contention to acquire that coveted playoff seed. The best way to do it? Leverage trades for those performing below expectation, who have a favorable upcoming schedule to get them back on track. Here are some of my favorite trade targets for the coming weeks to help carry you to playoff contention amidst the midseason injury pileup and bye weeks.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Fellow WR Cooper Kupp has stolen much of the glory in Los Angeles after managing four 100-yard games in his first five starts returning from a torn ACL in 2018. Let's not forget reliable ol' Robert Woods, though. Woods entered 2019 fresh off a career-year where he managed to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark for the first time and received a $1 million raise from the Rams. Though he's not off to the hot start we saw last season, we should note that Woods remains on pace for 136 targets and ranks as a WR2 in PPR formats. The Rams have struggled to move the ball as efficiently as they have in years past, but their upcoming schedule should provide a boost to the passing game that should get them back on track. Woods will see Atlanta and Cincinnati in the next two weeks, which should provide an opportunity for a bounceback against some weaker secondaries if Jared Goff can manage to deliver the ball accurately and establish a rhythm early.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins entered 2019 with a bang after posting 198 yards and three touchdowns to start the season. He's been disappointing since that time, ranking as the WR74 through the last five weeks, while names like Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson accounted for the bulk of receiving yards. Through his time in Kansas City, Watkins has done his best work while Tyreek Hill is on the field, averaging nearly five more fantasy points per game when both are active. Lucky for Watkins, Hill has returned to the active lineup from his clavicle injury, clearly in midseason form. In his first game back from injury, Hill managed eighty yards and two scores. Watkins wound up with a hamstring injury in Week 4 but looks to be on track to start Thursday night's matchup against the Broncos. His lack of production and injury history likely have his fantasy owners frustrated. Now's the time to make a move to acquire Watkins, at a significant discount. Reap the benefits of a shift in primary coverage from Watkins to Hill that should afford him some breathing room to make big plays moving forward.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
After a slow start in his rookie season, Michael Gallup has bounced back in a significant way. So far, in 2019, Gallup has managed two 100-yard games and leads wide receivers in yards per route run heading into Week 6. Unfortunately for Dallas, veteran wideout Amari Cooper left Sunday's game with a thigh bruise. Though this should not keep him out long term, it could certainly be a pain tolerance issue moving forward. Should Cooper miss any time, Gallup and Randall Cobb would foot the bulk of the Cowboys' targets. This can only mean good things for the young wideout who has yet to see fewer than seven targets in any contest and is tied for second in fantasy points per snap among wide receivers. Gallup will see the Eagles and Giants in his next two outings and will be a prime flex candidate as the Cowboys passing offense looks to get back on track.
Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
Royce Freeman was drafted in the third and fourth rounds of fantasy drafts in 2018 only to have UDFA Phillip Lindsay pull the rug out from under us. Lindsay dominated offensive snaps and was efficient in doing so, averaging 5.6 yards per touch and leaving Freeman owners in the dust. The Broncos coaching staff have stuck true to their word as far as achieving a split on carries in 2019. Through six weeks, Freeman has been averaging around 50% of offensive snaps, accomplishing the timeshare the Broncos hoped for in the offseason. Through six weeks, Freeman is the RB25 in PPR formats, despite having yet to score a touchdown on the season. He's been consistent, averaging 10.7 fantasy points per game, and can be acquired on the cheap given his lack of explosion so far in 2019. The Broncos have the Chiefs, Colts, and Browns through the next three weeks, all top fifteen options in terms of fantasy points allowed to the running back per game. Acquire Freeman as a throw-in piece for a safety net with upside in the passing game to help get you through bye weeks with a relatively safe floor.
Editor's Note: Here are some of the top guys to target for trades, but who should you give up? Plug your trade props into our Season Pass Trade Analyzer to make sure you're coming out on top of every deal!
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Fantasy points aren't always pretty, and Josh Allen is here to remind us of that. Despite continuing to struggle with turnovers, he ranks 13th in average fantasy points per game so far on the season -- Yes, even when accounting for his 153 yards, three-interception game against the Patriots in Week 4. Allen has seen a few difficult matchups that have likely highlighted his ball security issues but fear not, fantasy owners. Allen's seen a nice boost in completion percentage from his rookie season from 52% to 62% and continues to scramble, averaging 8.2 attempts per game. Looking ahead, the Bills will next see Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, all softer defensive matchups that should allow Allen and company some breathing room through the air. Allen's rushing ability affords him a safer floor in fantasy than most, so trade for him coming off the bye and a couple of down weeks to reap the benefits of his midseason schedule.
As an owner of the Patriots Defense, this one kills me. However, trading in fantasy football is all about knowing when to sell high and buy low. There is no hotter defense in fantasy football right now, and there's a legitimate chance you can sell them for a higher-end skill position piece to help get you through the bye weeks and injuries mounting midseason. The Patriots Defense currently leads in average fantasy points per game (22.5), but it shouldn't be surprising given the soft schedule they've seen thus far. Coming up, the Patriots will see some tougher offensive units in the Ravens, Cowboys, Texans, and Chiefs that may dampen their fantasy production despite the incredible start they've had to the season. Leverage their hot start to acquire a running back or wide receiver and stream your defensive matchups through the fantasy season, and you'll likely see a massive payoff.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
This one will hurt, folks. It's always tough to sell a wide receiver coming off the elite performance you'd hoped for when drafting him, but it's likely the right time for Stefon Diggs. Barring any big performances on Monday Night Football, Diggs should finish as the WR1 on the week after amassing 167 yards and three touchdowns. He got the "squeaky wheel treatment" after rumors circulated that he'd like to be traded, after accumulating fines for missed practices and team meetings. The receiving corps has had two consecutive matchups that favor the pass, but the fact remains that the Vikings are a run-first team. If you can leverage Diggs as a piece in a trade to acquire an asset like Cooper Kupp, now is the time. Diggs should continue to have occasional boom weeks, but inconsistencies in offensive performance make him a risky every-week start.