NFL Trade Deadline: Early Outlooks

Mid-season blockbuster trades don’t seem to come often in the NFL as opposed to other sports. 2017 is a very different season, though. We were already treated to Adrian Peterson being traded to Arizona a few weeks after their star RB David Johnson went down in Week 1. The last 24 hours, however, have really shaken things up.

Here are the trades that went down and what it means for your fantasy team:

Jimmy Garoppolo traded to the San Fransisco 49ers:

This is exciting for many reasons. Not only do we get to see arguably the best backup QB in the NFL finally do his thing as a starter, but we also get to see what happens to him and the Patriots in the offseason. Although he only has a few NFL games as a starter under his belt, Jimmy G looks like he’s very much capable of being a starter on another team. It’s hard to really make a name for yourself when you’re sitting behind one of the greatest QBs to ever hold a football. Last year while filling in for Brady’s suspension, Garoppolo posted two solid games throwing to the likes of 264-1 and 232-3. These would be good for 15 and 21 standard fantasy points, respectively. He earned a respectable 113.3 QB rating in 2016.

This trade will make Garoppolo a fantasy-relevant QB in time, and he is most likely worth the waiver pickup immediately. However, early speculation looks like he will be held out of the starter role for week 9.

Another player that will surely benefit from this trade is Pierre Garçon (and all of the SF offense, really). With underwhelming quarterbacks, Garçon has had a decent fantasy season in PPR formats, and a disappointing season in standard formats. He should see his numbers increase once he forms some chemistry with his new QB. At this point, you could hold on and hope he turns into a weekly WR2 play, or potentially use this news to package-and-sell. Personally, I’d be holding on.

Jay Ajayi traded to the Philadelphia Eagles:

This is a breath of absolutely pure, fresh air for Ajayi owners. At this point, literally anywhere would be an upgrade for him. The Miami OLine did him no favors, leaving him to put up some terrible numbers so far this year. Aside from two outlier games, Ajayi has a stat line of 84-213-0. That’s an abysmal 2.5 yards per carry average. Throw in the other two games where he went over 100 yards and he’s still at 3.4 YPC on the year. We’ve seen what he’s capable of achieving, posting 3 games over 200 rushing yards last year alone. He needed a change, and he got one.

Not only is he getting away from the toxic OLine in Miami, Ajayi was traded to a legitimate early Super Bowl contending team lead by the impressive sophomore slinger Carson Wentz. No one knows exactly how Ajayi will fit into the Eagles’ gameplan, but it’s unlikely they traded for him just to maintain an RB committee. It looks like Ajayi could be taking over the majority of carries, while LeGarrett Blount is used as a change-of-pace and potentially a goal line back. Wendell Smallwood Corey Clement seem to draw the short straws here.

Don’t expect Ajayi to be full-steam right away as he still needs to learn the offense. A week 9 matchup against an extremely tough DEN defense, who held rookie sensation Kareem Hunt to just 46 rushing yards this past Monday, should temper your expectations a bit. The Eagles then take their BYE in week 10, giving Ajayi more rest and time to get acclimated with his new team. Looking ahead, Ajayi would face off against a tough LA Rams defense in week 14 (most likely the first round of playoffs for your league). He then squares up with a respectable Giants rush defense in week 15, but a juicy matchup against Oakland in your championship week.

As for Miami, it seems like they’ll roll with Kenyan Drake Damien Williams, but it’s still to be determined if either of them will emerge as the clear RB1. Either way, if a talented back like Ajayi couldn’t maintain consistency, don’t expect either of these guys to do any better. Neither seem to be worth a pickup, unless you’re in a deeper league or plagued with injuries.

Kelvin Benjamin traded to the Buffalo Bills:

This news broke to the public after 4PM, so it must have been accepted in the last few moments. This capped off an exciting 2017 trade deadline. After trading away Sammy Watkins before the regular season, BUF was left with an underwhelming WR corps consisting of Jordan Matthews, Deonte Thompson and Zay Jones. Every one of them takes a step back when KB comes to town. Once he and Tyrod Taylor gain some chemistry, expect solid numbers from their new WR1.

The only concern with this trade is that Kelvin won’t get his scheduled week 11 BYE with CAR. The Bills have already had theirs, though it wouldn’t be outrageous if they decided to limit or even sit Benjamin in week 9 for this very reason. Looking ahead, KB could put up some big numbers against teams like NYJ, NO & LAC. They face off against a tough KC defense in week 12, but then it’s smooth sailing into the fantasy playoffs squaring up with IND, MIA & NE in weeks 14, 15 & 16, respectively.

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