The trade deadline in Apex Fantasy Leagues is just 9 days away. Whether your team looks primed for a playoff run or you find yourself in the fantasy cellar, there is probably at least one position on your roster that you would like to shore up, while bottom dwellers might need a dramatic overhaul.
Assuming that players are going to perform in the second half of the season like they did in the first half could be unwise and detrimental to a championship run. Using the RotoViz Buy Low Machine, we can get an idea of players that are candidates to help us make the final playoff push, and who we might want to send off in trade deals, based on strength of schedule (SOS) from Weeks 9-13.
Owners in the middle or near the bottom of the standings should be very aggressive in trying to acquire players with favorable schedules for the rest of the fantasy football regular season, since they need to do everything that they can just to get into the three week tournament. Teams near the top of the standings might want to focus more on obtaining players with favorable fantasy playoff schedules, something I’ll look at in next week’s article.
Buy: Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck
Opponents Weeks 9-13: Rodgers – Bye, CHI, PHI, MIN, NE; Luck – NYG, Bye, NE, JAX, WAS
It’s going to be expensive to acquire either of these top tier signal callers, but if you are a team near the bottom of the standings, then it might be time for an all out fire sale. For a sub-.500 team to make it to the playoffs, they are going to need a player or two that can get hot and singlehandedly win every week for them, and no player is more likely to dominate over a span of multiple games than an elite quarterback.
The Colts have the 4th most favorable schedule for QBs through Week 13, while the Packers schedule is 9th best schedule, but what really stands out is how much better their schedules will be compared to the first eight weeks of the season. Green Bay has the 2nd greatest SOS improvement, while Indianapolis has the 3rd highest SOS increase. Luck and Rodgers already rank 1st and 4th, respectively, in QB fantasy points per game, but the Buy Low Machine suggests that they haven’t even peaked yet.
Sell: Russell Wilson
Opponents Weeks 9-13: OAK, NYG, KC, ARI, SF
I’m actually a huge Russell Wilson fan, and think his all around game makes him one of the safest QB plays from week to week, but if you are targeting Rodgers or Luck, Wilson could be a fine bargaining chip. Wilson is currently 3rd in QB FP/game among quarterbacks, but he is going from the best SOS through the first eight weeks to the 6th toughest in the final five weeks. After Oakland in Week 9, Wilson’s remaining opponents have allowed an average of just 15.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, or QB23 numbers on the season.
Buy: LeSean McCoy
Opponents Weeks 9-13: HOU, CAR, GB, TEN, DAL
Shady has been downright brutal this year, currently 23rd among running backs in fantasy points per game. A lot of McCoy’s struggles can be attributed to bad offensive line play, but he’s also faced the third hardest schedule for running backs to date. The Eagles have a top 10 SOS for running backs through Week 13, and after another mediocre performance in Week 8, McCoy could probably be bought below his true market value.
Sell: Lamar Miller
Opponents Weeks 9-13: SD, DET, BUF, DEN, NYJ
Lamar Miller has been a hot commodity since Knowshown Moreno has been injured, but his top 12 fantasy numbers might begin to wane after Week 9. Of Miami’s final 4 opponents in the fantasy football regular season, only the Lions defense ranks outside the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs, at a respectable 13th. With Daniel Thomas getting a fair amount of work, Miller’s touches are capped at around 20 per game, and that number could decrease as the opponents gets more difficult. With a good matchup this week against San Diego, Miller’s value may be at its peak for owners that need help just to make the playoffs.
Buy: Kelvin Benjamin
Opponents Weeks 9-13: NO, PHI, ATL, Bye, MIN
With just one game over 100 yards on the season, and Sammy Watkins as the rookie making the highlight reels, I’m not sure most fantasy owners properly value Kelvin Benjamin, who is tied for the 11th most targets among wide receivers, and has been one of the most consistent fantasy players this season. Benjamin’s success has came despite the 9th hardest WR SOS this season, but he has the easiest schedule through Week 13, including back to back games in Weeks 9 and 10 against teams that rank in the bottom four in fantasy points allowed to receivers.
Buy: Roddy White and Julio Jones
Opponents Weeks 9-13: Bye, TB, CAR, CLE, ARI
Roddy White has struggled with injuries and been inconsistent this season, while Julio is coming off of three straight sub-par weeks, which probably makes both Atlanta receivers relatively affordable. After their Week 9 bye, the Falcons have the most favorable schedule for wide receivers in the league, and compared to the first 8 weeks, they have the 3rd greatest improvement in SOS for receivers.
Sell: Larry Fitzgerald
Opponents Weeks 9-13: DAL, STL, DET, SEA, ATL
I wanted to include Michael Floyd, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery as sells based on SOS, but they have been performing so poorly of late that it might be hard to get fair value for any of those three players right now. Try to capitalize on what is likely to be Fitz’s biggest game of the year, and use him as part of a package to land a stud player on your roster. Other owners might look to Floyd’s recent struggles and overvalue Fitzy, but they might also overlook the fact that he has the 3rd worst WR SOS though this pivotal five week stretch.
Buy: Dwayne Allen
Opponents Weeks 9-13: NYG, Bye, NE, JAX, WAS
Dwayne Allen has been quite the conundrum this year. He’s one of just four tight ends with at least 6 touchdowns, but is just 19th in targets at the position, tied with his teammate, Coby Fleener. If you can sell another owner on his inconsistency, Allen could be a nice addition if you need help for the playoff run and are weak at the position.
Indianapolis has faced the 8th most difficult schedule for tight ends thus far, but have the 2nd most favorable tight end schedule through Week 13. Only five tight ends in the league have seen more targets inside the opponent’s 10 yard line than Allen, and tight ends account for 36% of all Colts red zone scores, the 5th highest total in the league.
Sell: Greg Olsen
Opponents Weeks 9-13: NO, PHI, ATL, Bye, MIN
Greg Olsen is used so much in the Panthers’ offense that you are going to need a stud in return for him, but owners should temper their expectations on Olsen through the rest of the fantasy regular season. Olsen has benefited from the 3rd best schedule for tight ends so far this season, but through Week 13, he has the most difficult schedule for tight ends by a huge margin.
Other owners might look at Carolina’s upcoming schedule, see a bunch of poor passing defenses and overvalue Olsen, when in fact his four remaining opponents through Week 13 all rank in the top seven in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.