SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Steve Gardner breaks down how the recent flurry of trades should impact your decisions on the waiver wire.
USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys running back Alfred Morris has avearged 8.1 yards on his 13 carries this season.(Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)
Who knew the NFL trade deadline could be so fun? We have a starting running back, a starting offensive lineman and a backup quarterback who should be starting on the move. Who do all the deals — and the impending Ezekiel Elliott suspension (really!) — impact the fantasy waiver wire?
Recommended bids based on a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) of $100 for the season.
RB Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys ($20). The Cowboys rank second in the NFL in rushing offense, and although Morris is no Elliott he should get the bulk of the rushing attempts, plus the goal-line carries. Target him first if he’s available.
Yes, I had Darren McFadden ($9) as the more valuable of the two earlier in the season, but we’re now in Week 9 and DMC has yet to play a snap. This is Alf’s job, while McFadden and Rod Smith are left to pick up the scraps.
RB Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins ($16). The Jay Ajayi trade to Philadelphia was a stunner, but now we have to figure out who’s left in Miami to take over the workload. Drake is the likely No. 1, though he’s only carried the ball 10 times all season. However, he did run for 5.4 yards per carry last season as a rookie.
Damien Williams ($10) will also get some run in the Dolphins backfield, mostly as a receiver. However, he could be a factor in the red zone. He had three rushing and three receiving touchdowns (plus one in the playoffs) last season. Don’t sleep on him.
WR Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks ($13). Richardson had his breakout game in last week’s offensive bonanza vs. Houston, catching six pbades for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The Seahawks picking up offensive tackle Duane Brown may not help their moribund rushing attack, but it will give QB Russell Wilson better pbad protection. That means more connections with his most trusted receivers. Include Richardson in that group.
TE Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins ($11). Jordan Reed is not expected to play this week, so Davis should figure prominently in the game plan. He’s a solid-pbad catcher and the Seahawks just gave up 402 pbading yards to Houston last week.
WR Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers ($10). The Martavis Bryant saga won’t go away. But in the meantime, the targets that were supposed to go Bryant’s way are now going to Smith-Schuster. A 97-yard touchdown reception will make anyone’s stat line look good, but he also had a season-high 10 targets in his seven-catch, 193-yard explosion. The only reason he isn’t higher on the list: the Steelers are on bye in Week 9.
WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets ($9). Anderson is also coming off a breakout game in which he caught six pbades for a career-high 104 yards and scored for the second consecutive week. The Jets offense has been surprisingly competent.
WR Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers ($8). The Panthers beat the deadline and sent No. 1 wideout Kelvin Benajmin to the Bills for a pair of draft picks. Devin Funchess figures to become Cam Newton’s primary target, but Samuel is now the leading candidate to be his No. 2.
RB Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens ($8). Collins became the workhorse of the Ravens backfield last week, rushing for 113 yards on 18 carries. He also caught two pbades for 30 yards. He’s averaging 6.0 yards per carry and should get even more touches going forward.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers ($7). The New England Patriots expect Tom Brady to play several more years, so it made sense to trade Garoppolo in the last year of his contract. Getting together with coach Kyle Shanahan will be a good thing for both of them, but don’t expect immediate results. Garoppolo seems unlikely to make much of a difference until after the Niners have their bye in Week 11, but if you plan on picking him up, you’ll have to do it now.
RB Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Both of these players are currently on injured reserve, but could return to action soon. Woodhead has already started practicing so he could be back within three weeks.
Olsen can also rejoin the team for practice this week. He’s targeting a return in Week 12, when he’s first eligible.