Last week’s Trade Value column was devoted entirely to how you can change the foundation of your fantasy team through transactions.
This week’s column looks at a quarterback, a running back, a wide receiver and a tight end who could propel your fantasy team into the playoffs.
Please continue to leverage Field Yates’ Waiver Wire column and my Streamers column for lineup options you can consider each week as bye weeks come up.
Averaging 38.5 attempts, 324.3 passing yards, 364.2 passing air yards and 18.8 points per game, Carr has had a solid year even while going largely overlooked. In fact, only Tom Brady has averaged a greater number of passing yards (344) and passing air yards (389.7) than Carr.
Looking ahead, Las Vegas has a favorable schedule going forward. From Weeks 13-17, Carr will play against the Washington Football Team (26.9 fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks), Kansas City Chiefs (25), Cleveland Browns (23), Denver Broncos (14.6), and Indianapolis Colts (21.4).
My two biggest takeaways from watching him this season are his poise in the pocket and his ability to create plays off-script. It’s not often that people talk about Carr as a potential quarterback league-winner, but this could be the season that happens.
Fantasy managers romanticize what they think running backs need to be in order to be successful. It might be speed, strength or elusiveness. In my opinion, a potential league-winner plays more snaps, does more running and more catching out of the backfield, ideally is under the age of 29 and is in a productive offense. Right now, Ekeler is an intriguing player who checks all those boxes.
We often glamorize winning our league by converting a waiver wire find into a fantasy superstar. In the break room or with family and friends, that’s a nice story to tell, but often it’s the early round draft picks who are unappreciated.
Ekeler could be one of those guys. Last week, he tallied 55 total yards, his lowest total of the year, and the Chargers’ offense looked disorganized. Now he’s off this week with the Chargers on a bye. Look at this as an opportunity to send trade offer.
It’s true, Rashod Bateman‘s arrival may concern some managers, and the Ravens’ 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had an impressive collegiate career at Minnesota. Bateman had a reception in every game he played (fifth in school history), and he finished his college career with 147 catches, 2,395 receiving yards (sixth in school history) and 19 touchdowns (fifth). During his Golden Gopher career, he had 10 100-yard reception games.
Now I’ll let you in on a secret. Bateman’s arrival is great for Brown. It’ll take attention away from the many they call “Hollywood,” who’s already having a great season. He’s averaged 7 targets, 5.3 receptions, 81 receiving yards and 18.5 points per game. Brown also has three receiving touchdowns of 30 yards or more. Lamar Jackson has a passer rating of 130.6 when targeting Brown.
Baltimore plays the Bengals this week before their bye, and still have games against the Browns (40.88 fantasy points allowed to receivers), Steelers (41.7), Packers (32.93), Bengals (37.07) and Rams (39.5).
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
I’m guessing now that you think I’m a Raiders fan. That’s not true. It’s just that because of the dire tight end landscape, you would be well advised to prioritize a tight end who will see the most targets on their respective team.
Waller has not been actively involved in the Raiders’ offense since Week 1, when he had 19 targets and gained 105 yards. In fact, he’s averaged 7 targets, 4.6 receptions and 54.6 yards per game since then. So why trade for him now?
Some fantasy managers with Waller are frustrated and willing — if not eager — to unload him for the right offer. And a strong finish to the season is very much possible. Waller’s 317 targets, 2,716 receiving yards and 2,532 receiving air yards since 2019 leads the Raiders in each of these statistical categories.
I’m optimistic that he will remain an integral part of the Raiders’ offense, and the team’s schedule for the rest of the season positions him for success.