Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer: Why it's the perfect time to explore dealing red-hot Chase Claypool

By Alex Gelhar, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Time is starting to run out to make deals, as many leagues feature a trade deadline around Week 12. That means we’re now halfway done with the trading portion of the fantasy football season. With teams starting to fall into holes in the standings, it is more imperative than ever to try and make moves that can keep you in contention for the postseason. Below I offer up players to consider making moves for, or moving on from, as Week 7 approaches.

Trade away … Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers

Writing this column can be tough, because I often need to highlight players I really like in these “trade away” sections. That’s because in order to actually get a fantasy football trade to be accepted you need to offer good players. This column would be useless if every week I told you to trade away J.D. McKissic, for instance. And while it might seem overly simple to trade Claypool away considering he’s the highest-scoring player in all of fantasy the last two weeks (in PPR), let me explain my reasoning. Claypool has been fantastic for the Steelers, and they are using him all over the field to create mismatches, including as a pseudo-goal-line back. Claypool leads all wide receivers in snaps over the last three games, too.

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The downside for Claypool is the potential return of Diontae Johnson, who practiced in a limited capacity last week on Thursday, but was still ruled out for Sunday’s game. Johnson isn’t going to steal all of Claypool’s work, but his return will further spread out the targets in an already generously divvied up offense. A wide receiver has commanded 30% or more of the targets in four of the Steelers five games, with Johnson responsible for two of those, Claypool one, and James Washington one. While Claypool has been fantastic in the last two games, Johnson could return to No. 1 status, making Claypool a more volatile play. I still like Claypool’s season-long upside given the strength of the Steelers offense and Johnson’s recent injury history, but I don’t think it’s crazy to explore moving the exciting rookie wideout.

The market: Claypool’s market is hot right now, with returns varying. Claypool was traded straight up for Aaron Jones, Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins, Antonio Gibson, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, Hayden Hurst, and T.Y. Hilton in various leagues. He was also part of dozens of package deals, ranging from Claypool and Jared Cook for Mark Andrews to Claypool and James Robinson for Davante Adams.

Trade for … Texans passing offense

Deshaun Watson has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four straight games, and has averaged 347 passing yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game since Romeo Crennel took over as head coach. That’s also thanks in part to a more favorable schedule, but moving on from Bill O’Brien has thus far been a net positive for the whole passing attack. In those two post-BOB games Brandin Cooks has caught 17 of 21 targets for 229 yards and two touchdowns. In four games under BOB, Cooks caught 10 of 21 targets for 138 yards and no touchdowns.

Will Fuller, meanwhile, is on a four-game scoring streak with well over 300 receiving yards in that span. The upcoming schedule for the Texans is littered with beatable secondaries/defenses, including the Packers, Jaguars, Browns, Patriots, and Lions. The Texans’ schedule stiffens around the playoffs, though, as they face the Colts twice and the Bears from Week 13 to 15. But acquiring pieces of this passing attack now could book your ticket to the postseason with several straight solid outings.

The market: Deshaun Watson and Michael Gallup were swapped for Carson Wentz and Robby Anderson. Watson was also traded straight up for Todd Gurley II. Brandin Cooks was swapped for Antonio Gibson and Frank Gore straight up. He was also packaged with the Steelers defense in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr. and Hunter Henry.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Trade away … Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

Evans is coming off of a quiet outing against the Packers but I still think it could be the right move to try and trade him away now. Evans leads the Bucs in targets with 37, but has amassed just 22.7% of the team’s air yards on those targets. For comparison, that total trails tight ends Mike Gesicki and Logan Thomas, as well as slot wideout Jamison Crowder. Evans has three games this year with two or fewer receptions, too. Sure, there will be spike weeks as he’s catching passes from Tom Brady in a pretty potent offense, but with so many targets eating up opportunities and Chris Godwin returning to health, it might become harder and harder to predict Evans’ impact weeks. He has name value and six touchdowns on the season, so it might be worth shopping the star wideout now in case he stacks a few disappointing weeks in a row and becomes much harder to move.

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The market: Evans was traded straight up for Calvin Ridley, James Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas, and Tyler Lockett. Evans and Tee Higgins were moved for Jerick McKinnon and Jamison Crowder. Evans and Raheem Mostert were swapped for Stefon Diggs. Evans and Jonathan Taylor were swapped for James Conner. And Evans was traded for Aaron Rodgers and D’Andre Swift in another league.

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