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Week 9 Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Post-Trade Deadline Edition

Bryan breaks down the players rising and falling in fantasy football value after the NFL trade deadline.

Bryan breaks down the players rising and falling in fantasy football value after the NFL trade deadline.

Ever since the NFL pushed back its trade deadline to Week 8, mid-season deals have become commonplace. Still, few could have predicted the flurry of moves that went down this season; a historic ten trades were completed on Tuesday, which doesn’t even account for any transactions made on previous days. With so much reshuffling, several players are bound to see their stock rise over the second half of the year, while starters that once felt secure could be pushed out. Here’s who to target, and who to fade, entering Week 9.

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Stock Up: TE T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

The Lions made a shocking in-division trade, dealing their starting tight end to the NFC North-leading Vikings for draft pick compensation. Although he commanded a fair share of targets in a surprisingly decent Detroit offense, Hockenson’s move to Minnesota presents an opportunity to catch passes from the reliable Kirk Cousins while defenses hone in on star receiver Justin Jefferson.

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Competition from Jefferson and Adam Thielen will probably prevent Hock from becoming a top-three option at the position, but he should only continue to produce in his new environment. He had to deal with target-share monsters like Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift as a Lion anyways, so it’s not much of a sacrifice. Any dip in receptions can be made up in the end zone, as scoring opportunities should always be there while playing for a talented Vikings’ offense. It’s not a drastic boost, but Hockenson’s stock is only going up. 

Stock Down: WR Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

It was hard to think of a way for Brandin Cooks‘ season to go any worse. The current WR44 in PPR, the highly-drafted wideout has struggled to make a difference on an anemic Texans’ passing attack. Cooks’ age made him expendable in Houston’s rebuild, but an $18 million dollar price tag made any deal difficult to achieve. Despite countless rumors, no transaction ever materialized on Tuesday.

Now stuck in H-Town, Cooks might not see the field all too often going forward. After a cryptic tweet voicing his displeasure, Cooks will miss the team’s game tonight in Philadelphia. With Dameon Pierce and the running game becoming the focal point of Lovie Smith’s offense, there’s probably not much desire from the organization to have the veteran playing anyways. This is a bad situation made worse by a constant barrage of trade rumors, and it’s uncertain whether the two sides can work out their differences during another losing season. It’s certainly possible that Cooks has played his last game as a Texan.

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Stock Up: RB Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams’ backfield is a mess. Darrell Henderson Jr. hasn’t made much of an impact (28 yards per game), and Cam Akers might not see another snap this season. Someone has to take control of the position in L.A., so why not Kyren Williams? The rookie out of Notre Dame was set for a major role this season in Sean McVay’s offense before suffering an ankle injury in Week 1 against the Bills. Although the fifth-rounder isn’t a household name, he was someone plenty of fantasy analysts hailed as a sleeper entering the season. Since they didn’t add to their already thin running back room before the trade deadline, it’s clear that the Rams’ front office thinks Williams can provide an immediate upgrade.

After his return to practice from the IR this week, Williams could potentially return for this weekend’s game against the Buccaneers. Even if fantasy managers have to wait another week, he should be good to go later this month. Stellar receiving skills and pass-blocking should keep Williams on the field often, and there are plenty of targets to go around outside of Cooper Kupp. Whether he’s rostered in your league or on waivers, Williams is the kind of midseason flier that can win fantasy championships in December.

Stock Down: RB Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

Devin Singletary has returned decent RB2 value for those who drafted him this summer. However, in real life, on an exceptional Bills’ offense, average was never going to cut it. Buffalo made a trade deadline splash in acquiring Nyheim Hines from the Colts for Zack Moss and draft compensation. The pass-catching specialist now shares a crowded running back room with Singletary and rookie second-round pick James Cook.

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Singletary is a subpar receiver, but has benefitted from being the best of a lackluster bunch amongst himself, Moss and Cook. Hines will immediately command the role of short-yardage safety blanket for Josh Allen, who throws the ball more than nearly any other quarterback. If relegated to early-down and goal-line work, Singletary’s fantasy outlook goes from fringe RB2 to borderline Flex option. The offense is good enough to support two running backs, but that assumes they will be given an equal amount of work. If Hines commands close to half of the team’s carries, in addition to a healthy share of the passing game, Buffalo’s current lead back could quickly become irrelevant.