15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 12
The way your fantasy football league handles its trade deadline is probably different than how your friend's league handles the deadline, which is different than how your friend's friend's league handles it.
Some trade deadlines have past. Others haven't. And that sort of creates a mess with this column this time of year.
Instead of hitting my social media mentions to tell me that your trade deadline is long gone and that you can't actually trade for the players you read about here, think of every "buy" and "sell" recommendation from more of a confidence perspective. If a player is a buy, then you can feel good about what he'll be able to do from here on out. On the other hand, someone as a sell may be in trouble. You may want to plan for an alternative, or you may just want to be prepared for a down performance down the stretch.
Regardless of whether or not you can still make trades, more fantasy football information is never a bad thing, right?
Buy Saquon Barkley
After Saquon Barkley's 13-carry, 1-yard performance in Week 10, a lot of people were wondering if the Giants would just shut him down for the season. After all, New York's not going to make the playoffs this year, so why risk an injury to your star running back?
No matter your stance on the subject, head coach Pat Shurmur has said that they won't sit him for the rest of the season. And that's good news for fantasy football managers.
Since returning from his ankle injury, Barkley's handled about 97% of New York's running back carries to go along with an 18% target share. Those are elite numbers. And in Weeks 15 and 16 -- the two most important weeks of the fantasy football season -- New York will face Miami and Washington. Both teams rank as top-seven opponents for opposing fantasy running backs when adjusted for strength of opponent. Miami's allowed 3.7 fantasy points above expectation per game to the position, while Washington's at 3.4.
Barkley should be able to come through when you need him most.
Add Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel's still available in almost half of Yahoo! leagues and, clearly, that needs to change. It should've changed last week, if we're being honest.
Samuel's watched his snap rate increase over the last five weeks. Back in Week 5, he was hovering the 40% to 50% snap share range. On Sunday? That number was 79%, just shy of his season high of 83% in Week 10.
That's naturally correlated with more volume -- he's averaged about a 22% target share across his last three games. And since Samuel's good at football, he's now looking at back to back WR1 performances.
If he's on your waiver wire, he needs to be added.
Sell Mark Ingram
When players are in good offenses, they tend to score more touchdowns. (I know, these are the takes you come here for.) Even still, players in good offenses can still outperform their peripheral numbers. And that's exactly what we've seen from Mark Ingram throughout the 2019 season.
Volume-related statistics correlate to fantasy success. So, at running back, attempts, targets, and snaps played are really important. Ingram, though, doesn't have super high-end marks in any of those statistical categories. He's 15th in running back rush attempts, which is fine and good, but he's 21st in running back rushing share. Among all running backs, he ranks 38th in target share. And that's benefited by his not missing a game, too.
And the snap share isn't close to top-notch, either. He hasn't hit a 50% snap rate since Week 7, and he barely ranks in the top-30 in snap rate played.
Yet, here we are, in Week 12, and Ingram is the RB11 in PPR formats.
And it's almost entirely due to touchdowns.
After his multi-score day in Week 11, Ingram now has 10 touchdowns on the year. But based on his yardage total -- and yards correlate strongly to touchdowns -- he should have 4.6 fewer touchdowns. Even if you cut that in half because of the offense he's in, it's hard to sell Ingram as anything but a negative touchdown regression candidate.
We should probably expect him to chill out a bit as the season winds down. He's still a start-worthy fantasy asset, but he's no doubt been overperforming in fantasy football.
Add Bo Scarbrough
In somewhat of a surprise, Bo Scarbrough ended up leading the Lions backfield in Week 11. He played 49% of the team's snaps, which was 20% higher than any other Detroit running back. That allowed Scarbrough to see about 74% of the team's running back rushes, a share that hadn't been hit since Kerryon Johnson was active and healthy. Scarbrough likely won't be involved in the passing game all that much given J.D. McKissic and Ty Johnson are capable receivers, but Scarbrough could easily be the team's early-down and goal-line guy through the rest of the season. That has some value.
Hold Jameis Winston
We all know that Jameis Winston can be an on-the-field disaster, but turnovers matter a lot less in fantasy football compared to the real life game. Even with four picks on Sunday, Winston scored almost 15 standard fantasy points. He was still a rock solid QB2. And, really, since Week 2, Winston's been...solid. He's averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game, with no fewer than 12 fantasy points in a single contest.
It's easy to watch him and be appalled, but it's important to not let that overshadow his value in fantasy football. Especially because Tampa Bay has some favorable matchups to close out the fantasy football season, including Week 15 and 16 contests against Detroit and Houston, two of the top-eight most favorable matchups for quarterbacks when adjusted for strength of opponent.
Sell Josh Allen
Similar to Winston, Josh Allen may not always look the prettiest on the football field, but he gets it done in fantasy. He's averaging nearly 20 fantasy points per game this year, largely due to his 33 rushing yards and 0.7 rushing touchdowns per game.
If you recall, the Bills passing attack -- and John Brown specifically -- were buys way back in Week 6 because of a favorable upcoming schedule. From then until now, they've faced Miami, Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland, and Miami again. Each of those teams were top-half-of-the-league matchups for opposing quarterbacks when adjusted for strength of opponent heading into Week 11.
Unfortunately, things are a little rough for the Bills moving forward now. They'll face Denver this week, who has held opposing quarterbacks to 4.3 fewer points per game compared to their season-long averages, and then it's Dallas (1.9 fewer points), Baltimore (3.5), Pittsburgh (2.5), and New England (7.2). It's the toughest stretch you can find across the NFL.
Allen should be fine enough given his rushing floor, but it'll be tough for him to produce like he has given these matchups.
Add Nyheim Hines, Jonathan Williams, and Jordan Wilkins
In all seriousness, it's hard to know exactly how the Indianapolis backfield will be divvied up. Nyheim Hines is the safest player to add in PPR formats, since we know he's a great pass-catching back -- he had 81 targets last year, and he's got 41 this season. He'll have that role locked up with the potential to see more early-down work. Keep in mind, without Mack for four games last year, Hines actually carried 43% of the Colts' running back rushes. On Sunday, post-Mack injury, Mack's running back rush share was 23%. Considering that share was under 10% heading into Week 11, there'll be some sort of boost with his ground-game work.
And then there's Jonathan Williams and Jordan Wilkins. Williams saw 43% of the Colts' backfield touches in Week 11, but Wilkins was also inactive due to an ankle injury. Wilkins has been the number-three option for Indy this year (and arguably the direct handcuff to Mack), so, hypothetically, we should expect a healthy Wilkins to see the most early-down work. We just don't know when he'll be healthy (though reports have said it could be as early as Thursday), and we also don't know if Williams worked his way into seeing more touches after his 116-yard outburst on Sunday.
It's messy. In PPR leagues, I'd prioritize Hines while taking a shot on either Wilkins or Williams.
Sell Kalen Ballage
The secondary numbers are there for Kalen Ballage, but the production definitely isn't matching. Ballage is actually pacing to be the first running back in NFL history to have 60 or more rushes while maintaining a yards per carry rate below 2. That's how bad it's been.
So despite snap shares of 76% and 82% over his last two games, and despite a running back rush share of 86% and a target share of about 13% during this time, it's really hard to trust that Miami will continue to feed him given his inefficiency. Even if they do, it's not as though he's been super relevant in fantasy. With such high usage (and a touchdown in Week 11), he's still averaging 10.6 PPR points per game in this Kenyan Drake- and Mark Walton-less backfield.
Buy Odell Beckham
If you saw Thursday night's game, then you watched OBJ barely miss a touchdown in the first quarter. He was ruled down on the one-inch line. The rest of his outing wasn't anything special, but he still saw 10 targets, accounting for over 34% of Cleveland's targets.
He now has a 27% target share on the season, and the Browns are about to see the softest stretch of their schedule. They get a plus matchup against Miami this week, and then they'll face Cincinnati and Arizona in two of their three contests following Week 12's game. Beckham's high target share should allow him to be competitive in those matchups.
Add Dallas Goedert
I promised no more Dallas Goedert talk this season -- he's been brought up in this column for over a month now -- but he's still only rostered in 19% of Yahoo! leagues. There are 23 tight ends rostered at a higher rate yet, since Week 6, only 11 tight ends have averaged more PPR points per game. If you only look at tight ends who've played four or more games, Goedert jumps to being a top-10 option at the position.
He's now seen at least 10% of Philadelphia's targets in every game played since Week 4, and his snap rate hit a season high in Week 11 at 81.3%. With all the injuries to Eagles wide receivers, Goedert's become a weekly option at a pitiful position. He should be rostered in well over half of leagues by now.
Sell Tarik Cohen
Sunday night marked the best fantasy performance for Tarik Cohen this year -- it was the first time he hit 15 PPR fantasy points in a single game this season. His 59.9% snap share was the highest it's been since Week 1, and his 39.1% running back rush share was the second-highest it's been all season.
Perhaps this is a sign of things to come, but there are plenty of reasons to want to move on from Cohen. David Montgomery was banged up heading into Week 11, and he failed to reach a 50% snap share for the first time since Week 7. You'd think, as Montgomery heals, that number should rise. And Cohen's now scored in back to back games as a receiver, even though he's tallied just 58 receiving yards. Over the last five seasons, running backs have typically scored through the air on every 203 receiving yards. Meaning, Cohen's overperforming a bit there.
It's not time to buy into Cohen. The offense itself is struggling, and he's unlikely to keep up this current pace.
Buy the Baltimore Ravens Defense
A couple of weeks ago on a Late-Round Podcast mailbag episode (you should subscribe to The Late-Round Podcast, by the way), a question was asked regarding defenses with the best fantasy playoff matchups. One of the defenses that yours truly talked about was Baltimore, who are set to face the Bills, Jets, and Browns in Weeks 14 through 16. The Browns now rank as an average opponent for a fantasy defense when you adjust for strength of schedule, but Buffalo is above-average in favorability, while the Jets are one of the friendliest teams a defense can face.
Not only that, but the Ravens are crushing right now on that side of the ball. Before getting Marcus Peters, they were averaging 4.3 fantasy points per game. Since -- so over the last four weeks -- that's jumped to 17.5 points per game, and they've yet to finish outside the top-five in weekly defensive scoring.
They should be able to help you win your league.
Add Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold's now delivered in two straight games against miserable defenses, and he gets another beatable defense in Week 12, making him a strong streaming choice. The Jets are hosting the Raiders as 3.5-point home underdogs, and quarterbacks against Oakland have generally found success this year -- they've averaged over 20 points per game against Oakland, when those same quarterbacks have averaged about 17 points per game throughout the rest of the season. In other words, signal-callers versus the Raiders have seen a bump of more than three fantasy points per game this season, one of the bigger markups in the league. Darnold should be fine in Week 12.
Add Ryan Griffin
Week 11 was kind to Ryan Griffin, who took his 17.9% target share and turned it into 109 receiving yards and a score. He now has seen 14% or more of New York's targets in three of his last four games, and it's not totally flukey -- over this time, he ranks ninth among all tight ends in routes run, per Pro Football Focus. With the aforementioned matchup against the Raiders, Griffin is a decent streaming choice in Week 12.
Add the Detroit Lions Defense
The Lions get Washington this week, and while they're not playing in Detroit, it's still a great matchup for a mediocre defense. In Dwayne Haskins' two starts, he's taken 10 total sacks while fumbling twice. Washington quarterbacks have been sacked at the fourth-highest rate in football, which should help Detroit, a team that ranks seventh-worst in pressure rate. The game has a fairly low 41.5-point over/under, and the Lions are favorites, so Detroit shouldn't sink your team this week.