2018 NFL Trade Deadline Grades, with Fantasy Breakdown

Mike Fanelli | October 31st, 2018

The 2018 NFL trade deadline was yesterday and usually there isn’t much movement. Once every few years there is a name player traded that has a real impact on a team and has some fantasy implications. When Amari Cooper was traded to the Cowboys last week, many expected that to be the “big move” prior to the deadline. However, the NFL once again won as the trade deadline saw five trades involving name players, four of which included serious draft capital.

Now that the immediate reaction has worn off, I took a look into each trade and broke it down on what it means for each team, give them a grade on the trade and even add some fantasy impact for my fantasy football junkie friends.

Broncos trade Demaryius Thomas and a 2019 7th round pick to the Texans for a 2019 4th and 7th round picks.

The Thomas trade rumors had been swirling since April when the Broncos selected Courtland Sutton early in the second round of the draft. The rumors picked up pace as the season went on as Sutton showed flashes of huge upside, while Thomas struggled to click with Case Keenum. After the loss on Sunday to the Chiefs, the Broncos are four games out of first place in the AFC West and have little hopes of making the playoffs.

Trading Thomas opens the door for Sutton to take over as the starter opposite of Emmanuel Sanders, who is having a great season while opening up more opportunity for fourth-round rookie DaeSean Hamilton to get on the field in three wide receiver sets. Thomas wasn’t the only Bronco on the trading block. Reportedly, the team considered trading Sanders, Shane Ray, and Brandon Marshall as well.

The Broncos are likely heading for a top 10 draft pick in April and seem determined to let some of their younger players play. Moving on from Thomas reportedly saves the Broncos about $14 million dollars against the cap next season and gives them one more draft pick to help rebuild the roster. With Thomas turning 31 years old in December and younger talent ready to take on a bigger role, trading Thomas was clearly the right move to make.

Broncos: B-

After the great game against the Dolphins on Thursday night, the news broke that Will Fuller had torn his ACL and would miss the rest of the season, dealing a big blow to the Texans’ high powered offense. The Texans are currently on a five-game winning streak and have a 1.5 game lead in the AFC South. Clearly, the team has playoff expectations and Super Bowl hopes. With Fuller done for the season, the Texans needed to add a receiver opposite of DeAndre Hopkins.

The fourth-round draft pick was the perfect compensation for the Texans, who have an extra second-round pick from the Seahawks thanks to the Duane Brown trade from last season. The Texans are very happy with surprising rookie Keke Coutee in the slot and didn’t want to put more on his plate. While Thomas doesn’t have Fuller’s speed and isn’t as fast as he once was, he still is capable of stretching the field for the Texans at times.

Thomas will keep pressure off of Hopkins, allow Coutee to stay in his role in the slot and won’t see double coverage very often. Thomas provides experience and will be happy to catch passes from Deshaun Watson instead of Keenum. For a team that is currently the number three seed in the AFC playoff picture and want to keep their five-game winning streak going, trading for Thomas was a great move.

Texans: B+

Fantasy Impact: With this trade, Thomas’ value takes a small step up with the upgrade at quarterback. However, his upside is limited because of Hopkins’ high target share. Thomas has been the WR31 in PPR scoring and I project him as a low-end WR2/high end WR3 for the rest of the season. Sutton gets a huge boost, now as the starter, he offers similar low-end WR2/high end WR3 value but with more upside depending on the matchup. Hopkins’ value isn’t impacted by this trade, while Hamilton should be added to the bench in 14-team or bigger size leagues.

Lions trade Golden Tate to the Eagles for a 2019 3rd round pick.

This trade was a little surprising. The Lions had been reportedly shopping Tate, looking for at least a fourth-round pick. The Lions and Tate’s agent had struggled in contract negotiations, leaving the team to feel they had to move him or risk losing him for nothing. At 30 years old the Lions could trade Tate thanks to the emergence of Kenny Golladay as the team’s number one wide receiver.

What is a little surprising is the timing of the trade. The Lions had won three of their last four games prior to the loss on Sunday against the Seahawks, and are still just one game out of first place in the NFC North. It will be interesting to see how the locker room reacts to the trade. The Lions didn’t have a third-round pick in the 2019 draft after they made a trade with the Patriots during the 2018 draft.

Another thing that is surprising with this trade is the compensation. Reportedly, the Lions were looking for a fourth-round pick for Tate, but obviously, their asking price went up with the Cooper and Thomas trades. However, the Lions could have held on to Tate for the rest of the season and had he left in free agency, they would likely receive in 2020 third round compensatory pick for him. Trading Tate for the same value as the compensatory pick in the middle of a playoff push seems borderline foolish.

Lions: C-

The Eagles made an excellent trade. They have been in the market to add a wide receiver and reportedly offered a second round pick for Cooper before he was traded to the Cowboys. The duo of Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz have done well for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. However, everyone else on offense has struggled to be consistent.

With the bye week, Tate will have two weeks to learn the playbook and develop chemistry with Wentz. Tate’s ability to create yards after the catch will seriously help an Eagles offense that has struggled in that area. Nelson Agholor has had some good moments this season but hasn’t been consistent enough for the Eagles’ liking. Tate will also cut into the number of carries the running backs will get as the Eagles will give him some carries but also get the ball to him on quick play actions plays or RPOs.

For the Eagles, the compensation was perfect for them. They have an extra second-round pick in the 2019 draft from the Ravens thanks to the Lamar Jackson trade. Even if Tate doesn’t resign in the offseason, the Eagles have a well-built roster so they can afford to wait to get back their third-round pick in 2020 as a compensatory pick. Overall, the Eagles got the best “bang for the buck” at the deadline and have seriously improved their odds to return to the Super Bowl this season.

Eagles: A+

Fantasy Impact: In this trade, Tate’s value takes a slight hit but he remains in the mid-WR2 range in PPR scoring. Ertz’s and Jeffery’s value remain the same, and may even see a slight boost as defenses will have a third impact weapon to account for. Agholor and every other Eagles’ player’s value takes a major hit; Agholor is droppable in all 12 team leagues. Wentz is now a must-start quarterback every week.

In Detroit, Golladay is a top 15 wide receiver on a weekly basis the rest of the season and Marvin Jones is a low-end WR2/high end WR3 with upside based on the matchup. Brandon Powell is an interesting add for 14 plus team leagues and all dynasty leagues. Matthew Stafford is now outside the top 12 quarterbacks for the rest of the season and is a streaming option except for two quarterback or super flex leagues.

Packers trade Ty Montgomery to the Ravens for a 2020 7th round pick.

After Montgomery decided to bring the ball out of the end zone on the kickoff Sunday and then fumbled it away, there was almost no chance he was going to be on the roster after the trade deadline. Instead of releasing him, the Ravens offered up just short of nothing for him and the Packers rightfully jumped on it. Getting something is better than releasing Montgomery but overall this deal is really nothing exciting for the Packers.

Packers: B-

The Ravens had been working out running backs recently, looking to add someone to the backfield behind Alex Collin and Javorius “Buck” Allen. Adding Montgomery for next to nothing is a solid investment for the Ravens because of his experience at running back, wide receiver and as a kick off returner. Hopefully, Montgomery can have some impact in Baltimore, as he is a free agent after the season and hasn’t shown much value so far in his career.

Ravens: B-

Fantasy Impact: This trade had almost zero fantasy impact. If you weren’t rostering Montgomery before the trade, you aren’t now. Unless or until Montgomery starts getting serious snaps at either running back or wide receiver, he doesn’t even belong on your watch list. However, with Montgomery gone, hopefully, this means more snaps for Aaron Jones in Green Bay. If by some chance, Jones is available in your league, stop reading this and go pick him up immediately.

Jaguars trade Dante Fowler Jr. to the Rams for a 2019 3rd round pick and a 2020 5th round pick.

Once the Jaguars declined Fowler’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal in the offseason, many expected this to be his last year in Jacksonville. Between having cap space issues in 2019 combined with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue as the starters, Fowler wouldn’t be returning to Jacksonville next season. So, instead of waiting for him to leave and hopefully get a 2020 third round compensatory pick for him, they trade him out of the conference for two solid picks.

The only reason the Jaguars don’t receive an A grade is this moves leaves them with limited experience behind Campbell and Ngakoue at defensive end. While the Jaguars have lost four straight games, they are just two games out of first place in the AFC South and could make a wild-card playoff push. The defense is already struggling to live up to last season’s form, and an injury to the defensive line could be the final straw that makes the defense totally collapse.

Jaguars: B

How can you not like this trade if you’re a Rams fan? The team was already near perfect and adding Fowler gives them the one thing they needed; a pass rush specialist off the edge. Prior to the trade, Matt Longacre and Samson Ebukam were starting at outside linebacker; clearly, this position needed upgrading. Fowler gives the Rams one more good pass rusher to pair with Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald, making life miserable for opposing offensive coordinators.

The only downside to this trade for the Rams is they now lack 2019 draft picks. After trading away their second round pick for Marcus Peters in the offseason, they now only have one pick before day three of the draft. The Rams could resign Fowler after the season, depending on what he gets on the open market, but even if he leaves the team should see a third or fourth round compensatory pick in 2020 for him. The Rams are all in on winning the Super Bowl this season and adding Fowler may have been the last piece needed.

Rams: A

Fantasy Impact: When defensive players are traded, very rarely do they have a big fantasy impact on the team’s D/ST. With Fowler now a member of the Rams’ their D/ST gets a slight boost. However, they have a tough stretch of games coming up against the Saints, Seahawks, and Chiefs before their week 12 bye. Despite that rough schedule, they should be on a roster. For the Jaguars D/ST, they were already trending in the wrong direction and Fowler was only playing 32% of the snaps. Even prior to the trade, the Jaguars D/ST had fallen into the “match up based” tier.

Packers trade HaHa Clinton-Dix to the Redskins for a 2019 4th round pick.

Similarly to the Fowler trade, there had been rumblings that the Packers weren’t planning on resigning Clinton-Dix this offseason. In fact, Clinton-Dix came out himself, saying he wasn’t expecting to be back in Green Bay for the 2019 season. So, instead of losing him for nothing, the Packers got a fourth-round pick for him. Had Clinton-Dix left in free agency, depending on who they sign, the Packers would likely have gotten a fourth-round compensatory pick in 2020. Moving on half a season early, to get the pick a year early wasn’t a bad idea.

Packers: B-

As a Redskins fan, I love this move. The defense is playing it’s best ball in years and it’s the main reason why the Redskins are tied for the fifth best record in the league at the moment. The poor play of Montae Nicholson combined with Troy Apke being placed on injured reserve, gave the Redskins the need to be aggressive at the deadline and acquire Clinton-Dix as they had only two safeties they trusted on defense.

The Redskins were projected to have 10 draft picks prior to the trade, thanks to all the free agents they lost last spring; including a third round compensatory pick for losing Kirk Cousins. With all the extra draft capital, trading away a fourth-round pick for Clinton-Dix, was a great move for a team that has expectations of winning the NFC East and making some noise in the playoffs.

Redskins: A

Fantasy Impact: Like the Fowler trade, defensive players don’t make much impact on their team’s D/ST. Clinton-Dix will have a bigger impact on the field for the Redskins than he will on their D/ST. However, the Redskins D/ST gets a slight bump up, while the Packers D/ST takes a slight hit. Prior to the trade, both these D/STs were streaming options and they both remain that way still.

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