As the 2019 season nears its midpoint, NFL teams have joined in on the trade fun. Just this week, Mohamad Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders went to new teams, creating opportunities for themselves and the teammates they left behind. More deals could come before the Oct. 29 trade deadline, something to keep in mind when evaluating players in fantasy.
This week's edition of Trade Calls looks at the players benefiting from those real-life NFL trades and those that might be affected by them in the future.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers:Aaron Rodgers needed time to transition from the offense he ran his entire career as a starting quarterback to the one implemented by new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. That process hasn't yet concluded, but Rodgers' comfort level in the new system has increased significantly in recent weeks and helped produce his six-touchdown performance against the Raiders. While he likely won't score so many times in a single game, Rodgers should have more big performances in the coming weeks, especially with matchups against the Chiefs' and Chargers' defenses. Green Bay also plays the Giants and Washington during the fantasy playoffs.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos: With Emmanuel Sanders shipped out earlier this week, Courtland Sutton becomes the undisputed No. 1 receiver in Denver. Sutton has performed like a lead wideout for a while already, producing at least 76 receiving yards or a touchdown in all but one of the Broncos' games this season. Sutton should see an uptick in production over the back half of the season.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: The Week 4 return of Melvin Gordon forced Austin Ekeler into a smaller role. Ekeler's carries immediately cratered, going from 18 his final week as the starting running back to just 13 combined over the subsequent three games. Still, his workload as a receiver has increased (28 targets in October, most on the team) and the Chargers will have to consider giving him more carries if Gordon continues to struggle. Add in the prospect of a deadline deal for Gordon, Ekeler could become a fantasy stalwart again soon.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens: After a white-hot start, Mark Ingram has become an inefficient, touchdown-dependent running back in the month of October. He could overcome that with production as a receiver, but despite a history as a solid pass catcher Ingram simply hasn't seen many targets in the Ravens' offense. With his overall numbers still solid, fantasy managers have a window this week to trade him.
All Chicago Bears running backs: Despite head coach Matt Nagy's promise to recommit to the running game, the Bears simply don't feel comfortable doing so almost independent of game script. According to NFL.com's Graham Barfield, Chicago passes on 68.6 percent of their plays when the game is within a score. Put differently, the Bears won't run the ball consistently unless they have a sizable lead, something they haven't produced much this season.
While Kareem Hunt will see some work once he returns from suspension, the Browns won't simply abandon Nick Chubb. Over his last three games, Chubb has averaged 124.7 rushing yards and 1.7 touchdowns. For much of the season, little besides Chubb has produced on offense for Cleveland. Freddie Kitchens has made some strange coaching decisions this season, but he probably won't bench his most consistent offensive player.
The team that landed Chris Godwin got the better end of the deal. Allen Robinson has done well considering the limitations of Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears' offense, but Godwin has outperformed him by a considerable amount and now comes off the bye. Le'Veon Bell simply hasn't lived up to his average draft position thus far and would need to improve considerably with quarterback Sam Darnold back in the fold to balance out this trade.
I would hold off on trading Keenan Allen. Though his production has dropped off since Week 3, the Chargers have played difficult defenses and dealt with extremely poor turnover luck early in games that has altered how they run their offense. That shouldn't continue much longer. As for Melvin Gordon, his struggles will eventually force the team to shift its focus back to Austin Ekeler if nothing changes. And given Los Angeles' disinterest in extending Gordon this offseason, he could also become a trade piece before the deadline. If you can deal him, you probably should.