By: Mike Mazzoni
It’s that time of the year again, for keeper leagues. You are either all-in, the middle of the pack or tanking for next season. This article is meant for the latter but still applies if you are in the playoff picture.
The players listed below are all outside Fantasypros top-30. All keeper leagues are different so this article is going to cover leagues with no round cost per keeper. Most of the players, discussed are middle to late round draft picks from 2021. These players are suggested on the basis that they can’t be kept next year or can’t be kept at a reasonable cost. Anyways, let’s dive in.
If you have a player like Dalvin Cook or Jonathon Taylor on your team and you are somehow out of the playoff hunt you should be looking to trade your first round picks for one of the top keeper options in your league. Preferably, a player in the top-24 rest-of-season rankings.
- Javonte Williams, (RB),Denver Broncos (ROS Rank-47)
Melvin Gordon becomes a free-agent in 2021. All the more reason to believe, Javonte Williams future’s looking bright. He is lined up for potential bell cow work in 2022 as long as Denver doesn’t re-sign Gordon or another notable running back, indicating they plan to use a committee approach to their backfield. Although Williams hasn’t been the league winner we hoped for.
As of Week 12, Williams has 4.9 yards-per-carry and 24 catches on 29 targets.
While the duo backfield is nearly split 50/50, Gordon has scored 7 touchdowns v.s. Williams 2.
The Bronco’s continue to utilize their rushing attack to be the focal point of their offense. Williams will most likely be an early 2-3 round target in 2022. It’s great time to buy Williams for next year.
Who to trade for Williams: Saqoun Barkley, Darrell Henderson, Keenan Allen. I also wouldn’t fault you for trading a top-15 player for him. Williams is young, Denver used an early round pick on him and bell cow keepers are hard to come by.
- Kyle Pitts,(TE),- Atlanta Falcons (ROS Rank-53)
Although I’m not a huge fan of keeping a tight end, Kyle Pitts is a blue-chip prospect.Atlanta’s defense seemingly always forces them to play from behind. Volume will never be an issue for Pitts, as he has been top-7 in targets and top-5 in yards through 11 weeks. Unfortunately, he has only hauled in 1 touchdown.
Since Calvin Ridley’s mental health absence, teams have effectively game planned around Pitts. As a result, his performance has gone down in recent weeks. But we all hope that Ridley’s health turns around and he returns to football with the Falcons in 2022. Which would benefit Pitts immensely.
Now could be the right time to buy Pitts from a team trying to make a push. Atlanta will most likely use their top-10 pick on QB in 2022, Pitts should be one of the safest TE keeper options next season.
Who to trade for Pitts: Leonard Fournette, Adam Theilen, George Kittle
- DeVonta Smith, (WR),-Philadelphia Eagles (ROS rank 51)
A quick comparison to show how good Smith has been:
DK Metcalf: 72 targets,46 receptions, 637-yards, 8-touchdowns. WR-15 heading into week 12
DeVonta Smith: 74 targets,46 receptions, 664-yards, 4 touchdowns. WR-25 heading into week 12
It can be argued, I’m cherry-picking here because Metcalf has missed a game and Russell Wilson missed three games. But the main argument is outside of touchdowns, Smith is a rookie playing with Jalen Hurts, who is not the most WR friendly QBs. According to teamrankings.com, the Eagles 50.37 passing rate is last in the league.
Smith is putting up similar numbers to DK Metcalf. And he is putting up similar targets and receptions to Ja’Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, Mike Evans, CeeDee Lamb and Mike Williams. Good company to be around, Smith looks primed to be locked-in as the Eagle’s WR1 for the foreseeable future.
According to PlayerProfiler, he ran a 4.44, 40-yard dash during pro day. And all the talk about him being too small to be in the NFL can now be put to rest. The Eagles are projected to have three top-15 picks. It is very possible they make a play for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson.
According to Ian Rapoport, the Eagles are looking to give Jalen Hurts another year under center. I find that hard to believe. This past offseason they seemed about as comfortable with Hurts as their QB as you do when the adults start talking about politics during a holiday dinner.
Who to trade for DeVonta Smith: James Robinson, James Conner, D.J. Moore
- Elijah Mitchell,(RB),San Francisco 49ers (ROS rank 45)
The Niners rookie sensation you totally did not expect to emerge into the 2021 season. Just like you did not expect Joe Flacco to actually start a game this year.
Mitchell has shown burst and speed all year while Tre Sermon is sleeping on the couch as he is permanently in coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. To add to it, Raheem Mostert is a near lock to walk in free agency and Jeff Wilson also due to hit the market. Mitchell should be the main back in this offense next season.
According to Pro Football Reference, Mitchell is averaging 4.82 YPC and a 63% snap count percentage is seeing a snap percentage in line with guys like Johnathan Taylor, Joe Mixon and Saqoun Barkely, true bell-cow usage. Since Mitchell is recovering from a broken finger now would be a good time for tanking teams to make an offer for Mitchell as a solid RB2 for 2022.
Who to trade for Elijah Mitchell: Cordelle Patterson, Dionte Johnson, Aaron Jones
- Michael Carter- RB- New York Jets (ROS rank 66)
Yes, I just suggested that you trade for a Jet who is averaging 3.87 YPC but hear me out. Carter wasn’t the best runner coming out of college, he was more the pass catching compliment to the aforementioned JaVonte Williams. The good news is the Jets team is so bad that for the near future that plays well into his skill set and with his lack of competition in the Jets backfield he is well on his way to three down work in 2022 especially with Tevin Coleman to hit free agency and perennial backup Ty Johnson to have a zero dead cap hit if the Jets move on from him this coming off-season.
Carter has seen one less target and 5 less receptions than Aaron Jones who were both on their way to haul in 50 balls this year which would have been top 10 among the RB positions in 2020.
In fact, in 1 less game Carter has as many receptions as 2021s best running back so far and 2022s top 3 fantasy pick, Johnathan Taylor . With Carter landing on the IR on Saturday, November 27 and just being a Jet alone means, you can get a possible three down back in 2022 pretty cheap from a possible 2021 playoff contending owner.
Who to trade for Michael Carter: Miles Gaskin, Brandin Cooks. T.J. Hockenson. Any handcuff RB not named Tony Pollard or AJ Dillon.
I could go on and on about this; however, the founder of Keeper Broz and my brother, Nick, has limited me to 5. Here’s the rest of my top-10 (in no particular order).
Jaylen Waddle– would throw him in the same bucket as Smith.
Elijah Moore– Yes that’s two Eljah’s and two Jets in one
column but this kid is on a tear the last couple weeks and could be a 2021 league winner I would sell a mid RB2 or low WR2 for him if you are tanking.
Kadarius Toney-The rookie was on fire then got hit by injuries and is playing behind Shepard, Slayton and Golladay for some reason. With Joe Judge and Daniel Jones on their last legs a new regimen would be a major boost to Toney and you can probably give up the same you would for Carter.
For my last two don’t be afraid to pick up and stash J.K. Dobbins or Cam Akers, remember we are not declaring our keepers in November so you have all off season to see how they recover and they were both top-15 RBs pre-injury.
If you are in a sharp league and they are already owned I would move guys like George Kittle, David Montgomery, and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for them.
You could throw Travis Etienne in the same bucket too but I favor Dobbins and Akers.
I am Mike “The Hammer” Mazzoni good luck the rest of the season. I hope you win out or lose out if you are tanking.