Well, my fantasy season seems to be coming to an end which means it’s time to prep for next year. Can you believe that one of my teams actually has Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott and I still couldn’t push for a championship? Such is life in a weird, completely different year of fantasy football.

Now because I didn’t win, the only rational response is to dismantle my whole team and trade for a whole new one, right?

Okay, maybe that’s dramatic, but I’m still going to trade for a few pieces this offseason and lucky for you, I’ll let you in on who I am thinking about acquiring or getting rid of. Set yourself up for success next season, and seasons that follow, by making the right moves trade-wise.

Trade For…

Players I’m going out of my way to make offers for.

D.J. Chark, Wide Receiver (Jaguars):

“But, Anthony, why on earth are you trading for a guy who has less than 50 receptions and less than 600 yards?”

Relax for a minute.

This cat has missed two (2) games with injury and caught passes from three (3) different quarterbacks; one of which is a borderline-starter (Gardner Minshew), another that’s a complete non-starter (Mike Glennon), and the third is probably a player few even know who he was until he was forced into action (Jake Luton).

Consider this: When Chark caught passes from a slightly stable quarterback last year (Minshew), he had nearly 120 targets and over 1,000 yards receiving. The Jaguars in 2019 (2020 is an outlier with poor quarterback-play, to say the least) threw the ball nearly 50% of the time — and this was with Minshew. Considering they seem to be a lock for a Day 1 selection and upgrade at the position by way of either Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, both strong-armed quarterbacks with accuracy down-field, I’m very content scooping-up all the Chark as a bounce-back candidate in 2021, in an offense that will more than likely be poised to throw the ball even more.

Cam Akers, Running Back (Rams):

Florida State alumni here preaching about a Florida State player. Sorry in advance.

Malcolm Brown is a free agent this offseason and Akers is clearly more explosive than backfield-mate Darrell Henderson. We’ve seen what the Rams offense can do with a physical runner (see Todd Gurley, the 2017 version). The Rams’ offense is clearly a pass first one, but this year alone, all three running backs have combined for 44 receptions. Imagine 75% of those going to Akers who is more than a competent pass-catcher out of the backfield.

To sweeten it a bit, there are 91 carries being lost from Brown entering free agency and the fact that Akers is already tied for carries with Henderson on the year is encouraging to see. Akers is a prime candidate to see more carries and receptions entering next year, and he should be a top-10 running back with potential and ceiling for even more when he gets the steady volume that’s on the horizon. Easy buy.

T.J. Hockenson, Tight End (Lions):

Tight end is a terrible position in fantasy football, so the approach here is simple: If you can land a top-5 option for the future, for the price of an RB2, why not do it?

Matthew Stafford wakes up and throws for 4,000 yards in a casual year, and Detroit has two-of-seven receivers under contract for next season. Someone has to catch passes from Stafford and it isn’t going to be Quintez Cephus. Marvin Jones only has 5 more receptions on the year than Hockenson, but again, he isn’t under contract for next year.

Hockenson is averaging just over 11 yards per reception and just over 4 receptions a game. Not to mention his nose for the end zone is ridiculous (already top-5 in the league amongst tight ends for touchdown receptions). Buy him while he is still cheap and you’ll secure a solid floor in an otherwise boom-or-bust position.

Trade Away…

Players I’m looking to unload while the window is open.

Myles Gaskin, Running Back (Dolphins):

Look, no one was more surprised to see Gaskin flourish in Miami’s offense more than me, but come on:

How many 7th-rounders sustain production for a long period of time in the NFL? The Dolphins have two (2) first round picks in the ’21 Draft, and the running back position has elite talent being funneled to the league by way of Clemson and Alabama in Travis Etienne and Najee Harris respectively.

Miami runs the ball more than they throw, and Tua Tagovailoa‘s legs will allow for more speed options and RPO’s to be utilized — which will open up the run game just that much more (think Phildadelphia with new signal-caller Jalen Hurts and likely-revitalized Miles Sanders).

Miami has shown that they can get it done with Gaskin, but why would you pass up an obvious upgrade at running back this year? Get rid of Gaskin while he has value before a newcomer comes and washes it all away.

Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver (Steelers):

Johnson looks like Clifford Franklin from “The Replacements” who can’t catch a single ball until he uses stick ‘em. You know…

The talent is there, but my goodness, this man must put butter all over his hands before a game.

Johnson has plentiful targets (126) and yards (753), yet he doesn’t lead the team in receptions (77). Furthermore, he hasn’t even been that efficient with the footballs he does catch, averaging 10 yards per reception, good for third on the team. Aging asset Ben Roethlisberger is about to step away after the 2020 campaign (if his recent play is any indication), and the Steelers want to run the ball (albeit, not very well) to take some pressure off his robo-elbow.

In a crowded wide receiver room, as the Steelers reload and develop with the best of them, look to get rid of Johnson while he still has a little bit of value.

Zach Ertz, Tight End (Eagles):

What a fall from grace this has been, huh?

Replaced by the rising Dallas Goedert, Ertz now has to either find a new team, or play second-fiddle. I think Ertz is on a new team this coming season, but that means that the Eagles will likely have to eat almost $8 million in dead cap, never a good look for a tight end.

Ertz has only ever had one season over 1,000 yards receiving and for his career averages a paltry 50 yards per game and 5 receptions. Being on the wrong side of 30 and having to learn a whole new offensive scheme in another COVID-19 riddled offseason doesn’t bode well for Ertz. The talent is absolutely there for Ertz, even at this stage of his game (ex. age), but in a market where teams don’t want to pay big money for players 30-years or older, and specifically ones who have an extensive injury history and aren’t exactly the most efficient at their position, makes it challenging.

Sell him on name value alone and be happy you got something for him.

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