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Winners and losers from the NFL trade deadline

Whose fantasy value improved from the trade deadline and whose fell?

Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

So I guess the NFL makes big time, team altering, totally awesome trades now.


The NFL has long been shadowed by the NBA in terms of mind blowing mid-season trades but yesterday (really the past 48 hours but yesterday in particular) showed us that the NFL can hang with it’s basketball counterparts.

Four trades happened in the 48 hours leading up to the trade deadline and each one had a significant impact on the two teams it involved. We had LT Duane Brown getting shipped to Seattle, QB Jimmy Garoppolo heading to San Francisco to fix the 49ers, RB Jay Ajayi joining an already league best Eagles team, and the Bills finally taking pity on Tyrod Taylor and getting him a star WR in Kelvin Benjamin.

Whew, what a day!

Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from all the deadline chaos.

Winner: Russell Wilson

After putting together his best game of the season, Wilson suddenly how has at least one competent member of an offensive line protecting him. And not only a member, the most important member. Brown will come in a replace current Seahawks’ left tackle Rees Odhiambo who was the lowest-graded player by Pro Football Focus at any position through eight weeks. No wonder the team felt like they needed an upgrade. With a little more time in the pocket, Wilson will be able to build upon his last game and likely will start becoming the fantasy dominate quarterback we all remember. Hope you didn’t get rid of him!

Winner: Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi owners rejoice! Ajayi goes from an offense that a) didn’t have an offensive line and b) didn’t have a quarterback to a team with a better offensive line and a much, much better quarterback. While it may seem that adding him into the running back committee that the Eagles have would dampen his value—he’ll be sharing time with LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement—the decrease in touches could be good for Ajayi. At the very least he has a chance to reestablish himself as a workhorse back in a good offense. Plus, having a passing game that is an actual threat will take a lot of pressure off his shoulders.

Loser: LeGarrette Blount

Blount hasn’t been the goal-line battering ram that many thought he would be when the Eagles signed him this offseason. However, he’s had a pretty consistent role in Philly and on occasion has produced a big game for the Eagles and fantasy owners here and there. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how his role plays out with Ajayi now in the backfield but one things for certain: the Eagles weren’t sold on Blount so I don’t think you should be either.

Winner: LeGarrette Blount

Eh: Kenyon Drake and Damien Williams

I had to put the obligatory mention in but I have no idea what the Dolphins’ backfield is going to look like and if anyone will fantasy value will arise from it. I guess technically this is a winners category since clearly the Dolphins like these guys enough to roll with them for the rest of the season. Then again, this trade could have happened just because they didn’t like Ajayi enough. Who knows.

Winner: Pierre Garcon

Imagine how happy Garcon must have been when he learned about this trade. Now, we have very little gameplay of Jimmy Garoppolo but I can say with mild assurance he’s better than C.J. Beathard. Garcon has had a decent season so far but could be in for a major uptick in production. At the onset of the year, I was really excited about a Kyle Shanahan/Garcon reunion since Garcon’s best statistical season was when he played under Shanahan in Washington. Hopefully with a competent quarterback, Garcon will be able to take off and actually score a touchdown.

Side note: if my last name was Beathard (BEAT HARD) I would never go into sports. It’s just asking for trouble. It’s like becoming a chief with the name Burnfood or a pediatrician with the last name Mean.

Loser: “Kirk Cousins to the 49ers” narrative

Sorry Capt. Kirk, looks like you’re trapped in Washington. Who knows how the Jimmy G experiment will go for the rest of the season but this certainly throws a wrench in the Kirk Cousins to SF narrative. I really wanted it to happen. But I’m also really onboard with this because I love Jimmy G.

Winner: Tyrod Taylor

OH MY GOSH EVERYONE THE BILLS ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT TYROD TAYLOR! Mark your calendars. This is a monumental day in history. For whatever reason the Bills have been wildly noncommittal with their starting quarterback despite the fact that he’s a) competent, b) good and c) there aren’t many better quarterbacks out there. Will he lead the Bills to a Super Bowl? Doubtful but quarterbacks worse than him have done it before (see: Dilfer, Trent and Flacco, Joe). Anyways, Taylor now has a legit weapon at wide receiver, something he’s been missing since healthy Sammy Watkins who, like the groundhog, only comes out once a year to check his shadow and then runs back underground. Fun fact: The Bills are dead last in the league in percentage of receptions by wide receiver with only 36%. League average is 52.36%. That’s abysmal. That hopefully will be fixed by this trade.

Loser: Zay Jones

The rookie has not had a great season so far. Many thought he was the reason behind the Sammy Watkins trade and expected a major impact from him from the word “Go!” Instead, we’ve just been witness to a bunch of dropped balls and failed opportunity. Maybe with the pressure off his shoulders he’ll be able to get back on track but you can’t help but feel for the kid.

Winner: Devin Funchess & Christian McCaffrey

With Kelvin Benjamin out of the picture, it’s all Funchess and McCaff in Carolina. Funchess especially has been having himself a strong season and his production made Carolina comfortable moving on from Benjamin. As for McCaffrey, he’s now going to get EVEN MORE TARGETS which is something I might not be able to comprehend. Hopefully what it means is that the Panthers will be tailoring their offense a little more to the speed and shiftiness of McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel instead of the height and size of Benjamin and Funchess.

Winner: Jimmy Garoppolo

NFL: San Francisco 49ers-Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports