The NFL’s trade deadline is now in the rear-view mirror, but not before leaving us with some of the most lasting memories that the annual deadline has supplied in quite some time. Maybe ever.
Jimmy Garoppolo: New England Patriots —> San Francisco 49ers
After being the talk of the last couple of offseasons while teams have inquired about his services, Garoppolo was finally freed from the shadow of Tom Brady this week. While being apart of the most successful franchise in recent NFL history is surely a great experience, it would probably also feel nice to actually play occasionally. Garoppolo now finally has his chance at carving out a career as an NFL starting quarterback.
The Patriots sent Garoppolo to San Francisco in exchange for the 49ers’ 2018 second-round pick, which is a highly valuable piece of draft capital. Right off of the bat, it shows that the 49ers believe that they have their guy.
Per Edward Lewis of NFL.com, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has already said that Garoppolo definitely will not play this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and that the QB will be week to week until they feel he is ready. Regardless of when Garoppolo sees the field in 2017, I would avoid him in fantasy unless you’re trying to hold him over to your 2018 roster.
The 49ers’ remaining schedule is absolutely brutal from a fantasy standpoint. Taking the Cardinals out of it, the 49ers six remaining opponents only allow an average of 14.78 FPPG to QB’s. Their only bottom-10 opponent is the New York Giants in Week 10, and who knows is they’ll feel comfortable playing him already at that point.
Garoppolo is a more attractive option than Brian Hoyer (who ironically was released by San Francisco because of Garoppolo’s acquisition, then signed in New England to take Garoppolo’s spot) and rookie C.J. Beathard, but I would steer clear of him in fantasy for 2017.
Kelvin Benjamin: Carolina Panthers —> Buffalo Bills
Benjamin hasn’t been too bad so far this year, ranking as fantasy’s WR28, ahead of players like T.Y. Hilton, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Demaryius Thomas. He’s definitely been more of a weapon than the Bills’ current group of receivers and a welcome sight after the Bills parted ways with Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in the offseason.
Current Bills receivers Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones and Deonte Thompson have combined for 30 catches (62 targets, 48.4%) for 420 yards (14.0 avg) and 1 touchdown this year. By himself, Benjamin has 32 catches (51 targets, 62.7%) for 475 yards (14.8 avg) and 2 TD’s.
Although it will definitely take time for Benjamin to acclimate into being Buffalo’s WR1, he should be able to see the field early on. His 6-4, 245-pound frame makes him a red-zone target for QB Tyrod Taylor pretty much right away. See ball, track ball, get ball.
Benjamin’s outlook for the rest of the season is awesome as long as he’s on the field. Buffalo’s eight remaining opponents are awful against WR’s. Six of the eight are among the bottom 10, and four of the matchups are against bottom-5 teams. They allow an average of 23.91 FPPG to the position, which would rank sixth-worst if it were an individual team.
Jay Ajayi: Miami Dolphins —> Philadelphia Eagles
Ajayi’s 2017 season has been among the most frustrating for fantasy owners. Personally, I had him ranked as my RB4 before the season started. He currently sits as fantasy’s RB30. He does have two 100-yard rushing games, but the games in between are not great. Ajayi averages just 42.6 yards rushing in the other five games. He also hasn’t scored any TD’s.
It sounds like the Eagles are going to take things slow with him and integrate him into the offense smoothly. The Eagles have LeGarrette Blount, so they likely will be in no rush. It seems Ajayi will have a role early but will not be the bell cow anytime soon.
Ajayi’ remaining slate for the season isn’t great (seven remaining opponents allow 17.36 FPPG to RB’s), but it is do-able. He has a date with the New York Giants in Week 15, who give up the third-most FPPG to RB’s. He should have a big role in Philadelphia’s offense by then.