NFL trade season continues with another wide receiver move. The Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas and a future seventh-round pick to the Texans in exchange for future fourth-round and seventh-round picks on Tuesday. While this move isn’t earth-shattering in fantasy football leagues, it will definitely affect the fantasy values of more than just Thomas, as well as affecting Week 9 waiver wire pickups (hello Courtland Sutton), rankings (Deshaun Watson is moving up), and start ’em, sit ’em decisions (good-bye Keke Coutee?).
The first question fantasy owners have when a trade takes place is whether the traded player will suit up that weekend. Considering this trade took place early in the week, we expect Thomas to play, at least in a limited fashion. It doesn’t hurt the game happens to be in Denver with the Texans traveling to Mile High. As far as everything else, well, that takes a little more thought.
Week 9 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
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What is Demaryius Thomas’s fantasy value with the Texans?
Thomas moves into a No. 2 wide receiver role in Houston occupied at various times this year by Will Fuller and Keke Coutee. The duo has combined for 75 targets, which is three fewer than No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins. With Fuller (knee) out for the season and Coutee dealing with a nagging hamstring issue. Thomas should be seen as an improvement despite his generally mediocre play, and certainly a move to a more wide open Texans offense is a step up for him.
While in Denver, he caught 36 of 56 targets for 402 yards and three TDs, so right away we see that he could be in line for more targets, especially if Coutee is out, and while Denver is actually averaging about three more pass attempts per game than the Texans, Houston has more yards per attempt (8.3 compared to 7.4), passing yards (256 compared to 247.6) and passing TDs (15 total compared to 11). Ultimately, Thomas is still a WR3 in fantasy, but this move gives him a little more upside most weeks.
WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Sleeper Courtland Sutton worth a Week 9 waiver pickup
Sutton had shown signs of a breakout in recent weeks, scoring twice and totaling 23 targets over the past five games. The big-play rookie is averaging 19.1 yards per catch and should function as a boom-or-bust option most weeks. With Thomas gone, his targets should go up, particularly in the red zone where he can use his 6-4 frame to his advantage.
Given Denver’s QB play, Sutton’s ceiling is limited, but he has the physical tools to post good numbers with more targets. Plus, he’ll have the advantage of working across from another solid receiver in Emmanuel Sanders, so he should get more favorable coverage most weeks. He’s worth a waiver move in most formats, especially with the six-team byes upon us.
Does Keke Coutee still have fantasy value?
Coutee is hurt the most by this move. Already dealing with a hamstring injury, he know resorts back to being Houston’s No. 3 receiver. And unlike when Will Fuller was healthy, Coutee doesn’t profile as the “possession guy” playing opposite a superstar and a deep threat. Rather, he’ll be the co-possession guy playing opposite a superstar and a veteran possession guy.
Perhaps Houston will use Thomas differently than he was being in used in Denver, but Coutee figures to be in a real battle for targets. He still has some speculative value based on the rapport we’ve seen between him and Deshaun Watson, but between the injury and uncertainty, he’s no longer a must-have player.
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