One of the great things about fantasy football is you can make trades anytime. The non-fantasy National Football League is not so loosey goosey.
The league’s trade deadline is at 3 p.m. CDT on Tuesday. Halloween afternoon. If you go back only a few weeks, a lot of Minnesota fans were assuming that Kirk Cousins would be dressing up that day as a New York Jet.
But like many ghouls and goblins, the Vikings have risen from the dead, and Cousins’ starring role in Monday night’s upset of the mighty 49ers has ended any fantasies about the quarterback filling the Aaron Rodgers void in the Meadowlands.
For all the rumor-mongering that goes on, fantasy mavens can rest assured that few stars will change teams next week. But the following big names COULD find themselves at new addresses, and with better statistical outlooks:
Derrick Henry (Titans RB) – Only Carolina and Arizona have fewer wins than Tennessee, which might mean an exit for a future hall of famer with nearly 9,000 career yards. King Henry has been dealing with eight-man fronts for years and would benefit greatly if he landed on a team with a prolific passing threat.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – OCTOBER 08: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow (Raiders WRs) – Even though Las Vegas is still on the fringes of wild-card contention, the reality is they’re going to part with one of these veterans. Adams is unhappy and would bring a huge return in trade. But Renfrow, who has done little this season, is much more likely to be dealt.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 22: Davante Adams #17 of the Las Vegas Raiders attempts to make a catch against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 22, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton (Broncos WRs) – Denver’s dumpster fire of a season has included wasting the talents of these two wideouts. If Sean Payton is smart, and he used to be, he will unload both of these veterans and install Marvin Mims into their No. 1 receiver slot.
DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 22: (EDITOR’S NOTE: Alternate crop) A referee attempts to break up a fight between Jerry Jeudy #10 of the Denver Broncos and Keisean Nixon #25 of the Green Bay Packers after a play in the first quarter of the game at Empower Field At Mile High on October 22, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dalvin Cook (Jets RB) – We remember way back when he was a VIkings star, but Cook could be in line for his second trade of the year. He has been clearly surpassed by Breece Hall in the Jets’ pecking order and could be on the cusp of his expiration date. Then again, he could go somewhere where he’d get at least some scoring opportunities.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 01: Bryan Cook #6 of the Kansas City Chiefs tackles Dalvin Cook #33 of the New York Jets during the second quarter in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 01, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
DeAndre Hopkins (Titans WR) – The former all-pro is wasting away in Nashville, as he approaches the one-year anniversary of his last touchdown. But his 140-yard performance a couple weeks back against the Colts shows he could have some gas left in the tank if he gets dealt to a contender, or at least a competent offense.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – OCTOBER 08: DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Tennessee Titans reacts during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Loop lost last week because we neglected to start Vikings WR Jordan Addision, but we won’t make that mistake this week with the Packers on the menu. … Rams rookie sensation Puka Nacua will thrive against Dallas as the Cowboys focus their attention on Cooper Kupp. … Four running backs we especially like this week are the Jets’ Breece Hall (vs. Giants), the Jaguars’ Travis Etienne (vs. Steelers), Indy’s Jonathan Taylor (vs. Saints) and Miami’s Raheem Mostert (vs. Patriots). … Colts rookie wideout Josh Downs has scored TDs in consecutive games, and he’ll make it three straight against New Orleans. … And Buffalo QB Josh Allen will have a huge rebound game tomorrow night against Tampa Bay.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – OCTOBER 23: Jordan Addison #3 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates his first half touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 23, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler was not 100 percent in his return last week in Kansas City, so don’t expect the world this week, even against Chicago’s defense. … Green Bay RB Aaron Jones is also slowed, so he won’t post great numbers against the Vikings’ improved run defense. … Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is averaging less than 50 yards per game, and that won’t improve much against Detroit. … Neither Philly WR Devonta Smith nor Miami WR Jaylen Waddle looked great in last Sunday night’s showdown, while teammates A.J. Brown and Tyreek Hill shined. … There really are no great Seahawks options this week against the Browns’ NFL-leading defense. … And it appears that 49ers QB Brock Purdy is back down to earth with a two-game losing streak. It could grow to three against Cincinnati.
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Two prominent running backs did little last week because of their ailments, but Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson (headaches) and the Giants’ Saquon Barkley (elbow) should be good to go this week. … The same cannot be said for Cleveland RB Jerome Ford (ankle), who will miss a couple of weeks, and Buffalo tight end Dawson Knox (wrist), who will be out much longer. Dalton Kincaid will be a fine replacement for the latter. … Two top receivers, San Fran’s Deebo Samuel and Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf, are likely to miss another game this week. … As for injured quarterbacks, Chicago’s Justin Fields is very doubtful, while Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson, Las Vegas’ Jimmy Garoppolo and the Giants’ Daniel Jones are varying degrees of questionable. Probably a good time to grab streaming options such as the Saints’ Derek Carr or the Colts’ Gardner Minshew.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 15: Desmond Ridder #9 of the Atlanta Falcons hands the ball off to Bijan Robinson #7 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter against the Washington Commanders at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
The deepest sleepers
We rarely spend any precious newspaper space discussing kickers, but Cleveland’s Dustin Hopkins is on an incredible run. He has made field goals 50 yards or longer in a record five consecutive games, and he’s 7 for 7 from 50-plus this season. Yet he’s widely available in many leagues, including our own, despite his averaging nearly 10 points per game. He didn’t even make the top 20 in most preseason forecasts. With the Browns’ offense hardly world class, they’ll be settling for plenty of long field goals for the foreseeable future. And Hopkins will be making them.
CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 15: Dustin Hopkins #7 of the Cleveland Browns kicks a field goal during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The Thursday pick
Buccaneers at Bills (-8½):
Pick: Bills by 11
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 22: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 22, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.
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