With Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season in the books, dynasty leagues are at the season’s crux as contenders jostle for playoff spots. Some leagues have already passed their trade deadlines while others have them on the horizon – meaning the impetus to make trades is significant. This past week saw surprising victories across the NFL which led to shakeups in many fantasy standings. Let’s take a look at a wide receiver that appears to have turned his season around along with a running back who continues to frustrate fantasy managers.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
Entering the 2021 season, Aiyuk was part of a dynamic sophomore class of wide receivers that enjoyed great success in their rookie years. His counterparts included CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Michael Pittman Jr., and Tee Higgins – all of whom have had varying levels of success this year. However, Aiyuk seemed to find himself in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse for the first half of the season.
The trouble started in Week 1 as wide receiver Trent Sherfield infamously out-snapped and out-produced Aiyuk, who hauled in more than three passes just once through Week 7. Over the last three weeks, he has turned it around and checked in as the WR11 in half-PPR leagues, a stretch that culminated in a seven-catch performance for 85 yards and a touchdown in Week 11.
Aiyuk’s slow start to the season opened up a rare buy-window for a talented wideout who produced extremely well in his rookie year. Thanks to his recent hot streak, that discount has mostly vanished as he’s rounded back into form. There are certainly still managers feeling the trepidation incurred over the first half of the season and it’s worth seeing if two second-round rookie picks would be enough to pry the pass-catcher away. I would be open to moving either Rondale Moore or Kadarius Toney for Aiyuk, and would even move a 2022 first-round pick for him if I could get back a piece such as Bryan Edwards or Jonnu Smith as well.
RB Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
The idea of Moss on what has become a high-powered Buffalo Bills offense over the last two seasons has always seemed better in theory. In reality, Buffalo’s proclivity for throwing the ball (sixth in passing attempts per game as they’ve thrown on 61.55% of plays in 2021) and the presence of fellow running back Devin Singletary in the passing game has slashed Moss’ role. Factoring in quarterback Josh Allen operating as Buffalo’s de facto goal line back means that Moss loses out on the most valuable touches – in the passing game and at the goal line. He played just 29% of the snaps in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, rushing just three times for five yards. In 22 career games, Moss has caught more than three passes just once and had just two games with more than 61 rushing yards.
In 2020 dynasty rookie drafts, Moss found himself drafted anywhere from the late first round to the middle of the second round – around players such as Antonio Gibson and Michael Pittman Jr. He has already seen his value dissipate, temporarily recouping some after a stretch from Week Two to Week Five of this season where he posted at least 10.7 half-PPR points each week. While Moss’ value is certainly at its nadir, an upcoming schedule of New Orleans, New England, Tampa Bay, and Carolina in Weeks 12-15 projects to be very unforgiving and continue to depress his value. I would easily accept any second-round rookie pick for Moss, but a more likely scenario is a positional pivot.
As the playoffs near, nearly every contender is looking to either supplement their running back depth as injuries continue to take a toll. Flipping Moss for a player that can help your team next season (such as D.J. Chark), a player in line to enjoy a change of scenery in 2022 (such as Michael Gallup), or a couple of younger fliers (such as a package of Van Jefferson and Parris Campbell) is a strongly advised move.