Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer: Lamar Jackson is a trade target heading into Week 10

Lamar Jackson has been highly disappointing for his fantasy football owners but could be one of the top trade targets moving forward. Last year’s MVP was a fantasy league winner after being drafted in the middle to late rounds of fantasy drafts. This year, Jackson was very expensive on draft day, often as the first quarterback off the board, and hasn’t come close to holding up his end of the bargain. However, our NFL fantasy football trade analyzer still has faith in Jackson moving forward.

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Why Lamar Jackson should be on your radar as one of our favorite fantasy football trade targets

The 23-year-old is averaging 26.6 passing attempts per game through eight games, completing 16.7 of those for just 189.1 yards per game. In 2019, Jackson only averaged 26.7 pass attempts, completing 17.6 of those for 208.5 yards per game. That, in itself, really isn’t that big of a difference on the surface, but Jackson averaged 2.4 passing touchdowns per game last year compared to just 1.5 in 2020 thus far.

But as a runner, Jackson ran 11.7 times per game for 80.4 yards per game with .47 rushing touchdowns compared to 9.9 rushing attempts per game for just 58.6 yards and .38 touchdowns per contest. This passing and rushing combination is a huge drop-off from a year ago, but Jackson still has immense value as a runner compared to most other fantasy quarterbacks. So, what is different now, and can it be corrected?

Our NFL trade analyzer looks at what happened to the Baltimore offense

The unique Ravens offense didn’t take anyone by surprise this year. Surely defensive coordinators that were set to play Baltimore spent time in the offseason studying this offense, and that is doubly true for their AFC North competitors.

Related | Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer: Trade targets include Antonio Gibson, Jonathan Taylor

We have seen defenses come after Jackson more this year and force him to make quicker precise decisions and throws. Defenses are also really crowding the middle of the field and daring Jackson to beat them outside the numbers and deep downfield. Thus far, that hasn’t gone well for the Ravens passing game, although it was very successful in 2019. Jackson has missed Marquise Brown, in particular, an alarming number of times this year. Will that continue?

Who is to say, but Jackson showed us last year that he is a better thrower of the football overall than what he has put on tape in 2020. This helps give our NFL trade analyzer faith in his fantasy outlook this season.

Should Lamar Jackson continue to be one of our fantasy football trade targets?

Lamar Jackson didn’t run during the first half of this season as much as he did last year. Jackson is now hoping that a knee injury is completely healed could have had something to do with that. It was also unlikely that Jackson was going to keep up his torrid rushing attempt numbers anyway. But if the second half of last week’s game shows us anything, Baltimore might be quickly going back to that bread and butter of Jackson running that their offense is designed around.

A huge issue for Jackson this year has been the play calling. Especially early in games when the outcome is far from decided, Jackson has been phenomenal throwing the ball on first downs, as was the case last year. But in 2020, the Ravens are calling many more first down runs instead of passes, and it hasn’t worked out nearly as well as a year ago.

One area of concern continues to be Baltimore’s offensive line. Marshal Yanda’s retirement hurt this team far more than most tend to recognize. Then, two weeks ago against Pittsburgh, the Ravens best lineman, Ronnie Stanley, was lost for the year. What was a major strength last year is now a weakness for Baltimore. Yanda and Stanley were elite players at right guard and left tackle, respectively. But Jackson’s ability outside of the pocket makes bad offensive line play less of a deterrent as one of our fantasy football trade targets.

The  Ravens’ schedule is about to get much easier 

An area that is ready to explode in the Ravens favor is their schedule, which is extremely favorable going forward and makes Lamar Jackson one of our fantasy football trade targets. Baltimore just played the Steelers and Colts, two of the best defenses in football, these past two weeks. The Ravens collectively put up big rushing numbers against Pittsburgh, but the Steelers are the defense that gives Jackson the most difficult time in his career, without question.

Related | Eight buy low, sell high fantasy trade targets in Week 10

Those teams meet again on Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh, but the rest of the Ravens’ second-half schedule really lends itself to Baltimore’s offense getting back on track in a big way. In fact, that Thanksgiving game is really the only opponent that looks like even an above-average defense in Baltimore’s way. Jackson could light up New England’s slow defense this week as a runner.

For fantasy decisions like these – and maybe this is more of a dynasty than redraft, though – it is always smart to bet on players with extreme talent. It is also good business to bet on franchises with great winning track records and excellent coaching staff. Jackson and the Ravens epitomize both. Now is the time to pounce on Jackson as one of our favorite fantasy football trade targets.

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