• Andy Will

How Do Traded Players Compare Before & After A Trade?

Twitter: @ScottWill2909

Over the last month or two, I have looked into the previous three years to gauge how well they did immediately before and after changing teams. This time we are going to see whether or not there is a better ‘hit rate’ if they were part of a trade or not. In this first piece, we’ll look at which running backs were part of these transactions and if their fantasy value improved, decreased, or stayed within a similar level.

2017/2018 Summary-

Montgomery flew out of the traps in weeks one and two of the 2017 season with a pair of RB1 finishes in back-to-back weeks. Unfortunately, he would break a rib in week four, forcing him to miss the next game, meaning Aaron Jones would take over the lead role. Although Montgomery would produce one more top performance during the season, his year would end after re-injuring his ribs during week ten, which would mean he would be placed upon injured reserve.

Mongomery was the 3rd choice running back behind Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in 2018 and would play seven games for the Packers before being traded to the Baltimore Ravens in week 10. He would debut during eleven for his new side and would feature in five games.

Fantasy Finishes-

We have taken the combined finishes between weeks 1-9 to form his pre-trade finish, and post-trade was taken from weeks 11-17 because he did not play week 10 with the timing of his trade to Baltimore.

  • 2017 Finish- 52

  • 2018 Pre Trade- 58

  • 2018 Post Trade- 73

2017/2018 Summary-

Carlos Hyde played his last year in San Francisco during the 2017 season and had an excellent fantasy season with 13 games returning either RB1 or RB2 results. He would become a free agent and sign a three-year deal with the Browns, playing six games. Hyde was traded to the Jaguars shortly before week seven and would play eight games, sharing the backfield with Fournette and Yeldon. Hyde would have no fantasy value following this trade as he did not finish higher than an RB4 and was released after the season’s conclusion.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2017 Finish- 9

  • 2018 Pre Trade- 14

  • 2018 Post Trade- 83

2018/2019 Summary-

Kenyan Drake shared a backfield with Frank Gore in 2018 during his final full season in Miami. He would have 36 fewer carries than Gore and finish with 535 yards on 120 rush attempts, although Drake would have seventy-three targets, which would be good enough for third on the team behind only Danny Amendola and Kenny Stills.

Six players would finish the season with more than 30 rush attempts for the Dolphins in 2019 in a very poor season for the running back position as a whole. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick would lead the team with only 243 yards. Following the trade to the Cardinals on the 28th of October, Kenyan Drake grabbed his chance to be the featured back, producing a number good enough to finish running back two overall on his first game for the team in week nine. This would be the first of his three RB1 numbers following the move cross country (one was good enough for the highest total of week fifteen).

Fantasy Finishes-

We have taken the combined finishes between weeks 1-7 to form his pre-trade finish, and post-trade was taken from weeks 9-17 because he did not play week 8 with the timing of his trade to Arizona.

  • 2018 Finish- 17

  • 2019 Pre Trade- 40

  • 2019 Post Trade- 4

2018/2019 Summary-

Johnson split time with Nick Chubb, and for six games, Carlos Hyde (before Hyde’s trade to the Jaguars). He would finish with 40 rush attempts for 201 yards.

Johnson would split the share with Carlos Hyde again in 2019 for the Texans and finished as an overall RB3. His fantasy output was somewhat erratic fantasy performances. It may have been likely that the fantasy managers may have missed out on his top points due to lower outputs in weeks running up to RB1 performances.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2018 Finish- 41

  • 2019 Finish- 32

2018/2019 Summary-

Jordan Howard would lead the Chicago Bears in carries (250), rushing yards (935), and total touchdowns (9). He would share the backfield with Tarik Cohen.

Howard was traded to the Eagles during the off-season. His weekly fantasy outputs were pretty up and down during his nine games in 2019. However, Howard would have some fantastic weeks, such as the thirty-one-point performance during week four. If the season finishes after week nine, it would have been good enough for Howard to finish as the 15th running back in half-point PPR leagues.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2018 Finish- 20

  • 2019 Finish- 41

2018/2019 Summary-

Without playing a game for the Kansas City Chiefs, Hyde would move to the Texans to share the backfield with Duke Johnson. As we can see from the above table, his 2019 was very consistent for fantasy managers who may well have picked him up for a good value, with Hyde returning thirteen out of sixteen weeks as an RB3 or better.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2018 Finish- 49

  • 2019 Finish- 28

2019/2020 Summary-

Breida split the backfield in San Francisco with Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert in 2019, with none of the RB’s having a true workhorse role. Breida’s fantasy scores were more limited than the other two due to his lack of rushing TD’s (Mostert eight TDs, Coleman six TDs, and Breida only 1).

Breida was traded to the Miami Dolphins during the off-season. However, he would find himself as part of another timeshare. He played the most games out of any Dolphins running back but would end up with fewer carries than Myles Gaskin (83 fewer) and Salvon Ahmed (16 fewer). He would struggle for another real fantasy relevance in 2020.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2019- 45

  • 2020- 83

2019/2020 Summary-

David Johnson flew out of the traps early in the 2019 season, producing five RB1 finishes from the first six weeks (the other week was still a solid RB3). Unfortunately, due to injury and the Cardinal's trade with the Miami Dolphins for Kenyan Drake, Johnson would struggle to produce any fantasy value from week eight will week 17 (apart from an RB2 finish in week fourteen).

The trade which took Johnson to the Texans was the most talked-about transaction of the off-season as it sent elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins the other way to Arizona. David Johnson would finish inside the top twenty-five running backs six out of the first seven weeks, and only one week out of his twelve games would be a letdown for fantasy managers.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2019- 38

  • 2020- 19

2019/2020 Summary-

DeAndre Washington acted as the backup to Josh Jacobs for the Raiders in 2019 and produced mainly backup numbers, apart from three fantastic weeks. Two of the weeks were in fantasy finals (weeks 16 and 17), so it would have taken a brave person to start him in either of those weeks.

Kansas City picked up Washington and added him to their practice squad before he was traded in November to Miami to join their crowded backfield. Since he was traded in November, his fantasy value was minimal, mainly because he played four games between the Cheifs and Dolphins during the season.

Fantasy Finishes-

  • 2019- 43

  • 2020- 113

Overall Findings-

Out of the nine total trades involving running backs in the last three years, five were completed during the off-season, while four were during the season.

55.6% (5/9) of the running backs traded increased in fantasy value.

60% (3/6) of the running backs traded in the off-season gained fantasy value when comparing numbers from the season directly before and after a trade. For example, David Johnson picked up a lead-back role when he was traded to the Houston Texans.

50% (2/4) of the running backs traded during the season increased in fantasy value within that season. Most notably, Kenyan Drake finished the season as the lead back in Arizona and an RB1 (during the period he was at the Cardinals). However, Carlos Hyde lost nearly all fantasy value when he was traded in 2018 from the Browns to the Jaguars.


The ‘hit rate’ was much higher in running backs who moved to a new team rather than being picked up as a free agent. As stated in a previous article, the percentage of RBs who gained or held fantasy value once signing as a free agent with a new team was only 20.2% of running backs who finished within the top 120 at their position, compared to 60% when a team trades for them.

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