January 17, 2021

Does a John Ross trade make him fantasy football relevant in 2020?

4 min read
It seems another wide receiver is unhappy on the Cincinnati Bengals offense as John Ross...

It seems another wide receiver is unhappy on the Cincinnati Bengals offense as John Ross has reportedly requested a trade. When looking at it through the lens of a fantasy football player, does a John Ross trade make him fantasy relevant in 2020, or is he still someone who is not rosterable?

Leapfrogged by rookie Tee Higgins, Ross is currently buried on the Bengals WR depth chart and has not seen the field since Week 2. Depending on where he lands, Ross could be a sneaky candidate that fantasy managers can stash on their bench to give added depth for a strong playoff push. 

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Former first-round pick John Ross has requested a trade from the Bengals

NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported that John Ross has approached the team about a trade, saying he wants a fresh start. Brad Cicala, Ross’ agent, also confirmed to Garafalo that nothing came of those conversations but that his client is still hoping for a fresh start with another team before the November 3 trade deadline.

2020 was viewed as a make or break year for the ninth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, who is in the final year of his rookie deal after Cincinnati declined his fifth-year option before the season started. But after playing 56 snaps in Week 1, Ross played in just half (28) in Week 2 before he was inactive from Weeks 3-5.

Related | NFL Wide Receiver Rankings, Week 7: Calvin Ridley stays productive

Coming into the season, Ross was viewed as the team’s WR3, a boom or bust player in fantasy but one that we hoped could find chemistry with rookie Joe Burrow and be his deep threat. Unfortunately, that never materialized, and he is now firmly behind AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Higgins, and even Auden Tate.

It is hard to find a role where Ross can be fantasy relevant on this team, and whether it happens before the trade deadline or after the season, Ross’ days are numbered in Cincinnati. Could John Ross’ fantasy outlook improve if he is traded to another team?

Where are some potential trade destinations that could boost John Ross’ fantasy value?

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are a team trying to win now and need help at the wide receiver position. Both Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are on the Injured Reserve list and combined for just 15 catches before their injuries. While T.Y. Hilton leads the team in catches (20), he has yet to find the endzone or stretch the field.

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WR Zach Pascal is the only other receiver with double-digit catches (16) and has the only touchdowns by a Colts’ receiver (2). Trading for John Ross and his record-setting 4.22 40-yard dash speed could be just what the Colts need to make a run into the playoffs, behind a veteran QB in Philip Rivers and one of the best defenses in the NFL. If Ross landed with the Colts, he could be a mid-WR4 with boom weeks on the horizon.

Philadelphia Eagles

Ross is a healthy wide receiver, and that is all the Eagles are looking for right now. If Ross were to join the team, they could have likely one of the fastest receiving rooms in the NFL with him, Jalen Reagor, and DeSean Jackson. Yes, Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward have been solid the last two weeks, but Ross could fill the gap until the team returns to full strength. Ross would be a mid-range WR5 on this team.

Green Bay Packers

If we have learned anything this year, Green Bay does not have a WR2 on the roster right now. Allen Lazard was that player, catching 13 of 17 targets; he still is the team leader in yards with 254 and two touchdowns. If only there were a wide receiver available on the board they could have drafted in the first round when they took QB Jordan Love. 

The one problem for Ross landing in Green Bay and any potential fantasy value is his drop and catch percentage. Outside of maybe Tom Brady, no other quarterback will put you on his “Do not pass to list” quicker than Aaron Rodgers.

Ross’ best season catching the ball was 2018, where he caught 50%. However, it was terrible in 2018 (36.2%) and has been even worse this year (28.6%). Throw in a 13.9% drop rate, and I think he could end up in the dog house just as quickly as anyone in the NFL.

Kansas City Chiefs

Because why not at this point? All Kansas City is doing is loading up on talent anyway, so it might add more speed to go with Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. John Ross’ fantasy outlook would definitely increase with a QB like Patrick Mahomes. Ross would be a better NFL player than a fantasy asset due to the number of weapons already on the offense, but it would still be fun to watch, so long as you are not a defensive coordinator.

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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