Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Must Sell Before They Crash and Burn

C.D. Carter@@CDCarter13Featured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2012

Fantasy Football: 3 Players You Must Sell Before They Crash and Burn

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    It's hard to part with them, your fantasy football babies, the deeper-than-deep sleepers who have carried your pitiful little squad through these first two weeks.

    But like fluky Wall Street stock before it plummets to zero and leaves you broken and destitute, you must sell these overachievers before flat performances chip away at the edges of their artificially inflated fantasy value.

    This is one of the most gratifying parts of make-believe football: investing in someone you believe in with a late-round draft pick—meaning the players costs close to nothing—and selling him for a stud taken eight or nine rounds higher. It's savvy ownership--the kind that wins pretend football titles.

    Even if your feel some inexplicable allegiance to these sell-high candidates, you should work this week to sell. Your feelings will only inhibit your decision-making. Now go forth and rob thy neighbor.

Alfred Morris

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    Alfred Morris, Redskins running back and Mike Shanahan plaything, has played two of the most heinous run defenses in football.

    Morris, a stocky runner who lives to inflict pain on those who dare tackle him, has looked fantastic at times against the Saints in Week 1 and the Rams in Week 2. Keeping his pads level and barreling through would-be tacklers like one-time Shanahan runner Mike Anderson, Morris has taken 44 totes for 185 yards on the ground, good for a nice little 4.2 yards per carry.

    Add two Week 1 touchdowns to that mix, and you have what looks to be a gleaming fantasy diamond among the mess of elite runners who have tanked in the early going.

    That's why it's time, if you can make a deal, to sell Mr. Morris. He received 16 carries Sunday against the Rams, often coming out on passing downs in favor of Evan Royster, and on rare occasions, the ghost of Roy Helu.

    I need not remind you of the Shananigans that have wreaked havoc on innumerable fantasy seasons. Morris' grip on the starting running back job in Washington appears to be of the crushing variety, but anyone who has owned a Shanahan runner knows that that security is fleeting.

    The Saints have given up 342 rushing yards through two weeks, the worst by 43 yards. The Rams have allowed 259 yards on the ground in this newborn season, good for 21st in the league.

    The 'Skins have a couple more cushy run defenses (Bengals and Bucs) coming up, so this isn't your last call to sell Morris. But if you can package Morris with another player and tempt a panicked Darren McFadden owner to give up his gold, I say you should pull the proverbial trigger.

Danny Amendola

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    For an hour or so, as I watched the Redskins-Rams tilt with my diehard burgundy-and-gold clad brothers-in-law, it felt like a lock that Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola was going to shatter the NFL's single-game reception record.

    The shifty, Welker-esque pass catcher reeled in 12 passes in the first half of Sunday's contest, as quarterback Sam Bradford zeroed in on Amendola, who was often drawing coverage from linebackers. Amendola scorched those big guys and tallied 130 yards in the first two quarters, causing great angst among 'Skins faithful throughout the first 30 minutes.

    Amendola ended the game with 15 grabs for 160 yards, the first 100-yard performance of his four-year career. Once Washington's secondary paid a little more attention to Amendola, he vanished from the Rams' game plan.

    This is why, if you can find a fellow owner who sees Amendola as a top-flight pass catcher who will consistently post ridiculous stat lines, it's time to sell.

    Amendola's potential is limited by his inability to break tackles and outrun defenders after the catch. That's why he's not a true sell-high candidate in points-per-reception leagues; his grabs will fill up the stat sheet, making him an every-week start in most PPR leagues.

    Still, in standard leagues, it's time to test the market and see if you can cash in on Amendola's 15-catch Sunday.

    If you can find a disaffected owner of Jordy Nelson, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Brown, or A.J. Green in a standard scoring league, it's time to sell.

Matt Cassel

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    Here's something that'll make all you early-round quarterback disciples speak in tongues: Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has outscored Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees through two weeks.

    Yes, it's the epitome of fantasy flukiness, but after piling up respectable passing and running stats in the Chiefs' two blowout losses, Brady's former backup is in the top echelon of fake football signal-callers. I don't need to tell you why this isn't sustainable, but I will, because I like you.

    The Chiefs' coaching staff, throughout the summer, talked up Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles as the centerpieces of their Stone Age offense. Kansas City coaches told beat writers that they wanted their workhorse backs to rack up 500 carries this season, leaving Cassel in the role of professional hander offer.

    Of course, when the putrid Chiefs get down by four touchdowns, all pound-and-ground bets are off. The lopsided losses are not a reason for Cassel's early-season success. They're the only reason.

    Cassel will stink again.

    Probably you won't get many takers if you're in a 12-team fantasy league, but if you torture yourself with ultra deep 14- and 16-team leagues, see if you can get some value for Cassel. If you're one of the few fantasy footballers who owns Cassel, you likely drafted him in the final rounds or plucked him from the waiver wire as a shoddy insurance policy.

    There are many fidgety Brady and Stafford owners out there, perhaps ready and willing to stash Cassel, however terrible that idea is. See if you can add a little depth to your bench in exchange for Cassel—recently reinstated Lions running back Mikel Leshoure would be an ideal target if someone expresses a shred of interest in Cassel.