As this year's fantasy football season enters the stretch run, we've reached a tricky time of year, especially for owners of teams clinging to playoff spots by a slim margin.
For those teams there is precious little margin for error, and that means sometimes you have to think outside the box, even if that means considering things that may, on the surface, seem like lunacy, such as trading one of the players who helped keep you in the hunt to begin with.
With that said, here's a look at a trio of players that you should seriously consider dealing now, as the trade deadline approaches and their value is at its apex.
Robert Griffin, QB, Washington Redskins
Stop shaking your head, and no, I'm not crazy. My therapist said I'm "special."
Granted, for most of the 2012 season rookie quarterback Robert Griffin has been lights-out, accounting for over 2,500 yards and 14 touchdowns while ranking in the top three in his position in fantasy points and drawing the sorts of lofty comparisons that Jon Gruden recently made to John Keim of CBS Sports.
I just have to believe that in the development of Robert Griffin, he's not only going to be able to do what he's doing now, but he's going to be able to do the things that Mike [Shanahan] did with John Elway and Steve Young along the way.
However, much like with Cam Newton a season ago, Griffin's statistical production has trailed off the past two weeks, which may be an indicator that as opposing teams get more film on Griffin they're becoming better equipped to defend him.
Add in the fact that Griffin was drafted as a backup by the majority of fantasy owners, and if you have another viable option under center and a hole at another position now could be the team to swing a trade that helps your fantasy team a great deal more than the loss of Robert Griffin would hurt it.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
It's been a tale of two seasons for running back Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. In four of the season's first five games Johnson was absolutely dreadful, gaining fewer than two yards per carry in three of those contests.
With that said, since Matt Hasselbeck took over at quarterback, Johnson has looked like the tailback his fantasy owners drafted him to be, topping over 100 total yards in each of the past four games and scoring three touchdowns over that span while earning the respect of opponents such as Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.
"Chris Johnson is a home-run hitter, man," Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "Any time he gets some daylight he's a threat to score a touchdown right now. If he gets to the second level untouched it's going to be tough to get him."
Storm clouds are gathering over Johnson, though. Jake Locker will return as the Titans' quarterback in Week 10, and while he may not have been responsible for Johnson's early season slump, it's more than a little telling that it ended nearly as soon as Locker was forced from the field.
It's hard to give up running backs this late in the year, but getting something for a back on a hot streak beats getting nothing for a running back before a cold one.
Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has been one of the steadiest performers at his position over the past several seasons, and while that may continue through the rest of 2012, enough doubt surrounds both his short- and long-term prospects to consider dealing him, especially in keeper leagues.
In the short-term, while Welker's 60 receptions for over 700 yards and two scores place him well within the top 10 at his position this season, that production came after an early season cold streak that only ended after tight end Aaron Hernandez got hurt. Hernandez is set to return in Week 10, and that return could cost Welker targets.
The future is even less clear for the ninth-year veteran. Welker is playing this season under the franchise tag, and there have been grumblings that the frugal Patriots may let Welker walk after the season, which could devastate his fantasy value in 2013.
Welker is a talented player, but he's also very much a product of New England's system, and while it may seem almost heretical to suggest it, rebuilding keeper and dynasty league owners may want to consider moving Welker to a contender in exchange for draft picks next season.