Before we get to this week’s column, I’m going to broach the subject of fantasy football etiquette. That’s right. Just like you shouldn’t chew with your mouth open, interrupt others when they are speaking, or forget to flush the toilet when you’ve done number two, there is etiquette in fantasy football.
This week, there were a number of significant injuries at running back and when injuries happen at fantasy football’s key position, trade activity heats up. And with trading deadlines approaching in many leagues, there’s even more reason for big trades this week.
A pair of dynasty leagues that I’m in have seen a number of dubious moves this season, so as the trade deadline in your league approaches, try to remember that other owners put their hard earned cash on the line to play in your league. If you’re out of contention, don’t give away your solid, or even decent players for 10 cents on the dollar. If you’re trading away a stud, you need at least two solid players you can have for next year in return and maybe a draft pick if your league has a rookie draft. If keepers are limited in your league, then you need one really good keeper.
Giving away solid players for marginal assets for next year (think Donnie Avery’s, Justin Forsett’s and low round draft picks) puts the money others have put up at risk all because you’ve helped load up a solid team and got back pretty much nothing in return for next year. Ask yourself these two questions—do you want to be that guy? And what if the shoe was on the other foot and you were P.O.’ed at that guy?
Don’t give away your backup quarterback, a solid handcuff and a stud IDP player for a fourth-round pick. Have some consideration. Have some fantasy football etiquette. Your league will be better for it.
Justin Forsett, Seahawks – Just the facts, baby. Julius Jones has bruised ribs and lungs that caused bleeding in his lungs. For the second year in a row, he’s proven he’s not the answer in Seattle. Forsett just put up 123 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and chipped in 26 yards on five receptions in the passing game. The eight targets he had were also nice. The Seahawks are going nowhere and likely want to see what they have in Forsett. Two questions – why is Jones quickly rushing back to the field and why do the Seahawks want him to? If his owner thinks Jones is coming back soon, get Forsett with a low ball offer. Talk up how they’re playing Minnesota this week so you’re not expecting much from Forsett, but willing to take a chance.
Ladell Betts, Redskins – Clinton Portis said there’s no point in him returning quickly from the concussion he suffered, which he described as a “major situation.” In his first start since 2006, Betts carried the rock 26 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. In the last two games, he has 213 total yards and two touchdowns. If his owner thinks Portis is coming back soon, get Betts with a lowball offer (if you think this is redundant now, keep reading).
LeSean McCoy, Eagles – Eagles starter Brian Westbrook has concussions in the last two games he has played which were three weeks apart. In addition, Eagles management has expressed their concern by stating that football is secondary for Westbrook for the time being. I’m not a doctor but if it took three weeks to recover from his first concussion, then it’s likely going to take at least that long for him to recover from his next concussion. The Eagles are fixated on throwing the ball so McCoy hasn’t been overly productive but (here we go) if his owner thinks Westbrook is coming back soon, get McCoy with a lowball offer (there, I’m done).
Chris Wells, Cardinals – You don’t have to be a pro scout to know that Wells is a more talented player than incumbent starter Tim Hightower. All you have to do is watch part of a Cardinals game to have that figured out. Fumbles, pass protection and receiving ability are what have held Wells back. However, over the next six weeks, the only team that will likely challenge the Cardinals is the Vikings in Week 13. So, that means plenty of leads which means plenty of runs which should mean plenty of Wells. It’s also nice that Wells is starting to get some carries in the red zone, previously the exclusive domain of Hightower. Be forewarned – the Rams are on tap this week so this is your last chance to get Wells.
Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, Packers – Jennings hasn’t broken out of his season long slump and is on pace to match a career low in receiving touchdowns while Driver’s nice little run has slowed down somewhat albeit not drastically. The Packers atrocious offensive line is cause for concern (can Aaron Rodgers last the season?) but the upcoming schedule features some low rated passing defenses (49ers, Lions, Seahawks) and a couple of defenses whose rankings are inflated due to facing bad passing teams (Ravens, Bears).
Jerricho Cotchery, Jets – Since he returned two games ago, Cotchery has turned 19 targets into nine receptions for 138 yards and a score. Braylon Edwards has 13 targets over the same stretch so that blows away the theory that Edwards’ presence would cut into Cotchery’s opportunities. If you buy into that (you should) and that Cotchery has performed well while knocking off the rust, then he is a good player to target for the fantasy playoffs. The next three games are ugly facing three top ten passing defenses, but after that it looks sweet.
Dustin Keller, Jets – As with Cotchery, the fantasy playoff schedule looks sweet and since Leon Washington was lost for the year, the Jets have rediscovered Keller in the passing game. Over his last two games, Keller has been targeted 22 times and turned that into 14 receptions for 134 yards and a score. For fantasy purposes, that’s top five tight end production for a guy who is likely lingering on his owner’s bench.
Brandon Marshall, Broncos – Remarkably, Kyle Orton’s presence in Denver hasn’t killed Marshall’s fantasy production. The question is – will a banged up Orton kill Marshall’s fantasy production? It says here that it will. Orton has played injured before (and kudos to him for doing so) but he has struggled when he has done so. And it’s worth noting that Chris Simms was awful in relief of Orton this week completing just 3 of 13 for 13 yards and a pick.
LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers – Admittedly, LT looked good this week and, although he didn’t really show flashes of his old self, he certainly looked like a guy who could generate some yards on his own. It’s also true that the Chargers get the Chiefs and Browns in weeks 12 and 13. However, the down side is the fantasy playoffs where it’s the Cowboys, Bengals and an improving Titans run defense. Sell high if the offer is good.
Kevin Smith, Lions – Smith gets the lowly Browns this week but after that, he faces a brutal schedule that includes the Packers (4th ranked run defense), Bengals (2nd), Ravens (5th), Cardinals (8th) and 49ers (3rd).
Roy Williams, Cowboys – After a disappointing start to the season, Williams has come on over the last two games with 180 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Cowboys don’t get another decent matchup in the passing game until Week 15 against the Saints, who will likely be over their injury issues by then. I would be working overtime trying to move this guy.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – What’s not to like? Houshmandzadeh is coming off a 165 yard performance. The upcoming schedule looks great, other than the Packers’ sixth ranked pass defense in Week 16. QB Matt Hasselbeck has topped 300 yards in each of the last two games. Well, here are two things to consider – he has generated almost half his fantasy points in two games and has only three double digit fantasy points games on the season. Boom or bust is fine for your WR3 but you need a little more consistency at the WR2 spot. If an owner in your league is viewing him as WR2 material, move him.
Dave Stringer is the head fantasy football contributor at MyOfficePool.ca. Check his weekly articles and player projections to help manage your team to the championship.