Murphy visited the jzak household earlier this week. And no, it wasn't Louis Murphy. More like Murphy, as in Murphy’s law. As in suggesting that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
We newspaper people know Murphy well. He seems to savor deadline crunch time. In the jzak household, the deadline involved the impending fantasy football trade deadline. Murphy was the one who fried my home computer Monday morning. I know it. I don’t even have to dust for fingerprints.
I’m too busy working the fantasy trade deadline phone for fingerprints. In most leagues, the deadline comes this Friday. Players I’m targeting and those I’m looking to move include:
Ronnie Brown, MIA. Mired in mediocrity this season, Brown has lost a good number of carries to Ricky Williams and done very little with the carries he does receive. However, looking closely at the schedule, you’ll notice that he played against a slew of extremely tough run defenses to date. Things get much easier moving forward, especially in Weeks 15 and 16 (Detroit and Buffalo), when we all hope to be playing in our respective fantasy playoffs. Last week’s mini-breakout at the expense of Williams helped make me feel better about him as a nice late-season plug in.
Vincent Jackson, SD. Still a casualty of roster-exempt status, Jackson should be back by Week 12. Philip Rivers is on a tear this year, making fantasy stars out of guys like Seyi Ajirotutu and Randy McMichael. Jackson will thrive down the stretch when we need his services most.
Shonn Greene, NYJ. Struggling to build off a solid rookie campaign, Greene has taken a back seat to the resurgence of LaDainian Tomlinson. However, Tomlinson has been slowing down on the field and Greene stands to see a bump in production. In fact, recent news from the Jets suggest a 50-50 split in the backfield. You better believe he’ll see an even bigger role if he can capitalize on the situation.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR. Due back Week 11 according to recent reports, the biggest plus for DeAngelo has been the ineffectiveness of his backups, meaning he’ll likely take over primary ball carrier duties immediately upon return. The Panthers offense is a work in progress, and one should not expect or pay for DeAngelo stats of old…but he could be a serviceable RB2 with some decent matchups down the stretch.
Randy Moss, TEN. The turmoil has reduced his fantasy value to a point where it is too hard to pass up. Sure, Moss has lost a step in some regards, but has more to prove than ever after two failed attempts at fantasy viability so far this year. Moss will do better when Kerry Collins lines up under center, which is has been doing this week in practices while Vince Young nurses an injury. The upcoming Titans schedule is favorable for passing options, including two games against the Texans and one vs. the Jaguars. The key here is getting Moss cheaper than his name value suggests.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN. Struggling to regain from a hamstring injury most of the season, Moreno has finally be deemed 100 percent healthy by coach Josh McDaniels. He has no real competition for carries when he is on the field, and a three-game schedule against Arizona, Oakland and Houston during Weeks 14, 15 and 16, respectively, make him a nice long-term option.
Brandon Marshall, MIA. For some reason, things just never clicked between Marshall and Chad Henne as well as many of us thought they would. However, the Dolphins have demoted Henne in favor of Chad Pennington in the hopes it sparks the team’s red zone presence—an area that Marshall thrives in if used properly.
Matt Forte, CHI. Against a horrible run defense in Buffalo during Week 9, many expected Forte to explode statistically. He didn’t. So why the sell-high label? Because if he can’t get the job done against the Bills, what is he going to do against Minnesota (twice), Philadelphia, New England and the Jets down the stretch? The Vikings and Jets come in Weeks 15 and 16, not the matchup you want from your starting RB in a fantasy playoff situation.
Kyle Orton, DEN. A great start to the season has left Orton one of the nicest surprises of the year. However, recent reports suggest the Broncos will become more balanced on offense with Knowshon Moreno now healthy and easy run defenses scheduled in the near future. If the Broncos fall out of playoff contention, they may look to get Tim Tebow more snaps so they can better determine where they stand for 2011 and beyond.
Seyi Ajirotutu, SD. A breakout performance in Week 9, and his fantasy value may be a one-and-done thing. Why? He rose to the top thanks to numerous injuries among the Chargers receivers. After the Week 10 bye, San Diego should be fairly healthy. Vincent Jackson will be playing by Week 12, and it is hard to expect Ajirotutu getting even a third of his production from Week 9 in any game moving forward this season.
Brandon Lloyd, DEN. Coming off an amazing 7-for-169 performance against his old team (Niners), Lloyd continues to have a breakout season. However, the Broncos have loads of receiving talent this year, and one would expect them to start giving their talented rookie pass catchers (Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker) a bigger piece of the pie as they mature and learn the system.
Michael Vick, PHI. I’ll get skinned alive for even thinking this, but Vick is sitting pretty high value-wise at the moment, now that he’s back, healthy and moving the ball up the field. The question here for me, though, is how long can he stay healthy? His style of play, while improved from what it was in previous seasons, still opens him up for potential injury moreso than more conventional QBs. If you can move him for a Matt Ryan and improve another starting position in the process, it may be a smart move to do so.
For more on this topic, go here.
And an extensive list of second-half sleepers.
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