I like to make fantasy football trades. Really, who doesn’t? We all look at other teams’ rosters, checking out who we might be able to snag without giving up too much, who can make our teams better, who someone might be too low on, etc. Fantasy football trades are fun. Each week, I’ll be writing a column describing some guys I’d be trading for and why. Usually, they’ll be “buy low” guys, but sometime they’ll just be guys that I might be higher on than most. I’ll also be giving you some sell high guys who you should try to trade away while their values are high. We’re now two weeks into the season and starting to get a better sense of value for guys across the league. It’s a perfect time to start making moves with the rest of the year in mind.
Tom Brady (QB, NE) – What happened to the Patriots? Most expected them to run away with the AFC East this season and be Super Bowl contenders. Did they really just lose to the lowly Cardinals? Is this the end of the Brady era? Slowwww down. This offense, Brady included, is just too good to not come back from this. Brady’s 31 points in two weeks seem low, as most fantasy owners probably expected a one week outburst of 30+ points by now with an easy start to the season. The offense is still adjusting to a different scheme, and the Patriots are clearly trying to utilize Wes Welker in a much lesser role than they have in the past. Brady is still a top three quarterback in the NFL. He should be treated as such, and if an owner in your league is beginning to doubt him, jump all over the opportunity to take him off of that owner’s hands.
DeMarco Murray (RB, DAL) – The value of a number one running back without a timeshare is tremendous. Say it over and over in your head until it’s all you can think about. Then, try to trade for Murray. Through two weeks, Murray has 20 total points and has yet to find the end zone for his fantasy owners. Examine a little further than that, sports fans. Murray tore up the Giants on the ground in week one. He looked great (20 carries, 131 yards). In week two, he only compiled 44 yards on 12 carries. This was due more in part to the fact that he faced Seattle’s outstanding run defense. Now, here’s my favorite stat. What did I say the value was of a number one running back without a timeshare? Tremendous. Right. Felix Jones, his backup and former starter, had zero touches in week one and just one carry for one yard in week two. Murray is due for a large workload the rest of the season, and he’ll find the end zone sooner rather than later.
(WR, DET) – He has 20 points in two games so far. Remember when you’d expect more than that in one game from Megatron? I do, and I still do. Here’s the thing about Johnson… He’s the best wide receiver in the NFL. I don’t even want to dig into statistics to back up why you should try to buy low on Johnson because it shouldn’t be necessary. He was drafted first overall in my 20-team fantasy league. The guy is still going to put up monster numbers this year, just as he did last year, and owners with even a little bit of patience are going to come out as the winners because of it.
Jason Witten (TE, DAL) – Can you tell how the Cowboys’ season is starting off based on having two of their best offensive players on my buy low list? Witten has a total of six points in two games so far this year. Still one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL, Witten’s lack of production can mostly be attributed to recovery from a lacerated spleen in training camp. This severely limited his playing time in week one. In week two, Witten was almost at 100%, as evidenced by his increase in playing time and his increase in targets (he led the Cowboys with 10). Witten’s four catches for 58 yards was likely due to a lack of chemistry between Tony Romo and Witten due to Witten missing so much time recently. Expect Romo and Witten to get back on the same page in the coming weeks, and with injury questions lingering about top tight ends Antonio Gates and Aaron Hernandez, expect Witten to be a top three option in the very near future.
Robert Griffin III (QB, WAS) – Well, this looks familiar. Wasn’t there a super talented and athletic rookie quarterback in the NFL last season that many people doubted after he lit up the NFL in the first couple weeks of the season? Oh. Right. Cam Newton. So, this story has happened before. Guess what? I’m doubting RG3! Griffin has totaled 24 and 30 points in each of the first two weeks of the season, including much success scrambling out of the pocket. Last season, Newton did essentially the same thing, totaling 29 and 26 points in his first two NFL games. Here’s a little clarification: I think Griffin is already an electrifying NFL quarterback. It’s hard to argue against that. So why is he in the sell high section? Because I’d much rather have a Brady, Brees or Rodgers the rest of the way. They’re more proven, sure things than someone like Griffin, who only has two NFL games under his belt. Try to make a deal with an owner of one of those three star quarterbacks, and feel safe in knowing you have one of the guaranteed best quarterbacks in the league for the rest of the season.
Reggie Bush (RB, MIA) – My, my, my. This was a throwback to Bush’s Heisman trophy days (yes, he still won it in my book even though he had to return it). Unfortunately for Bush, he’s stuck in a Miami offense being led by a rookie quarterback. Also unfortunate for Bush is that he doesn’t get to play the Oakland Raiders every week. Bush hasn’t played a full NFL season since his rookie year, so he’s always an injury risk, and he’s only totaled more than 1,000 rushing yards once in a season, which was 2011. Prior to that, Bush’s career high for rushing yards in a season was 581 in 2007. Expected to be a large part of the passing game this season, Bush only has 10 targets through two games. Sell Bush to an owner who is frustrated with his underachieving number one running back.
Reggie Wayne (WR, IND) – Andrew Luck’s favorite target had his second good week in a row to start the NFL season, and he now has 26 points so far this year. Wayne will be 34 in November. Wide receivers generally don’t thrive at that age, where injury issues become more common, and legs start to slow down. Luck’s two starts so far have been polar opposites. He struggled against Chicago, but he played very well against Minnesota. I tend to think Luck’s success in week two was due more in part to Minnesota’s terrible pass defense than Luck’s emergence as a great NFL quarterback. Most weeks, I believe Wayne’s success will be reliant on Luck’s success. And if the first two weeks are any indication, Luck will struggle more often than not this season, leaving Wayne as a low-end number two wide receiver at best on most fantasy teams.
Martellus Bennett (TE, NYG) – I’ll say this. I believe somewhat in Bennett. He impressed in camp, he’s getting a decent amount of playing time, and he’s getting plenty of targets from Eli Manning. I just don’t believe he keeps up the production he’s currently on pace for. He’s on pace for 184 fantasy points this season. That would have put him third last season and just three points behind Jimmy Graham. Bennett is not Graham, Gronk or any of the other elite tight ends in the NFL. I believe he’s a low-end number one or high-end backup option the rest of this season. I’d try to target Giants fans who own one of the elite tight ends as targets for a trade to upgrade you at tight end. Or a 2-for-1 upgrade possibility to someone who has an injury at another position that you have the depth to help fill.
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