The NFL trade deadline isn’t the only trade deadline approaching; many fantasy football leagues have their deadlines coming up in the next several weeks. It’s a last chance for owners to look for major upgrades to their roster as they compete for a fantasy football playoff spot. We turn to our fantasy team of James Morris and Jon Cope for analysis on which players owners should trade for and which players owners should consider trading away.
5 Players To Target In Trades
James Morris Selections:
Julio Jones – WR Falcons: Jones started out the 2012 season with a 108 yard and 2 TD performance, but has topped 70 yards just once since then. The Falcons have the best remaining schedule for a fantasy WR, and Jones has the talent to catch fire in the second half of the season and finish in the top 5 for fantasy WRs. He is a great buy-low candidate being ranked #22 right now in NFL.com PPR scoring.
Greg Jennings – WR Packers: Jennings’ owners are getting antsy and I’ve seen him dumped to the waiver wire already in a few of the more shallow leagues. Look, Jennings is going to be back as soon as week 9; and, when he does take the field, he is going to be an elite WR in the NFL once again. Yes, Randall Cobb is going to get his share of touches, but Jennings is going to carry your team in the fantasy playoffs. Don’t just focus on what you see right in front of you, look three steps ahead and see what is down the road.
Darren McFadden – RB Raiders: The Raiders have the 2nd best remaining S.O.S. (Strength Of Schedule), and the coaching staff is easing off their hard-line stance when it comes to using the zone blocking scheme. The schedule and talent is there for Run DMC to be a beast in the second half of the NFL season.
Jon Cope Selections:
Ryan Mathews- RB Chargers- Mathews owners have to be frustrated as the young San Diego running back began the season injured and then took several weeks to surpass Jackie Battle as the clear #1 back on the depth chart. However, things are about to take an uptick for Mathews and his fantasy owners; Chargers head coach Norv Turner has said the team won’t quite be so aggressive in their play calling in the wake of the Philip Rivers implosion versus the Broncos on Monday Night football in week 6. The fact is, without Vincent Jackson and with Antonio Gates aging, Mathews is clearly the Chargers best playmaker. I wouldn’t hesitate to trade for Mathews now, before he breaks out in favorable matchups against the Browns, Chiefs and Bucs.
Calvin Johnson- WR Lions: Barring injury, Johnson’s stock will never be lower than it is right now as the whole nation witnesses Johnson having a subpar game on Monday Night Football and Bears CB Charles Tillman getting the best of him. However, Calvin Johnson is a rare talent and I believe that eventually the talent will lead to touchdowns. Johnson had 30 TD receptions in 32 games over the course of the past two seasons; and this year he has only 1 TD through 6 games. The law of averages says some touchdowns are coming Megatron’s way, and as bad as the Detroit offense has been, Calvin is still averaging over 98 yards a game. Buy Low!
5 Players To Consider Trading Away, If You Own Them
James Morris Selections:
Alfred Morris – RB Redskins: The fantasy playoffs (weeks 14-16) are going to be BRUTAL for the Redskins running game as they play the Ravens, Browns and Eagles. I will admit I am down on the Ravens, but I bet they figure out a way to sure up that defense by week 14; the Browns are not as bad as people think (#12 in NFL.com fantasy scoring); the Eagles actually allow just 13.9 PPG to RBs this year, 9th in the NFL.
Vernon Davis – TE 49ers: The 49ers have the league’s worst S.O.S. remaining for TEs’, and I have complete and total confidence that Alex Smith is going to remember that he is Alex Smith very soon as he faces the Cardinals, Rams x2, Bears, Dolphins, Patriots and Seahawks to finish the season out. Davis is a HUGE sell high candidate for me, possibly #1 on my list.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR Cardinals: I just traded Fitzgerald in our Dolphins NFL.com league for Tony Gonzalez. Now, on the surface that sounds crazy, but there is some real science behind it. You see, 1) The Cardinals have John Skelton possibly finishing out the season under center. 2) Teams are sure to emulate what the Vikings did defensively last week to take Fitzgerald out of the game (4 catches, 29 yards and no scores). 3) Arizona has the 29th ranked S.O.S. to finish the season out for WRs and the 28th for QBs. And finally 4) I have Brandon Pettigrew at TE, with Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks and Larry Fitzgerald at WR, and we start just 2 WRs. I think I win in this deal when the season is over.
Jon Cope Selections:
Victor Cruz- WR New York Giants- Trade the #1 wide receiver in NFL.com Fantasy Football leagues? Well, I’m not saying every Victor Cruz owner should look to deal the Giants receiver, but if you need help at running back or quarterback, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to “sell high” on Cruz and get a #2 receiver (Demaryius Thomas, Miles Austin, Steve Johnson) and a starting running back. Cruz has been great so far, but the return of a healthy Hakeem Nicks along with the Giants other offensive options will curtail Cruz’ production a little heading down the stretch. Also, I believe Cruz’ 7 touchdowns are a little bit of an aberration since he’s not a dominant red-zone receiver. In sum, if you need help elsewhere Cruz would be a player that I wouldn’t be afraid to deal.
Frank Gore- RB 49ers- The veteran running back has been very good for his owners thus far in 2012, ranking 6th in total points in standard NFL.com leagues. However, I would look to deal him now before his schedule gets much tougher. After Monday’s game in Arizona, the 49ers have a bye week and then face matchups with 6 teams that rank in the league’s top 10 in run defense in the next 7 weeks! Those matchups should have Gore owners concerned about the stretch run. Furthermore, last year Gore had 5 100 yard rushing games in the 1st half of the season and none in the 2nd half. I would trade away the veteran runner before his production takes a similar decline in 2012.
Week 8 Q & A (by James Morris)
This trade question comes from a reader that sent me a text-to-email from the United Kingdom. So even though I don’t know your name, here is your answer.
Q: Hi, I’m in a standard league format with 10 teams. Currently 3-3, just traded McFadden and Julio Jones for Forte and Wayne, I’ve got Matt Ryan and Gonzalez so wanted to stop having to play 3 players from one team if possible. Was this a sensible trade?
I don’t see much value in McFadden on a team that trails the majority of the time where as Forte should give me more consistent production. Any thoughts?
A: The trade makes sense only because playing EVERYONE on a single team is unrealistic for fantasy production. If Jones has a big day, chances are Gonzalez suffers… and vice versa. But, the Falcons have a high powered passing attack and I love Jones to finish the season out strong. And McFadden is someone I am a buyer of simply because the Raiders are softening their stance on the zone blocking scheme they started the season with.
I think you did what you had to do, and the trade was as close to even as you could get it. But, I am not sure that I would have pulled the trigger on it because I am high on both players that you traded away.
Check back here on Friday for James’ “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” Week 8 lineup advice.
Also, you can ask James questions about your fantasy team on Twitter, by following him on Twitter here.
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