DENVER - The teams on bye this week are: Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams
Tune in to Fantasy Football Now every Sunday morning on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. (MST) for last minute start/sit, injury reports and rankings.
There’s about a week left in most leagues before the trade deadline. So this week I’ll identify some players to try to trade for, as well as those you should be looking to trade away. Mostly this will reflect players who have good or bad matchups through the remainder of the season and into the fantasy playoffs, as well as players those whose stock appears to be on the rise, or falling, through the rest of the year. The key to making a trade is to focus on what your needs are in your lineup. Don’t worry about winning a trade, in getting fair or better value then you’re giving up. Worry about filling a need you have at a roster spot, with a better option.
QUARTERBACKS TO TRADE FOR:
Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Nick Foles: I’m listing these three together because they all have the same going for them through the rest of the year. Mainly the NFC East division is weak, and there’s really no defense in it that scares anyone. This also means their games should be higher scoring since there are no real defensive battles going on. There’s also the potential to have to play catch up, or just keep pace near the end of games. Robert Griffin III doesn’t look as nice because he has San Francisco and Kansas City left on the schedule, but he does have great matchups against Atlanta and Dallas in weeks 15 and 16.
Alex Smith: I know Alex Smith doesn’t get huge numbers each week, but he has the most favorable schedule of any quarterback for the rest of the season. Aside from playing Denver twice he also has Washington, Oakland, and San Diego twice. If you have Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady or Collin Kaepernick, Alex Smith could help save the end of the season for you. You could probably trade any of the latter three straight up for him, certainly if you combine another player for a double trade.
Case Keenam: Since filling in for Matt Schaub he’s played really well and made Andre Johnson relevant again. The last two weeks he’s thrown three touchdowns in each game (one of those games, all three to Andre Johnson). He has Oakland this week, then Jacksonville twice and Denver in week 16.
QUARTERBACKS TO TRADE AWAY:
Tom Brady: He just hasn’t been the same this year, mostly due to injuries across the offense of New England. He just destroyed Pittsburgh before their bye week, and now he has only one favorable matchup left, Denver in week 12. Rob Gronkowski is a walking triage unit, and probably only one bad hit away from being out again. Danny Amendolla can’t run the down the field without getting hurt. Also it’ll get colder and their running game is going to be more of a factor in bad weather, especially with Shane Vereen coming back.
Russell Wilson: He’s going to destroy Minnesota this week, and after that he’s prime trade bait. He has a bye in week 12, and then faces New Orleans and San Francisco in weeks 13 and 14. He’s probably not the guy to get you into the playoffs down the stretch.
Andrew Luck: Not having Reggie Wayne in the lineup doesn’t help, as well as not having much of a running game. The Trent Richardson experiment hasn’t panned out for the Indy offense. The rest of the Colts schedule is brutal. In order it’s Tennessee, Arizona, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City. That week 16 matchup against Kansas City is not going to win you a championship. If your championship game is week 17, and you happen to make it there with him, they have Jacksonville at home…good luck.
Philip Rivers: He probably wasn’t drafted as a starting quarterback, so hopefully your starter is still playing like one and you can afford to trade him. His next three games are tough facing Miami this week, then at Kansas City and then Cincinnati. Once the Chargers are past that, it smooth’s out with the Giants, then Denver and Oakland in weeks 15 and 16. Problem is that game against the Giants is week 14, after three tough matchups before the playoffs. As good as he’s been through the year, especially midseason, you should be able to sell high with him.
RUNNING BACKS TO TRADE FOR:
C.J. Spiller: He’s coming on again after coming off injury. The Bills seem content to give him and Fred Jackson plenty of duty, when both are healthy. Being that he’s largely been out for a while due to injury he should be on someone’s back burner as an afterthought in their roster. He does have a bye in week 12, but after that he only has one tough matchup against Tampa Bay. In weeks 15 and 16 he has Jacksonville and Miami. You should be able to by low on him.
Eddie Lacy: Aaron Rodgers may not be back before the end of the fantasy season, and until he comes back the Packers will feature the run game. The schedule is pretty favorable especially in weeks 15-17. He could cost something substantial in a trade but he’ll be worth it down the stretch.
DeMarco Murray: After the Cowboys bye this week, they face mediocre to bad run defenses the rest of the season. Murray is injury prone but when he’s on the field he’s pretty consistent each week. Plus three of the remaining opponents are the aforementioned NFC East defenses who can’t stop anyone.
RUNNING BACKS TO TRADE AWAY:
Ray Rice: This is a tough one because he was more than likely a first round pick. He’s largely done nothing this year and watching the Raven’s running game is like watching snails move through mud; they’re going nowhere. You’ll definitely have to sell low, but couple him with another player and you could get a middle tier running back in return to replace him.
Maurice Jones-Drew: His schedule is arguably the toughest the rest of the season. The only break he’ll have is week 16 against Tennessee, but getting you there is not going to be easy. This week he has Arizona, then Houston twice, and Cleveland and Buffalo. Three of his past four games have been decent so hype the win last week against Tennessee and his recent track record, and maybe you can sell him on the up and get something good in return.
Knowshon Moreno: This isn’t as crazy as it sounds, just look into the future a bit. He has Kansas City twice including this week, and San Diego and Houston in weeks 15 and 16. The only soft run defense the rest of the season is Tennessee in week 14. He’s a part of the passing game, but if Peyton Manning gets taken out at the knees again and ends up on the sideline (they face the Chiefs two of the next three weeks), defenses will crowd the line of scrimmage and force Denver to try to beat them over the top with Brock Osweiler. Odds are you can serve up Moreno for a pretty price and maybe get a two for one in the deal, hopefully a running back with a favorable schedule the rest of the way, like Andre Brown from the Giants.
WIDE RECIEVER/TIGHT END TO TRADE FOR:
Andre Johnson: A lot of Johnson’s value has everything to do with Case Keenam, as mentioned above. Keenam throws in Johnson’s general direction whether he’s covered or not and letting him make plays for the ball. He’ll come at a high price but if you’re in need of a consistent WR1 down the stretch, Johnson is back on the radar as a must start each week.
Victor Cruz: Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense are finally playing up to par. They finally have a sense of a running game with Andre Brown. Hakim Nicks is an afterthought in the passing game with the emergence of Rueben Randle. Also the Giants have the easiest schedule against wide receivers the rest of the season. After Green Bay this week they have Dallas, Washington twice (one of them week 17), San Diego and Detroit. The only scary matchup is against Seattle in week 15, but at least it’s in New York.
Jason Witten: Witten has been a roller coaster this year, not the greatest option at tight end. You should be able to get him on the cheap, but he could pan out the rest of the year. After the bye this week he has four easy matchups the rest of the way, particularly in weeks 14-16 against Chicago, Green Bay, and Washington.
WIDE RECIEVER/TIGHT END TO TRADE AWAY:
Rob Gronkowski: The name alone should seal the deal here if he’s offered up. Since he’s been back, he’s had two good games out of three. Each week is a roll of the dice though with his injuries, and Tom Brady has been less than stellar, except for the game against Pittsburgh. His schedule is mediocre the rest of the season. He should be a sell high and may be worthy of a two for one depending on how desperate another owner is.
Golden Tate: There are really two things here that could have Tate on the decline. First, he faces the worst schedule against wide receivers the rest of the season, in weeks 13-16. Also Percy Harvin is coming back this week, which will eat into his production. He’ll do great against Minnesota this week, so try to sell him during their bye in week 12, before the decline starts.
Eric Decker: Decker has kind of been lost in the shuffle of the Broncos offense over the past month. Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas have been the most consistent. Decker has had only one good game out of the last four. The name alone in a Manning offense should be good enough to sell at a decent value. Finding a consistent WR2 for him should be pretty easy.
Week 11 defensive ranks against run and pass, best to worst.
AGAINST THE RUN --- AGAINST THE PASS