Fantasy Football: Trade deadline suggestions

Fantasy Football: Trade deadline suggestions
January 23, 2013, 8:15 pm
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With the fantasy football trade deadline looming in most leagues, we offer these suggestions on which players to buy and which players to sell…

● There’s no doubt that he has talent, but does Jamaal Charles have the trust of his current owners? More specifically, do Charles' owners trust the Chiefs to give him enough touches from week to week? Charles had 21 touches for 118 total yards against the Bengals. But only three weeks earlier the Kansas City running back carried the ball five times for four yards against Oakland. Acquiring Charles won’t be cheap, but you can probably land him for a lot less than some other top-tier RBs given how the Chiefs have used him. Prey upon that fear. Mentioning Romeo Crennel should do the trick.
● Panthers wide receivers Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell combined for 10 catches and 154 yards in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay. While the Carolina passing game has been inconsistent at best this season, Smith and LaFell are worth targeting. Moving forward, the Panthers face two of the three worst passing defenses in the league. They also play the Eagles, who just surrendered a ton of points and yards to the Redskins passing game, on Monday Night. They're both solid options, though LaFell would obviously command a much smaller price to acquire.
● If you’re looking for a quarterback as the playoffs approach (thinking of you, Michael Vick owners), Carson Palmer would be an excellent choice. Palmer has been solid all season and ranks eighth among all quarterbacks in fantasy points. He’s also tied for second among quarterbacks for the most games with 14 or more fantasy points. The Oakland offense struggled at times against the Saints on Sunday, but Palmer still threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. That makes four consecutive games that he’s recorded two or more TDs.  
● Another quarterback candidate to consider: Josh Freeman. It would require a lot less to land Freeman than some big name signal callers, and yet Freeman has produced at an elite level as a fantasy quarterback this season. In his last six games, he’s had four three-touchdown days and two two-touchdown outings. Even better, Freeman has an excellent schedule for the fantasy playoffs. He’ll face the Eagles, Saints, Rams and Falcons – all of which have surrendered serious points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
● Tight ends have been wholly unpredictable this season. With the exception of Rob Gronkowski (who’s now out with a broken forearm), Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham, production at the position has been difficult to predict. If you’re in the market for a good – if not great – option, however, Jermaine Gresham should be at the top of your shopping list. The Bengals’ tight end has been targeted 20 times in his last three games, and he has the seventh most fantasy points at his position this season. He can probably be had for a No. 3 WR or flex option.

Ryan Mathews has been a disappointment this season. The Chargers’ running back hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards in a single game. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5. He’s produced just one double-digit fantasy outing this year (also back in Week 5). And he has fewer total points than Mikel Leshoure, Benjarvis Green-Ellis, Andre Brown and – this is the most telling one – Felix Jones. Take what you can get for Mathews and move on. You’ll feel better.
● It’s been a long year in Kansas City, especially for wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. The quarterbacks throwing to him have been awful, and his play hasn’t been much better. Bowe hasn’t had a touchdown since Week 4. And he has just two double-digit scoring days this year. Making matters worse, Bowe left Sunday’s game against Cincinnati with a neck injury. Before hurting himself, he had no catches on just two targets. You almost certainly won’t get much in return if you trade him, but the alternative – keeping him around while he either doesn’t play or doesn’t perform – is the bigger evil.
● The Bills have two good running backs, but the one you want right now is C.J. Spiller, who had 130 total yards on 25 touches in Week 11. Even though he hasn’t always been the lead back in Buffalo, Spiller has posted double-digit points in seven out of 10 games. He’s also the sixth leading scorer among running backs this year, and the Bills have said they need to keep him involved because he’s played so well. That makes Fred Jackson expendable. Jackson would likely fetch a high-end No. 2 WR in return, or possibly a quality quarterback.
Tony Romo had a pretty good outing against Cleveland, throwing for 313 yards and a touchdown – which is why this is the time to trade him. On the whole, Romo has had an unspectacular year. He’s topped more than 22 fantasy points just twice this season, and he’s just the 15th ranked quarterback in scoring. You can almost certainly do better at the position.
● While we’re jettisoning quarterbacks, Eli Manning deserves a mention. The Giants’ quarterback was a fantastic fantasy option a year ago. That’s not the case this season. He’s gone three straight games without throwing a touchdown. He’s posted single-digit points in each of his last three games. He’s thrown for 300 or more yards just three times in 10 games. And he’s recorded 22 or more points only four times this year. In short, he’s been a less consistent scorer than Romo, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, Michael Vick and Philip Rivers. It might be tough to move Manning at the moment, but it would be even tougher to rely on him.

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