The Trade Addict: Preaching... Patience?
Well, that sounds simple. And on principle, it's something you'd expect the Trade Addict to have done before Sunday's kickoff. It's possible he could have traded DeAngelo Williams for Hines Ward, or Beanie Wells for Jason Witten (WRs and TEs are lumped together in one group in this league), because he also has Maurice Jones-Drew and LaDanian Tomlinson and can't start all four of these guys every week.
But he didn't. Contrary to every instinct in his typing fingers, the Trade Addict stood pat, went with Derrick Mason at No. 3 WR and decided the best idea would be to wait another week or so and see if Williams' and Wells' value improves. Because while he lives for the trade, the Trade Addict also knows the point is to win. And a trade for trade's sake isn't (twitch...twitch...) always the way to go.
The predicament with this particular group of running backs is that their value is, as my Italian grandfather might have said, scassato. Messed up. Not arranged exactly the way it's supposed to be. Jones-Drew is the big fish, of course, but I'm not dealing him without getting another top-5 back in return, and deals like that are hard to arrange. Tomlinson's value is very high right now, but he's playing the best of any of them and I do need to win games right now. My hope is to deal Tomlinson at some point before he starts losing looks to Shonn Greene. But until Williams and/or Wells starts to play the way we thought they'd play, I kind of need Tomlinson. Plus it's his bye week, so he's tough to trade right now anyway.
Williams and Wells are the problem. I believe that, by the end of the year, each will have value as very good starting NFL running backs. I believe they each have a chance to finish as top-12 or 15 backs. And I certainly believe that the odds favor at least one of them, if not both, doing that. Problem is, right now they're not, and unless I can find someone who shares my conviction about their prospects for the rest of 2010, I'm not going to get the value back that I need to get. If I think Williams is worth Wes Welker and Wells is worth Hines Ward but neither has played like it yet, then I'm not going to get what I think I need to get to justify dealing away the potential production that awaits.
So I wait. Which is fine, because I can. It's bye-week season after all. Tomlinson's off this week, Jones-Drew two weeks from now, and I like Williams' matchups for the next few weeks while I need a fill-in. Mason is a fine WR3 option in a PPR league (which this is), and while my hope is to eventually upgrade that spot, I don't currently need to force the upgrade. So as much as it pains me, I've decided the best play is to sit and wait for Williams and/or Wells to have a couple of good games, increasing their appeal to the rest of the league and allowing me to get a better receiver in return than I can get right now. Maybe one or both of them will play well enough that I'll be able to trade Tomlinson high and start Williams or Wells in his spot the rest of the way.
Point is, while active trading is the lifeblood of any truly fun fantasy league (and, I believe, the only way to win, because it keeps you ahead of the inevitable hot and cold streaks), there are times when you assess your leverage and determine that the best thing for it is to wait for it to get better. Depth isn't a bad thing during the bye weeks, and I will eventually get a WR for one of my RBs. But now's not the time. Unless somebody else changes his mind and decides he likes Wells' or Williams' potential as much as I do. In which case...well, you know I'm always listening.
We've Got Action
My only trade this week was the one that created this RB depth. I set out to get a WR for Matthew Stafford, my extra quarterback, but the best deal I was offered involving him was Williams and Josh Freeman for Stafford and Marshawn Lynch. I saw it as a potential double-upgrade. I do think Stafford is better than Freeman, but given the injury issues and the fact that Freeman is keeper-eligible and Stafford is not (because Stafford was dropped after his injury and picked up again), Freeman could be more valuable the rest of the way. And while it's possible that Lynch could flourish with his new team and outperform Williams the rest of the way, that's not the way I want to bet. Especially in a league that awards bonus points for the long touchdowns that make owning Williams so much fun. I was looking for a WR, but this deal was too good to pass up. And I think it'll help me get my WR in the long run.
Ray Rice, RB - Yes, he's a legit stud. No, the Willis McGehee factor isn't relevant. Rice will prove to be an example of patience paying off for those who stick with him. And his schedule during Weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoff weeks) features games against the Texas, Saints and Browns. If you don't want him, trade him to me!
Felix Jones, RB - The Cowboys are going to figure things out. And even if they don't, they're playing well enough between penalties that their good players can still help your fantasy team. Jones is going to be the No. 1 back there, and they're going to play teams that are easier to run against than the Vikings are.
Matthew Stafford, QB - The Lions are on bye this week, but when they come back on Halloween, Stafford will be their quarterback for the first time since he left the Week 1 game with a shoulder injury. How he comes back, whether he gets hurt again... these are all unknowns. What is known is that Shaun Hill was a top-10 fantasy scorer filling in for Stafford. You could do worse for a backup the rest of the way.
Roddy White, WR - Don't get me wrong here. I love Roddy White. I think he's about the best fantasy WR out there. If I had him, it'd be real tough to talk me into trading him. But...the Falcons' schedule the rest of the way is not favorable to fantasy passing games, and they have enough running game that they're not going to throw if they can't. And you can probably get a major haul for White right now. Just something to take a look at, see what's out there kind of thing...
Jay Cutler, QB - As a Cutler owner, I'm starting to get seriously worried about the Bears' offensive line's ability to keep him and his fantasy value alive this year.
Michael Vick/Kevin Kolb, QBs - Yes, they each perform when t hey're in there. But this is just too confusing for me, and I don't think it's going to get less so. Get something for one or both of these guys now and plug in a QB you know is going to play every week.
The Trade Addict appears on FanHouse every Wednesday and hopes you took his advice to buy low on Steelers receivers the past two weeks. Hit him up during the week on Twitter (click the big square button above) for trade advice, and Happy Hunting!