Fantasy Football Advice: Players You Should and Shouldn’t Target in the Trade Market

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Tom Lorenzo, Senior Editor RotoExperts.com

Much of the talk this week has been about whether or not you can go into battle for the remainder of the season with Tim Tebow as your QB1. Simply put, there is nothing wrong with having Tebow as your quarterback for the remainder of the season, but beware of over-valuing him in the trade market if you don’t currently own him. There are, in a given week, anywhere from 8-10 quarterbacks who I would rather start of Tebow. Again, that’s good enough to put him among the weekly starts, but when I hear people going on the trade market and targeting Tebow when, one, they already have a high-value QB1 and, two, they’re willing to give up the likes of Fred Jackson to get him, that’s where I can’t recommend making the move to get Tebow.

The lesson is, as always, know the true value of the player you’re targeting. I understand why you might panic, if your best options are Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, Kevin Kolb, etc. That said, selling off a top-tier talent at RB or WR to get a Top 10 QB in return doesn’t make much sense. There are plenty of options whose price tags are reasonable right now, and who might return equal or greater value to Tim Tebow. That’s why this week, I’ll help you identify five players to target on the trade market and five players to avoid. This should help as you try to buy low on impact players as well as help to identify players whose price tags are far too inflated right now.

TRADE FOR…

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PHILIP RIVERS

I know, I know. Who doesn’t “hate” Philip Rivers right now? See, but with all this hatred for a once-valued Top 5 quarterback that only means you should be able to get him at a reasonable price. Last week’s game against the Jets was a tough one, but then again who doesn’t struggle against a Jets secondary that has allowed a league-low four passing touchdowns (one of which went to Rivers) and picked off 11 passes, which is good for 3rd in the NFL. Rivers now welcomes back his go-to target, Antonio Gates, and has a healthier Vincent Jackson at his disposal. I wouldn’t give up an RB1 for him, which earlier in the season was his going rate, but I don’t think you’re going to have to pay that high of a price for for him. In fact, you might even get him at a cheaper price than Tebow.

MATT SCHAUB

Over the past three weeks, without his top target, Andre Johnson, Schaub has thrown five touchdowns and averaged almost 310 yards per game. That’s without Johnson. Now, with Johnson hopeful to return in Week 8, Schaub gets one of the top-two wide receivers in the NFL to throw to. Think about that. With Arian Foster playing a major role in the passing game and with Owen Daniels showing he’s a true TE1 talent, Schaub has plenty of weapons to work with. Also working in your favor is that the Texans have yet to have their bye week. Believe me, a lot of fantasy owners factor in whether or not a player has had his bye yet when pulling off a trade. By getting Schaub, you’ll have to find another option in Week 11, but if you’re desperate enough at quarterback, at this point what’s one more week with a QB flier?

CHRIS JOHNSON

Ah, yes, probably the running back whose most angered Fantasy owners this season. How angry are his owners? I actually heard one say that he would have rather drafted Jamaal Charles this year over Chris Johnson, since he wouldn’t have to wonder from week to week whether or not to start Johnson. That seems a little ridiculous to me, but I get your anger. Johnson is averaging just 44.7 yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry. There’s not much to like about what we’ve seen thus far, but I know for a fact that he’s being moved on the trade market for the price of a RB2 or in some cases a WR3. That’s a ridiculous price. I think this week’s outburst in the media by Johnson will only help his future success. It’s a fact that the blocking up front hasn’t been there for him, but I’m of the belief that getting it out in the open should help this team focus on finding him holes. I won’t go as far as saying Johnson will return to being a Top 5 running back, but he could finish the season as a Top 10 back.

Look, it’s not as if Javon Ringer (3.0 yards per carry) is running any better. And I also think we need to factor in that Johnson has only had two weeks running behind his lead blocker, Ahmard Hall. The price is right, especially if you’re sitting pretty in first or second place and trading for Johnson doesn’t shakeup the foundation of your team.

STEVEN JACKSON

I know what you’re thinking, “Another RB1 bust?” Sure, Jackson hasn’t been the same top-tier talent that we’ve grown accustomed to him being, but there is plenty of daylight ahead for both Jackson and the Rams offense. They’re still without Sam Bradford at quarterback, which will once again mean they’ll call on Jackson to carry the ball 20 times and lead this offense against the Saints. If and when Sam Bradford returns–possibly in Week 9–the Rams have a matchup against the Cardinals, who they also play against in Week 12. Jackson should be able to put up big numbers against the lagging Arizona defense.

The good news is, Jackson has averaged 4.6 yards per carry since coming out of the bye and he’s showing a little more burst. At his current market price, shop and see if you can pull off a reasonable deal to get Jackson. He’s a high-end RB2 going forward.

MARIO MANNINGHAM

I know it’s tough to want to trade for a guy who lost his job to Victor Cruz, but if you watched the Giants game from Week 6 against Buffalo you saw that Manningham’s breakout is just around the corner. Sure, his five catches for 56 yards and zero touchdowns in each of the last two weeks don’t jump off the computer screen and scream at you, but he’s actually played better than the numbers would indicate. In Week 6 Manningham had three touchdowns catches that were either barely dropped, reversed on a replay or stopped just inches from the goal-line. Of course “almost” doesn’t count in Fantasy Football, but what those plays do show you is that Eli Manning is leaning pretty heavily on Manningham and that they’re working their way into a nice rhythm.

AVOID TRADING FOR…

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RYAN FITZPATRICK

Not only has Fitzpatrick looked pedestrian over the last three weeks, throwing three touchdowns and only once going above 200 yards passing, but his schedule in the coming weeks won’t do him any favors. This week the Bills face a very underrated Washington defense, one that has allowed just five passing touchdowns in six games. They then have to play Dallas, in Dallas, which is no easy task, the Jets twice and the Chargers, the leagues third best pass defense, in San Diego. This all over the next six weeks. I do like Fitzpatrick, but really the Bills are currently a team led by the run. His value is no longer Top 10 among quarterbacks.

RYAN TORAIN

You’re probably wondering why anyone would trade for a running back who tallied 17 yards over the last two weeks, but with Tim Hightower going down for the season Torain now steps in as the Redskins starting running back. For now, at least. With Mike Shanahan you never know who he’ll hand the ball to. Rookie Roy Helu may end up being the starter by Week 9. The other problem with trading for Torain, or any Redskins running back, for that matter, is that over the next six weeks they face the Cowboys, 49ers, Patriots and Seahawks, who all sit among the Top 10 teams in the NFL against the run. You want nothing to do with any of the Washington running backs, and I say that as a Torain owner myself.

DEMARCO MURRAY

Yes, I’m talking about the most popular player in Fantasy Football, not named Tim Tebow. Murray, coming off a record-breaking 253-yard performance is probably one of the most over-valued assets in Fantasy Football right now. He’s being sold on the trade market as one of the Top 10 running backs in the game, but I’m here to tell you that he’s absolutely not that valuable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m starting him this week against the Eagles, but that’s in part because I like the matchup and also because it cost me nothing to grab him off the waiver wires. I have no intention of trading for Murray, who was offered to me for Larry Fitzgerald in one of my other leagues. I know Fitzgerald is not the top-tier WR we’re used to him being, but he’s more valuable than Murray is. If you can get him for someone like Darren Sproles or maybe Daniel Thomas, I can see you making those deals. But right now his asking price is far too high for my taste.

A.J. GREEN

I’d like to say that I love this kid as much as the next guy, but I have a tough time buying into his future success, at least over the next six weeks. The schedule is just brutal for Green and the Bengals. They play Seattle this week, who has only allowed six passing touchdowns, then play in Tennessee, followed by games against Pittsburgh, at Baltimore, Cleveland and then Pittsburgh again, on the road. Those three teams represent three of the Top 4 defenses against the pass. With both a rookie quarterback (Andy Dalton) and a rookie wide receiver (Green), it’s going to be a tough slate of games for the Bengals’ passing attack.

REGGIE WAYNE

I’m sure you know by now that Wayne owners are desperately trying to sell the one-time WR1 for his 2010 going rate. Unfortunately, he’s not even playing like a WR3. You can’t place all the blame squarely on Wayne’s shoulders, seeing as he and Curtis Painter just can’t seem to find a rhythm, but watching Wayne play you can tell he’s not all that thrilled about being out there without his good friend Peyton Manning targeting him. Again, you’re probably seeing his owners attempt to sell you on him for the return of a WR1 or even a high-end WR2, but I’m here to tell you that I wouldn’t buy Wayne right now if it cost me anything more than my third best wide receiver or running back.

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