Week 4: Sell High
If I've said it once, I've said it a millions times: I am not perfect. While some of you may wish for me to be the all powerful and knowing, the simple fact is I'm not. I do my best each week to predict the future. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm horribly wrong. I admit it, I'm human and I don't have a crystal ball from which I can see future events. Instead I do my research, put some thought into it and in the end hope that my analysis proves to be correct. Many times I find myself wanting to add more reasoning to why I have picked these players each week. While I'd like to do that, the reality of it is there is just not enough time; nor do you want to read that much about my inner thoughts. So before you take my advice to heart, sit back and think about it for a few minutes. If it doesn't make sense to you, then don't do it. When it turns out that you've made the right decision, you'll be happy to know it was your idea and not someone else's.
Most weeks I try to look for players who have performed well the past few games and are heading into a tough few weeks on the schedule. I try to find players at the three big positions and sprinkle in a tight end once in a while. This week, however, I found three running backs that fantasy owners may want to consider trading.
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There are two trains of thought about Jackson right now. On one track are the people who believe the Rams have no other offensive weapons, so Jackson has to carry the load. Headed in the opposite direction are the folks who believe opposing defenses will shut Jackson down and make the Rams beat them somewhere else. I for one believe the Rams' offense is in deep trouble and Jackson's production will suffer. The good news for the Rams on Monday was that Marc Bulger's MRI showed no structural damage. At this time he will be listed as day-to-day and he could be back at practice as early as Wednesday. In addition to Bulger's injury, the Rams lost third year man Laurent Robinson who suffered a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain on Sunday. Fellow wide receiver Donnie Avery also suffered an additional injury on Sunday. Avery sustained a rib injury late in the game to go along with his already ailing shoulder. Couple all these injuries with upcoming games against San Francisco (allowing 67 ypg), Minnesota (allowing 92 ypg), and Jacksonville (allowing 100 ypg) and things don't look good for Steven Jackson. Unfortunately at this time you may find it difficult to get equal value in return for Jackson. He has a tough road to hoe and other fantasy owners may not want to take that chance.
I'll admit I was on the Darren McFadden wagon this pre season. I honestly believed he would have a breakthrough season and I still believe the possibility is there, but I'm not willing to bet the farm on it. The sad thing is McFadden's poor fantasy numbers have nothing to do with him. Opposing teams are stacking the box and making the Raiders beat them through the air and it is working. Russell's performance this season has been dreadful to the point of non existence. Last week against the Broncos JaMarcus completed 12 of 21 for 61 yards with 2 interceptions. If I were a Raiders fan, I'd be screaming for Gradkowski or Frye. The way I see it, these guys couldn't do much worse. Until the passing game comes to life, McFadden will struggle to run the ball. Unless you have room on your bench to wait it out, now may be a good time to trade Darren. The Raiders face the NFL's worst run defense next week in Houston --who are allowing 204 ypg. If you don't trade McFadden this week and he stinks it up against the Texans, then you may as well hold onto him because he won't be worth a nickel. If he does have a good game, it's not a big deal because the Raiders head to New York and face the Giants in two weeks before coming home to play the Eagles and Jets. All three of these teams will cause problems for Russell. As I said earlier, there is plenty of upside to McFadden, so don't sell him off cheaply; with the right deal you can make out in the long run.
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At this point I'm not really sure what fantasy owners could get in return for Portis (even if someone else in their league wants him). The past two weeks Portis has done little (if anything) for fantasy owners. Against the Rams two weeks ago he carried the ball 19 times for 79 yards. Last week against Detroit Portis had just 12 carries for 42 yards. I don't know about you, but numbers like these against the Rams and Lions is frightening. Portis should have torched these defenses and yet he managed to muster less than 80 yards and not a single touchdown. This coming week the Redskins host Tampa Bay -- which boasts the league's second worst run defense, allowing 187 yards per game. In two weeks Washington will head to Carolina -- which at the time of this article has allowed 168 yards per game. These next two weeks are going to make it or break it for Portis. If he fails to put up 100 yards against these teams and find the end zone in each game, then you may have to write off the season. So make your choice now and sell Portis on the possibility he could put up good numbers in the next couple of games or hold onto him and hope he does something noteworthy. Keep in mind if he fails to produce in the coming couple of games, then you'll likely be stuck with him.
Mason had a big game last week against Cleveland pulling down 5 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown. With numbers like this week in and week out fantasy owners would need to think twice about trading Mason. The thing is, Mason doesn't post numbers even close to this each week. In fact, if you take away the 72 yard catch and run, then Mason finished the game with just 4 receptions for 46 yards. These numbers would be more in line with what we saw in the first two games when Derrick had 3 receptions for 47 yards and 3 receptions for 31 yards. Now, I know what you're thinking, you can't take away receptions and I completely agree. All I'm trying to do is bring to your attention that his numbers last week were this good because of a long play. Another reason to consider trading Mason would be that he only had two 100-yard receiving games last season -- one of which was against the Browns, and in 2007 he had no 100-yard games. You have to go back to 2003 to find a season when Mason had more than two 100-yard games and that year he had just three. My point is simply this: Mason had one big game already and while it's possible he could have another game, it's not worth trying to guess when it will happen. Trade him while his numbers look good and let some other owner worry about when to start him.
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Don't buy into the hype! Vernon Davis is one of the biggest career busts since Ryan Leaf. I said since Leaf, not like Leaf; I'm not comparing them to one another, other than to say they both came into the league with a lot of hype and have left us wondering. With that said, lets take a look at Davis' production last week. Vernon caught 7 balls for 96 yards and two touchdowns. In case you are not aware, the last time Davis had 7 receptions in one game was never. That's right, this is the first time he has finished a game with more than 5 receptions since week 6 of last year when he had 6 receptions against the Eagles. Coincidentally that was also the last game in which he had more than 50 yards receiving. What I'm trying to say here is one game does not a season make. Take a chance on him if you want, but if you get a good offer for him then by all means take it. If there's one thing I think we've all seen this season it's that the tight end position has depth this year.
Last week a couple of players I suggested selling high turned out to have pretty good games in week 3. For instance, Willis McGahee continued his dash to the end zone by rushing for two more touchdowns. In three games McGahee has hit pay dirt 6 times. If you held onto him, then great for you; if you didn't, don't sweat it, there's no way he can continue to find the end zone twice every game. Then again, my crystal ball is a little foggy today so maybe I'm reading the numbers wrong. Also playing well last week was Brent Celek, who for the second week in a row caught 8 balls for 104 yards. Another player on my list who had a good game last week was Schaub. Matt finished the game 26 of 35 for 300 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. As I said last week: when healthy, Schaub is an excellent fantasy quarterback. The remaining players on my list last week are Mike Bell and Braylon Edwards.
Before responding to your comments I'd like to once again say thank you and keep up them coming. I enjoy reading your opinions and as I said in week one it's good to see that you don't just follow blindly along like a band of lemmings. One question last week was simply why Brent Celek? You're right it's unlikely you'll get Clark or
The idea of trading McGahee seems to have really struck a nerve for some readers. If you honestly believe he will finish each week with 70 yards and a touchdown then by all means keep him. It's your fantasy team do what you like. Based on his performance (or lack there of) the past two seasons; I just don't see this continuing. As one reader commented, he believes McGahee could finish the season with 13 touchdowns. If he gets to 13 and he has 6 now that leaves 7 touchdowns for the remaining 13 games. The last time McGahee had 13 touchdowns in a season was 2004, his rookie year, with