I had a quite the dilemma on draft day.
I was picking fifth, and narrowed my choices to three players: C.J. Spiller, Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. When the figurative dust cleared after the first four picks, all three RBs were still there.
I never quite figured they’d all survive to the fifth pick. So, faced with that seemingly enviable decision, I made the only possible choice I could make: The wrong one.
I took Spiller, thinking he was going to channel his inner Marshall Faulk and become fantasy’s next big thing.
Oh, Spiller may have more value as the season wears on, but Charles and McCoy are the top backs now and only injury will knock them out.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who whiffed in the first round. Owners who took Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Ray Rice and Alfred Morris feel my pain as well.
The question we now face is how to fix the situation. Forget about trading those underperforming backs for the Matt Fortes and Marshawn Lynches of the world. Their owners aren’t letting them go.
Here are six more realistic trades you can make: Three guys to sell now, and three guys to target. It’s up to you to sweeten the pot to make the trade happen.
1: Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: With the position as deep as it is, it’s tough to trade a QB, since most owners have capable backups. But Vick is the one QB you can move. He’s ranked fifth in fantasy points among QBs and the perception is he can explode at any time. That is true. But he can also leave the game at any time. Vick’s production tends to decline as the season takes its toll. Target the owners with Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson and try to pry loose a good RB or WR.
2: Reggie Bush, RB, Lions: As a fantasy player, Bush is very similar to Vick. He’s off to a heck of a start and has been playing with top five value. But Bush is another player prone to getting nicked up and wearing down. In seven seasons, he’s topped 1,000 yards once, never rushed for more than six TDs and never started all 16 games. Find the right trade partner, and you could turn Bush into another top-flight RB.
3: Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns: Cameron’s next two games are against the Lions and Packers – a good two-game stretch to set him up for max trade value. Cast him out into the market after that and hope to reel in a big fish. Because after Week 7, the Browns face the Chiefs, Ravens, Bengals, Patriots, Bears and Jets. Plus, Brandon Weeden is back at QB. Cameron will still be a good fantasy TE, but if you sell at the right time, you could get a great player back.
1: Le’Veon Bell , RB, Steelers: Pittsburgh ’s offense is a mess at the moment. Come to think of it, their defense is too. So, chances are Bell ’s owner may be considering giving up on him. Find that owner, throw your arm around his shoulder and start talking. Bell scored twice last week against the Vikings – which isn’t exactly tough to do – but he did score. No other Steeler RB had done that even once. He also caught four passes for 27 yards. Bell is a very good value in a bleak RB landscape.
2: Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: A funny thing happened on the way to ‘has-been’ status for Gates. The Chargers offense is good again and Gates is playing like it’s 2007. That isn’t a fluke. San Diego’s new coach ran Denver’s offense last year and obviously found a way to make Philip Rivers play like Peyton Manning. Chances are that Gates was drafted as a backup, so his owner may be willing to part ways for the right price.
3: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Going in, 2013 looked like a breakout year for Hilton. He had almost 900 receiving yards and 7 TDs his rookie year and was expected to improve on those numbers. Ehhh. Not so far. But don’t give up hope yet. He’s Andrew Luck’s deep threat and he’s not going to stay stuck on 0 TDs the rest of the way. Make a play for him after a poor outing today against Seattle. Then ride him in the second half.
QUICK HITS FOR WEEK 4
Start ‘em: The saga of Eli Manning is getting tired by now. No other “top-flight” QB is prone to as many inconsistent fantasy efforts as Eli. A 180-yard, 3-interception week is often followed by a 400-yard 3-TD effort the next. Here’s figuring this week is “Good Eli.”
The Chargers’ Ryan Matthews is technically the team’s starting RB. OK, so he starts the game, but then they sub him out for long stretches and use Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. This week, San Diego gets to play the Raiders and Matthews could find himself with a workhorse role.
While the Saints defense has been pretty good so far, so has the Bears offense. Chicago knows it has to score a ton in this game and WR Alshon Jeffery has been coming on.
Sit ‘em: Take a look at who the Seattle Seahawks play. Then take a look at the QB on that team. Unless that guy’s name is Peyton, Drew or Aaron, bench him. The Colts’ Andrew Luck is not on that list.
No one is their right mind would ever sit Jamaal Charles. And you won’t be doing that. But temper expectations this week. KC plays at Tennessee and the Titans have found themselves a run defense this year.
Did you see the forecast for today’s Ravens-Dolphins game in Miami? Chance of showers, 87 degrees and humid. That, and the tougher-than-you-think Dolphins’ defense should be enough to slow down WR Torrey Smith.