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Shaking the 0-2 fantasy blues

As a member of roughly 384 fantasy football leagues in the last seven years, I do not recall ANY 0-3 club ever winning the Fantasy Bowl -- regardless if four, six or eight teams qualified for the playoffs. So, if you're sitting at 0-2 but realistically harboring thoughts of a championship ... welcome to your first must-win week of 2010!

The pressure to win notwithstanding, this is certainly not a time to panic during trade discussions. There's no need for a fire sale involving Chris Johnson, Miles Austin, Dallas Clark, Peyton Manning or any of Houston's Big Three (Schaub, Johnson, Foster), and this is certainly not the proper time to abandon ship on Jamaal Charles, Brandon Marshall, Brett Favre or Vernon Davis. To combat any needless freakouts or impromptu acts of desperation, we've compiled a list of simple rules to fight The 0-2 Blues:

1. Trade for the back-end guy in RB handcuffs: While other owners are busy conceiving low-ball offers for Chris Johnson or Shonn Greene, how about brainstorming modest offers for backup RBs, like Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Jones, Donald Brown, Marion Barber, C.J. Spiller or Michael Bush? It may not be the sexiest move of the year, but savvy trading always comes back to the No. 1 rule of fantasy: You can never have enough quality running backs.

2. Throw a lifeline to the guy/gal who blew their entire free-agent auction budget on Brandon Jackson: When I implored readers to spend a good chunk of their FAAB money on Jackson last week -- in the wake of Ryan Grant's season-ending injury at Week 1 -- it wasn't a plea with the short term in mind. The Packers didn't need Jackson (39 total yards, 1 TD) to handle the gawd-awful Bills, and there was certainly no pressing desire to give him 20-plus touches against the NFL's worst team. And yet, his fantasy owners were undoubtedly crestfallen to see Jackson fall wayyyyyyy short of LeSean McCoy and Jahvid Best's stratosphere of Week 2 production and just be OK against Buffalo. As a consequence, they may start to believe John Kuhn will emerge as the club's every-down back (not likely).

Consider this an early Christmas present, or your first Jedi mind trick of the young season. If you have some fantasyland money to burn, offer B-Jax's owner a quality WR3 and $40 ($150 salary cap) for the "burden" of owning Jackson, who will start generating Grant-esque fantasy goodness sooner than later.

3. Feel free to "sell high" on receivers who aren't catching at least 50 percent of their targets: Unfortunately, this creed includes Cards WR Larry Fitzgerald, who ranks No. 2 in targets (behind Roddy White) but has only caught 10 of the 27 balls (which is a direct indictment of QB Derek Anderson). Other superstar members of the Under-50 Percent Club: Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Michael Crabtree and Pierre Garcon. Just make sure to get solid value in return. They're not charity cases.

4. Replace a kicker and/or defense on your roster: Two weeks is hardly a significant sample size for judging quarterbacks, tailbacks, receivers or tight ends, but sufficient when evaluating kickers and defenses. Scared to take a flyer on the Chiefs? Their season long matchups with the AFC West and NFC West just scream fantasy happiness. Reluctant to dump Ryan Longwell for Neil Rackers (Houston) or Josh Scobee (Jacksonville)? Who wouldn't want the only pair of kickers with three made field goals from 40-49 yards? Just something to think about, especially since kickers and defenses are dime-a-dozen assets.

As for defenses, be leery of high-profile teams that aren't registering sacks (Saints, Bears, Broncos) or creating takeaways (Ravens, Cowboys); and don't fall in love with a popular club's special teams if you cannot identify their punt- or kick-returners within 10 seconds. Name-brand familiarity (aka Josh Cribbs with Cleveland or Golden Tate with Seattle) goes a long way in this category.

1. Tom Brady vs. Buffalo2. Drew Brees vs. Atlanta3. Tony Romo @ Houston4. Sam Bradford vs. Washington5. Philip Rivers @ Seattle6. Peyton Manning @ Denver7. Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay

In general terms, here's a list of the 20 best available free agents for 12-team, standard-scoring leagues:

1. RB Mike Tolbert, Chargers (weekly and yearly insurance for RB Ryan Mathews)2. QB Michael Vick, Eagles3. RB Jason Snelling, Falcons (surprisingly stellar in PPR leagues)4. QB Kyle Orton, Broncos5. QB Alex Smith, 49ers6. TE Aaron Hernandez, Patriots7. WR Demaryius Thomas, Broncos8. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (amazingly drew 13 targets in Week 2)9. QB Sam Bradford, Rams10. WR Louis Murphy, Raiders11. TE Dustin Keller, Jets12. WR Jordan Shipley, Bengals (he'll have two double-digit reception games this season)13. QB Josh Freeman, Bucs14. RB Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots15. WR Nate Washington, Titans16. PK Mike Nugent, Bengals17. TE Tony Moeaki, Chiefs18. PK Josh Scobee, Jaguars19. D/ST Kansas City Chiefs20. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions

This is a reminder to everyone that I'll be hosting a two-hour chat on Facebook at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday -- just like last week, and just like I'll do every week until mid-December. Just to clarify, I can still be bothered with lineup-related 4 a.m. Tweets during the week. But for the Facebook chat, you're guaranteed to get an answer within five minutes of the question going public -- or your pizza's free!

1. Ray Rice vs. Cleveland2. Matt Forte vs. Green Bay3. Ronnie Brown vs. N.Y. Jets4. Knowshon Moreno vs. Indianapolis5. Darren McFadden @ Arizona6. Clinton Portis @ St. Louis7. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Philadelphia8. DeAngelo Williams vs. Cincinnati9. Chris Johnson @ N.Y. Giants10. Frank Gore @ Kansas City11. Adrian Peterson vs. Detroit12. Rashard Mendenhall @ Tampa Bay

Adrian Peterson has enjoyed great success against the sad-sack Lions in his three NFL seasons (spanning six games). However, AP's per-game averages of 121.5 total yards/1 TD against Detroit barely eclipse his track record of 118 total yards/.66 TDs against Green Bay. And get this: In six career games against Chicago, Peterson has amassed 138 total yards and 1.83 TDs per game -- easily his most consistent devastation of a semi-regular opponent.

If given a complete do-over, here's how we'd rank the receivers before the August drafts:

1. Andre Johnson, Texans2. Miles Austin, Cowboys3. Reggie Wayne, Colts4. Roddy White, Falcons5. DeSean Jackson, Eagles6. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals7. Randy Moss, Patriots8. Anquan Boldin, Ravens9. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins10. Calvin Johnson, Lions11. Greg Jennings, Packers12. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals13. Steve Smith, Giants14. Wes Welker, Patriots15. Steve Smith, Panthers16. Marques Colston, Saints17. Hines Ward, Steelers18. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars19. Hakeem Nicks, Giants20. Percy Harvin, Vikings21. Austin Collie, Colts22. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs23. Vincent Jackson, Chargers24. Mike Wallace, Steelers25. Mark Clayton, Rams26. Michael Crabtree, 49ers27. Pierre Garcon, Colts28. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles29. Sidney Rice, Vikings30. Kevin Walter, Texans31. Robert Meachem, Saints32. Mike Williams, Buccaneers33. Santana Moss, Redskins34. Donald Driver, Packers35. Brandon Lloyd, Broncos36. Santonio Holmes, Jets37. Dez Bryant, Cowboys38. Mario Manningham, Giants39. Devin Aromashodu, Bears40. Legedu Naanee, Chargers

@CLykinsBlog asks: Would I be getting good value if I traded Chris Johnson for Pierre Thomas and Rashard Mendenhall?

Answer: Before Reggie Bush's injury on Monday night, I probably would've rejected this offer without much thought. But now, we're talking about two potential top-15 running backs for the great and all-powerful Johnson. We might actually be onto something here. With this offer, Owner B is clearly sending signals that he/she is desperate to land CJ. So, why not exploit this quest by having him tack on a quality WR3 -- like Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace -- with you adding a WR or QB throw-in to the mix, making it a 3-for-2 blockbuster? Let me know how this ends. Thanks!

@Anytime23 says: Just to let you know, I kind of gave up in our 2-QB league after my two quarterbacks got hurt or benched and RB Ryan Grant was lost for the season, I'm screwed.

Answer: You're certainly behind the 8-ball on this one, my friend. But how dare you start checking out mentally after Week 2! Oh sure, you can take the easy way out -- rhymes with Twitter -- and just hold a pity party for yourself in September or you can dig in your heels and try to trade out of this early-season windstorm of bad luck. For quarterbacks, do the math: Sixteen start each and every non-bye week -- go get two for the starting lineup. As for Ryan Grant, it's a big loss to the Packers and fantasy community; but it's not just cause for throwing in the towel. Even if you didn't land Brandon Jackson in waivers, quality running backs go down to injury all the time, and eventually you'll have first dibs at their talented replacements. Seriously, man, if you're going to crash and burn in our league, at least give a superhuman effort to stay alive.

1. Stephen Gostkowski vs. Buffalo2. Mason Crosby @ Chicago3. Josh Scobee vs. Philadelphia4. David Akers @ Jacksonville5. Graham Gano @ St. Louis6. Rob Bironas @ N.Y. Giants

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch; and these "Targets" should factor heavily with owners when choosing to snag (or drop) a talent in PPR leagues. It goes without saying, owners must bookmark this link and refer to it every week. Here are the wideouts averaging at least 8 targets per game:

1. Roddy White, Falcons -- 35 targets2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 273. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 264. Terrell Owens, Bengals -- 245. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 226. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 227. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 228. Mark Clayton, Rams -- 219. Calvin Johnson, Lions -- 2110. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- 2111. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 1912. Anquan Boldin, Ravens -- 1813. DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- 1814. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 1815. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 1816. Louis Murphy, Raiders -- 1717. Steve Smith, Panthers -- 1718. Steve Smith, Giants -- 1719. Danny Amendola, Rams -- 1620. Austin Collie, Colts -- 1621. Malcom Floyd, Chargers -- 1622. Mike Williams, Buccaneers -- 16

Mainstream fantasy sites, like SI.com, are obviously a hit with fantasygoers. But there's always room for alternative media in the marketplace, especially when the authors are hilariously shouting from the rooftops about benching Arian Foster in Week 1, or the prospect of trusting Matt Hasselbeck on the road in Week 2.

The first must-see blog is PigskinAddiction.com This site offers weekly staples like cheatsheets, start/sit, waiver-wire grabs and last-minute injury advice. But PA.com really separates itself from the pack with raw takes on Monday's action -- not unlike Fantasy Revelations -- and bold projections for every Week 3 matchup.

Next up ... Fantasy Football Toolbox. If you're looking for stats projections for Week 2, updated depth charts, weekly sleepers, updated injury reports and even -- sacre bleu! -- an updated listing of the NFL's Top 10 punters (insert joke here) ... welcome to your new home!

1. Andre Johnson vs. Dallas2. Reggie Wayne @ Denver3. Marques Colston vs. Atlanta4. Anquan Boldin vs. Cleveland5. Miles Austin @ Houston6. Randy Moss vs. Buffalo7. Roddy White @ New Orleans8. Laurent Robinson vs. Washington9. Steve Smith vs. Tennessee

TBS for giving My Boys the TV ziggy after five seasons and 49 episodes of pure comedy gold; and while I appreciate the cast having some form of closure with the season (and now series) finale -- spoiler alert: Mike gets hitched to Rachael Harris, Brendo buys Crowley's -- it breaks my heart to know that mindless, pointless shows like Dancing With The Stars or Big Brother may go on forever, but well-crafted, expertly written comedies with a snappy ensemble cast will always be one bad focus-group session from the chopping block. Speaking of which, I'm dying to know the reasoning behind the My Boys cancellation? The show likely didn't cost much to produce, it never endured any writing or character lulls and I don't know one person who actually disliked the show.

But then again, I said the same thing about It's Your Move from the 1980s or It's Like ... You Know from the '90s.

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