Four commandments of trading: Fantasy Clicks

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Recent Fantasy Clicks 11-11-08: Cards are who we thought they were 11-10-08: Week 10 revelations 11-07-08: The Cutler did it 11-06-08: Regret in the making 11-05-08: Regret in the making 11-04-08: A costly win for the Steelers 11-03-08: Week 9 revelations 10-31-08: Into the great wide open 10-30-08: Planning makes perfect 10-29-08: The last temptation of Kurt Warner 10-28-08: A titanic statement on Monday night 10-27-08: Week 8 revelations 10-24-08: 'Tis better to receive 10-23-08: It's getting drafty in here 10-22-08: We won't get fooled again 10-21-08: Pats turn back the clock 10-20-08: Week 7 revelations

These Ten, er, Four Commandments

Reggie Bush: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

For a good chunk of fantasyland owners ... welcome to, by far and away, the biggest week of your life (figurative hyperbole), in the form of the pre-Week 11 trade deadline -- likely Wednesday night, before Jets-Patriots on Thursday. What's it going to take to succeed during this gut-wrenching, mind-numbing game of Beat The Clock? Well, here are four unimpeachable rules to live by:

1. Perform an honest assessment of your own roster. Do not get fooled into believing bad players will magically turn on the jets -- if you have had a hole at QB, RB, WR, TE or the RB/WR flex the first 10 weeks ... you'll be exposed in Weeks 14, 15 and 16, as well
2. Be the aggressor in offering trades. There's nothing worse than NOT having control of an intense negotiation. Don't let the other owner gain the upper hand by throwing out names, in hopes that you'll bite out of desperation.
3. Always get the best player in the deal. I don't care if you're embroiled in a 1-for-1 swap, 2-for-2 switcheroo, 3-for-2 blockbuster or 4-1 tsunami ... make sure you walk away with the primary stud in the trade.
4. Don't be afraid to sacrifice your bench. I learned this lesson a long time ago from one of the fantasy world's true shamans, Detroit radio host Sean Baligian: Great bench depth will serve you no purpose during the playoff weeks. So, if you have four great running backs -- Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush and Ronnie Brown, for example -- and need to get stronger at wide receiver, have no fear in dangling Reggie to land a big fish at WR. Oh sure, you'll be sweating bullets if a stud runner goes down to injury ... but hey, there's a risk-reward aspect to every challenge in fantasyland -- just don't look back!

The Money Guys

OK, now that you've read the Four Commandments of the trade deadline, here's a list of the QBs/RBs/WRs (in no particular order) that you'll want to move mountains (or molehills) to acquire during the fantasy-playoff weeks:

Week 14
QBs: Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Trent Edwards, Jay Cutler, Tyler Thigpen, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers
RBs: LaDainian Tomlinson, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee, Reggie Bush, Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant, Chris Johnson, Joseph Addai, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Willie Parker, Tim Hightower
WRs: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Greg Jennings, Antonio Bryant, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Marques Colston

Week 15
QBs: Jake Delhomme, Matt Ryan, Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Eli Manning, Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers
RBs: Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, LenDale White, Larry Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, DeAngelo Williams, Thomas Jones, Ronnie Brown, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai, Steven Jackson
WRs: Roddy White, Andre Johnson, Anthony Gonzalez, Vincent Jackson, Derrick Mason, Jason Hill, Bobby Engram, Bernard Berrian, Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards, Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne

Week 16
QBs: Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Shaun Hill, Matt Hasselbeck, Philip Rivers, Marc BUlger, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning
RBs: Jamal Lewis, Steve Slaton, Willis McGahee, Reggie Bush, Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Joseph Addai, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ronnie Brown, Julius Jones
WRs: Marvin Harrison, Matt Jones, Kevin Walter, Chris Chambers, Marques Colston, Braylon Edwards, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Randy Moss

QB Locks -- 275 Yards and/or 3 TDs, Week 11

1. Jay Cutler vs. Atlanta
2. Chad Pennington vs. Oakland
3. Jake Delhomme vs. Detroit (talk about a leap of faith)
4. Peyton Manning vs. Houston
5. Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago
6. Kurt Warner vs. Seattle (weather permitting)

Bye, Bye ... Bye Weeks!

Fantasy excuse-makers, your days of whining about bye weeks halting your September-like rhythm have come to a merciful end ... because the NFL will have a full 16-game slate in Week 11. Yes, with no more bye weeks and top-flight performers like QB Tony Romo and Reggie Bush (among others) coming back from injury, surprising talents like Greg Camarillo, Matt Ryan, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, DeSean Jackson, Matt Jones, Joe Flacco, Billy Miller (the Saints' best tight end, by the way) and Eddie Royal will likely return to their requisite spots on the fantasy bench. In other words, if your at-full-strength squad does not succeed in Weeks 11, 12 and 13 ... you shouldn't expect any playoff success in Weeks 14, 15 and 16.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Before you blindly re-insert Romo and Bush into your fantasy lineups this week ... think long and hard about the move. I'm assuming Bush and Romo will pronounce themselves as fit and "ready to go" to the press on Wednesday or Thursday, which is fine, I suppose; but are they really prepared to dominate again -- at a time where your club cannot absorb a subpar outing from a megastar or two. My rule of thumb: I never start a playmaker in his first week back from a leg or knee injury -- which justifies Bush's non-start. But with Romo ... how long does a broken pinkie really need to heal? Surely, Romo would have played proficiently in Week 10 if Dallas didn't have its bye then ... which leads me to believe he's a strong start in Week 11 (against the 'Skins). Am I wrong? Here are two Bush/Romo projections, courtesy of AccuScore and Pigskin Addiction.

Romo: 239 passing yards, 1.8 TDs
Bush: 95 total yards, 0.5 TDs

Pigskin Addiction
Romo: 250 passing yards, 2 TDs
Bush: Not projected to play (as of Tuesday)

Bull Market In Indy

Has any fantasy owner ever been dissatisfield with the bi-annual results of Colts vs. Texans? In the last nine meetings, dating back to 2003, the clubs have an average combined score of 52.4, paving the way for plenty of Peyton Manning scores (he's thrown 31 TDs in 13 career games vs. Houston), a ton of Andre Johnson yards (216 and 3 TDs in his last three games vs. Indy) and a slew of defensive touchdowns (especially when Texans QB Sage Rosenfels is scrambling for extra yardage). But this burgeoning rivalry is more than just a vehicle for superstars; seriously, you're bound for fantasy goodness by starting the following truckload of players: Indianapolis -- Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark and even Dom Rhodes, if you're dying for a flex option. Houston -- Rosenfels, Johnson, Steve Slaton, Kevin Walter, Owen Daniels and even Ahman Green in emergency situations.

RB Locks -- 120 Total Yards and/or 2 TDs

1. Brian Westbrook/Correll Buckhalter vs. Cincinnati (whichever one gets the start)
2. Marshawn Lynch vs. Cleveland
3. Frank Gore vs. St. Louis
4. Joseph Addai vs. Houston
5. Michael Turner vs. Denver
6. Adrian Peterson vs. Tampa Bay
7. Marion Barber vs. Washington
8. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Tennessee
9. Julius Jones vs. Arizona
10. Matt Forte vs. Green Bay
11. Larry Johnson vs. New Orleans

Target Practice

Anquan Boldin: AP

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback ... and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch (known as Targets). So, while the fantasy world applauds Kansas City wideout Mark Bradley for his 9-catch, 81-yard, 1-TD effort against San Diego last week, I'm busy marveling at the stunning 14 passes that came Bradley's way. Not to belabor the point, but Targets are a must-know for fantasy owners -- especially in PPR leagues. This underrated stat is the best way to safeguard against one-hit wonders during a long, long, long fantasy season. To wit, presents a list of the 27 pass-catchers (including three tight ends) who are averaging at least 8.0 Targets per game (excluding Nate Burleson, who's lost for the year to injury):

1. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos (13.1 Targets)
2. WR Andre Johnson, Texans (12.1 Targets)
3. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (10.7 Targets)
4. WR Roddy White, Falcons (10.7 Targets)
5. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (10.4 Targets)
6. WR Steve Smith, Panthers (10.3 Targets)
7. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (10.1 Targets)
8. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals (9.9 Targets)
9. WR Wes Welker, Patriots (9.7 Targets)
10. TE Kellen Winslow, Browns (9.7 Targets)
11. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts (9.6 Targets)
12. TE Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (9.6 Targets)
13. WR Eddie Royal, Broncos (9.5 Targets)
14. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions (9.4 Targets)
15. WR Matt Jones, Jaguars (9.1 Targets)
16. WR Terrell Owens, Cowboys (8.8 Targets)
17. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns (8.7 Targets)
18. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers (8.6 Targets)
19. WR Plaxico Burress, Giants (8.6 Targets)
20. WR Santana Moss, Redskins (8.4 Targets)
21. WR Greg Camparillo, Dolphins (8.4 Targets)
22. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles (8.3 Targets)
23. WR Derrick Mason, Ravens (8.3 Targets)
24. WR Hines Ward, Steelers (8.1 Targets)
25. WR Greg Jennings, Packers (8.0 Targets)
26. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys (8.0 Targets)
27. WR Kevin Curtis, Eagles (8.0 Targets)

How To Get AP Without Really Trying

Looking for a creative way to land Vikings RB Adrian Peterson in a pre-deadline blockbuster? Try offering a receiver-needy owner Brandon Marshall, Steve Breaston and Packers RB Ryan Grant, as part of an all-too-tempting 3-for-1 trade.

Kicker Locks For 3 Field Goals

1. Jason Elam vs. Atlanta
2. Stephen Gostkowski vs. N.Y. Jets
3. Adam Vinatieri vs. Houston
4. Mason Crosby vs. Chicago
5. Nate Kaeding vs. Pittsburgh
6. Joe Nedney vs. St. Louis
7. Rob Bironas vs. Jacksonville

Shoot For The Stars

Looking for a creative way to land Andre Johnson for your Points Per Reception league? Try offering a RB-light owner Jamal Lewis, Tim Hightower and Falcons WR Roddy White, as part of a bold 3-for-1 trade.

Trivia Time

Which Giants running back holds the franchise record for touchdowns in one season?
A) Rodney Harrison
B) Bill Paschal
C) Joe Morris
D) Tiki Barber
E) Frank Gifford
F) Brandon Jacobs
G) Ottis Anderson

If I Were A Bidding Man ...

Here are 10 free agents I'd spend at least $18 on this week in blind-bidding leagues when handling waiver-wire pickups ($100 salary cap):

1. QB Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs (786 passing yards, 7 total TDs in last 4 weeks)
2. QB Jerious Norwood, Falcons (248 total yards, 2 TDs in his last 3 games)
3. WR Mark Bradley, Chiefs (KC finally has its first viable No. 2 WR since '91)
4. WR Lance Moore, Saints (has been targeted 30 times in his last 3 games)
5. TE Billy Miller, Saints (registered 6 Targets against Atlanta, even with Shockey in the lineup)
6. QB Joe Flacco, Ravens (805 passing yards, 7 total TDs in last 4 games)
7. PK Jay Feely, Jets (9-of-10 field goals, 7 extra points in last 2 weeks)

Trivia Answer

The answer is C. In 1985, Joe Morris (1982-90) amassed 1,548 total yards (1,336 rushing) and a club-record 21 TDs for the NFC East-winning Giants. How good was Morris in '85? Rodney Hampton and Ottis Anderson (along with Morris) share second-place for touchdowns, with only 14.

You've Got A Friend

Never underestimate the power of friendship in fantasy football. If you're hot-and-heavy for a wide receiver (like Braylon Edwards or Dwayne Bowe) ... sign up for an Instant Messenger account (AOL has a great one) and start schmoozing away with your buddy, in hopes of conceiving a win-win trade before the deadline. Buddy-swaps can be proffered at any time, obviously, but when it comes to brokering 11th-hour deals, nothing beats a stress-free negotiation where trust was established long ago. As a reference point, here's one favored-nation trade I made this week: Braylon and Giants RB Derrick Ward (perhaps the best backup RB in the NFL) for Bucs RB Earnest Graham (734 total yards, 4 TDs) and Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery (7.4 Targets per game). Both sides get a sure-fire fantasy starter and someone with good upside during the playoff weeks.

Permission To Talk Fantasy Hoops ...

As promised, we'll dive full-bore into fantasy hoops in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime ... here's one of the most versatile lists you'll see for roto and/or head-to-head leagues -- the 26 elite players with per-game averages of 10 points, 5 assists OR rebounds and 1.6 blocks OR steals.

1. LeBron James, Cavaliers
2. Dwayne Wade, Heat
3. Danny Granger, Pacers
4. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
5. Dwight Howard, Magic
6. Al Jefferson, Timberwolves
7. Chris Paul, Hornets
8. LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers
9. Corey Maggette, Warriors
10. Andris Biedrins, Warriors
11. Tracy McGrady, Rockets
12. Ron Artest, Rockets
13. Nene, Nuggets
14. Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz
15. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavaliers
16. Baron Davis, Clippers
17. Gerald Wallace, Bobcats
18. Chauncey Billups, Pistons
19. Kenyon Martin, Nuggets
20. Chris Kaman, Clippers
21. Jermaine O'Neal, Raptors
22. Josh Smith, Hawks
23. Andre Iguodala, 76ers
24. Jason Kidd, Mavericks
25. Shawn Marion, Heat
26. Trevor Ariza, Lakers (you can probably grab him off waivers today)

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