Trading etiquette. Is it something that exists or is it a fiction of our imagination? Sort of like Business Ethics (yeah Wall Street, I'm talking to you). A trade went down in my big league: Thomas Jones, Antonio Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger for Adrian Peterson and Kevin Curtis. Seems pretty bad, right? Well, get this, the guy who traded Peterson was 2-7, Antonio Bryant was on bye, leaving him with no third receiver for the week, and he also had Brett Favre and Jason Campbell already (two QBs with more points and higher scoring averages than Roethlisberger). In addition, he'd publicly admitted to not really paying attention this year since he has a newborn at home. My league only vetoes trades if collusion is involved and there was none here.
At some point, personal integrity must take over, especially in a league among friends. At the very least, it would have been decent if somewhere in the trade discussion it was revealed that Bryant was on bye. That's the absolute minimum. However, the question becomes whether that offer should even have been sent. It's one thing to take from the poor. It's quite another to leave them naked in the cold. If you're going to make a quantity for quality trade, at least attempt to improve the depth of the poor man's roster. We all know what Thomas Jones did in Week 10, so for one week, it's at least digestible. However, take away Weeks 1, 6 and 10 from Jones and his year has been poor. Certainly not in the same ballpark as Peterson. Sell high, buy low; we all know the drill, but at some point, isn't a championship tainted?
OK, enough of my rant. Let's get down to business of analyzing where this year's rookies stand.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
As expected, Ryan performed very well against a weak Saints defense. Completing 16-of-23 for 248 yards and two touchdowns isn't a surprise anymore from this amazing rookie quarterback. Don't believe me? Well one of his touchdowns was an audible that resulted in a bomb to Michael Jenkins. Ryan recognized the single coverage and changed the play. The Falcons coaches trust him enough to allow him to audible and Ryan is smart enough to call the right play. He's arrived. The horrible Denver Broncos defense is up next, so Ryan is a recommended start even in 12-team, one quarterback leagues.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
So Mr. Suggs, still want Troy Smith as your starter? Flacco completed 15-of-23 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With a strong rushing attack and phenomenal defense, Flacco could end up being the new Trent Dilfer in Baltimore. However, beware. The Giants defense is up next and they've humbled much more experienced quarterbacks. Flacco is not a recommended starter this week.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots
Move over, Kevin Faulk. Green-Ellis carried the ball 26 times for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Bills on Sunday. New England is playing a ball control offense, trying to keep Matt Cassel at bay. Unfortunately for Green-Ellis owners, the fifth-ranked Jets rushing defense is up in a Thursday night game. Between the tough defense and the fact that Green-Ellis has a short week after a big workload, he's actually not a great start for this week. Look for the Patriots to use quick passes to Wes Welker as their form of running game.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Like most figured, and we mentioned, Forte found the running difficult against a brutal Titans defense. He still finished with a respectable 72 yards on 20 carries. However, like we mentioned, he was terrific for PPR owners by catching seven passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay's 28th-ranked rushing defense is up next, so make sure Forte stays in your active lineup.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Ouch! Eight yards on 14 carries? The Bears put eight and even nine men in the box to stop Johnson and dared Kerry Collins to beat them. Guess what, he did. Hopefully the Jacksonville Jaguars saw that, and that Collins' ability to spread the ball around will open up running lanes for Johnson. He's simply too good and too fast to be kept at bay. We're not down on him. This happens.
Ryan Torain, Denver Broncos
He got the start and ran for 68 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and then boom. Torn ACL, done for the year. That hurts.
Steve Slaton, Houston Texans
Another ouch! Four carries? What the heck is that about? Head coach Gary Kubiak said that Slaton was given fewer carries because the running back was "worn down." ROOKIE WALL. We've talked about that, we just wish coaches realized how important fantasy football is to us and would reveal these tidbits of information BEFORE THE GAME! Look for the rejuvenated Slaton to abuse the Colts 24th -anked rushing defense.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Nothing to see here. Move along, folks. Between the injuries and lack of a quarterback, it's almost OK to drop McFadden in redraft leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
The season is a failure. With 21 yards on seven carries, Stewart is doing nothing. The rhetoric coming out of Carolina indicates they haven't lost confidence in him, but the heel injury combined with the effectiveness of DeAngelo Williams kills Stewart's value. He's a hold in keeper leagues, but at this point, he'll need an injury to Williams to have value in redraft formats.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Still not ready to return. Marion Barber owners rejoice.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions
Smith has passed Rudi Johnson on the depth chart. Yippee! It's about time. Smith ran 23 times for 96 yards and a touchdown against a tough Jaguars defense. He added one catch for 27 yards. It's funny that the Detroit Lions are the only ones surprised by this. At least now, head coach Rod Marinelli is indicating the ball belongs to Smith. Carolina and their 17th-ranked rush defense is up next. With Daunte Culpepper at quarterback, there will be a continued emphasis on the run. You could do worse than Smith.
Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals
The game plan against San Francisco was to air it out. That left Hightower with only 13 carries and he gained a putrid 22 yards. He did catch six passes for 28 yards, but even that didn't satisfy owners in PPR formats. Seattle's 22nd-ranked rushing defense is up next, but since they also possess the 31st ranked pass defense, this could be another Warner highlight reel. Kurt Warner for MVP is gaining momentum.
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Uh oh, the dreaded "hot hand" reared its ugly head. Rice started over Willis McGahee but then received a mere seven carries, which he turned into 17 yards. Conventional thinking might conclude that the big workload for McGahee last week will lead to Rice getting it this week. McGahee's been banged up all year, and they'll want him fresh for the stretch run. The problem is the Giants defense is up next. You saw how they crushed Brian Westbrook this past week. Don't start Rice.
Jamaal Charles/Dantrell Savage, Kansas City Chiefs
Not much production to discuss, and the return of Larry Johnson essentially renders these two useless.
Peyton Hillis, Denver Broncos
The injury to Torain and others opens the door for Hillis to get a lot more action. In relief last week, he ran eight times for 24 yards. However, don't forget his performance a couple of weeks ago when he caught seven balls for 116 yards. He likely will never duplicate those numbers, but the Broncos are now truly a passing team, so Hillis could be a useful flex in PPR formats. The Broncos have brought back Tatum Bell and early indications are he could see as many as 15 carries in his first week. That'll surely eat into Hillis' value.
Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams
How pathetic has the Rams offense become? You'd think if Avery catches two balls for 29 yards that at least Torry Holt would have had a big game. Nope; one catch for five yards. St. Louis plays the 49ers this week and on paper, that looks good. You saw what Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin did to them last week. However, Marc Bulger isn't Warner and Avery is neither Fitzgerald nor Boldin. He's difficult to bench if he's clearly in your top three, but hopefully you have more secure options. If not, start and pray. The matchup is good.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
In a tough matchup against the Giants, Jackson caught four passes for 61 yards. He also rushed three times for 24 yards, scoring on a 9-yard run from the now famous Wildcat formation. We actually recommended Jackson even with the matchup, so we're certainly glad about the rushing score. In any event, the Eagles are going to find ways to get the playmaker the ball. You simply have to keep him active at Cincinnati this week.
Josh Hardy, Buffalo Bills
Hardy started and caught two passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. His height and physical nature make him an attractive red zone target, but he's not a big part of the Bills offense, so you can't trust him. He does have future potential, so monitor him in keeper leagues.
Josh Morgan, San Francisco 49ers
The good news is Morgan caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. The bad news is he injured his groin and has already been ruled out for Week 11. That's a bad sign. Make other plans for Week 11 and probably Week 12, as well, as groin injuries tend to linger.
Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos
Six catches for 164 yards and a touchdown against the Browns, and with Ryan Torain going down, you have to be licking your chops. The running back-starved Broncos could make the Saints and Cardinals look like ball-control offenses. Expect Royal to see double-digit targets every week going forward. He's moving up the ranks and is much more than WR3 at this point.
John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks
We can talk about his five catches for 54 yards last week, but the real story is this; Matt Hasselbeck returned to a complete practice on Wednesday. If he's cleared for contact and gets the starting nod, Carlson suddenly becomes a useful tight end who'll likely return more consistent results. The Seahawks will likely have to throw often to keep up with Arizona's high-powered offense.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets
Tight ends are frustrating. Just when you think it's time to move on, you get six catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Something tells me if I recommended Keller this week, he'll catch three passes for 27 yards tonight against New England. Feast or famine.