Fantasy football mailbag: Graham plays way among elite receivers
Austin is a top deep threat, big-game fantasy receiver and has a great chemistry with Tony Romo, but Graham is the best tight end in the league right now with four straight 100-yard games. Plus, he's tied with Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace as the third-best receiver in PPR points this season, trailing only Megatron and overall No. 1 fantasy scorer Wes Welker. The only downside is that Graham hasn't had his bye yet, but there are plenty of one-week fill ins at tight end (Jake Ballard, Heath Miller). In all, Graham is the superior player; I'd make the deal.
You'd be giving up a lot in the Bills' explosive No. 1 receiver and the Patriots often-injured, but impossible to defend, tight end, but to get a talent like Brees in a fantasy environment that makes an elite quarterback mandatory for success, you have to give value to get value. Unless you're left high and dry at wideout and tight end (which I assume you won't be), or if you have a Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton already (which I assume you don't), I'd go for Brees.
Harvin has been banged up this year and the Vikings are dealing with the possibility of switching QBs from Donovan McNabb to rookie Christian Ponder. Thomas is a good receiver but dealing with a rookie quarterback of his own in Blaine Gabbert. And now Heyward-Bey, on fire as of late, no longer has Jason Campbell, gone for the year with a broken collarbone, so he'll have to roll with Kyle Boller or whomever the Raiders sign. I would pick up the red-hot Jones (9 catches, 223 yards, 3 TDs over the last three games) for Thomas and Crabtree (15 targets, 9 catches, 77 yards against Detroit) for Harvin.
Especially while Brandon Jacobs is sidelined, Garçon alone is not nearly enough for a potential 1,200-1,400 yard, 10-touchdown running back. Although he trails Garçon in overall fantasy points, Fitzgerald is slightly ahead in average points per game (16.3 to 16.0) and is a much more consistent producer and therefore, more in line with who you would expect to get back for Bradshaw. Still, I'm not sure I'd make the move unless I was very thin at receiver. See if you can get Fitzgerald and someone else to shore up another position (a better kicker or defense perhaps?) to make the move.
I love Jackson's speed and return points potential, but as I wrote last week, I'm finally a believer in Mathews, so I wouldn't deal him for someone having a lesser season. Given your other receivers, I'd much rather have Peterson, Mathews and Maclin than Peterson, Jackson and a random running back.
There's a big question in Cleveland surrounding Hillis, who may have a hamstring injury or may have been held out due to his trade demand. One way or another his value will increase after Tuesday's NFL trade deadline. McGahee is having a strong comeback season, but with Tim Tebow ready to take the reins, a youth movement may be under way in Denver, so his value is also in flux. On the other side of the deal, Jackson has been his usual hard-running self with few exceptional games, and Fitzgerald is suffering a little with Kevin Kolb at QB. For now I would hold off on the deal since Hillis and McGahee have a lot more potential to help your squad than Bush and Steven Jackson.
Jackson has been a revelation, and with C.J. Spiller lining up more and more on the outside, there's no competition for carries in Buffalo. The big rub would be trading the second-best fantasy wideout for someone who recently had surgery on his hamstring. While it could be a couple of bumpy weeks as Johnson rounds back into form, I think the Jackson for Starks component is so stacked in your favor that you should be able to endure. I'd do it.
Wallace and Ben Roethlisberger is the league's most dangerous WR/QB combo. And Wallace isn't too far a dropoff from AJ. Williams has been quiet this season but the more and more Cam Newton plays, the better the entire Panthers offense will get. Tolbert is on the downswing, and Decker, already one of the league's highest scoring receivers, should pick up value as a hot read for Tebow. He's the rub in the deal. If you can negotiate Decker out of the deal with a lesser wideout in his place, I'd make the move. If not, I think it's just too much to give up to make the Williams/Tolbert swap.
It all depends. Right now Tebow has a lot of value to a team with quarterback issues, and that value will likely increase next week as Tebow makes his '11 starting debut against the struggling Dolphins. That's when you'll probably get the most for him as he'll most likely undergo a few down games. I'd expect to trade him for a RB2 ... someone along the lines of a Beanie Wells or Maurice Jones-Drew.
It's going to be tough. For as many good games he'll have, such as Sunday's against the Saints, he's going to have clunkers like the previous week in San Francisco. I'd try to swoop in and buy low on the thus-far disappointing Philip Rivers or Matt Schaub as an alternative.