Unconventional Wisdom: Trade targets that can make a season
Much like the NFL regular season in December or the MLB regular season in September, the fantasy football regular season takes on a new personality beginning in Week 10 with one month left before the playoffs. Not only have playoff races begun to crystallize and playoff berths been earned, the approaching trade deadline and the end of bye weeks (four teams have byes Week 11) put a premium on maximizing the potential of your starting lineup and doing so through the trade market. Now that you've weathered the bye-week storm, there's no incentive to have a ton of depth at any one position. Your bench guys who played key roles in the fantasy season's middle weeks likely won't do you any good with your team at full strength. Now is your last chance to turn that depth into a more explosive starting lineup.
Making a trade at this stage of the season is easier said than done. The conventional targets are hard to pry loose from their current owners because they're likely at the center of contending teams. While the personality of the fantasy season may change every month or so, one constant is the gains that come from bucking that conventional wisdom and finding the undervalued assets that remain. The key is identifying who they are in you're league. Here are a few good places to start, depending on your area of need.
Obviously, certain elements of that perfect storm will change from league to league, but the perfect player to target in that situation is Jones-Drew. The lack of touchdowns is no longer random, and he plays for a team destined for a top-10 pick in the draft. That makes him an easy guy to discount when, in reality, his yardage totals alone make him as consistent a force as they come. He'll be a top-seven back at worst the rest of the season, and his mix of strengths and deficiencies places him right at the upper end of guys who could still hit the trade block.
The truth is, it's not so much Cruz that's different. It's the team for which he plays. The Giants are an elite offense featuring a quarterback playing at a high level. Cruz isn't a product of garbage time stats or an unsustainable number of targets. He has a specific set of skills that makes him the perfect fit for the high-powered Giants' passing game. The return of Hakeem Nicks will only be a good thing for Cruz, but it was encouraging to see him have a productive game against the Patriots with Nicks on the sideline. His production isn't going anywhere, and he's the kind of guy who is attainable on the trade market by dealing from an area of depth.
With Greene the focal point of the Jets' rushing attack, he should be the top-15 back many expected him to become this year. With his underwhelming season to this point, he's likely a guy who can be had at a more than reasonable price.
New Orleans draws pretty strong run defenses the rest of the season, facing just one team, the Giants, in the bottom half of the league in rush defense. Second, he's one of the few impact backs who still has a bye on the schedule, making him one game less valuable than nearly everyone in the league. If you can use Sproles and depth to upgrade from Sproles, it's a slam dunk.