October 15, 2008
Fantasy Clicks
By Jeff Ritter
Deadline Deal
Roy Williams: AP

As usual, it was a pretty quiet trade deadline day in the NFL yesterday. In the only major deal, the Cowboys acquired receiver Roy Williams from the Lions for 1st, 3rd, and 6th round pick in the 2009 draft.

There's a ripple of fantasy ramifications here. First, the talented, but goofy Williams will immediately step into in the No. 2 receiver role, but I'm not convinced his value will rise from where it is now, given that the Cowboys have far more offensive options than the Lions. Terrell Owens is the top target, and tight end Jason Witten is the second read (Patrick Crayton, the incumbent No. 2 receiver, wasn't even that bad this year, but feel free to drop him from your roster if you own him). One thing seems certain: Williams has almost no shot at producing bigger numbers in Dallas than he did in Detroit until quarterback Tony Romo returns from his pinkie injury in about a month. Even then, I doubt Williams' fantasy value changes much with the move to Dallas.

But Williams could still help T.O., who has struggled in recent weeks while being routinely double-teamed. Having a more dangerous receiver on the opposite side will make opposing defenses think twice about rolling a safety T.O.'s way on every play, and it gives Owens a great shot at recapturing his early-season form. If you've been lying in wait to buy low on T.O., this would be a pretty good time to make your trade pitch. In fact, "buy low on T.O" isn't a bad slogan for the week ...

The Williams trade could also slightly boost the Cowboys' quarterbacks, particularly Brad Johnson. He's The Man for the next few weeks, and while Sunday's matchup against the Rams is his only appealing start (after the Rams, the Cowboys get the Bucs, Giants and Redskins), having another weapon gives the 40-year-old Johnson a better shot at bigger numbers while Romo heals.

For the Lions, the only guy likely to be affected by this deal is fellow wideout Calvin Johnson, who is now the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in Motown -- for whatever that's worth. Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton will take the reigns with Jon Kitna out for the year, and it all adds up to a steady diet of double coverage for Megatron. Consequently, I think Johnson's value takes a hit for the rest of 2008, but he's still a great talent for future drafts.

Oh, and attention Lions fans: if you hadn't given up on the 2008 season already, the franchise went ahead yesterday and waved the white flag for you. It's OK to start thinking 2009. Or at least, try to forget the recent history altogether. (Maybe best to simply think of new time wasters) On the bright side, three draft picks is a pretty nice haul for the Lions -- but it's not going to make them any more watchable this season.

Wait, There Was One More Deadline Deal

And here it is. Carry on.

Go Get 'Em

Here are some players who could be available in your fantasy league and are worth adding:

  • Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers, RB. I still can't believe Dunn is getting so many carries alongside the younger, stronger, faster Earnest Graham, but the 33-year-old Dunn is somehow being productive -- he finished with 22 carries for 115 yards Sunday against the Panthers. Graham got the goal line tote, and the TD, but Dunn still appears primed to pile on the yards, and is now a serviceable fantasy spot starter.
  • Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts. Joseph Addai left Sunday's game against the Ravens with a hamstring injury. It's still not clear if he'll play this week, but Rhodes is a great play if he makes the start against the Packers.
  • Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos. I had him on this list last week and he found the end zone again. If you need receiver help, you can do a lot worse.
  • Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings. Probably off the free agent wire in most leagues by now, but that five-catch, 131-yard performance against the Lions was no fluke. He's the focal point of the Vikes' passing game, and a great guy to target in trades.
  • Brad Johnson, QB, Cowboys. Dallas fans, meet your new starting quarterback! (Dallas fans? You OK there? Maybe you should sit down for a minute.) By the way, I'm recommending Johnson as an add, but don't go crazy here -- this isn't 1997. It's true that Johnson has won a Super Bowl (with the Bucs), but he's a desperation play in fantasy. Think Matt Cassel's numbers in New England, and you've got a good idea of what I'm expecting from the 40-year-old Johnson in Dallas.
  • Derek Anderson, QB, Browns. Did his atrocious opening four weeks land him on your league's waiver wire? He bought himself at least two more games as the starter with Monday's strong showing against the Giants.
  • Shaun Alexander, RB, Redskins. Hey, look who's back! Expectations are low here, but if you've got Clinton Portis and have space on your roster to stash his backup, here you go.
  • Five Guys I'd Trade Away Right Now

    We've got a few big names mixed into this week's group.

    1) Thomas Jones, RB, Jets. The upcoming schedule is pretty favorable (at Raiders, Chiefs, at Bills, Rams), but a three-TD game always opens a nice window to try to sell high.

    2) LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers. There it is -- the first time this name has ever been on this list. Hey, I don't think L.T. is cooked, but I do think his "name value" exceeds his fantasy value, and that means he's a great candidate to move. Currently he's the ninth-leading scorer in standard fantasy leagues, and he's battling a toe injury that could linger throughout the season. If you can get another top tier back (Gore, Barber, Portis, Lynch) and a decent receiver in a trade package, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    3) Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions. Just reminding you: No more Roy Williams means constant double teams. Also, his quarterback jogged out of the back of the end zone for no apparent reason on Sunday (now set to music!) Johnson's a great talent, but his fantasy value for the rest of this season is about to begin a slow decline. Trade him before it's too late.

    4)Michael Pittman, RB, Broncos. He rumbled for 109 yards against the Jags last week. Nice, but there's more. This week the Broncos take on the Pats, who feature a much tougher run defense. In Week 8 the Broncos are on a bye, and in Week 9 both Ryan Torain and Selvin Young should be healthy, so who knows which way Mike Shanahan will turn? Time to sell.

    5) Randy Moss, WR, Patriots. They went deep to him a couple of times on Sunday night, but he couldn't make the plays. I'm just not sure the Pats are getting a full effort out of Moss with Matt Cassel under center. Trade him now, and you might still get full value.

    Welcome back, Browns

    Hey, was that the Browns offense we saw waking up during the Monday night stunner against the Giants? Derek Anderson looked solid (310 yards, 2 TDs), and we can call off the dogs who want Brady Quinn under center -- at least for a couple more weeks. Wideout Braylon Edwards had been roundly criticized for a set of granite hands (at least they aren't as bad as the hands on this kid who tried to catch an extra point), but he exploded for 154 yards and a score. Even Jamal Lewis ripped off a season-high 88 yards and his second touchdown in as many games. Was Monday the start of a Browns revival? Stay tuned.

    You've Got Questions ...
    Marvin Harrison: Al Tielemans/SI

    In my league I have a chance to pick up Marvin Harrison on our waiver wire. My current receivers are: DeSean Jackson (Phi); Lance Moore (NO); Bernard Berrian (Min); and Torry Holt (St. L.). I am pondering between dropping either Holt or Moore. Is Marvin Harrison worth grabbing, and if so who should I drop to get him?
    -- Anthony, Aurora, Colo.

    Go get Harrison, Anthony. You've got a nice receiving corps in place, but I'd drop Moore, whose value will take a big hit when Marques Colston returns to the lineup. Also, for the fun of it, I'd try shopping Jackson this week before the rest of the Eagles receivers return to sap his value.

    I have Brandon Jacobs, Steven Jackson, Steve Slaton and Jonathan Stewart as my RB but I can only start 2. At WR I have Reggie Wayne, Laveranues Coles, Santonio Holmes and Steve Breaston. I only have one QB, Brett Favre, and my D/ST is the Panthers. I have been offered Chris Johnson and "the" Steve Smith for Slaton and Breaston. Does this deal make sense or should I be holding onto Slaton or going for a better defense or QB?
    -- Adam, Bellville

    I'd pull the trigger on this trade, Adam. I think Johnson for Slaton is almost a wash, and you make a nice upgrade at WR by landing Smith. What I want to know is, which Bellville are you from? I know there's one in Texas, Ohio and Michigan. I feel like there could be others. Funny how there are so many identically named towns from state to state. I mean, did you know there's even a Detroit, Oregon? Back to you questions.

    Kyle Orton for Ryan Grant a good trade? I already have Brett Favre as my starting QB but I won't have a back up if I trade Orton. I need an extra starter for running back to run behind Marion Barber. Right now my second RB is Jonathan Stewart and/or Deuce McCallister
    -- Johnny, Seattle

    Hey, Johnny. Grant's been a bust so far, but the potential is still there for a second-half breakout as he continues to get healthy. I'd trade Orton for him faster than this.

    I have been offered Steve Slaton and Matt Hasselbeck for Jake Delhomme and Jamal Lewis. My No. 1 QB is Peyton Manning, and Lewis has done nothing for me all year. Can you help out a newbie and let me know if I should make this deal? Thanks, and keep up the great column!
    -- Lori, Green Bay

    Hi Lori, thanks for the props and glad you're enjoying your first season of fantasy football. I think I'd pass on this trade. Jamal looked great against the Giants and scored for the second straight week. I have a feeling the Browns may have turned the corner with that win. Slaton's value is about to peak, as the Texans face the Lions and Bengals the next two weeks, but after that, who knows? Against all odds, Ahman Green is back in the picture in Houston, and he'll steal some of Slaton's carries as long as he's healthy. I'd also much rather have Delhomme over Hasselbeck, who is fighting a back and knee injury that could linger. Packaging Delhomme and Lewis in a trade is a great idea, but I'd shop around and see if you can get back a more explosive running back, like maybe Reggie Bush, Brandon Jacobs or Willie Parker.

    I am starting two RBs. One is Clinton Portis, the other two are Sammy Morris and Michael Pittman. Is it worth dropping Morris or Pittman for Ahman Green?
    -- Dave, Charlotte

    Hi, Dave. He ran pretty well last week, but I'm not totally buying Green's re-re-emergence. He might be hurt again by the time you finish this sentence. Like I stated above, I think this is a great time to try to trade Pittman, but I wouldn't drop him for Green.

    I am currently 6-0. I am facing the only 5-1 team in my league this week and he has a monster team. I have Eagles D/ST but they are on bye thisweek. Who do you think will be a good pickup here? I am thinking Houston vs. Detroit.
    -- Bill, Dallas

    Clash of the titans! Houston's a great one-week pickup Bill. Other defenses I like that could be available: Redskins (vs. Browns), Jets (vs. Raiders) and as a darkhorse, the Chiefs (vs. Titans).

    As always, we appreciate your questions--keep 'em coming.

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