By David Sabino
October 15, 2010
Gridiron 11: Transaction Winners

In recent weeks transactions have dramatically changed the fantasy fortunes of many players. Here are 11 of those who have seen their values change for the better in the last two weeks.

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1 Marshawn Lynch, RB Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch, RB Seahawks
Opportunities to acquire a quality lead back this late into the season come few and far between, so for some fantasy owners, Lynch's liberation from Buffalo is a godsend. The controversial former 1,000-yard runner steps right into the perfect situation. Seattle had an untenable committee situation at the position before him, but now has the hard-driving runner it has lacked since the days of Shaun Alexander, albeit at the expense of his Cal teammate, Justin Forsett, who now moves back to the third-down, change-of-pace role in which he excelled.
2 Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
This was supposed to be a breakout season for the speedy second-year wideout. However, Ben Roethlisberger's suspension put a hold on the advances that Wallace was supposed to make. Through four games he has just nine catches, and in three of the four games he's played, he's been held to just a pair of grabs. However last season's league leader in average yards per catch, at 19.4, has seen that number grow to 23.4 this season, indicating the problem hasn't been with him, it's been getting him the ball -- something Roethlisberger is sure to do a lot of starting this week against the Browns.
3 Brandon Tate, WR, Patriots
Brandon Tate, WR, Patriots
Much has been made of Randy Moss' departure from New England and how it affects the Pats' high-octane offense. Given that Tate had similar numbers to Moss this season (Tate: 11 catches, 135 yards, 0 TDs; Moss: 9 catches, 139 yards, 3 TDs), the effect should be minimal, except that defenses are more likely to blanket Wes Welker. That should open deep routes for Tate and also create more opportunities for Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman underneath the coverage.
4 Jerome Harrison, RB, Eagles
Jerome Harrison, RB, Eagles
Things for Harrison have gone terribly wrong since he went from the league's hottest back at the end of the 2009 season. A starter the first two games of the season, Harrison quickly found his way to Eric Mangini's doghouse following the emergence of Peyton Hillis, who gained just six yards on six carries in the two games after the ex-Bronco became the starter. Traded to Philadelphia this week for Mike Bell, Harrison has the speed to get to the outside, something the Eagles have sorely lacked from a backup runner for years. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (10.5 yard-per-reception average in limited action this season) makes him a much better fit for Andy Reid's scheme than Bell was.
5 Deon Butler, WR, Seahawks
Deon Butler, WR, Seahawks
Underrated as a pass catcher, much like the man he was brought in to replace last season, Bobby Engram, Butler, has permanently moved into the starting lineup following the trade of Deion Branch to New England. Part of Peter Carroll's youth movement, Butler is slated to be the possession receiver to complement the speed on the outside of rookie Golden Tate, the size of reclamation project Mike Williams, and the guile of veteran Brandon Stokley, giving Matt Hasselbeck a solid, yet unspectacular, core of receivers.
6 Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
The Jets keep rolling and things should only get better following the return of Santonio Holmes from suspension. Clearly the team's most talented pass catcher, Holmes is a reliable option on the outside who will open up the passing lanes for Sanchez, who, with Holmes, skyrocketing tight end Dustin Keller, a resurgent Braylon Edwards and the fountain-of-youth-finding LaDainian Tomlinson, has one of the league's most explosive receiving corps. Although he's still looking for his first 300-yard game of the year, Sanchez is the only quarterback in the league with more than 100 passing attempts who hasn't thrown an interception. While other quarterbacks fall by the wayside, Sanchez is rising.
7 Heath Miller, TE, Steelers
Heath Miller, TE, Steelers
We already mentioned how Pittsburgh's long game will improve for Mike Wallace, but let's not forget about one of Roethlisberger's favorite targets in the short game, Miller, who to this point has been M.I.A. for the Steelers. Normally a strong TE2, Miller (10 catches, 100 yards) has fallen to the ranks of the Ben Patricks and Daniel Grahams of the world as he has become more of a run blocker than the pass-catcher he's been for the rest of his career. Look for a dramatic uptick on the stats sheet, making him the no. 1 waiver pickup as a bye week replacement at tight end.
8 Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
The fact that Harvin's career-best fantasy night came last Monday in Randy Moss' Minnesota return should come as no surprise. Few players demand more double-teaming than Moss, leaving the virtually un-coverable Harvin often in one-on-one coverage. That translated into two scores and 97 yards receiving, a rising trend that should continue as long as the threat of a Favre-to-Moss bomb exists on every play.
9 Mike Bell, RB, Browns
Mike Bell, RB, Browns
Bell joined Peyton Hillis in a reunion of former Broncos fullbacks who run hard and mainly between the tackles, just as Mangini likes to play. The Browns have one of the league's best run-blocking lines (see Hillis' 144-yard day vs. the vaunted Ravens in Baltimore a few weeks ago), and Bell, a mismatch in Philadelphia's West Coast offense, should feel much more comfortable running in his new environment. He's not going to unseat Hillis, but he will look much more like the player who gained 652 yards for the Saints last year than the one who mustered just 28 yards on 16 carries as an Eagle.
10 Deion Branch, WR, Patriots
Deion Branch, WR, Patriots
If you've been reading my columns in the past you may remember that I've often written about how overrated Deion Branch was in fantasy circles, often citing how he's never even been a 1,000-yard receiver. Now however, upon his return to New England, he may be underrated. Brought back -- in part at least -- at the request of Tom Brady, Branch is a veteran presence on a team that's defying logic by growing younger with each passing day. In addition to tutoring youngsters like Brandon Tate, Juilan Edelman and Danny Woodhead, the former Super Bowl MVP will be one of Brady's go-to guys, and is likely to make 40 to 50 grabs from here on out.
11 Brett Favre, QB, Vikings
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings
Recently this space has been a limited-Favre zone because of the incredible amount of space devoted to the NFL's greatest sideshow. But from a fantasy perspective, the joining of two of the NFL's greatest egos creates intriguing possibilities. Favre wants nothing more than to play sandlot football, where he can just send all of his receivers deep. In Moss, he finally has a receiver who can go deep and out-jump double coverage to haul those balls in. With virtually no practice time together, Favre and Moss were able to hook up four times for 81 yards and a 37-yard score last week, and as we said above, Moss' presence makes Percy Harvin and also tight end Visanthe Shiancoe better bets for major fantasy stats the rest of the season. He was also the only one who could've returned Favre to fantasy usefulness.

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