The values of players from four teams fluctuated last week when the Bills traded running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks and the Vikings acquired wideout Randy Moss from the Patriots. The most obvious beneficiaries are Buffalo backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, but there are a few other players on those teams to consider and few new names around the league to look at.
• Brandon Tate, WR,Patriots Tate tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee as a senior at North Carolina, and last year he played only two games before reinjuring it. This year he has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and now he's being asked to replace Moss as Tom Brady's deep threat. Tate has already caught 11 balls for 135 yards (compared with Moss's nine for 139). While the trade appears to be part of New England's shift to a short-passing game, Tate will get behind the secondary two or three times a game and could begin to pile up long TDs. He's still available in more than 80% of leagues, so he's yours to steal.
• Justin Forsett, RB,Seahawks So much for Seattle's running back committee. The acquisition of Lynch should put to rest the three-headed monster of Forsett, Julius Jones and Leon Washington, which led the Seahawks to 79.5 rushing yards per game (ranked 27th). Lynch has a career average of 76.7 yards when he's gotten the ball at least 10 times. Although he'll return to his former role as a third-down back, Forsett has lost most of whatever appeal he had when he was the starter.
• Sidney Rice, WR,Vikings As of last weekend he was still on crutches following hip surgery. He's not eligible to come off the PUP list until Week 7, and he'll have a better idea of his return after seeing his surgeon this week. With Moss now chasing down Brett Favre heaves, there's less urgency to speed Rice's return and no guarantee what his role will be on the team once he does come back.
October 17, 2010
• Deji Karim, RB,Jaguars If you think Maurice Jones-Drew has a long name, check out his backup, Abul-Gafar Olatokumbo Ayodeji Lamar Karim, a.k.a. Deji, a rookie from Southern Illinois who debuted last week with 15 rushes for 70 yards. At 5'8" and 209 pounds, with great kick-return skills, he's a clone of Jones-Drew, who could benefit from a quality backup. Don't expect Karim to have many big games, but Jones-Drew owners who need a bench runner should take note.
• Anthony Armstrong, WR,Redskins A former member of the indoor Intense Football League, the 27-year-old Armstrong caught Mike Shanahan's eye in training camp with his speed and ability to haul in the deep ball. He hasn't stopped impressing since, hooking up with Donovan McNabb for bombs in consecutive games. Historically, McNabb's receivers are very productive, which makes Armstrong well worth a look against the Colts.
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MAURICE JONES-DREW Into Focus
Even though we're through Week 5, the season is still young from a football perspective. Teams are starting to get comfortable with what works for them, and players are settling into their roles. Some impact performers are just getting back onto the field—Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger, to name two. We're just starting to get to a point where we can see some patterns. One guy who has emerged is Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. On the year he's thrown for 824 yards and five TDs with a completion percentage of 59.5. Yes, he'll turn it over here and there, but Tampa Bay doesn't have a great rushing attack, so Freeman will have enough big games to qualify him as a sleeper starter for anyone looking for a new QB.