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Three weeks are in the books, and the fantasy world has been repeatedly smacking the snooze button on this season. Fantasy team owners everywhere (including myself) have told themselves, “Ah it’s just one week, Foster will get healthy soon,” or “Chris Johnson is about to break out, I can feel it.” We kept hitting the snooze button, hoping for just one more week so our first round picks would wake up. Well, folks, week three got me beginning to think we may not see the light at the end of the tunnel for some of these players. Dig up your draft board from this year. How many of those first and second round running backs would you be happy to own right now? Mendenhall? CJ2K? Gore? Foster? Ya, me either. This week, let’s take a step back from attempting to time the running back stock market, and focus on improving our wide receivers. As the running back landscape gets shakier by the week, every team could benefit from an improved set of pass catchers.

Hakeem Nicks: Nicks is a great trade target at the moment. He struggled against the tough Philly secondary in week 3, which may make him attainable at a more reasonable price. Although he always comes with the risk of injury, Nicks is still the top target for Peyton’s dorky little brother (team lead in targets by 10) and faces a juicy parade of pass defenses in the upcoming weeks. ARZ, SEA, BUF, MIA, and NE are wrapped up around the Giant’s week seven bye, and that sounds like points to me.

Try this: Attempt to rid yourself of a running back that is underperforming (or not performing). This may be a good spot for the old “pupu platter” discussed in week two’s Smash Back. Throw out a package of Knowshon Moreno and a high end WR2 or maybe try to throw Tolbert in with a decent wide out and see how close you can get. I’d also try to dump a guy like Shonn Greene or Beanie Wells here as well. Start low and work your way up to something reasonable.

Miles Austin: After watching the Monday Night circus put on by the Cowboys offense, I am really trying to get my mitts on Miles Austin. With Monday evening full of bad routes, miscommunication, and horribly timed snaps, I fully expected Jerry Jones to install a red and white striped tent over Cowboys Stadium. Seriously, I was waiting for Romo to swing a screen pass out to the bearded lady while Tashard Choice swallowed a sword. It is obvious that Miles Austin is sorely missed in this offense, and Tony Romo doesn’t trust the fill-in wide outs one bit. In addition, whether it was injury driven or not, Dez was not himself either. Austin had a humungous game prior to his hammy injury and will be right back at it in week six. Hopefully Austin’s owner is strapped with other injury concerns and gets antsy enough to fork him over.

Try this: Find the team that owns Miles Austin and check out their matchups in weeks four and five. Analyze those matchups and pick out areas where Austin’s owner will struggle. Maybe they play a 3-0 team in week four, and then have a couple wide receivers on bye in week 5. Exploit that in your trade talks with Austin’s owner and see if that sways them to dish Austin to you. If you can survive without a wide out for two more weeks, offer up someone like Steve Smith (car). Add in the Cam hype factor and maybe you can squeak out Smith and a throw in for Austin if the other owner is in a tight spot.

Antonio Brown: Brown has been quietly lurking in the shadows for quite some time now. With young guys like D. Moore, E. Decker, and AJ Green getting all the attention, Brown has been getting his T-Boz on and creeping onto the fantasy scene in the Steel City. Brown is a mere four targets behind Mike Wallace on the season. Four. Granted, he hasn’t turned them into colored scarves or rabbits just yet, but that will come. Don’t sit around and let this guy be on someone else’s roster when he blows up.

Try this: This is a classic case where I like to shell out a guy who just had a great week for a guy who is about to break out. Any of this week’s top waiver adds will be a great starting point. Torrey Smith, Victor Cruz, Brandon Pettigrew are all names to start with. The guy who has Brown deep on his bench will likely be blinded by the recent production of one week flashes like Smith and Cruz. Start there and try to snag this emerging wide out.

Sidney Rice:  Sidney Rice is alive! After missing weeks one and two with a shoulder issue, Rice had 8 grabs for 109 yards in week three, proving that Tavaris Jackson can’t suck the fantasy life out of every player, try as he might. Rice was target 10 times, which is a nice sign, but the most important factor here is that he wasn’t listed on the Seattle injury report for week four. The “stench of Seahawk” is still stuck to the offensive players in Seattle, so this week may be your best chance to acquire this Seattle wide out.

Try this: The team that owns Rice had to make other plans at WR for the first two weeks of the season, so it is quite possible that they have acquired some depth at that spot. If Rice is amongst a hoard of other wide outs on that team’s roster, bring that point up in trade conversation. Ignore the fact that Rice now has some value and emphasize that the team is stacked up at WR and a little weak at another position. Check to see what RB/TE/QB on your roster is of interest for the other owner and attempt to swing a deal that addresses a need for them, and gets you Rice, who will dominate the targets in Seattle.

Keeper Conundrum: This one goes out to all of my brothers and sisters in keeper/dynasty leagues. At 0-3, or perhaps an underwhelming 1-2, it’s easy to look at the loaded rosters in your league and start conjuring up ways to dump one of your star players for a tantalizing package of keeper prospects. Every time you’ve watched Chris Johnson get bottled up for a one yard loss, you’ve inched closer and closer to throwing in the towel on your season. I have witnessed this in my league already this season and would like everyone to take a step back from their computer, or put down the iPhone, and understand that it’s only been THREE WEEKS. Don’t get me wrong, there certainly is a time to pull the plug and start analyzing other options, but now is not that time. Every league has a team that makes the playoffs with the 2nd lowest point total, or the team that has 74.6 points against per week for the season….why can’t that be you? Whether it is through bye week good fortune or simply luck, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine even the worst of teams scraping out a few wins during the first few bye weeks and clawing their way to the middle of the pack. Give it a few more weeks for the standings to officially shake themselves out. Then teams will be in full playoff “buy” mode, and if your team still sucks, you can finally change that cute Corgi puppy calendar over to 2012 and dump some gasoline on your fire sale.

49 Responses

  1. ringo says:
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    I am in a 16 team league and my team looks like…

    QB: Matthew Stafford Sam Bradford
    RB: Ray Rice Bernard Scott
    RB: Ahmad Bradshaw Stevan Ridley
    FLEX: Beanie Wells
    WR: Roddy White David Nelson
    WR: Jordy Nelson Mike Thomas
    TE: Owen Daniels
    K: John Kasay
    DEF: Philadelphia Eagles

    So should I try and package Beanie Wells and a Nelson for Hakeem Nicks? I mean a league that deep pickings are slim at RB so I don’t know if I should… Also should I do Roddy White for Ryan Mathews? I have offered Roddy / Beanie FOR Mathews / Maclin but figure he would take Roddy for Mathews straight up… Thank You

  2. mark says:
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    Thoughts on this trade (PPR) i have rb (high T, Starks, Moreno, Jacobs and Tate) my wr are (v jax, Jennings, Nast Nate W, Mike Thomas, David Nelson and Denarius Moore). I traded D nelson for Daniel Thomas. Good or bad trade? Also would you drop either Moreno or Mike Thomas for the following Titus Young, Stevan Ridley or Kendall Hunter. 20 move limit league. Thanks for your time!

  3. Kevin says:
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    What are your thoughts on a trade that would net me LeSean McCoy for Michael Turner and Greg Jennings? 12 team PPR btw.

  4. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @ringo: Ya, my issue here is that RB depth is so tough to acquire in a league that deep. My league is only 14 and it seems as if we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. In a 16 teamer, I think I would hold onto Wells. Those 3 RB’s should give you a nice advantage over other teams and you’ll be fine rotating in the Nelsons and Thomas at WR2. And with your current RB setup, I’d keep Roddy. I expect the ATL offense to pick back up.

  5. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @mark: First of all, it looks like you’ve been a beast on the waiver wire so far this year. Nice work on those pickups. I do like D. Nelson, but that is a good trade. You needed help at RB more than WR, so I do like that deal for you. I wouldnt drop either of the other guys yet but keep an eye on the Gore/Hunter split this weekend and see how that goes.

  6. ted says:
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    Helu for Sidney Rice?

  7. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @ted: Ya i’d do that.

  8. i’m in a ppr league, what are your feelings on trading a johnson and a bradshaw and getting djax cjohnson and ryan grant?

  9. Jim Parkey says:
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    How about Tolbert for Sidney Rice (I have Tolbert and was made that offer).

  10. m says:
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    hi, in a 10 team league

    QB Ryan
    RB Mendenhall
    RB Rice
    RB/WR Forte
    WR Nicks
    WR Smith (Car) – Austin when healthy
    TE Keller

    I thought I had a good team, but I got slaughtered last week with 45ish points. Should I be worried about any of these guys?

  11. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @the turds the word: I wouldnt do it. DJax just isnt that great of a WR in a PPR format…only 10 grabs on the year so far. A Johnson is an animal and Bradshaw has been catching lots of passes. I think you’re good where you’re at.

    @Jim Parkey: I would do that. It really appears that Matthews is ready to take on a larger hunk of that SD backfield.

    @m: Bad weeks happen. Mendenhall may be the only one to worry about, with the O-line issues Pitt is having, but overall I think you should be in the hunt with that squad.

  12. cockyphoenix says:
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    @m: Who are your backups? that’s a solid bunch of starters, but Nicks has been underperforming and there was a monsoon in Carolina last week. Mendenhall’s in a rut too. You should be fine

  13. cockyphoenix says:
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    In a 0.5 PPR league I’m really not sure if I like Denarius Moore or Daniel Thomas at flex this week.

  14. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @cockyphoenix: Thats a tough one. Apparently Thomas’ hammy is bugging him this week, and I do really like Moore’s matchup. I’d barely lean Moore at this moment but keep an eye on the Dolphins injury updates until Sunday.

  15. djbooyah20 says:
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    Would you trade BMarsh and Felix Jones/Or J.Best for Stevie Johnson and Hightower/McGahee..or am I better off staying put?

    BMarsh drives me crazy with his inconsistency and lack of TDs…Die Chad Henne, DIE!

  16. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @djbooyah20: I agree 100% with your thoughts on Marshall. Imagine that dude with a good QB. Anyhow, I do think you’re ok where you’re at. Although brittle, those two backs are good and Felix practiced fully today I guess so he’ll be ok.

  17. m says:
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    Is Fred Jackson a better start than Mendenhall? Knox or Mike Thomas better than Nicks or Smith?

  18. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @m: Doc’s week 4 rankings are a little lower on the main page. Check them out, its a great resource for any kind of start/sit questions…and its updated throughout the week/weekend.

  19. m says:
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    thanks

  20. Random Collmenter says:
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    someone in my league dropped the Jets D… i have tampa bay streaming this week- do i drop tampa bay for jets even though jets have ravens this week and pats next?

    in my other league, same question goes for lions D. drop tampa for detroit?

    thanks!

  21. eltoo says:
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    12 team PPR auction keeper league, i went with the “stars and scrubs” approach so my bench and flex positions have been a work in progress.

    Tentative lineup for this week:

    QB: Roethlisberger @ Hou
    WR: C Johnson @ Ari
    WR: Nicks (K) @ Dal
    RB: Ray Rice vs NYJ
    RB: Hightower @StL
    Flex: Lance Moore @ Jac
    Flex: Denarius Moore vs NE

    BN: Ben Tate vs Pit
    BN: Kellen Winslow vs Ind
    BN: Jacoby Ford vs NE
    BN: Roy Helu @ StL
    BN: Bernard Scott vs Buf
    BN: Kendall Hunter
    IR: Charles (K)

    Would you start any of those guys over Denarius? I know the match-up is good, but Ford is also set to return.

    I also need to drop one of my bench guys to grab a defense, who gets the axe? I’m kind of leaning Winslow. He’s the most consistent point earner on my bench, but we don’t start a TE and he doesn’t have upside like the others.

  22. eltoo says:
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    Haha….and now I see the response for the sit/start questions

  23. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @Random Collmenter: I am such a fan of streaming defenses, that I’d stick with the Tampa Bay defense this week in both cases. Look at what the NYJ D did last week…they are capable of having bad weeks. TB should be a great start this week.

    @eltoo: Your league lineup format is similar to mine, actually. I know the Ford thing could hurt Moore, but I’d still roll with him over any of those other guys. You do have a ton of upside on that bench, though. And I agree, I’d drop Winslow for sure.

  24. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @eltoo: I’m fine with answering them, I just wanted to make sure people knew that Doc’s rankings were out there. I check them out throughout the week myself.

  25. jack says:
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    Julio Jones or Plaxico Burress the rest of the year? I have White, Bowe, Maclin, Nelson, Nelson, and Washington. Its a PPR league with 3 WR slots and I usually use one for my flex. Thanks for any thoughts

  26. DWU BWEEES! says:
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    ROS: Ingram or Tolbert?

  27. Mack says:
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    @Kevin: that’s a terrible trade McCoy will be hurt before too long adn Turner is bound to reboound

  28. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @DWU BWEEES!: I’m still on the Ingram train. He finally busted into the endzone last week and that should happen more often now.

  29. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @Kevin: McCoy is a premier back in PPR, but that may be a bit too much. Jennings is great and although Turner doesnt get much in the passing game, he’s still useful. Try to offer Turner and a lower tier WR.

  30. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @jack: I like Julio Jones. Atlanta’s offense will get more consistent.

  31. Kevin says:
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    @Mack: @Jeff Brubach: Thanks for the advice, guys!

  32. barker says:
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    12 team trade proposal

    my cj2k for his miles austin and beanie wells

    my rbs cj steven jackson stewart jacobs ridley
    my wrs dez marshall lance moore meachem ocho

    would like to wait a week or two so i have austin healthy or cj beaks out right?? but its fair value right??

  33. The Sequential Hermaphrodite says:
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    Would you have done this trade: Mendenhall and Brandon Gibson for Hakeem Nicks and Lance Moore? Mendenhall really looked awful the last game, and I’ve always been a fan of Nicks.
    My RB’s and WR’s after the trade are (12-Team Non-PPR):

    RB: Felix Jones
    RB: Beanie Wells
    WR: Larry Fitzgerald
    WR: Hakeem Nicks
    WR: Brandon Lloyd
    RB/WR: Julio Jones

    BN: Willis McGahee
    BN: James Starks
    BN: Stevan Ridley
    BN: Lance Moore
    BN: Antonio Brown

  34. swingkungfu says:
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    this is my team, currently:

    QB: stafford, vick
    RB: forte, felix jones, mcgahee, tolbert, grant
    WR: vjax, miles austin, burleson, manningham, decker, lance moore
    TE: daniels and keller

    now, i was unfortunately the owner of jamaal charles. i’ve been starting vick each week, since he’s my second round pick and truly didn’t expect such a downturn. austin helped win me my week two, but i really struggled this past week to put up any kind of impressive stats.

    for the time being, i’m committed to stafford as my starter. i am in need of a top tier running back. i believe i have a possible trade on the table:

    a package of vick and either vjax or miles austin for arian foster and i’m trying to get jeremy maclin as the final piece from his team. given your praise of miles austin, i think a vick/vjax for foster/maclin trade definitely doesn’t hurt my team.

    if i can’t get maclin, i don’t know if i want to do the deal. he has greg jennings and fitzgerald, but those are obviously untouchables. the only other receivers he has are reggie wayne, julio jones and denarius moore. giving up my second and third round picks for a first round and any of those three doesn’t seem smart for my team.

    thoughts?

  35. thebenny says:
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    Jacoby Ford or Mike Sims-Walker? (Ford is available, Sims-Walker is on my bench — I’m not starting either of them.)

  36. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @barker: I think the value is pretty good. But ya, give CJ a shot at Cle this week and see if he can somehow scrape up some more trade value.

    @The Sequential Hermaphrodite: I agree, Mendy looked pretty bad. The deal is ok, pretty close…but youve got a nice group of RB so I wouldnt argue with it.

    @swingkungfu: My condolences on Charles, Im in that boat with you. It sucks. I love Stafford and think that the basic idea you’re working with is good. I dont have too much of an issue if you can get Maclin in there. Maybe give it until after Sunday to make sure Foster doesnt have another hammy setback this week, but if youve got that QB depth, take advantage of it.

  37. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @thebenny: Tough one with Ford just coming back this week. If you arent starting either of them, I’d roll with the upside of Ford.

  38. BAM says:
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    I’m in a .5PPR league that counts return yardage and I was offered Tim Hightower and Antonio Brown for Roddy White…I’m currently 1-2 and my team looks like this

    Newton/E.Manning
    Hillis/Hardesty
    Gore/Hunter
    Ingram/P.Thomas
    R.White
    H.Nicks
    S.Smith (CAR)
    D.Nelson
    D.Keller
    G.Olsen
    Rotating K
    Rotating DEF

    Given the remainder of my WR core, I feel like I can sustain losing Roddy. And with Gore and Ingram underperforming, I need help there. But, Roddy is Roddy.

    Would you do that deal?

  39. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @BAM: Youre right, Roddy is indeed Roddy, and I cant see the ATL offense not picking up the pace. It looks as if youve got the handcuff situations locked up for your RB’s, so hopefully youll be ok if things get worse. Unless you really like the return yd factor for Brown, I’d stay put for now.

  40. panthers1fan says:
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    Hi my team is in 0.5 PPR league I have

    QB Cam Newton
    RB Shonn Greene
    RB Daniel Thomas
    WR Andre Johnson
    WR Denarius Moore
    TE Greg Olsen
    FLEX ???

    BENCH
    Matt Ryan
    Mike Tolbert
    Sidney Rice
    Stevan Ridley
    Antonio Brown

    Who should I start in flex? do you thinK? and Davone Bess and Johnny Knox are on the FA are they still good? thank you

  41. Mark says:
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    Good article, can you direct me to the nearest gas station? I’m looking to get my fire sale going! Do you want to see my roster first?

  42. a1rfann1ng says:
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    i trade: tolbert and jacoby ford
    i get: knowshon moreno

    who wins this deal?

  43. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @panthers1fan: Start Sidney Rice at your flex spot. I think your bench is ok right now, I’d leave Knox and Bess alone.

    @Mark: Thanks. And bring on the roster ha

    @airfanning: This is a tough one. Tolbert is giving way to Matthews and Moreno is impossible to predict at this point. Toss up. I guess I might lean Moreno if I had to, but I’d wait until we see what kind of run he gets this Sunday when he’s seemingly healthy.

  44. swingkungfu says:
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    @Jeff Brubach: yeah, both of us decided to hold off on putting the trade offer out there for this week, mostly since half our league is going to be preoccupied with the wedding of one of our leaguemates. i’ve got no problem sitting and waiting a week, since like you point out, it’ll give me a chance to see how foster pans out. i’m hoping he doesn’t have a monster game, cause i’d hate for him to get spooked and not want to trade away his top running back, haha.

  45. The Vaporizers says:
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    Would you offer up either Meachem or Jacoby Ford for Antonio Brown?

  46. timSTi says:
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    @Jeff Brubach: I have J-Stew & DeAngelo on my bench. Other RB’s are Matthews, McFadden, & Starks. I’m never gonna start either of them over my top 3 so in a 12 team non ppr are they droppable?

    Some decent names on the WW

    Bradford (my qb is eli, nice safety blanket potential)
    Lynch
    Evans
    M.Williams (Sea)
    Knox
    Ford
    D.Alexander
    K.Hunter
    B.Scott
    Ridley

  47. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:
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    @The Vaporizers: I wouldnt argue with either of those guys for Brown. Meachem will lose a bit of value as Colston returns and we have yet to see what Ford will do after Moore’s breakthrough.

    @timSTi: Well in that situation it certainly feels as if they are…however I dont think any of those guys on the wire are necessarily worth it. I would attempt to trade one of them for a WR if at all possible.

  48. Ryo1549 says:
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    I have been offered Chris Johnson and Mike Williams TB for Forte and Dez bryant.

    This is a 12 team dynasty league with no keeper limit.

    My team is:

    QB Aaron Rodgers
    WR: Dez Bryant
    WR: Brandon Marshall
    WR: Sidney Rice
    RB: Forte
    RB: Ahmad Bradshaw
    TE: Pettigrew
    FLX: Jahvid Best
    BEN: Eric Decker
    BEN: Gaffney
    BEN: Amendola
    BEN: James Starks
    BEN: Delone Carter
    BEN: Kendall Hunter
    BEN: Ryan Fitzpatrick
    BEN: Brandon Jacobs

    Any help is appreciated.

  49. TJ says:
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    Antonio Brown is a FA right now in 10-team non-ppr….. So is Manningham, J Nelson.

    Any worth swapping for the following: Holmes, D Moore, D Nelson, Washington…. (start only one of those)

    Thanks

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