For years, the thing about fantasy football that annoyed me the most was the Running Back by Committee. Belichick and Shanahan were the bane of my existence, and it always seemed like the RB I had was the one who got less carries or who got their TD vultured. I have since given up on that fight, as RBBC is here to stay and as a fantasy community we have to deal with it.
My biggest pet peeve now is that the NFL trade deadline never leads to any big moves, and that the league is very risk-averse in general. In fantasy baseball, a deadline deal in an AL-only league can cost a team its starting first baseman and leave them looking up the stats of Casey Kotchman. In fantasy basketball, a deadline deal can give your point guard a new sharpshooter to pad his assist stats. In fantasy hockey, well I won’t go there right now. But in football we never see trades that change the dynamic of the season.
A glance at the “biggest” recent NFL trade deadline deal yields less than impressive results. Braylon Edwards to the Jets? Didn’t work out for either team. Roy Williams to the Cowboys? Same thing. The most significant trade for fantasy purposes was likely Carson Palmer to the Raiders last year, and that was such a unique situation that it doesn’t really apply here.
So for those of you holding onto Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams or Dwayne Bowe hoping that they get a chance of address this week, chances are it won’t happen. And even if it does, the results are not likely to be as ideal as they are in your mind.
Here are your Week 9 pickups for non-standard leagues:
Two QB Leagues – Rapid Fire!
In case he was dropped, Jake Locker should be back in the next week or two, and immediately becomes a QB2. He has yet to play with a fully healthy Kenny Britt and a more mature Kendall Wright. If he ever gets to play with a more mature Britt, he might become a QB1…It was against a weak Green Bay defense who was also dealing with injuries, but Blaine Gabbert looked like a competent QB in Week 8. He also gets Detroit and Indianapolis in the next two weeks, so if you’re feeling lucky he’s worth a look…Ryan Tannehill is supposedly going to be fine, but if not, Matt Moore takes over for a surprisingly solid Miami team that gets to feast on the Colts, Titans and Bills in the next three weeks. Unless your league has an owner who hasn’t watched football since the first episode of Hard Knocks, he should be on the Waiver Wire.
PPR Leagues – Ryan Broyles
After tearing his ACL near the end of his senior year at Oklahoma, it was unclear when Broyles would be drafted or if he would even be able to play in his rookie season. Through six weeks, it looked like these suspicions were valid, as Broyles had no receptions on only one target. Then Nate Burleson went down for the year, which shook up the receiving hierarchy in Detroit. As we saw on Sunday, Titus Young Sr. benefitted the most and had a career day, but he is likely owned in most leagues. What may have gone under the radar is that Broyles had his second straight game with four or more targets and a TD. Assuming defenses adjust to Young’s big day, this should open up a lot of space underneath for Broyles in his natural slot position, so we may see a few Welker-like stat lines from him over the rest of the season.
TD-Only Leagues – Delone Carter
Everyone saw Vick Ballard’s upside-down corkscrew for the game-winning TD on Sunday, but the outcome of that game from a fantasy perspective is that the RB situation in Indy is a mess. Donald Brown started the season as the lead back, and when he went down Ballard stepped in, leaving Carter without a role for much of 2012. Ballard and Brown had a 14-12 split on carries in Week 8, but in short yardage situations, Carter was the man. He first came onto the field for a 4th-and-1 carry, and rumbled for 7 yards down to the 1, and then punched it in on the next play. There are several reasons to be wary of Carter, the presence of Ballard and Brown, Luck’s propensity for keeping it himself near the goalline, the fact that he’s not very good at football, but if you’re scrambling for an RB in a TD-only league, you could do worse.
Dynasty/Keeper Leagues – Danario Alexander
Since the Torrey Holt/Marc Bulger connection left St. Louis, it seems like the Rams have been a factory for promising receivers that never quite pan out for whatever reason. Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Laurent Robinson, Greg Salas and Alexander all came through St. Louis in their early 20’s and none of them turned into the fantasy performers many expected them to. Amendola clearly has value in PPR formats, and Avery and Robinson have gone on to find moderate success on other teams, but for the most part the Rams have not seen any results from their stable of young receivers. Alexander specifically has showed big-play potential when healthy, averaging over 16 yards per catch in his short career, but a knee injury has kept him out for all of 2012 so far. The Chargers picked him up last week, putting Alexander in a much better situation than St. Louis if he can get himself healthy. Even if he never sees the field this year, Alexander will be in the mix for receptions in San Diego in 2013, and he’s worth an IR-spot in Dynasty Leagues.
IDP Leagues – Bruce Carter
Two Carters in one article? What is this, Lil’ Wayne’s discography? After losing Sean Lee for the year with a toe injury (I’m still amazed that something like a toe can cause a player to miss such a long period of time. Can’t they just cut it off?), the Cowboys have an abundance of tackles that need claiming. Dan Connor replaced Lee in the starting lineup, but I think Carter will be the primary beneficiary. He’s already playing every down for Dallas, and with experience his tackle total will start to rise. For owners who lost Lee from their rosters, his actual replacement might be your best bet to fill the void.