I wish week 7 would last forever, but alas, we must trudge on to week 8. Yes, I am a DeMarco Murray owner and it was my cackling that you heard last week as the rookie mashed out 253 yards. After drafting Jamaal Charles and riding shotgun aboard the Felix Jones “hype express,” week 7 was a welcomed change my dreary 2011 season and finally gave me a reason to slam a brew, fist pump, and do all of the other unmentionable dorky things I do in my living room when my team is kicking ass. THAT is the reason I play fantasy football and I sincerely hope that tons of you folks enjoyed the week as much as I did. Now, let us refocus our energy on the week ahead as we are now plowing full steam into the second half of the fantasy football regular season. This week, the Smash Back highlights a couple players to check in on, a chance to upgrade your lineup, and one fantasy league faux pas that your league needs to stay away from…

Week 8 Injury Investigation: Each week I like to take a peek at what players were injured during the previous week’s games and evaluate whether there is any possible trade market for the injured parties. This strategy includes lots of risk, but as the Smash Back has highlighted in the past (Miles Austin), making a move for an injured player at a discount can pay off. This week’s special includes Beanie Wells, Willis McGahee, and your choice of a mixed green salad or French onion soup.  Both players left week 7 games with injuries of varying degrees and both have very shady return dates. Check to see if either of their owners are panicking due to the injuries and/or bye week issues.

Try this: This strategy is especially effective if you have a solid record (in the 5-2 ballpark), as you can probably afford a bit more risk. Take a minute away from playing Call of Duty and hit up the owners of these two running backs to see if they are available. If the other team is willing to deal, they are most likely looking for players they can instantly plug-in. This is an opportunity to attempt to pawn off some recent waiver additions (Jackie Battle/Darrius Heyward-Bey/Maurice Morris), in addition to a mid-level WR, to acquire a back that might be useful down the stretch (maybe McGahee, as Wells will likely require more talent). The key here is to gauge the other team’s level of panic and respond accordingly.

Tight End Touch-Up: 2011 has really been a bonanza for the tight end position. There were some nice options available on draft day, but the in-season explosion of talent (led by the Pat’s two-headed monster) has given the position cavernous depth. At this very moment, I guarantee that there is at least one team in your league that has stockpiled two, maybe even three, big time tight ends. Now that trade talks are beginning to boil in leagues all across the land, this is the time to make sure that you absolutely do not enter the all-important stretch run WITHOUT a quality tight end. You will be sick to your stomach if you head into a must-win week 13 matchup with Dustin Keller filling your TE spot. Go get yourself a better option by relieving another squad of unnecessary depth.

Try this: Get out the magnifying glass that you used to burn ants when you were a kid and start combing through the rosters in your league. If you’re anything like me, you do this every few hours at work anyhow (look at rosters, not burn ants). Check out your buddy Matt, who drafted Jermichael Finley and then picked up Brandon Pettigrew. Maybe your buddy Carl just had Antonio Gates return, but added Fred Davis in the mean time. These are ideal places to begin, as those teams undoubtedly have issues somewhere else in their lineups. If the other team is still running out Johnny Knox or Sidney Rice at their WR2, offer up a better WR2 option. The goal here is to acquire the other team’s “back up” tight end at a small discount, in exchange for something else they need. Remember to stress to the other owner how pointless it will be for them to roll into the playoffs with two tight ends, and Devery Henderson at WR2.

Roster Responsibility: This is a key to the integrity of any league. Trust me, I know that the land of 1-6 is no fun. No matter what unfortunate situation led a team to the bottom of the standings (Jamaal Charles/lots of Colts/freaky high ‘points against’ total), each and every team is still responsible for submitting a complete lineup every single week. No exceptions. It’s easy for a 0-7 or 1-6 team to pack it in and stop rotating out bye week players, but this absolutely cannot take place in a competitive league. Bottom dwelling teams don’t have to be actively adding/dropping players each week, but a complete lineup, free of bye week or injured players, is a requirement.

Try this: Have your league commish fire out an all-points bulletin to your league concerning this topic. Personally, I just sent one to my league earlier this week so my friend Don (1-6) will make sure to get Heyward-Bey out of his week 8 lineup. If your league has had issues with teams “tuning out” in the past, perhaps install a small monetary fine if an injured or bye week player is started. Whatever avenue your league uses, just make sure each team is aware of this expectation. Nothing gets a fantasy owner more fired up than seeing the team they’re tied with playing against a team with an injured QB and no kicker. Starting crappy players is one thing, starting injured or bye-week players is another issue entirely.

Now get out there and smash on your week 8 opponent. There are lots of good teams on bye this week, so things should be interesting once again. Make sure to stay active in trade discussion and league banter, and as always, never pass up a chance to rip on a team when you beat them.

Be sure to check out our $1 FanDuel League. Beat Doc’s score and get an extra $5!

  1. Ken Plane says:

    Would you consider dropping B.Tate or M. Morris for either Addai or F. Jones.
    Bench strength.

  2. Fernando says:

    10 team standard league; qb, wr, rb, te, w/r, w/r, w/r, k, def 6 bench

    My team:
    Qb Romo, Big Ben, Tebow;
    Wr R.White and Manningham;
    Rb Peterson, S. Jackson, F Gore, Murray, D. Thomas, Battle, Helu
    Te gresham

    An 0-6 opponent owns A. Foster. So I’ve been feeding his ear about giving up Foster and try to get something (spread his points out with multiple players). Even without winning a game he’s been a rock. However, he’s showing signs … So, I offered Ben, Jackson, and Murray for A. Foster. It was rejected and countered with Ben, Gore, and Jackson. Too much. Gore, White and Peterson are not part of this trade. With all that being said,

    > What do you think of this trade?
    > Counter with … ?
    > Thoughts and opinions? Please!
    > By the way I’m also in talks of landing te Hernandez. I may have to give up Gresham and Murray. Is this a good idea or will I lose too much depth?

  3. cougar says:

    PPR need one wr for this week and prospects for rest of year as I’am in a limited move league…this is what i am looking at…
    Victor Cruz
    Emmaunel Sanders
    David Nelson
    Davone Bess
    Jerome Simpson

    thoughts!? thanks. Iam thinking cruz or simpson.

  4. DeeMan says:

    Ok…standard league. Should I go with Hillis or D.Thomas (Fins RB)?

  5. Fernando says:

    Hi. After, I wrote note #2, I talked with another member of my league (my brother) and asked for his opinion on the possible trade (note #2). He surprised me by saying I should forget that trade and look at his team and work with him. His record (2-5) and lack of production from his qb’s (Rivers, Flacco) has him ready to do almost anything. So, throwing a dart in the dark, I told him trade me Bradshaw for Ben straight up. He said he may do it.

    > Is this a fair deal? and any other thoughts? Thanks.

    His team
    qb Rivers, Flacco
    rb Rice, Bradshaw and Jacobs, Blount, B. Scott, K. Williams
    wr Colston, Bryant, Maclin
    te V. Davis, D. Keller

  6. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Ken Plane: As long as you don’t foresee a situation where you’d have to play Tate or Morris, ya I think I’d take a shot on Jones. As long as it’s just a bench filler, you could do worse. Doubtful, but maybe you get lucky and Murray flames out and Felix returns in a few weeks. For the sake of my team, I sure hope that doesnt happen…but good luck!

    @cougar: For this week, I’d play Sanders. Ward is supposed to be out and Pitt announced that Sanders will start in his place. I’d give Simpson or Nelson a look if the long term is your concern, but go with Sanders for this week for sure.

    @DeeMan: Go with Thomas. Hillis missed practice today and sounds doubtful for Sunday. Watch the weekend updates for both but as of now, roll with Thomas.

  7. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Fernando: Gore/SJax/Ben may be a bit much. Stick to your first offer for that one.

    With your team, I would make the Hernandez deal. You’d still have Thomas/Battle/Helu for RB depth and Hernandez is awesome.

    Finally, with your QB depth, definitely do the trade for Bradshaw. Then you could try to flip Bradshaw and another one of your RB for Foster. Maybe that would give you a different angle to pursue with the first deal.

    Good luck, let me know how it goes…

  8. Fernando says:

    Thanks Jeff. Good advise.

  9. zandercage says:

    Drop Danario Alexander for Percy Harvin? Thanks!

  10. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @zandercage: Ugh thats tough. Probably not, but I dont expect either to have a big impact down the stretch.

  11. Jay says:

    Stafford and BScott for Cam? Cam owner lost ingram and needs an RB. Too much? Scott for HeywardBey?

    My team: QB Stafford, RB Foster, SGreen, JStarks, KMoreno, BScott, BTate, WR MWallace, MAustin, JulioJones, TE FDavis, Flex AHernandez

  12. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Jay: I think its a good deal. I dont think Scott is too much to give up for a Staff to Cam upgrade.

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