This column highlights players with low perceived value. When a players value drops, or is low to begin with, there can be several causes. Injuries, changes in playing time and/or role, diminished skills due to aging, etc. The key to Fantasy Football is deciding whether a decrease in value is justified or not.

The best trade targets are players who have started slowly but are likely to turn it around. You will see most of these players in Tiers I and II. In Tier III we have players who are available on waivers in many leagues. These are players who played well recently or who have a great deal of potential to make an impact if given an opportunity.

Getting in to the specifics is not all that important. The formula I pretty much look at is as follows:

Sleeper Equation: (#) = talent + team skill + opportunity

So pretty much we want to make a judgment about how good this player is (an inexact science, admittedly). Next we want to estimate how good of a team this player is on. Simply put, it is better to own players on teams that score a lot of touchdowns. Opportunity simply looks at whether this player is featured in the offense, a starter, or a plays sparingly. The highest total number a player can get is 20. For talent, the max number is 10 and for  skill and opportunity it is 5 each.

Tier I

Larry Fitzgerald (20) – Kevin Kolb looked great on Sunday, albeit against the Panthers. Even so, the Cardinals Offense should deliver a lot more this year and Fitz is healthier than last season. The fact that he did not put up digits is an anomaly to me. I am buying all day on this stock

Chris Johnson (19) – He managed 49 total yards with 6 receptions and no TDs. The Titans offense actually looked promising with Hasselbeck at the helm. Ask yourself this- can they possibly be as bad as they were last year? People are spooked about CJ2k because of the holdout and workload the past couple seasons. He was discounted at the draft and should be discounted further after a poor Week 1. I look in to my crystal ball and see a lot of cagey people making trades for him.

Vincent Jackson (19) – Rivers is going to be a stud this year, as usual, and Vincent Jackson will be a big part of the offense. 2 cathces for 31 yards might scare some people, but not me. If he stays healthy, I still like him to go for 1,200+ yards and 10+ touchdowns. I own him a lot of my teams, but I wish I owned him on all of them.

Roddy White (19) – Matt Ryan and the Falcons just looked flat, which was unexpected given their flashes of brilliance in the preseason. White had a monster year in 2010 and there is no reason to doubt a repeat.

Tier II

Matt Schaub (17) – 220 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks? I hate everything that you love Matt Schaub. There is enough upside and history of production for me to jump on board.  The Colts are a doormat and it is surprising to see him do so little against them in such a blowout. You have to keep in mind that the game was over by half time and the Texans were basically just trying to run the clock out. Schaub should be back to his normal self soon.

Ben Roethlisberger (17) – 280 yards is solid but 5 turnovers is brutal. He has plenty of weapons, a solid offensive line, and great coaching. There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a bad game against a really good defense.

Matt Ryan (17) – 319 yards is fine with me but no TDs and 2 turnovers leaves a lot to be desired. People are retreating quickly from their predictions about an Atlanta Super Bowl run. I did not put them on that high a pedestal, nor will I be so quick to question that they are a very good football team. With so many toys at his disposal, Matty Ice will be productive.

Jeremy Maclin (16) – This is a vote of confidence simply based on the fact that he looked healthy on Sunday. That was my main concern with him. 1 catch for 20 yards is very mediocre, but Maclin should improve as the season progresses. The discount on him should be substantial at this point.

Mike Williams (16) – You might be surprised to see him on here given that he had a decent game on Sunday but I believe there is more upside than that. Do not expect a big discount, or one at all, but Williams would make a great addition to any team looking for a receiver.

Tier III

Early Doucet (15) – He is a player I have been keeping my eye on for a few seasons. Without seeing much from him, I was not too anxious on drafting him. If teams continue to double team Fitz, expect Kolb to call his number often. You might have to use a waiver claim on him because he had a breakout game on Sunday, but if you need a receiver it is probably worth it.

Carnell Williams (15) – Steven Jackson will most likely miss next weeks game. Cadillac was a BEAST on Sunday- he looked like his old self again. Scoop him up and feel free to start him if Jackson’s out.

Ben Tate (15) – Arian Foster will probably be in the lineup on Sunday but with his injury history you really have to question the likelihood of him staying on the field. Tate is very talented and if Foster does go down long term it will be Tate, not Ward, that becomes the feature back.

Deji Karim (15) – Jones-Drew shows no  signs of slowing down but the reality is he has taken a pounding the last few years. Karim looked great in the preseason and performed admirably when given an opportunity on Sunday. If he gets the starting job, watch out.

C.J. Spiller (14) – Fred Jackson will stay atop the depth chart barring injury, but Spiller has made great strides since last year. He did score a touchdown on Sunday, but I would not start him any time soon. I am very optimistic about what Spiller could do as a starter.

Jason Snelling (15) – Turner is still churning away in Atlanta but Snelling has stepped up when given a chance. If Turner does break down in 2011, you want to own Snelling.

Javon Ringer (14) – Earlier I lauded CJ2k but without OTA’s and training camp there is a greater likelihood of injury. Ringer looked good in the preseason and would make a great Sleeper stash on your bench.

  1. hideousmutants says:
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    Talk me out of this trade: I think I could get CJ2K for Stafford, Hightower and Addai in a PPR. Too much? I already have DMC and Ray Rice at RB. I have Austin, Manningham and Megatron at WR. Romo is my starter. Is CJ2K a big enough upgrade to an already awesome offense to warrant sacrificing my depth at QB and RB?

  2. John H says:
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    @hideousmutants: Do that trade right now and enjoy winning your 6 team league. Congrats.

  3. Eng says:
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    @John H: haha!

  4. Zach says:
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    Pick up newton or cadillac this week? Already have big ben and bradford but I’m hurting for an RB. newtons upside worth missing out on cadillac if I have jacobs as my RB2?

  5. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @hideousmutants: That’s a tough call, but it might be worth it to upgrade. Addai will be pretty garbage without Peyton.

  6. Trick dad says:
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    Should i trade vick for:
    Matt ryan & vjax OR big ben & roddy white

  7. hideousmutants says:
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    @John H: ha! It’s actually a 10-team league but the ignorance of some of the owners makes it more like 6. At least for those of us who read razzball (aka, me)

  8. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @Trick dad: Matt Ryan & VJax would be my preference, but there’s not much difference between the two deals.

  9. Kaos says:
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    Player in my 14-team league is wanting to trade Gore for a decent receiver. He will probably want Stevie Johnson or Mike Williams(TB) from me. So question is would you make this trade and if so which one would you give up? We start 2 wr’s, 2rb’s and a flex. I have AP, Bradshaw, Blount, the 2 mentioned above, Burleson, Jacoby Ford, Deji Karim and Meachem. Thanks in advance for your help.

  10. Waynes World says:
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    Do i start Roethlisberger or Stafford, both have nice matchups, i cant decide.

    I am afriad Pit will be up by a lot of just run the c lock out hampering Big Bens points…

    Help me out DOOOD

  11. Lutefisk says:
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    I have Karim and Ingram as BU RBs behind Rice and Best. Starks is available via waiver. Do I jump on Starks and if so who do I drop?

  12. AB says:
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    10 man PPR league – I’m stacked at WR with AJ and Roddy. My RB’s are somewhat weak, so I need an RB. I have Britt and Gates in at the flex (we don’t start TEs). What RB could I get for Britt or Gates? Shonn Greene? One guy in my league has Foster, MJD, Gore and Benson.

  13. Jeff says:
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    I need to drop one player to pick up my defense this week, any advice on who it should be?

    My bench is:
    Marshawn Lynch
    Sidney Rice
    Fred Jackson
    Lance Moore
    Mike Thomas

    I’m having trouble deciding

  14. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @Kaos: I wouldn’t touch Gore with a 10 foot pole but if you can get him for Mike Williams that’s good value. It’s a 50/50 call.

    @Waynes World: “a gun rack? i don’t even own A GUN, let alone many guns that would necessitate and entire rack.” That is such a toss up man, they both are playing against atrocious defenses. I think Stafford’s more likely to have a big game, so I’d go with him.

    @Lutefisk: YES you pick up Starks on Waivers. Is Karim the worst player on your team? If so, drop him. If you’re stashing a backup TE or some 3rd tier receiver, drop that player and keep Karim.

    @AB: No TE slot? In a league like that, I wouldn’t even own a TE (not even Gates). What I would do is post on the message board that you’re actively shopping Gates for the best RB or WR that you can get. I know you’re set at receiver but you can just play someone in the flex. See what the best you can get is. I love Britt so I would be loathe to give him up.

    @Jeff: Why do you have so many Seahawks? Did you lose a bet? I would dump either Lance Moore or Mike Thomas, leaning more toward Moore. Both will have a mixture of good and bad games so you shouldn’t have any regrets regardless of who you cut.

  15. tommy says:
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    should i trade
    Deshon Jackson and A. Hernandez

    for

    Vincent Jackson and R. Gronkoski?

    the person with V Jax and Gronk is a little scared by V Jaxs preformance last week and likes D Jackson

  16. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @tommy: Yes, definitely. I like Vjax for both overall production and consistency throughout the season. It’s kind of funny that you guys are swapping New England TEs- they’re basically the same player.

  17. Voidoid says:
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    Antonio Brown or Early Doucet?

  18. tommy says:
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    @Drew Thanks, ya thats what i though and i laughed too about the TE situation

  19. AB says:
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    @tommy and drew

    Why is that so odd or funny? Gates goes in the 4th or 5th round every year in this league. Only 5 or 6 TE’s are actually drafted and they go in the flex. Wouldn’t you rather have Gates in the flex vs. a 2nd tier RB or WR?

  20. AB says:
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    Dang it..Sorry Tommy you meant the NE TE’s..ahaha..my bad. Love this site even though I disagree with Drew on not drafting at top tier TE in a PPR/Flex/Non-TE league. Carry on

  21. Drew

    Drew says:
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    @AB: Disagreement makes the world go ’round! I will say that Gates, or maybe Witten, are the only TE I’d consider owning in this format. My aversion to owning them isn’t based on them, but rather the likelihood that one would have to use an earlier than usual pick to acquire one of them.

  22. Lutefisk says:
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    Here’s a question for you. I’m pretty deep at WR (Fitz, A Johnson, Wallace, Marshall) with Ryan and Kolb at QB. I’ve been offered Sanchez for Wallace, which isn’t going to happen, but what do you think of Brees for Wallace + Ryan? Thanks!

  23. nkgangew says:
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    I’m pulling my hair out on this one….do I play the good matchup (Rex Grossman vs. Arizona) or do i play the better play with the bad match up (Matt Ryan vs Philly)?

  24. Lutefisk says:
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    Drew, who’s the better start this week? Jacoby Jones, Hines Ward or Collie? Thanks.

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