It’s funny how things work out in life. You switch out tight ends one week and your crafty decision nets you six additional sweet, sweet fantasy points. Some weeks you pick up a new defense with a juicy matchup and they give up 42 points. Sometimes the fantasy world works in mysterious ways. So here I am, writing a weekly column on how to take advantage of panicked owners with hurt or underperforming players, and the crown jewel of my own team ends up in a crumpled heap on the sidelines. Yes, you guessed it: I am a Jamaal Charles owner. As I promised in the very first installment of the Smash Back, I’ll be honest with you. With a close loss in week one and the Charles debacle on Sunday, I stand at 0-2. So now, I won’t be just giving out fantasy advice…I’ll be working WITH you to get out of this rut. There are 11 more regular season weeks for us to make somebody pay….so let’s get to it.

Here are some players to target and tactics to try as we attempt to fight our way out from under the heap of injuries that week two so kindly bestowed upon us:

Chris Johnson: “CJ2K” has asked to be referred to as “CJ2.3” until he brings his yards per carry average above that horrendous 2.3 mark. As it turns out, that time will be sooner rather than later. Johnson’s brutal week two performance came at the hands of the stingy Baltimore defense, and a lighter schedule of defenses is on the horizon for the Titans. 27 touches last week means he will still carry the load and Denver and Cleveland in weeks three and four will boost the slumping running back’s stock considerably.

Try this: Grab the attention of the worried Chris Johnson owner and offer up a nice little package of a low end RB1 (let’s say, maybe Frank Gore) and a mid-level wide receiver (someone like Mike Sims-Walker). Start low here and attempt to get Johnson at a discount due to the low production. If you are a Charles owner, be a little more aggressive in attempting to get yourself a replacement stud.

DeAngelo Williams: My next target this week is DeAngelo Williams. Jonathan Stewart is still a factor, as always, and Williams has received a grand total of 17 carries through two weeks.  Additionally, the Panthers schedule doesn’t magically get lighter. So what the hell are we even talking about? Killa Cam won’t need to throw for 762 yards every single week, and the Panthers will run the rock more in those cases. However, that’s not the only reason for an upcoming increase in production. You didn’t let the 17 year old in the blue Best Buy polo shirt talk you into that new 60’’ plasma so you could watch grainy re-runs of Bonanza, did you? I expect Carolina to get their new $43 million investment more involved.

Try this: I always like starting low in trade talks, but especially in cases like this. Williams has hosed his owner for two weeks so see if a WR2 and hot TE will get the ball rolling. Something like Harvin and Chandler. Don’t go nuts here, but attempt to sneak away with Williams if your stable of running backs is getting dangerously thin.

Antonio Gates: Anytime a player of his caliber throws up a goose egg, you should always gauge the panic level of the player’s owner. Despite the donut in week two, Gates is still second in targets among San Diego receiving options and will get back to being a fantasy monster this season.

Try this: Tap into the Gates owner’s panic by starting with a mid-level WR, coupled with a hot new receiver fresh off of the waiver wire. Hopefully Gates will come your way, as the bright week two performances of Santana Moss and Eric Decker blind your trade partner.

 General Trade Strategy: Here are a couple of quick suggestions about wheeling and dealing with the other folks in your league. Just a little something to think about before you make that nerve racking mouse click on the “propose trade” button.

–  When attempting to trade a player from a position of depth, always make sure that player is in your starting lineup. For example, you’ve got an excessive amount of mediocre wide receivers and you’re looking to flip one of them. Whether you actually plan on starting him or not, put the player in your lineup. It’s a serious mental difference when your trade partner clicks on your team page and thinks they’re trading for a “starter.”

 – Trade talks beginning to get serious? Scan the other team’s roster for some throw in players. Often times, the other owner is so focused on the main players involved, that they will easily part with a low value bench player to get a deal done. Players who are out for a few weeks or high on upside are great for this purpose if you’ve got the roster space.

 Finally, if you are not a Charles owner, thank your lucky stars and then immediately hop on your phone/email/league message board/walkie-talkie and start making fun of the poor bastard that does own Charles. I can ensure you, I’ve received text messages from 75% of my league in the last four days. Some were witty, some annoying, and none should be repeated in a public forum. As much as it stings for me right now, this type of interaction makes fantasy sports awesome. I love dishing it out as well (I wore out the inbox of Ryan Grant’s owner in my league last year), so I have to take it occasionally. Use these last couple days before the start of the “Jamaal Charles Revenge Tour” to have some fun interacting with the other teams in your league…it makes getting that ‘W’ on Sunday much, much sweeter.

  1. Frank says:

    Great article. I’m trying to target some people with weak records. I have Arian foster, Fred Jackson, d Williams and got really lucky with Wrs. Nicks, vjax, britt, and Steve smith. Thinking of packaging smith and fred for blount and cj2k. Typing on the iPad so format is rough.

  2. rascal says:

    DeAngelo scares me too much to even offer Nate Burleson.

  3. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @frank: great starting offer. Go for it.

    @rascal: if you know me, you know I love me some detroit lions…but better days are on the horizon for dwill.

  4. phorts says:

    Another solid Article. Great advice w/ putting guys in starting lineup. I always do that. Funny cuz people will come back and be like “well, i’ll take Foster then since he’s on your bench”… lol..

    Total mental game.

  5. longbeachyo says:

    Good stuff, love the angles. I will try to get CJ2K.
    However, I’m not so sure about Gates. I’m now hearing about a possible injury. The same one as last year?

  6. Ryan says:

    I am starting to hurt for Running backs with Moreno, Ingram and Arian not producing or injured. If given the chance should I trade Forte for Turner and DeAngelo Williams?

  7. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @longbeachyo: thanks man. As for gates…I hadn’t heard the news when this was posted…pump the brakes on trading for him

  8. Ryan says:

    I am starting to hurt for Running backs with Moreno, Ingram and Arian not producing or injured. If given the chance should I trade Forte for Turner and DeAngelo Williams?

    I am in a non-PPR 10 person league

  9. Nate says:

    A couple questions…

    Firstly, a sit/start question. At QB, would you go with Josh Freeman vs Atlanta or Andy Dalton vs San Fran this week? I figure that Dalton’s facing a weak pass defense, but so is Freeman and he’ll have to play from behind more (plus he’s a more known commodity.) I could honestly go either way.

    And on a related note…I pretty obviously need a QB. Anyone you would target in a trade?

  10. justin says:

    thoguht i posted before but I guess i didn’t. Funny I always add guys in package into my starting roster because I figure other guy will know i value my bench players less and offer me less. Offered Holmes for s jax then got counter of holmes(wr2) and jordy(wr5/6) for s jax and took it. Too much or right idea of buying low on injured players

  11. Van Haggard says:

    So do you like DWill better than Jacobs ROS? In a non ppr? Should I offer jacobs straight up for williams?

  12. Matt B says:

    In a 12-team PPR where we start 2 RB and 3 WR I’m having WR depth issues. My WR are Roddy White, AJ Green, M Thomas, L Moore, E Decker, D Bess

    Do any of my RB line up w/ a good trade offer for owner #2’s WRs?
    My RBs: Hillis (don’t want to trade), Best, S Greene, D Thomas
    His WRs: Boldin, Steve Smith (tempting), Welker, Burleson, D Henderson

    He offered Best for Boldin which I’m not crazy about. I’d like Steve Smith but not sure if I want to give up Best for him.

  13. ringo says:

    I got an offer on the table… Fred Jackson for Santonio Holmes…

    Current WRs are Brandon Marshall, Wes Welker, Santonio Holmes, Percy Harvin, Dexter McCluster with Eric Decker possible FA…

    Current RBs are LeSean McCoy, MJD, Beanie Wells, Brandon Jacobs plus McCluster but I would never play him there…

    Figure I am gonna do it, basically its a choice between 4 quality RBs and 3 WRs, or 3 quality RBs and 4 WRs… and I would much rather have that depth at RB then WR, especially later in the season… thank you

  14. ringo says:

    @Matt B: I would see the best WR u could get with Shonn Greene being the main part of ur package, he probably wouldn’t give you one of his top 3 for him straight up though, so maybe get creative and add WR not named Roddy White or AJ Green… although a deal of Shonn Greene and Mike Thomas for Anquan Boldin would not surprise me if it came up just short… and i do not like Best for Boldin PPR, Best is a PPR Beast… good luck

  15. ringo says:

    @Nate: go with Freeman over Dalton, Atlanta hasn’t looked completely right so far and were lucky to win that game the other week, plus Freeman is as consistent as they come wheras Dalton is a roll of the dice… as for targets, a guy nobody really likes (I am not super high on him myself) who you should be able to get relatively cheap is Eli Manning, maybe aim a little higher and go for Big Ben… after that you are venturing into stud territory and better open your cheque book… good luck

  16. Commish Cauda says:

    12-team, 0.5ppr

    I’m struggling at RB, (Jamaal Charles, Felix Jones, Tolbert, Ingram, Helu). I finally got a little lucky and snagged Bernard Scott when the news about Benson’s impending suspension broke. And now I have just been offered the following:

    Cedric Benson for Roy Helu

    What do you think?

  17. PPR says:

    Hey Jeff,

    Just quickly wanted your take on my question:

    In PPR league for my flex spot I am contemplating whether to start David Nelson, J. Addai, or Ingram. Who should I start?

  18. MattW says:

    @Jeff Brubach: Quick non-trade question:

    Can you rank the following WRs for the rest of the season in a 2QB non-PPR league where I am hurting at WR and don’t have much roster room?

    LaFell, McCluster, Jacoby Jones, Jacoby Ford, Danny Amendola

  19. brett says:

    Great article. I’m in a standard league in which I just lost J. Charles and have depth issues as WR. Can you endorse either of these return packages for Drew Brees and Danny Amendola? Or should I keep searching:

    Pack 1 – Eli Manning, Santonio Holmes, James Starks
    Pack 2 – Tony Romo, Julio Jones, Jonathan Stewart


  20. Jim Parkey says:

    Who do I start for my flex (non-ppr, standard scoring): B. Wells or F. Davis?

  21. Tom C says:

    Shonn Greene or Dwill?

  22. Antonio Romonio says:

    Shallow league, need to drop someone in case Tony R doesn’t start. Do I drop Plax or Harvin?

  23. Dan says:

    I am thinking of offering Tolbert and Branch for Roddy White. Thoughts?

  24. Shawn says:

    Matt Schaub or Ryan Fitzpatrick?

  25. Jay says:

    I give Aaron Hernandez and get Gates? I also have Fred Davis.

  26. timmy riggins says:

    hi, is it possible that brian leonard and not bernard scott is the benson benefactor? does he have the capability to be a bruiser similar to peyton hillis if given the opportunity? (10 team .5ppr w/flex)


  27. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @phorts: Thanks man. I agree.

    @Ryan: I think Ingram will come around, so you should be ok. Forte may be too good at this point to make that deal but I wouldn’t argue with you for doing it.

    @Nate: I’d go Freeman, for exactly the reasons you stated. Try to target Big Ben. Hasn’t done much yet but will be better…see if you can get him cheap.

    @justin: great trade, EXACTLY what I’m talking about! Nice work.

    @Van Haggard: I’d do that deal.

  28. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Matt B: I wouldn’t trade Best in a PPR right now. I’d try to snag Welker from him. Start with Thomas and see what he says. Try to somehow get Burleson involved too.

    @ringo: I agree with you. I like Jackson a lot.

    @Commish Cauda: Wow, interesting offer. I’d wait until more details are released about Benson’s situation but that might work.

    @PPR: I am very tempted to say Nelson here, but I’d give Ingram another shot. Wouldn’t argue with you if you went Nelson though…could get lots of grabs if they are chasing NE all day.

    @MattW: McCluster, LaFell, Amendola (out a couple more weeks), Jones, Ford

  29. PPR says:

    Thanks for your help!

    One more quick question – Do you think FJax is legit for ROS? I am trying to trade for him for my B Jacobs and L. Moore. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again!

  30. PPR says:

    Oh sorry this one is for my standard league not PPR.

  31. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @brett: Thanks for reading. I like Pack 1.

    @Jim Parkey: Sea run D has actually been good, but I’d still lean Beanie. Keep an eye on the news about his hammy.

    @Tom C: Dwill

    @Antonio Romonio: Plax. Keep Harvin.

    @Dan: Would be a steal for you. Go for it.

    @Shawn: Schaub should finally get a shot to open it up this week. Go with him.

    @timmy riggings: Possible, I guess, but I think it’’ll be Scott. In a 10 teamer, I don’t think you should blow a roster spot on him…probably better dudes on your wire.

  32. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @PPR: Ya, I like FJax. I’d do that deal.

  33. Shawn says:

    thanks for the help

  34. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @Jay: I’d do it. Gates will be battling the foot issue all year but with Hernandez out and a legit backup on your roster, I’d roll the dice.

    @Shawn: No problem, thanks for reading.

  35. Commish Cauda (formerly Mike) says:

    12-team, 0.5ppr, all TDs 6pts

    Lost Charles. My RBs are DeAngelo Williams, Jacobs, Benson, Scott and Helu.

    My WRs are Fitz, Mike Williams (TB), Burleson, Julio Jones & Little

    Trade Vick & Mike Williams FOR Matt Ryan & LeSean McCoy?

  36. paulzone says:

    do you think gore/stafford is too much for CJ2K?

    my team (0.5 ppr, start 2 rb / 3 wr):

    qb: vick, stafford, newton
    rb: gore, bradshaw, starks, greene
    wr: calvin johnson, welker, floyd, decker, moore
    te: clark, davis

  37. eyyoitsmejerry says:

    Just got an accepted offer. I get Rashard Mendenhall and Manningham and I gave up Fred Jackson and MSW. I was hoping the Chris Johnson owner would give him up but this one came through first. This would be the league where i lost JC. Now I get to start Rashard, Forte, and Matthews. I dont mind that at all.

  38. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @commish cauda: I think I would pull the trigger. McCoy would be great to stabilize your rb situation.

    @eyyoitsmejerry: if you lost jc and have those rb’s still, you’ve done some good work.

  39. JP says:

    12 team non ppr league
    Steve Smith
    Harvin (flex)
    Fred Davis
    Lions D
    John Hanson

    ^ would you trade gore/harvin for Chris Johnson/Garcon? I lost Jamaal thats why my teams real weak. Was thinking maybe countering with Starks/Desean..unless you think i should accept since ive been offered CJ regardless..
    Bench: Ryan Grant, Bernard Scott, Snelling, Greg Little, Denarius Moore, Danario Alexander

  40. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @paulzone: Damn, that is some QB depth! Stafford/Gore may be too much, but considering your roster, not out of the question. Start lower with a Newton and Bradshaw package and try to go up from there…

    @JP: I think countering is a good idea and see if you can get the other guy to bite on a price, but you could make that deal. Who else do you have that you could play at flex?

  41. friar says:

    For the rest of the season in a flex spot, would you rather have Maclin or Tolbert? Thanks.

  42. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @friar: I’d roll with Maclin.

  43. Jp says:

    Countered but didn’t bite..I think I could trade gore/desean for Felix/CJ …
    My team would then be:
    Felix jones (flex)
    Steve smith

    Having Bernard Scott on the bench is a nice flex option in a few weeks so I’m not sure if I’m giving up too much just to bolster my current situation with losing jamaal

  44. Jeff Brubach

    Jeff Brubach says:

    @JP: That’s tough with Felix being banged up but I think its still a decent deal. Gore won’t be near CJ’s production and then you’d have Felix/Scott/Moore to rotate in at flex.

  45. allen says:

    thanks to your article, i was able to offer up a fred davis + burleson for deangelo williams trade. i have keller as my other TE and picked up nate washington and nelson for flex replacements, so not giving up much.

  46. paulzone says:

    @Jeff Brubach: I hear you on the qb depth…actually i tried vick/bradshaw for CJ and he declined. He countered with a crappy deal that involved Stafford so i thought i would try stafford / gore, maybe i will offer stafford / bradshaw here this morning and see what happens…

    i feel like my season depends on moving one of qb’s for a stud rb…and i hate that feeling!

  47. paulzone says:

    would you do newton for maclin? it’s seems like a stretch for me as i should be able to get better value for newton…one bust game by newton and his trade value will take a serious hit. if he puts another 30 pts this week against Jax, then i think owners will start considering his value in a trade…assuming they have a crap qb…

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