The NFL’s trade deadline may have passed last week, but not fantasy football’s.
Trade deadlines are cropping up this week and next week in many fantasy leagues, so if owners want to add significant players for their stretch runs, they better not waste any time. Better players can be acquired via trade than on the waiver wire this late into the season, so if you need an upgrade at quarterback, running back, receiver or anywhere else, now is the time to swing a deal.
But you have to trade talent to get talent, so who are some guys with value that you could include in a blockbuster? Here are four players you should trade before your league’s deadline comes.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (QB)
I know what you are thinking—“Has Craig been tackling the moonshine bottle again?”
RG3's numbers have been pedestrian the past couple weeks, with the biggest reason being he is losing more weapons than a slippery-fingered gunslinger. No Fred Davis. No Pierre Garcon. And now Santana Moss is hurt, too!
Griffin could be stuck with Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan at receiver and Logan Paulsen at tight end when Washington returns from its bye. Not many quarterbacks can throw for 250 yards and a couple touchdowns with that crew. Griffin might find out quickly what life for Sam Bradford is like.
And Griffin is vulnerable to injury. He has already suffered a mild concussion and last weekend got his ribs dinged up. With the reckless way he plays, he is bound to be bounced off the turf and bust up another body part before season’s end.
Now ignore what I am saying if you are in a keeper or dynasty league. This is strictly for those people in year-to-year leagues that redraft annually. If you can sign RG3 up for several seasons, by all means do it quicker than Matt Cassel turns the ball over.
But in a league where you will not have the benefit of keeping Griffin for 2013, trading him while his value is at its highest might be the way to go, especially if you have holes at other positions to fill and another solid starting quarterback on your fantasy roster.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (QB)
If you thought Rivers would bounce back from that interception party he threw in 2011, you were not even partly right. His picks this year are on pace with his ungodly number from last year, and his fantasy worth has actually decreased.
Rivers is only averaging 233 passing yards per game and has thrown 12 touchdown passes, which ranks him 18th and 12th, respectively, in those categories. Many fantasy experts penciled Rivers in as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback before the season, yet the loudmouth might not break the 4,000-yard plateau for the first time since 2007.
Losing top target Vincent Jackson to free agency has definitely damaged Rivers’ numbers. Plus, replacement Robert Meachem is battling Mario Williams for the free-agent bust of 2012 title and Antonio Gates has not been the dominating tight end he has been in the past, so Rivers does not have the elite pass-catching skyscrapers he is accustomed to.
Trading Rivers now is not really “selling high.” It might be best to wait until he torches Tampa Bay’s 32nd-ranked pass defense this weekend before you put him on the market. Let Rivers have his 275-yard, two-TD performance and then trade him to someone in your league who thinks he is better than he is.
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (RB)
I am sorry, but I just do not trust this guy. Bush is the snake-oil salesman of fantasy football, and he is ready to sell his fantasy owners on a 1,100-yard, 10-TD season that has as much chance of happening as Batman teaming with the Joker to fight the X-Men.
Bush has an injury history that could have its own page on Wikipedia. I know he stayed healthy for most of last season, but he had a minor knee injury earlier this season and is as fragile as a man made of Legos.
Bush has a realistic opportunity to set new career-highs in rushing yards and touchdowns, and he has six of his final eight games against teams ranked 22nd or lower in total defense in the NFL—and that is EXACTLY what you should point out to owners in your league when you try to trade him.
Hey, I could be more wrong than Dick Morris was when he said Mitt Romney would win a landslide over President.Obama. If I owned Bush, though, I would not risk keeping him under the guise that he will stay bulletproof. I would trade him in a package for a more reliable running back or a big-time player at another position.
Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants (K)
The market for kickers in most fantasy leagues varies, but Tynes is currently on a ridiculous roll that he probably will not keep up, so he should be traded quicker than Antonio Cromartie makes god-awful guarantees.
Tynes has a 20-point lead on the next closest kicker, Atlanta’s Matt Bryant, in the scoring race. He already has 102 points after scoring only 100-even in both 2010 and 2011, and he is on pace to obliterate the career-best 126 points he kicked for back in 2009.
It is difficult to predict how many field goal opportunities a kicker is going to have, but history suggests that Tynes’ chances will start dwindling down the stretch. The Giants offense has not changed much over the past four years, so why is Tynes suddenly getting twice the field goal tries this season? It makes little sense, so you would figure it cannot keep up.
Trade Tynes if possible as part of a more expansive swap, and then pick up another solid kicker on your league’s waiver wire. Odds are Tynes will not keep kicking all these field goals. He has already had four games in which he has kicked four or more field goals this year. Eli Manning and Co. will start scoring more touchdowns and settling for fewer field goals from here on out.