We are about 25% through the fantasy football season, so it's time to make serious decisions about your fantasy teams.
If you're team is 4-0 or 3-1, you can afford to take risks on floundering stars that still have potential like Eddie Royal, Darren McFadden, Steven Jackson, Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch, Drew Brees (OK he's been floundering the last two games) and Wes Welker. When initiating trades as a winning team, try to grab guys coming back from injury (like Frank Gore or Wes Welker) and tell the losing team with them that they need to start making up some ground to stay in the playoff race. Put some pressure on them to make bad decisions!
If you're team is 1-3 or 2-2, you should consider maybe dropping or trading a few name-brands on your team. Have guys like Larry Johnson, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Stewart and Thomas Jones? It's time to abandon those Lames through trades or maybe drops and find guys on the waivers with potential to help your team. Also, please take advantage of our Free Fantasy Football Start Sit Advice. The experts at Top Fantasy Football will try their best to help you come back from your losses and win your league!
To help you out, I've prepared a list of guys who are "safe to drop" at this point for a 1-3/0-4 team looking for extra help on the waivers:
|Larry Johnson RB KC|
|Julius Jones RB SEA|
|Laveranues Coles WR CIN|
|Jamal Lewis RB CLE|
|Anthony Gonzalez WR IND|
|Braylon Edwards WR CLE|
Here are some guys on the edge for me. If they have a bad performance in their couple next games, I'd be ready to trade or possibly drop them:
|LaDainian Tomlinson RB SDG|
|Tim Hightower RB SEA|
|Eddie Royal WR DEN|
|Greg Olsen TE CHI|
|Lee Evans WR BUF|
|Thomas Jones RB NYJ|
|Marshawn Lynch RB BUF|
|Darren McFadden RB OAK|
|Clinton Portis RB WAS|
Now, on to our Risers and Fallers!
Steve Slaton RB HOU
It's about time that Slaton proved his first-round worth! If you are a Slaton owner, I know you were considering your options when it came to him. Can you fit him on your bench until he starts performing well? Should you try to get anything possible in a trade? Should you risk starting him still? Hopefully you started him in week 4 because he helped fantasy owners everywhere with his multi-talent set of skills that he showed off oh-so-well last year. He's going to be money from here on out, with a couple more bumps in the road. Start him every week though so you don't miss his great weeks.
Matt Forte RB CHI
Like Slaton, Forte was a first round selection (sometimes first overall in PPR leagues) that wasn't living up to expectations. The difference here is that his situation from last year is totally different. With Kyle Orton on the team, he was getting check-down after check-down, making him a PPR god. This year, Cutler is throwing it all over the field and taking away from Forte's value in the process. Forte will definitely be a steady source of points in fantasy from here on out, but more along the lines of 10-14 points a week. If you can still get some really good stuff from trading him, I'd do that but if not, keep him and enjoy a safe source of points.
|Peyton Manning QB IND
Remember when people were saying Peyton isn't even a top 5 QB anymore? Look who's laughing now! Peyton has sealed the deal with his new personal best four consecutive games with 300+ passing yards. He's officially the best fantasy QB in the game. Heck, we already knew he was the best QB in the game. There is no way you can tell me the Colts would win even 6 games if they didn't have Manning. Anyways, I'm listing Manning as a "sell" because if you need to improve other parts of your team, there couldn't be a better time to sell than now. Only take first round value for him, and look to your bench or waivers for a decent replacement.
|Steve Smith WR NYG||Moderate Buy
Remember when we used to call him "the other Steve Smith"? Well now I think he's earned the right to be Steve Smith #1, at least so far this season. Anyone matched up against Smith last weekend in fantasy can attest to that. I think Steve Smith has vaulted his way into being a WR1, because Manning loves to throw it his way. Let's not forget about Manningham though, he is a decent WR2 option. If you can talk some non-sense into his owner and make him believe it was a fluke on how Smith has performed, try trading a brand-name for him, perhaps the "other" Steve Smith.
|Jamaal Charles RB KC|| 12+ Team Leagues Advisable Add
If you didn't get the memo by now, Larry Johnson is not who we thought he was going to be. He is a shell of his former self. By now, the Chiefs realize that they are in a rebuilding mode. They must find people to protect franchise-face Matt Cassel now. I would expect the team to stop giving 18 touches per game to Larry Johnson very soon, seeing as they have a great weapon on the depth chart behind him. Jamaal Charles is one of the fastest players in the NFL, and it would be a crying shame if he wasn't given a starting gig in the NFL. He'd create ESPN Top 10 plays every week if he was given around 15 carries per game. Pick him up now and let him sit on your bench for a couple weeks, then when they announce Larry Johnson is no longer the starter you'll have a great RB option available.
|David Garrard QB JAX||QB1 Add
I'm starting to fall in love with Garrard's style of play. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes so his interceptions stay low and he has an added weapon that many QBs in the league just don't have: his legs. Now, we've seen it all before with Michael Vick, right? Running QBs just don't make for reliable fantasy QBs...right? WRONG! The thing with Michael Vick is that he often had a run-first type of mindset. The thing I like about Garrard is that he has a pass-first mindset and he uses his legs to get out of trouble or add another dimension to the offense. I think Garrard is going to be a great source of fantasy points from here on out, especially since he's one of the top options on the team to run in goal-line TDs.
|Rashard Mendenhall RB PIT||Strong Sell
Usually when you mix in a break-out game (week 4), a starter with some form of turf toe (Willie Parker) and an offense dying for a running game (Pittsburgh), you get a waiver wire gem. In Mendenhall's case, I have to be a little skeptical. Everyone is falling in love with this guy, but I'm actually ready to trade him on any team I have him. Listen, Mendenhall just isn't ready to take the reigns as a workhorse in this league...yet. I see him as a great player down the road, but right now he has a lot to learn. You want to tell me that a guy who was benched in week 3 because he didn't know the playbook is ready to be a star in this league? The kid has way too much to learn still obviously. The only reason he broke out last weekend is because San Diego is one of the worst run defenses in the league. When trying to trade Mendenhall, mention that Parker's injury is worse than the team is letting on. I'm sure you'll be able to get something great for him.
|Brandon Marshall WR DEN||Strong Buy
If you disagree with me on this Riser, you didn't see what I saw at the end of the Denver/Dallas game. First off, Denver was never supposed to be 4-0. They are a band of misfits. Second of all, we all know about Marshall's misbehavior over the course of the season so far. It's no secret that Josh McDaniels and Marshall had their troubles with one another. That all changed with one magical play that vaulted the Broncos to 4-0 though. Marshall caught a 20 yard pass from Orton and proceeded to juke three five Dallas defenders for another 30 yards to make it a TD. After the TD, Marshall went to give McDaniels a big hug. For now, while the Broncos are one of the best teams, everything is alright. This should pay dividends for his play in the following weeks because the team has renewed faith in Marshall.
|Michael Bush RB OAK||Must Add (All Leagues)
If you read ahead a little, I'm about to bad-mouth the Oakland offense. They're bad, we all know that. But that doesn't mean they can't get better in the future. With the news that Darren McFadden is out for 2-4 weeks with a torn meniscus, Bush will take the bulk of the carries in Oakland. It's hard to say "no" to a guy who will get 15+ carries in a run-first type offense, so pick him up at least so your opponents can't use him against you in the following weeks. If he has a nice game this weekend, start him the following weekend.
|Darren McFadden RB OAK
It's a shame to see such a terrible offense, but we have no choice with Oakland. Darren McFadden was a pre-season sweetheart poised to break out as a #1 RB in many minds. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Johnnie Lee Higgins were popular sleeper picks in drafts. JaMarcus Russel was ready to silence the critics. None of that has happened yet, and it's hard to say they will magically find their groove. On top of all that, Darren McFadden has a torn meniscus which will sideline him for at least a couple weeks. After he comes back, expect a heavy timeshare in the backfield, which means minimal carries for McFadden and minimal fantasy points.
|Eddie Royal WR DEN||Hold
At the beginning of the fourth quarter in the Denver/Dallas game, I was ready to include Brandon Marshall as a Faller. Sadly there was no late game heroics for Eddie Royal, only two receptions for 16 yards. The reason why Eddie Royal was so great last year was because Jay Cutler was throwing him the ball. It's so obvious, looking at what Cutler has done to Earl Bennett's fantasy value. If you try to trade Royal, you will just get peanuts for him, so hold on to him for a little longer. If he doesn't start catching touchdowns soon, drop him for someone who is.
|Steven Jackson RB STL
Let's face it, the St. Louis offense is just unbearable. I can't even bear to watch it. Even though Steven Jackson has been a great source of yards, his offense can't give him many opportunities to get goal-line touches. The Rams have scored three touchdowns in four games, which could make any fantasy owner cringe. While you can, try selling Steven Jackson as a top-tier running back and try to get something else in return, before he goes and pulls a groin.
|Trent Edwards QB BUF|| Drop (All Leagues)
I don't like what I'm seeing from Edwards. He is doing one of the worst things you can do in the NFL: forcing the ball to a certain receiver. Who is this receiver you ask? Well, it's Terrell Owens (surprise!!). Now that Owens is upset, he's starting to turn to the media to express his anger (like always). This can't be good for the Bills offense. I don't see Edwards as a mature player yet in the NFL, so he might not know how to handle the TO drama, and the Bills offense could collapse. I wouldn't start Edwards in any leagues until he strings together a couple good games.
|Thomas Jones RB NYJ||Hold
Oh Thomas Jones. He's about as exciting to watch as a snail race, but he ends up with a half decent fantasy line. He doesn't break out for many big runs but the Jets give him lots of carries to grind out his yards. This year we are seeing Jones play closer to his career averages, now that Brett Favre is out of town. With that, temper your expectations going forward for Jones, especially with his age and two young guns breathing down his neck in Leon Washington and Shonn Greene.
|Reggie Bush RB NO||Hold
Every time Bush walks on to the field, I think about what it'd be like if the Saints had Mario Williams on defense. Alright, so maybe Bush hasn't been that big of a bust, but he hasn't really done what we expected him to do. That goes for fantasy too. Bush was selected in the middle rounds during fantasy drafts and he has been a borderline bench-rider this season. The fact of the matter is that the Saints use him in special packages and he isn't going to see more than 12 touches in any game, especially with the emergence of Pierre Thomas. He's a good example of a worthless brand-name player.