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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Pick-up Joint: Week 6
John Tuvey
October 8, 2013
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OPEN TO SWAPPING

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
Bradford’s a top10 fantasy quarterback right now; at least that’s what the stats say. And with no threat of a ground game, you should be able to sell that Bradford’s run will continue. What you don’t need to sell is that no quarterback has a tougher run the rest of the way fantasy-wise. Bradford’s next month is especially brutal, with trips to Houston and Carolina and home games against Seattle and Tennessee. Safe to say Sam won’t be a top-10 quarterback when the calendar flips to November, so push his top-10 status now and get out while the gettin’s good.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
You stashed Blackmon at the end of your roster, maybe you had the guts to play him in his 2013 debut… and now there he sits, atop the wide receiver rankings in fantasy points per game. Do you stick with your investment? For the next couple of weeks, absolutely; the Jags play Denver (can you say “garbage time”?) and San Diego, and Blaine Gabbert might still be hurt and out of the lineup. But don’t miss your window for selling high, because after the Chargers leave town it gets ugly: six straight tough matchups wrapped around a bye week. Oh, and Gabbert could very well be back at the helm. You thought it was tough playing Blackmon last week, try a Week 13 matchup in Cleveland against Joe Haden with Gabbert slinging the rock.

Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins
With the bye weeks upon us everybody’s scrambling for a tight end. You grabbed Clay but can’t use him this week; hopefully you have a regular TE and Clay’s just been filler. But don’t cut him just yet; after all, he’s sandwiched between Jason Witten and Vernon Davis in year-to-date tight end fantasy scoring. Wait until next week, then package him with something else—say, an extra wide receiver—for an upgrade at that position. Sell that his bye week is behind him, just don’t mention that no tight end has a less favorable remaining schedule. In fact, the Dolphins have exactly one matchup this fantasy season against a team that’s allowing double-digit fantasy points to tight ends.

CATCH 'EM ON THE REBOUND

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins
Here’s what RG3 has done for his fantasy owners lately: one TD toss in two games, plus a bye week. Oh, and he still doesn’t have a rushing score. So his price will never be lower. But here’s what he has to look forward to: the most favorable fantasy schedule of any quarterback in the league, plus a healthy Pierre Garçon and the return of a healthy tight end—maybe two, if both Jordan Reed and Fred Davis make it back. It adds up to bigger numbers the rest of the way, making this a prime buy-low opportunity.

Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Another player whose recent performance has left a sour taste in his fantasy owners’ collective mouth, Martin hasn’t scored since the season opener and in his last game averaged less than two yards per carry. Add to this hot mess that Tampa Bay will be rolling with a turnover-prone rookie quarterback and there doesn’t seem to be much upside to Martin even if buying at a reduced price. But no back has faced a tougher schedule to start the season, and the rest of the way only Green Bay has an easier path for running backs than the Buccaneers. You can also view the QB change as a positive: the Bucs will lean even more heavily on Martin, who is already averaging 27 touches per game.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE

Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams

No surprise to see Richardson’s name on here; he’s done nothing to keep the feature gig in St. Louis, failing to score or even top four yards a carry in any game yet this season. But you may be surprised to see Stacy alongside him; after all, he’s the Rams’ current flavor of the month coming off a sterling 14 carry, 78 yard performance… against Jacksonville. Last week is as close to a favorable matchup as Stacy will get; the Rams don’t see a soft run D the rest of the season. You could sell high on Stacy now, or just kick him to the curb in a couple weeks when he inevitably disappoints.

ONE NIGHT STANDS

Mike Tolbert, RB, Panthers
Tolbert is available in about 85 percent of leagues, but he could be a very nice two-week Band-Aid for a team with running back injury or bye issues. Over the next fortnight Tolbert gets two of the softer run defenses in the league in Minnesota and St. Louis. Sure, DeAngelo Williams will see most of the carries and Cam Newton lurks and Kenjon Barner might get worked in as well. But Tolbert possesses the Panthers’ only RB TD this season and faces a pair of defenses that have surrendered a combined 11 running back scores already this season. When you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, those odds look pretty good.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Sounds like Michael Vick will miss the next couple of weeks with his bum hammy. Unfortunate if you’ve been banking on Vick as your fantasy QB, but hardly the end of the world—especially if you can grab Foles. Not because Foles is all that great; the word serviceable comes to mind. But multiply that by all those extra plays Chip Kelly squeezes into a game, and then consider that the two teams who have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other are the Buccaneers and Cowboys—who also happen to be Foles’ opponents the next two weeks. It’s a short-term fix, to be sure, but if it means a couple of gaudy QB stat lines that maybe help you steal a win or two, it’s all good.


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