As trade deadlines in a lot of fantasy leagues loom, the time to make deals is running out. I've made The Feeding Frenzy primarily a column about trading this season because I thought that was an interesting aspect of fantasy football that isn't always talked about, but after this week I'll be broadening my focus a little to keep things appealing for fantasy owners.
For those leagues that don't have trade deadlines, I'll still discuss possible deals but the column will be more about which players to target overall, instead of which ones to trade for and try and unload, specifically. That way the column has a little something for everyone. Hopefully you have found the topic of discussing trades useful this season.
Here are the players I'm advising to buy low and sell high on after Week 10.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants -- The Giants head into their bye week in shambles. There are reports of Eli Manning having a dead arm and his favorite receiver has totaled just 10 receptions in the last three games. You know what that means to me, right? Obviously it means go out and trade for Victor Cruz.
In the NFL, most teams go through stretches throughout the season. There are bad stretches and good stretches. I'm a Dallas Cowboys' fan who lives in Upstate New York, and these misguided Giants followers who surround me forget that even though the franchise has won two Super Bowls in five years, they barely even made the playoffs both seasons. It's not like the Giants are winning 14 games a year, so this is just business as usual for them.
I don't know what's going on with Manning, but, in my opinion, he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. I have to believe he'll turn things around soon. One factor that may help is the Giants' upcoming schedule. After New York's bye they play Green Bay, Washington and New Orleans. If your passing game can't right itself against those three defenses, it's going to be a long year.
The other reason I would advise getting Cruz right now is because Hakeem Nicks finally looks to be healthy. Cruz has been facing all kinds of double and triple coverage in recent weeks because Nicks was having trouble getting off the line. I know against Dallas, the Cowboys basically singled covered Nicks with rookie corner Morris Claiborne most of the time and used two or three guys to bracket Cruz. Now with Nicks returning to form, defenses won't be able to get away with that.
I may not like the Giants, but I tell it like it is. Manning to Cruz is one of the most dangerous combinations in the NFL right now. I think what's happened over the last three games is an aberration and not a trend. If I were a betting man I would bet that Cruz has some monster games coming in his future.
The media likes to glob onto things and talk about them for days. I don't watch those kinds of things because I think it makes sports fans dumb. My guess is the Giants will be a hot button topic over the next two weeks. I would take advantage of all the panic and see if it sways an owner in your league to sell Cruz. I think he'll be one of the top fantasy receivers over the final six weeks.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago -- Sometimes players are out of sight, out of mind. I feel like that's what is going on with Jeffery.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that in November I like to start building the back end of my bench for a playoff run. Remember, a lot of times those last couple of playoff games can come down to luck because of injuries and rest. Jeffery was dropped in most leagues after he broke his hand, but I believe now is a good time to go pick him up for the stretch run.
Before getting hurt, Jeffery was just starting to get more involved in the Bears' offense, and I think there is going to be opportunities for him to make plays over the final month of the season. For all the talk of how great the Bears defense has been, Chicago's offense remains average. Brandon Marshall is a beast, but no other receiver has stepped up in Jeffery's absence. No, Devin Hester still can't play receiver after 10 years in case you were wondering.
So for me, I see Jeffery coming back and immediately being a big part of the Bears' passing game. When I watch Chicago play, the obvious weakness of their team is the Bears simply don't have a receiver to stretch the field right now. We saw Jeffery do that in the few games he played, and I expect him to pick up where he left off.
Now will you ever use Jeffery or will he have fantasy value during the final month of the season? That I don't know, but what I do know is that in five games this season he has scored twice. Let's say you are hurting at receiver come playoff time. Well, Jeffery faces the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals in the final two weeks, so those are pretty good matchups for a receiver that gets down the field.
If you have a loaded team and feel pretty secure with your depth, Jeffery may not be an option. However, I like guys with upside, and if Jeffery hadn't broken his hand I can guarantee he wouldn't be on the waiver wire right now. So basically you're picking up a free player for the playoff run. The Bears need another receiver to catch passes besides Marshall, so if you have the room, I think Jeffery is worth a gamble right now.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England -- If you follow this column you know every now and then I make a gut call. Sometimes my gut is right and sometimes it's wrong. Lloyd is a gut call based on the Patriots' remaining schedule.
Now let's state a fact: Lloyd has been a big fantasy disappointment this season. In points per reception leagues Lloyd has yet to top 20 points. His best game came in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens when he caught nine balls for 108 yards. So overall, most fantasy owners have a sour taste in their mouths right now when it comes to Lloyd. That could be a good thing though for our purposes.
The reason I think Lloyd may be worth trading for soon is because of the teams New England faces in the month of December. Depending on when your trade deadline is you may actually want to wait a week or two because the Patriots' next two games are against the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets. I can see New England running over both of those teams, so Lloyd may have two more average outings.
Starting in Week 13, though, the Patriots face Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Jacksonville and Miami again. I don't see the Patriots being able to just line up and pound the ball against most of those defenses, which means more passing from Tom Brady. So overall Lloyd has been a fantasy disappointment, but if you look at a three- or four-game stretch when games matter the most, I think he could put up his best fantasy production of the season.
Again, this is a gut call, but owners are so down on Lloyd right now I believe you can get him pretty cheap. Like I said, you can even wait a week or two, but Lloyd is a player I would take a chance on for the final month of the season. Remember, if you don't own him yet, you didn't have to live with Lloyd's failures all year. Get him now and you may only reap the rewards of Lloyd's two or three big games in 2012. I think it's worth a shot.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis -- I'm one of the biggest Jackson fans on the planet and I've written about him and Daryl Richardson a few times in this column. As I've said in the past as much as I like Jackson, he just won't put up many big fantasy weeks for you this year.
Sure, once in a while we'll get what we got on Sunday where Jackson will dig deep and run like the warrior he has been throughout his entire career. That's to be expected, but the fact is Jackson is still an older back who despite his 29 carries on Sunday is splitting touches virtually every week. That isn't a recipe for fantasy success.
If anything, I actually think Sunday's performance was a negative for Jackson going forward. He laid it all on the line only to watch the St. Louis Rams' joke of a coaching staff let the clock run out before a game-winning field goal attempt and get a delay of game penalty. I thought that was the epitome of Jackson's career in St. Louis. He gets his body killed for the organization, yet the coaching staff lets him down and finds a way to not win the game. That was simply inexcusable.
I think Jackson is still worth a flex start if you're desperate, but so much of his fantasy value these days is tied to whether or not he scores. Let's not forget Jackson has only seven rushing touchdowns in his last 24 games, so we can't really count on him finding the end zone.
If an owner is hurting at running back and is willing to overpay for Jackson, now is the time to take advantage and make a deal. Jackson finally topped 100 yards this season and it took him 29 carries to do it. I just don't see that happening again.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee -- First of all, there is no "selling high" when it comes to Britt because he has had one good fantasy game all year and that was when he double caught a pass in the end zone against Pittsburgh.
No, I have Britt on here because I actually advised to trade for him a while a back and it was a case where I knew I was wrong when I said it, yet I advised it anyway. Look what I wrote about Britt:
I'm always nervous with players like Britt because I'm afraid we get blinded by "bursts of talent." A lot of players display bursts of talent but for one reason or another never put it all together for consistent stretches. I'm still not sure if we can trust Britt but once again I'm buying his talent.
So on one hand I'm telling you not to get blinded by this guy's talent when he has his two or three good games, then on the other hand I say go trade for him. If it makes you feel any better, I not only traded for Britt myself, but after another putrid performance against a Miami secondary that can't stop any receiver with a heartbeat, I punched myself...