Well, a quarter of the season is already over. I can’t believe how fast it goes. We spend all summer talking about things that end up not mattering and then the actual season goes by in a blur.
I know some people like to wait a month before they start trading players. I don’t understand that kind of thinking personally, but if you’ve been sitting on your backside waiting until you’re 0-4 to start changing your team, I guess you’re in luck.
The good news is you have one more week before it’s time to throw in the towel. At 0-4 you can probably still turn things around. I’m not going to lie though if you go 0-5 it’s time to start ranking players for next season.
This is actually a good week to go out and get players. Besides the guys I mention below, Dennis Pitta put up a goose egg last week and probably cost some owners a win, so he could be a player to target. Remember, it’s always best to strike when people are emotional over a loss.
Now here are the players I’m advising to buy low and sell high on after Week 4.
C.J. Spiller, RB Bills – This is the second time Spiller has made it in the column and it’s because I’m one of his biggest fans on the planet. I think Spiller is a special player and if I can get a special player I’m always interested.
A couple of weeks ago Spiller was so hot you couldn’t touch him. Then a shoulder injury and a Fred Jackson return later and Spiller has gone from the NFL’s leading rusher to a dicey flex play. Throw in a meeting with the vaunted 49ers defense next week and trading for Spiller may not seem like the best idea right now.
I have a theory though about athletes in 2012. I think they come back way too quickly from injuries because medical science allows them to. I watched Spiller on Sunday and he was running cautiously. He didn’t have the same burst through the hole as he normally does.
In my opinion Spiller and the Bills probably would have been better off if he sat out on Sunday, but that’s the kind of drive that made Spiller a professional athlete in the first place. Moving forward though I think we’ll see the Spiller that from Week 14 of 2011 to Week 3 of this season ranked third in the NFL in total yards behind only Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jackson is back and even though in my opinion Spiller is the better player right now, I’m a realist. I understand Spiller isn’t going to get 25 carries a game. The Bills haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, so no organization in the NFL knows how to stymie talent better than Buffalo.
Still, I expect strong fantasy numbers from Spiller in PPR formats. He’s always going to catch passes for you and even in a game like next week against a tough rush defense he’ll make an impact as a receiver. The guy is just too spectacular for even the Bills coaching staff to keep on the bench. At least I think so but then again, who knows?
I think now is a perfect time to strike with Spiller. Remember, Jackson is 31 and has been injured twice in the last year. There’s no guarantee he’ll make it through the rest of the season. Spiller is going to be a solid fantasy contributor regardless but if Jackson goes down again he’ll return to being a stud.
As I write below, I hate backfield headaches but Spiller is the one talent I would be willing to roll the dice on because of the elite upside he showed at the end of 2011 and the first two games of this season. If you’re looking to trade for a running back Spiller would be at the top of my list.
Julio Jones, WR Falcons – Remember back in Week 1 when people wouldn’t part with Jones if you offered up Aaron Rodgers, Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice? Well, the times they may be a changing.
After a torrid preseason, Jones caught six balls for 108 yards and two scores in Week 1 against the Chiefs. In his next three games Jones has totaled 10 catches for 111 yards and one score, while being vastly out-produced by teammate Roddy White. So what does this all mean? Well, for me it means do whatever you can to get Jones right away.
I usually don’t care what people say during press conferences because it’s just a bunch of lip service but since that opening week all opposing coaches have said is they were trying to take Jones out of the offense. That has opened things up for White and Tony Gonzalez to have big weeks while defenders pay more attention to Jones.
Now the Falcons don’t care about our fantasy football teams. They have two elite receivers. If defenses use three guys to take away Jones, Matt Ryan will throw the ball to White. It’s pretty simple. However, how long are defenses going to let White destroy them? Sooner or later they will have to even out coverages and then Jones will get his. Now you want to get him before he gets his.
Jones was way overvalued heading into the season. Some sites were suggesting selecting Jones in Round 1, which was absolutely ludicrous with White still in the prime of his career. You really need to guard against these things in the summer. People are so willing to jump aboard a hot player that they are ready to forget about the most targeted receiver in the NFL over the last two years like he doesn’t even exist anymore.
Now that Jones is coming off a one-catch performance in what was a high scoring game, this is the perfect time to strike. Jones is still a sought after commodity so owners may not be willing to part with him but there’s no harm in trying and you can bet I’ll be trying to get Jones in all my leagues this week. I suggest you do the same and do it quickly because after Jones feasts on the Redskins' laughable secondary it will be too late.
Kyle Rudolph, TE Vikings – I own Rudolph and I think the guy is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL right now. The problem for Rudolph is he doesn’t play in New England or New Orleans, so he’s going to have a few dud weeks like we saw on Sunday.
If you have a stud tight end then you’re all set but if you’re wallowing in that second-tier territory I would make a move for Rudolph. I think his good weeks are going to far outweigh his bad ones. Also, the Vikings really wanted to pound the football right at Detroit on Sunday, so Rudolph did a lot more blocking than he will most weeks.
Another reason to really like Rudolph going forward is the return of Jerome Simpson. Now that he’s back from his 3-game suspension, Simpson gives the Vikings a receiver to stretch the field. That should take some of the pressure off of Rudolph and open things up for him on underneath routes. Minnesota has one of the NFL’s best receivers in Percy Harvin but Simpson gives the offense a vertical threat that it lacked.
I still believe Rudolph is a year away from becoming an elite tight end but that’s more because of the inconsistent offense he plays in, not because of his talent level. For this season his big weeks will often be tied to whether or not he scores but Rudolph is a monster in the red zone, so I expect more good days than bad ones.
Either way if you can get your hands on a talent like Rudolph at any point during the season, I would do it.