Struggling fantasy football players are entering into crunch time this week with the start of the must-win season. Now is the time to shake up your team with a trade and here are just a few struggling players you may want to target to turn your team around and start that comeback.
I am not a big fan of fantasy football trades. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was over-trading. I have taken a much more conservative approach in recent years and it has made a huge difference. My top strategy is targeting players who are not performing up to expectations. Most of these players still have the skills but for whatever reasons, they aren’t living up to their ADP. In the right situation, you can easily take advantage of a frustrated owner by buying low and gambling that these ex-fantasy football studs will get their swagger back.
Now a few of these players have been mentioned in the biggest busts blog I did last week on the CCB. So why would I target these fantasy duds? These guys were duds due to their ADP and lack of production. Getting these guys on the cheap presents a whole new game for some of these fantasy disappointments. As always I am looking at potential here but there are reasons these guys under-performed in the early weeks and I believe that those issues will be solved in most cases going forward.
Check out these fantasy football studs that started out slow but for various reasons I think will turn it around and you should target as the trade deadline approaches. Remember. You don’t want to mortgage the farm but a desperate owner may give you these guys at bargain basement prices if you play your cards right.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants – Cruz started out slow but turned it up big time in the second quarter of the season. Fortunately for you he has crashed hard in recent weeks which could put him on the trading block. He has had back-to-back duds which could cause his owner to panic. Why should you trade for a guy that has only 90 yards and zero TDs in two weeks? One, he has a fantastic schedule down the stretch. Two, Eli Manning is going to break out of his slump. He always does. According to stats he has the fourth best WR schedule the rest of the way. Target him immediately!
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions – I have been trying to snag Stafford in several leagues in recent weeks with mixed success. Stafford was a first or second round pick going into the season but hasn’t been able to match the TDs he had last year. Those low TDs have somehow opened up Stafford to critics that have labeled him as a bust when in fact he has actually had decent numbers. Now is the perfect opportunity to target him after his worst statistical game of the season. He has some very generous matchups down the stretch. He does have the Falcons and Bears in the final two weeks but there is a good shot that the Bears at least sit their starters. I love his upside going forward and I think you’re going to get the best buy for your buck on him now, before he torches the Vikings this week.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints – Graham is another guy I have been trying to target in leagues. Here is the deal on Graham. Graham isn’t having a bad season at all. The problem is that owners took him very high and have been paying for it since. They have a great TE but they are likely struggling in other areas, areas that you may have some flexibility with. Graham is back and healthy so he isn’t going to be easy to acquire. But if you can find the right owner struggling and you have the depth to give up to make the deal happen, you need to give it a shot and do your best to grab this guy.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans - Don’t look now but CJ2K is actually starting to put it together. He’s had double digit games the last four weeks, including 3 TDs in his last 3 games. I traded for him in one league and got him at an absolute bargain. Most Johnson owners are looking to deal him immediately and I’d capitalize on it if I were you. One or two weeks would have been a fluke but he is now consistent for four straight. He does have a bye week next week which for an owner, may give him or her even more incentive to deal now. I really like his upside going forward.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – Megatron is generally regarded as one of if not the biggest bust of the fantasy football season. So why would you want to trade for him? It’s a mirage! Watch the Lions games and you’ll notice that Johnson is constantly being tackled down at the 1 or 2 yard line. Johnson won’t get stopped short every week! The injury is a concern but if he played through it last week I think he’ll be fine for the remainder of the season. Like I mentioned with Stafford, he has a great schedule down the stretch. If you can get him at a bargain, you need to run as fast as you can to your computer and make the proposal immediately.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – One of the biggest sources of frustration early on this fantasy season has been Cam Newton. It really shouldn’t have been a surprise as Newton’s numbers started to slide last season but it would appear that Cam is starting to get it together. His numbers aren’t great but he has had double digit games the last three weeks. He has Denver, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Kansas City coming up which are all dream matchups for a quarterback. According to current stats he has the sixth best QB schedule the rest of the way. Was he as good as his effort in Washington? No but he also isn’t as bad as his effort against the Seahawks. I’ll take the guy in the middle with a couple of big games sprinkled in there.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – I am a Julio owner and I’ll be honest with you, I’d part with him for the right price. As a savvy owner, I would only part with him for a monster deal but not all Julio owners are built the same. This whole home vs. away factor for Julio has been a source of frustration all season for owners, although he did post nice numbers last week at home. I love this guy and I think there is potential for this guy to tear it up as the season progresses. Unfortunately for his owners, some disappointing weeks may have put them into a win-now position. That is a great position for you to take advantage of. Target those Julio owners in trouble.
Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys – Here is a guy that I drafted late on two teams who is putting up either the best or second numbers on my team. Austin is extremely underrated as most fantasy players see Dez Bryant as fantasy gold for the Cowboys. This perception allowed Austin to drop in most drafts and will allow you to acquire on the cheap. Austin also happens to have the fifth best WR schedule down the stretch. He’s coming off his first game in weeks under double digits so now is the time to make your play for Austin.