Grand Theft Roto: Seven deals to pursue
What if the island of Manhattan had sunk in 1626, mere days after Peter Minuit bought the island from the Lenape tribe for trinkets worth $24? All it would've taken was a category 5 storm or a Michael Bay film-esque volcanic eruption and suddenly, the deal of the 17th century turns out in the Lenape's favor.
I mention this because I got an e-mail from reader Roland in South Korea three weeks ago, bragging about dealing Derek Anderson for Santana Moss. I gave him the "GTR" stamp of approval without reservation, and since then, Moss has done nothing and Anderson has been a top-10 fantasy quarterback.
Tell me with all sincerity that you knew that was going to happen, and I'll send you $24 worth of ESPN key chains.
The point of the previous paragraphs is that all trades involve risk, and only in retrospect do you know whether a trade was a steal. That said, here are seven risks I'd take before Week 7.
1. Adrian Peterson and Dwayne Bowe for LaDainian Tomlinson
Yes, the Vikings' back is much better than advertised, and I'm a big fan of players whose last names contain my last name. It's a bond we share.
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There are some owners who still consider Housh to be Cincy's "1A" receiver behind Chad Johnson. Why? Houshmandzadeh has scored a touchdown in every game he's played this season, he's been targeted more than any other receiver despite having already sat for a bye, and he's on a team whose defense forces the offense to pass a lot. Smith, meanwhile, is facing his bye week, and should have David Carr as his quarterback when he returns. Smith had as many catches (10) and touchdowns (1) in one game with Vinny Testaverde at quarterback than he did in the previous three with Carr. This is the time to sell and get the better receiver.
3. Jeremy Shockey for Heath Miller
Shockey's the name, but the Giants have thrown more red zone passes to Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress than their stud tight end. In fact, Shockey has seen as many balls in the red zone as Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith (the rookie who has been out for a month). That's an awful sign. Contrast that to Miller, who has been targeted in the red zone more often than any Steelers receiver other than Hines Ward. With Najeh Davenport's legal woes, it isn't unreasonable to expect Miller to get even more red zone love. He's got nice matchups in five of the next seven weeks.
4. Vince Young for Marc Bulger
Bulger is likely to start this weekend, but Young is a question mark. It doesn't matter either way in my mind. Young hasn't topped 200 yards passing yet and his rushing totals have been pedestrian in four of five games. A sore quad won't help that, and a tough schedule -- Houston, Carolina, Jacksonville and Denver in four of the next five weeks -- is just as daunting. Meanwhile, Bulger returns at the right time for a guy with sore ribs. His next five games include two against the Seahawks, with Cleveland, New Orleans and San Francisco sandwiched in the middle. He even gets a bye week to heal up more. You're likely a week too late to get Drew Brees cheap. Don't miss the same opportunity with Bulger.
5. Peyton Manning for Tom Brady
Maybe I'm just a Patriots honk, but Brady's on pace to break Manning's single-season touchdown record of 49 and now that Peyton's got a ring, maybe Brady cares about that stuff. What I do know for sure is that Belichick's play calling has been relentless and remorseless. Meanwhile, the Colts have real balance between the run and pass and while I don't see Manning having a bad season, there's no way he's setting any passing records this season. Don't forget, Brady still has four games against the dismal defenses of the AFC East.
6. Jerious Norwood for Kevin Jones
If Jones' owner is paying attention, he won't do it. But if he's a fan of Janet Jackson's early work, i.e. "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" you could sell him on Norwood's 138 total yards with a touchdown on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" (yessir, I'm a company man). Just don't mention that Norwood had only 10 touches and continues to be stuck behind the hollowed-out husk of Warrick Dunn. Meanwhile, Jones is about to be the feature back in a Mike Martz offense. Yum.
7. Jaguars D for Buccaneers D
I like the Bucs' schedule better, especially when they play the Falcons and Niners in Weeks 15 and 16. The Jaguars still have two games against Indy, plus San Diego and Pittsburgh. What? People trade defenses? Sometimes.
A week ago, I wrote that I'd offered Joseph Addai and Selvin Young for Houshmandzadeh and Kevin Jones. I caught major flak for it from readers who posted on ESPN Conversation (beta), and one guy who mistakenly thought I didn't know the meaning of the word, "penultimate."
Well my offer was accepted, and while I don't think this was a GTR, it did improve my team. This particular roster was stocked at RB with Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, as well as Chris Brown. Meanwhile, my receivers included the nearly worthless Lee Evans and the injured Deion Branch. Housh immediately became the anchor of my receiving corps, and as I intimated above, I consider him one of the top three or four fantasy receivers.
That said, I'm aware that Addai was my best back. But Ronnie Brown playing the LT role in Cam Cameron's offense has made me a believer, and I'm high on Bush for the rest of the season. I also have a small concern about Addai in that Kenton Keith looked lovely in Week 5. Addai has never rushed the ball more than 230 times in any college or pro season and with Keith showing some ability, the Colts may limit Addai's touches to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Also, I'm no lawyer, but the way things are going in the Travis Henry saga, it could be Thanksgiving before Selvin Young gets a chance to be the feature back in Denver.
Did I buy Manhattan for 24 bucks, or did I spend a billion dollars buying Hoboken? Only time will tell.
Until next week, don't just win your league. Steal it.
Shawn Peters is a fantasy baseball and football analyst for ESPN.com, as well as a regular contributor to the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He can be reached at GrandTheftRoto@TalentedMrRoto.com.
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