Fantasy Doctor: 'Tis the season for trades

Posted Sept. 26, 2012 @ 4:12 p.m.
Posted By The Fantasy Doctor

Every Wednesday, The Fantasy Doctor ponders fantasy-football dilemmas and prescribes advice with an eye on helping you win. Email your fantasy questions to

I was offered a trade and am having a difficult time deciding on it. The trade: Panthers WR Steve Smith for Packers WR Jordy Nelson. I'm just not sure how well Jordy will perform from here on out, and with all the weapons G.B. has, it's hard to predict. Smith isn't putting up many points either, but he's the No. 1 receiver and will get a ton of targets. Also, I would like to improve my bench without sacrificing too much of my starting lineup. Any suggestions? I am currently 3-0 but have had a ton of help from injuries and poor weeks from opponents’ players.  I'm in a standard 12-team league and my team is as follows: QB: Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford; WR: Steve Smith, Dez Bryant, Brandon Lloyd, Kevin Ogletree, Ramses Barden; RB: Ray Rice, Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers; TE: Dennis Pitta, Brandon Pettigrew, Kellen Winslow; PK: Dan Bailey; DEF: Baltimore, Dallas.

Thank you,

The good news about working at the Pro Football Weekly medical practice, Daniel, is that there are other capable professionals I can consult whenever I need. I posed your trade proposal to a couple of editors who follow the Packers and Panthers closely, and both believe Nelson has more full-season upside than Smith. The Green Bay and Carolina offenses both have been a little hit-and-miss early this season. The question is, which team is more likely to recapture its best form? We'll side with the Packers, which tips the scales in favor of Nelson.

On a side note, I like that you aren't standing pat at 3-0. From the looks of it, your QB depth is a major strength, and you also have some good options at the WR and TE spots. While you're a little thin at running back, you do have a blue-chip back in Rice, which solves a lot of problems.

Hey Doc,

I'm in a standard 14-team league and I don't have much depth at RB. Chris Johnson's trade value is so low and I think he'll turn it around so I'm looking to pick him up. Right now, my RBs are Marshawn Lynch, Darren Sproles, Isaac Redman, and Mike Tolbert. My WRs are Percy Harvin, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Bowe, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Devery Henderson, Owen Daniels, and Fred Davis ( I don't have to start a TE). I have to start two RBs and three WRs/TEs. Which players should I put together to try to make a deal? Thanks for the help!
— Tanner

Let's start by setting aside the players I wouldn't include for a deal for Johnson. They are: Harvin, Lynch, Bowe, Sproles and Britt. If I had Chris Johnson on my club and was offered Harvin, Lynch or Bowe straight-up, I would calmly say yes, politely end the call and shed a few tears of joy, considering how the first three weeks have gone.  While Sproles and Britt might not be as valuable as those players right now, I like their upside, and I wouldn't want to give them up.

While I'm not against trading for Johnson, you have to weigh his current value, not what it was entering 2012. You need to balance the potential reward of Johnson reversing his current form with the risk that the Titans' ground game continues to struggle. if you can construct a fair-market package for Johnson, then it's a deal worth making, but be careful — you do not want to take on too much risk here. 

This is my second year playing fantasy football, and this week I am playing my husband and I want to smash him! I am hoping you can lead me in the right direction. So far I am starting:

QB: Eli Manning
WR: Eric Decker
WR: Miles Austin
RB: Ray Rice
RB: Trent Richardson
TE: Brandon Pettigrew
W/R: Greg Jennings
PK: Stephen Gostkowski
D: Dallas

Bench: RB Stevan Ridley, QB Matthew Stafford, RB Jonathan Stewart, TE Dustin Keller, QB Brandon Weeden, WR Stephen Hill, PK Dan Carpenter, Chicago defense.

So, here are my two biggest questions. Who do I start: Eli Manning or Stafford? Dallas or Chicago? Personally I think my lineup looks OK, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I really want to stop my husband’s 3-0 record.

Thank you, thank you!

It looks like you've constructed a good lineup. It's a coin flip between Manning and Stafford, assuming the latter can play in Week Four after suffering a hamstring injury last week. I think you're OK sticking with Manning. I also believe you've got the right defense in the lineup, too, considering the Bears' problems dealing with a good pass rush. Best of luck this week.

Hey Doc,  

I really need to win this week. Who should I start at QB: Tony Romo or Joe Flacco? I believe Flacco has the better matchup and is playing better than Romo but you have Romo ranked higher. Who should I start at tight end: Kyle Rudolph or Jermichael Finley? Finally, should I start Tashard Choice at my flex spot over Torrey Smith? Thanks.

— Alejandro

I prefer Romo, who strikes me as the more consistent option for fantasy football owners. Though he has only four TD passes in three games, you would have to think the Dallas offense will perk up at some point. However, Flacco's a wonderful alternative now and going forward. The Ravens' passing game has really taken a step foward this season. Flacco has a good matchup this week, too, what with the Browns' defense missing CB Joe Haden for two more games.

At tight end, I'd go with Finley over Rudolph. However, both could be productive this week. Each draws a defense that struggles vs. the pass.

For your "flex" spot, I'd go with Torrey Smith. Bills RB Fred Jackson (knee) returned to practice on Wednesday, and if he plays, Choice just isn't going to get the sort of workload that you want.

Hey Doc,

I need some advice on whom my two running backs and "flex" should be. My running backs are Arian Foster, Shonn Greene, Trent Richardson, Mikel Leshoure, DeAngelo Williams, Cedric Benson and Fred Jackson. If you’re not a fan of any of them (for the flex role) I also have Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Sidney Rice, and Lance Moore.

Hope to hear a response,

For starters, I'd pencil Foster into the lineup. If he's healthy, he's an automatic start.

For your other RB spot, I'd lean toward Richardson. The Ravens are better vs. the run than the pass, but Richardson is tough to bench. He has three TDs in the past two games.

Finally, I'd make Leshoure, who had 30 touches in Week Three, your "flex." However, I'd also work to get Jennings and White in the lineup in some form or fashion.