It’s that time of year again, kids. The weather is starting to get colder, the MLB playoffs are about to begin and the air is starting to carry the annual offensive odor of regret.
[media-credit id=20135 align=”alignleft” width=”193″][/media-credit]As Week 4 of the football season comes to a close, fantasy owners all across the country are beginning to experience an unpleasant sinking feeling in their stomachs as they realize that they made a horrible mistake — in some cases, many horrible mistakes — on draft day.
Those of you in the second group, I’d advise you forget you even drafted a team this season. There is no hope for you. Move on. After all, there’s always next year. However, if you happen to be lucky enough to be a part of that first group, then pay attention.
Two types of players are likely to be giving you cramps at this point in the season: the player who performed well last season but has shown no sign of his former play this season, and the player who has shown some flashes of last season’s brilliance but is unable to execute on a weekly basis.
The Patriots’ wide receiver Randy Moss exemplifies the first type.
In ESPN leagues, Moss’s average draft position is 12.1. I know why you did it. I know it’s not your fault. Moss was coming off a season in which he accumulated 13 touchdowns and almost 1,300 yards, all with quarterback Tom Brady still recovering from an ACL tear. It was logical to assume that with a healthy Brady running the offense, Moss would have no problem eclipsing last season’s numbers. Those of you who believed this have been duped.
So far, Brady’s throwing to anyone but Moss, who has accumulated a total of nine receptions for 139 yards, including a grand total of zero receptions in Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
At this point, Moss owners have two options: Bench Moss and hope he turns it around or abandon ship and trade him.
Trading a high profile player like Moss can be a difficult thing to do, but the longer you wait the less likely you are to get good value for him. I can guarantee you that in your league there is at least one owner in need of a wide receiver, and that same owner may still believe that Moss will turn his season around. If you act now, you may still be able to trade Moss and receive good value for him in return.
However, most fantasy owners are not stupid. They might call your bluff. To sweeten the deal you might want to add into the mix one of your bench players who could fill a need on their team. The downside of this is that you now are losing two players, but in the end it will be worth it to have a productive player in Moss’s place. This plan can be used to deal with any big name player performing like Moss. Remember, a little trickery every now and then never hurt anyone… except the person being tricked.
In any case, the second type of headache player is a bit more difficult to deal with. Titan running back Chris Johnson provides the perfect example. Looking at the record-breaking numbers of Johnson’s 2009 season, his average draft position of 1.4 for this season seems justified. However, despite a couple of good performances, Johnson has been wildly inconsistent, as any fantasy owner unlucky enough to draft him first will tell you. He should not have been drafted one spot ahead of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been much more consistent this season.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be able to get good value for Johnson in a trade. He is still one of the best players at his position, and he has the talent to turn his season around. But until he does, you should consider benching him for a more consistent performer, because as it is Johnson is just as likely to hurt you as he is to help you.
Everyone has their draft day regrets. There is no such thing as a perfect draft because there are just too many factors outside the fantasy owner’s control. No one can account for injuries or unexpected slumps.
What matters is how you deal with the rotten spots on your roster. If you deal with your underachievers soon enough, you may be able to prevent them from doing irreparable harm to your record.
Make trades, work the waiver wire, watch for favorable matchups and adjust your lineup to make sure you trust your starting players to perform.
Lastly, make sure no one tricks you into making a bad trade. It’s all fun and games until someone gets Randy Moss.
Pick Up of the Week: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England. Yes, the Patriots are on a bye week, but don’t let that stop you from grabbing Green-Ellis while you still can. So far, he succeeded where Laurence Maroney failed and has somehow convinced Bill Belichick to give him the ball consistently. He is still available in almost 30 percent of ESPN leagues and can provide you with good value at running back.