Trade Bait: Targets for Week 9…and beyond

November 5 7:40am
AntonioD

By Antonio D’Arcangelis

Are you the kind of fantasy owner who’s constantly scrambling to take advantage of perceived (and real) changes in fantasy value, bombarding fellow league members with an onslaught of tempting trade offers? I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, and to tender some suggestions for prospective deals. For Week 9, I’m highlighting six players poised for solid numbers this Sunday and in the weeks that follow. Let’s get to it!

Brandon Jacobs, NYG – The Ahmad Bradshaw foot injury – despite the possibility that he could be ready this week for limited touches – scares the crap out of me. Jacobs isn’t the most elusive back in the world and carries injury concerns of his own, but for now he’s healthy and it’s a good bet that he’ll get the majority of touches for the Giants in the coming weeks. And while he’s not known for his pass-catching abilities, he’s serviceable enough to get loose in the flats occasionally and rumble for big yardage. Danny Ware isn’t serious competition as far as workload is concerned, and the Giants will likely turn over all goal line touches to Jacobs as well.

Steven Jackson, STL – He may be a little older, but Jackson just keeps on producing. Many of his owners could be thinking they’ve gotten the best out of Jackson and will be looking to sell him off and ply their trades with a younger back. But S-Jax has plenty left in the tank, and his schedule looks pretty favorable in the coming weeks (@ARI, @CLE, SEA, ARI).  You might have to deal an upcoming talent like DeMarco Murray and/or additional depth, but it’ll be worth it. The St. Louis offense relies on Jackson in all his forms (edge rusher, banger and pass catcher) to move the ball.

Michael Bush, OAK – While I don’t think Darren McFadden’s injury is all that serious, it never hurts to buy some insurance, whether it’s for yourself or at the potential expense of the McFadden owner in your league. Bush’s career has been a strange one. He was drafted as a fourth-round project with huge upside, sat out the 2007-08 season on the PUP list with a broken leg, and developed nicely his first couple seasons despite the ominous presence of McFadden – the new prospect. But Bush’s career numbers (4.4 YPC, 17 career rushing TDs) don’t look terrible compared to Run-DMC’s (4.4 YPC, 16 career rushing TDs). Bush won’t contribute nearly as much as a receiver, but he’s a bruising back with decent matchups in the next couple weeks if McFadden can’t go.

Miles Austin, DAL – Considering the upcoming schedule and nadir they’ve reached, I’m buying low on Cowboys receivers right now. Austin caught three TD passes in a game earlier this season, and he’s supposed to be recovered from the Week 2 injury suffered during that epic performance. Austin’s disappearance over the past couple weeks is best attributed to the opposing defenses, which did everything they could to take him out of the game. Last week, he was targeted just three times by Tony Romo, who looked to the outside for Laurent Robinson a lot more than in the direction of Austin and Dez Bryant. If the Cowboys are going to reverse their losing record, it’ll be on the backs of Austin, Bryant and TE Jason Witten.

Brandon Lloyd, STL – Lloyd doesn’t have Sam Bradford back just yet, although the second-year QB (and last year’s offensive rookie of the year) could return this week from a high ankle sprain that has kept him out of the team’s last two games. The good news is that Lloyd is such a talented receiver, he’s adapted nicely to the Josh McDaniels redux in St. Louis with the likes of A.J. Feeley. That should tell you something, namely that Lloyd is ready to produce big numbers in the second half of 2011. Of course, those numbers will be a lot better once he develops some rapport with Bradford. I own Lloyd in a couple leagues, and I’ve been fielding a few trade requests with his name as a central component. If you’re deep in other areas and need a quality WR2 with enormous upside, Lloyd should be on your to-get list.

Antonio Brown, PIT – One of the hottest targets in the league, Brown has emerged as a reliable fantasy producer with an outside shot at 1,000 receiving yards. He’ll probably never be a huge red zone threat based on his pocket-sized proportions (5-10, 186), but he’s a popular guy with Ben Roethlisberger and he just scored his first TD in Week 8. Getting off the schneid in the scoring department could mean more opportunities once the Steelers look to deliver a knockout blow on second-and-short as they pass midfield – especially considering the injury to Emmanuel Sanders (knee) and Hines Ward’s diminishing role.  Brown won’t cost you a bundle, and he’s always a threat to get you a cheap TD in the return game as well. Find a way to get him board and plug him in as your WR3.

Antonio D’Arcangelis is a fantasy baseball and football writer from Upstate New York. He’s written for Fanhouse.com and Rotoexperts.com, among several other sites, with columns syndicated on SI.com and Yahoo.com. Antonio has 10 years experience as a fantasy writer and currently provides content for  FFToday.comFanDuel.com and DraftBuddy.com. He can be reached via e-mail and on Twitter.

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