Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As any first-year business major can tell you, it's always best to buy at a low price and sell when your investment has peaked. We will use the same basic theory to tell you who to pursue and who to offer up on the trade block as we near the mid-point of the 2011 NFL fantasy season.
Wes Welker, WR, New England - It may sound crazy to trade a guy who leads the league in targets (75), receptions (51) and yards-per-game (130.8), but there is fact behind this statement. Welker's career history shows that he's a fast starter and a slow finisher. Check out these statistics; Sept-64.0 ypg, Oct-61.7, Nov-57.1, Dec-49.7 and you will see that his performance drops in each month as he progresses through the season. He has scored 20 touchdowns in 52 games during September and October and just nine touchdowns in 58 November and December games. I'm sure there are plenty of fantasy owners who don't know these numbers and will pay you dearly for his rights. Don't be afraid to be bold.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas - Murray's fantasy value will never be higher following his record-breaking 253-yard rushing day against St. Louis on Sunday. Here are the reasons to "sell" Murray. Yes, it was a great afternoon for the rookie, but he did it against the worst rushing defense in the league. The Rams were dead last in rushing yards allowed, yielding 163.0 ypg heading into the game. They were 23 ypg worse than the Carolina Panthers who held down the 31st spot. Felix Jones will be back in a couple weeks and as a Jerry Jones favorite, will share the position with Murray. The Cowboys and Tony Romo still love to throw the football. Since Romo took over control of the offense in 2008, Dallas has passed the ball 57.2-percent of the time and run in just 42.8-percent. One caveat on this one, wait until after next week's game against Philadelphia to finalize the deal. Jones will not be ready to play in Week 8 and the Eagles run defense, while not as bad as the Rams, is eminently beatable. He should have another productive afternoon which will only enhance his fantasy value.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit - When last seen, Stafford was limping off the field after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons with possible knee or ankle problems. As injury prone as the Lions signal caller has been, that should be reason enough to send him packing. Add in that the last two teams, San Francisco and Atlanta, have found that he is vulnerable to a strong pass rush and you should consider trading him while you still can. In the copycat NFL, every team will follow what the 49ers and Rams have done.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans - Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston may be getting the bulk of the media attention, but Sproles' ability to run and catch is an hugely underrated weapon in the Saints arsenal. Brees obviously knows it, because he has targeted him 59 times, the most of any running back in the NFL. He's averaging 14 touches a game and it doesn't matter if the Saints are ahead or behind, he'll always be part of the offense. Sproles should be a reasonably prices acquisition as his preseason ADP was a bargain 158.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina - Newton may not be leading the Panthers to many wins, but he's leading plenty of fantasy lineup to victory. His Week 1 422- yard passing day was nice, but it's his ability to run the ball and score which sets him apart from most other quarterbacks. He's averaging 38 yards and a touchdown on the ground which equates to almost 10 fantasy points with his feet. His only "poor" day passing took place in hurricane-like conditions. Newton was fourth overall with 144 fantasy points heading into Week 7 and did nothing to hurt those numbers on Sunday. He's the real deal.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati - Usually rookies start slowly and build to a reasonable production level later in the season. And with the lack of off- season practice and the short summer camp because of the lockout, 2011 figured to be a tough year for rookies. However, Green, like Newton, is proving that theory to be false. Green has posted double-digit points in five of his six games (the Bengals had a bye this week) and has obviously developed a good rapport with fellow rookie and Cincinnati's starting quarterback, Andy Dalton. Green is getting an average of eight targets-a-game and has produced 29 catches for 453 yards and four scores. His best games are still in front of him, but he's not yet thought of as a superstar receiver. Trade for him now before he is.