by Cecil Taylor
BUY orders: These are players you could obtain through a reasonable trade given their relatively low perceived fantasy value.
BUY: David Harris, LB, Jets
Harris has had a slightly above average season, but nothing special, no top-5 performance as in years past. Great time to buy him. Harris is facing teams that solidly commit to the run in 5 of his next 6 games. He should accumulate tackles to stabilize his value. Where Harris needs to improve to really shoot up is in big plays. The schedule doesn’t necessarily favor big plays, but Harris has started to add them in recent weeks.
BUY: Marcus Trufant, DB, Seahawks
The biggest factor in Trufant’s success is health, and he’s healthy. Trufant has been solid but not spectacular this season. However, he may be getting a lot busier. Over the next several weeks, he’ll be guarding Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Smith, Michael Crabtree and Roddy White. Lots of balls will be coming Trufant’s way, which can only enhance his IDP value.
BUY: Mario Williams, DL, Texans
Williams is suffering through one of the worst slumps of his career. He’s been a non-factor since early October. Sure, his owner is starting to question where he fits on the roster. It’s time to swoop in and make an offer. No guarantees that Williams will turn things around, but why not take a chance on owning him if it happens?
BUY: Roman Harper, DB, Saints
Harper started hot, went totally cold, but had a resurgent Week 9. Will he cool off during the bye? Perhaps not. With Darren Sharper back next to him, Harper is taking on a big play personality once again. His owner got used to benching Harper, so it’s possible he’ll be willing to let the strong safety go. Look for Harper to give you production during the Saints’ stretch drive.
SELL orders: These are hot or big-name players that could net you more than they are actually worth.
SELL: Brian Urlacher, LB, Bears
Until a slight improvement in Week 9, Urlacher had been in a steady IDP points decline. He’s been showing the signs of a declining LB, too. Urlacher has so much name value that he is likely to fetch a good price. Just make sure that the purchaser doesn’t look too closely at the week-to-week stats. Instead, point out how Urlacher is a top-20 LB in your league. Or better yet, just let his name sell.
SELL: Troy Polamalu, DB, Steelers
Here’s another over-hyped name player. Polamalu hasn’t regained the fantasy surge he experienced in 2008-09 before injuring his knee. In fact, Polamalu hasn’t done much of note since Week 2 and hasn’t achieved double-digit figures all season. Most owners, though, would jump at Polamalu regardless of stats, figuring he will perk up at some point. Put him on the block.
SELL: James Anderson, LB, Panthers
It’s really hard to pull the trigger on this one. But it’s quite possible that Jon Beason’s return to MLB will siphon off tackle opportunities. Anderson has overachieved at SLB this season, putting up some of the best numbers ever seen by a Tampa Two SLB. But it just feels like the run is ending. Sell him high, very high.
SELL: Kyle Vanden Bosch, DL, Lions
Looking in the rear view mirror, it now seems like Vanden Bosch’s quick start was an aberration in a decline that started last season. Yes, he flared up with a scorching Week 8, his best outing of the season. But that only serves to enhance his value for a possible trade. Even with Ndamukong Suh dominating on the inside, Vanden Bosch hasn’t really taken advantage.
SELL: Nate Clements, DB, 49ers
Clements has been picked on a lot this year, so he has delivered the goods for fantasy owners all season. But his production is starting to tail off because he’s flashing his ability again. Teams are gradually starting to point at Shawntae Spencer at the opposite corner. Clements is still a top 20-25 DB in a lot of leagues, so he’ll have value on the trade market.
HOLD orders: These players might or might not be performing, but you should keep them rostered unless your squad needs fresh names.
HOLD: Jared Allen, DL, Vikings
Allen is about to take off. He gave a taste last week with 2.5 sacks, and you can expect more of the same against Chicago this week. Not only that, but the schedule sets up well for Allen as well. He is simply too talented to allow this slump to continue. The Vikings may be fired up again, if only against their own coach, so get ready to ride Allen through a strong home stretch.
HOLD: Patrick Willis, LB, 49ers
It’s pretty simple. You want to be there when he wakes up. HC Mike Singletary has indicated that teams have focused more on Willis this year – seems hard to believe that no one noticed Willis before. But if so, expect Willis to adjust. The fact is, Willis hasn’t been that bad. He just hasn’t had those trademark bust-out games that make him special, but – surprise, surprise – he’s a top-15 LB in most leagues.
HOLD: Dashon Goldson, DB, 49ers
Love this guy, but it’s clear that he hasn’t been the same player this season. You wonder why, and the reason in most cases like this is that the guy is playing hurt and hiding it. Sure enough, during the bye week, Goldson admitted that he has played through plantar fascia, a deep knee bruise and a sore wrist. So that’s why the big plays have stopped. Perhaps with a week to heal, Goldson will have a better 2nd half.
HOLD: Brian Cushing, LB, Texans
First, he missed 4 games for PEDs. Then about the time he got used to playing again, Cushing moved to MLB to take over for the injured DeMeco Ryans. In short, he stunk it up, so the Texans are moving him back to SLB. Look for him to prosper there in the role he played as a rookie.
HOLD: Jason Babin, LB, Titans
Babin has cooled off from a hot start, but it’s not like he’s fallen off the earth, either. Babin is having some good weeks and some bad weeks. The upcoming schedule doesn’t favor nor work against him. Just hang on and look for Babin to be no worse than a #2 DL the rest of the way.