Fantasy football is just like the stock market. You win by buying low and selling high.
One month into the season is the perfect time to trade players while their fantasy values are inflated by hot starts and one or two monster games that made the guys appear more amazing than they truly are.
It is a time to turn these September heroes into franchise quarterbacks and running backs. Here are three players to trade now while their fantasy value is high:
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (RB)
Do not make the same mistake that Darren McFadden and Jake Locker owners made. Those people held onto Oakland’s McFadden and Tennessee’s Locker one week too long, even though they knew both were ticking time bombs due to their injury histories.
Fantasy owners should have dealt Murray after his 175-yard performance against the St. Louis Rams in Week 3. The Rams run defense is a lot like the Texas Longhorns’ run defense in that every running back that they face looks like the next coming of Gale Sayers.
Even though Murray is third in the NFL in rushing, he has many things going against him that should stunt his fantasy value soon. Dallas’ offensive line is suspect, and the offense still turns to the passing attack more than it should.
But the biggest thing that haunts Murray is his brittle body. The running back missed nine games over his first two years in the league, and because Dallas’ running back depth is nonexistent, Murray is forced to carry the ball more than most NFL tailbacks. It’s great that he is on the field 90 percent of the time, but this is one of the rare instances when fantasy owners would probably prefer he play and touch the ball LESS.
Murray takes a lot of punishment when he runs, too. He is not good at avoiding contact. He went to the Shonn Greene School of How To Not Break Tackles. You can probably get the world for him right now if you made him available in your fantasy league. It would be wise to take the highest bid soon.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets (RB)
Powell is a solid, straightforward runner who can pick up blitzes, catch passes out of the backfield and, as a runner, follow good blocking for four yards. And because he is a well-rounded player, Powell is currently getting 95 percent of the touches at running back for the Jets while part-time starter Chris Ivory is out with another hamstring injury.
Powell is coming off nice games against the Tennessee Titans (108 total yards) and Buffalo Bills (158 total yards). At the moment he has more rushing yards than Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, Indianapolis’ Trent Richardson and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.
Powell’s fantasy stock will never be higher.
Now is the time to send Powell on his merry way if you own him. Ivory will eventually return and take half of Powell’s touches, immediately cutting down Powell’s value. And the Jets are entering the toughest part of their schedule, meaning they could be on the bad end of blowouts where Powell will not get many second-half carries.
More importantly, Powell does not have the speed or the ability to break tackles to be a starting running back in the NFL. He is perfect in a timeshare situation or as a dependable backup who can step in for 10 touches per game, but he will not win any rushing titles or lead any fantasy teams to championships.
Trade him now while he is running like Curtis Martin.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (WR)
Thanks to the injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola and the inexperience of New England’s bevy of rookie receivers, Edelman has emerged as Tom Brady’s top target during the first month of the season.
Edelman is tied with Houston’s Andre Johnson for the league-lead in receptions with 34. Granted, he has the lowest yards-per-catch average among any of the wide receivers ranked in the top 30 (9.4), but in PPR leagues he has still been fantasy gold.
Gronkowski and Amendola will not be out of action forever, though. Both are slated to return in the coming weeks, and when they suit up, that means Edelman drops from first to third on Brady’s target depth chart (and possibly even fourth if Kenbrell Thompkins’s meteoric rise continues).
Feel free to package Edelman in a deal for a running back or a better receiver before New England’s receiving corps get healthy, not to mention before Edelman gets injured himself. He does not have a full 16-game season to his credit, so there is no reason to believe he will last the whole year.