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HTH Mailbag
Week 3
9/24/04

Here is a mix of interesting questions I received from fantasy players this past week, and the response provided. If you have a question for the HTH Mailbag, just drop me an email.

Note that not all questions will be answered because it just isn't possible to respond to them all. Also there are no certainties in fantasy football. The responses represent one opinion to consider in your final decision managing your fantasy team. Overall, I just Hope This Helps...


Question: Mike, I am commissioner of a league and have been for 5 years. Today a trade occurred and much of my league feels it is one-sided. What do you think?

Brian Westbrook, Marvin Harrison, and Michael Clayton for

Fred Taylor, Tiki Barber, and Eric Moulds.

We have generally taken the approach that an owner should be able to manage his team as he sees fit, but several of the owners see this one as crazy. Your thoughts?

Thanks, Mike

Mike, the first thing to note is that I don't agree with overturning trades unless there is collusion between the parties making the deal. If there is no evidence or suspicion of collusion, then I do what I can to prevent a trade from being overturned. If such a trade is overturned, then it is like saying the league disagrees with one person's player rankings who they considered to have gotten the worse end of the deal. However, since everything is based on future events, and things change so quickly in fantasy football and player performances, no one really knows how things will turn out. It is all speculation. I would guess that I've seen hundreds of examples of trades that have been soundly booed by a strong majority consensus of people, only to find later on the person who was supposed to get the worst end of the trade ended up with a huge landslide win.

So, with that precursor, I don't think this trade is offside far enough to call it "crazy". Let's break it down.

Brian Westbrook - I really like Westbrook, and have since the preseason. Good yardage, catches the ball, but hasn't hit the end zone yet. Although I personally think it is overblown a bit, some people believe he is a durability concern due to his size.

Marvin Harrison - Stud receiver, historically. Still a great player in a great offense, but losing some luster due to increased production from Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and the Colts' TEs. Not as consistent or reliable as he used to be, so even though he was a top 3 receiver in the draft can easily be argued to having fallen behind in the rankings to guys like Terrell Owens, Hines Ward, Chad Johnson and perhaps others.

Michael Clayton - Rookie but producing. Getting a fair share of targets and catches, but not a lot of yards (53 and 61 in his 2 games). Seems speed could be a problem here. Reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson in Tampa; could have a very tough time finding the end zone.

Fred Taylor - Stud RB...in terms of talent but hasn't done anything yet. Played very tough defense week 1, solid defense week 2, and his QB has been very poor so far. No catches for Taylor which is a surprise. Grumblings about a foot problem, and will never totally shake durability concern. I'm not ready to give up on Taylor yet though since he is a talent. SD, IND, KC and HOU coming up on his schedule looks promising.

Tiki Barber - Average RB who fell in drafts. Playing on a poor team. Did break off a 70 yard run for TD in week 1 though which has him up in the rankings. Catches the ball so should always be involved in the offense whether ahead or behind in games. Ron Dayne is not establishing himself which could spell more opportunity for Barber.

Eric Moulds - Very good talent but in a tough situation. Caught a TD in each game though which has made him more than respectable. QB situation is bad. Bledsoe will look to Moulds as much as possible though as his go-to receiver. Thoughts of Moulds being the next Hines Ward in Mike Mularkey's offense is a little ambitious, but Moulds is someone I'm still optimistic about for the season.

My rough take: Westbrook = Taylor; Harrison > Moulds; Clayton < Barber.

Overall, I like the Westbrook/Harrison/Clayton side of the deal more, but only slightly when I jot down these notes for each player. I assume that is the owner everything thinks got the best end of the deal while the Taylor/Barber/Moulds side was taken to the cleaners. I can easily see the second owner winning out in the end though. Not to mention he got 2 RB and 1 WR instead of 1 RB and 2 WR, and typically RB are more valuable even as roster depth.

If your league has always had the intention of letting people manage their own teams, then this isn't the trade to change that stance. It will set a bad precedence if you do.

Question: I have a choice between Kevan Balow and Charlie Garner at RB this week. Barlow is facing a tough defense where Garner isn't.

I'm left with the following choices at WR: Reche Caldwell, Ernest Wilford and Terry Glenn. I liked Glenn but he is playing a tough Washington defensive team. Caldwell has made a TD in each game but he doesn't get many receptions. Wilford is playing a weaker defense and also has a TD in each game.

Don

Hi Don. I consider Barlow a near stud RB while Garner seems far from it. In fact I'm very off on Garner and mostly the whole Bucs offense right now. They just can't seem to get it together. That said, Garner does have the revenge motivation going for him this week playing in primetime so we could see a bit of an upswing from him. However, unless the matchup is grossly favored as pro-Garner and anti-Barlow - and I don't think it is here - then you should pretty much always go with Barlow, barring injury. Latest on Barlow is he will play this week.

At WR, I still consider Wilford a fluke for the 2 TD each of the past 2 weeks. He only has 2 catches and 3 passes even thrown to him. You can't count on that. He should sit on the bench except in desperation.

The Cowboys have been winging the ball around which has really helped Glenn. As a number 2 receiver he has been pretty much the same as Caldwell playing as the Chargers number 1 wideout. More catches and yards for Glenn. One more TD for Caldwell.

Mike Krueger has these guys pretty much identical in his weekly projections. You really could flip a coin. I'm going to say Glenn though because I actually do like the Broncos defense about as much as the Redskins right now. I think the Broncos win this game going away, but Cowboys beat the Redskins.

That could spell some garbage points for Caldwell, but I'm leery of that with the uncertainty they've had at QB. Glenn is my pick of your three choices.

Question: Mike, This outbreak of injuries to major players is reminiscent of a recent season where RB and WR were going down like flies early on. Do you recall what year that was - 2001 or 2002? Do you recall some of the big names that fell to injury?

Phil

The bad year that sticks in my mind is 1999. There could have been others but 1999 was pretty brutal looking back at some early draft picks who not only got injured, but got injured early like this year.

RB Terrell Davis - The #1 undisputed player in fantasy football, Davis tore his ACL in game 4 of the 1999 season. This was the beginning of his career's downward spiral.

RB Jamal Anderson - Fresh off an 1,800 yard season that saw the Falcons go all the way to the Super Bowl, Anderson tore his ACL in game 2 and was lost for the remainder of the season.

QB Randall Cunningham - Cunningham set the world on fire in 1998 with 3,704 yards and 34 TD for the Vikings but suffered hand and shoulder injuries in 1999. He lost his starting job in week 6 to Brad Johnson and never got it back.

RB Fred Taylor - Taylor finished his 1998 rookie season with over 1,600 combined yards and 17 TD. Plagued with injuries throughout his second year, he was injured in week 2, missed week 3, was injured in week 4, missed weeks 5-7, played weeks 8 and 9, injured in week 10 and missed 11-13. Finished out the year with at least 1 TD in each of weeks 14-17.

QB Steve Young - 1998 saw a huge resurgence for Young in terms of fantasy numbers; 4,170 yards and 36 TD. In 1999 he played in the first 3 games, but then called it a career after sustaining a concussion against the Cardinals.

QB Vinny Testaverde - His 1998 year with the Jets he racked up over 3,200 yards and 29 TD. In 1999 he started week 1, suffered a ruptured Achilles' opening day and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.

WR Terrell Owens - Owens had his breakout year in 1998 registering over 1,000 yards and 15 TD, but slumped to a dismal 750 yards and 4 TD in 1999. Owens actually played in most games, missing only 2 due to a high ankle sprain suffered in week 5.

Is that the year you were thinking about?



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