I can’t be bothered to look up the playoff schedule to answer
your question because too much will change between now and then
to make it worth the effort. However, since you appear to accept
the premise that Newton’s Panthers have a favorable schedule,
I’ll assume that you consider Christian McCaffrey a desirable
trade target. Since he’s coming off a couple of back-to-back
meh performances, maybe you can pick him up cheap, but not in my
league, since I already own him.
I don’t think it’s fair to compare McCaffrey’s
playoff value to that of Newton. Yes, they’re playing against
the same teams in the final two weeks of the season (New Orleans
and Atlanta), but both of those clubs are in the top 3 for yielding
fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Falcons are also in the top
3 in terms of points yielded to running backs, but the Saints have
been effective at containing RBs (if only by virtue of surrendering
more fantasy points than any other team to WRs).
Even so, Matt makes a reasonable point about the desirability of
McCaffrey. It would be nice to know what sort of offer he might
be willing to consider for the Panther RB, but I guess he thinks
it’s unlikely for McCaffrey to be valued fairly after being
held to 80 yards or less (and no scores) for two weeks in a row.
Fortunately, an owner named Daryl gave me lots of details on the
deal that he made to upgrade at RB for the post-season by trading
David Johnson for Leonard Fournette.
We discussed the matter over the phone, so I’ll quote a few
snippets from our conversation to the best of my memory.
Me: DJ for Fournette? Straight up?
Daryl: No, I have to throw in Philip Lindsay, and he throws in Marvin
Me: Do you need another receiver?
Daryl: No, I have Thielen, OBJ, Hilton, and Allen Robinson. I don’t
really care about Jones. It’s just a way to help make room
on his roster for DJ and Lindsay.
Me: Who does that leave you with at RB?
Daryl: James Conner, who should probably tide me over until Fournette’s
Me: And what if Bell comes back to Pittsburgh before Fournette is
ready in Jacksonville?
Daryl: I can go run-and-shoot with Cohen and 4 WRs in my league.
Me: You have some serious ammo at WR, but it seems like you’re
leaving yourself pretty thin at RB, especially for the playoffs.
Daryl: David Johnson is on a terrible offense that will probably
be even more terrible than usual against the Rams in Week 16. Fournette
is on a far more functional team, and he plays the Dolphins in Week
16. They are horrible against the run.
Me: The Jags aren’t that functional. Bortles just got benched.
Daryl: They’re better than the Cards by a mile, and way more
likely to be playing for something in Week 16. I know what I can
expect from DJ every week, and I’m tired of settling for it.
Me: Still, Johnson & Lindsay for a running back who’s
currently injured and a receiver you don’t even want…
Daryl: Lindsay and Jones are just lubrication for the deal. The
headline is DJ for Fournette. You know how hamstrings work. They
don’t keep guys like Fournette out for the whole season. I’m
sure he’ll be back by the time my playoffs start. What do
you think of the trade?
It’s hard to evaluate trades involving Johnson because even
though he’s putting up solid RB2 numbers, he was drafted as
a high-end RB1. It’s even harder to guess at Fournette’s
value until we see him being productive on the field again. So what
do readers think? How does this trade compare to any David Johnson
trades you’ve witnessed in your own leagues?
This week’s question: What’s
a fair trade for Amari Cooper?
I don’t know if any player in the NFL has a more nebulous
value than Amari Cooper right now. The move to Dallas seems like
it can’t possibly hurt his value, but does it make him worth
hanging onto (or even acquiring)? I’ve already encountered
a wide range of opinions on Cooper’s prospects as a Cowboy
and whether Dak Prescott will be able to exploit his talents more
effectively than Derek Carr did. Readers who have an inner sports
journalist dying to come out can seize this opportunity to explain
why they think Cooper will boom or bust as a Cowboy and what sort
of player they would be willing to accept or offer for him in trade.
But I mainly want to hear from readers about actual trades involving
Cooper. Part of me suspects he is simply too difficult to evaluate
for a trade to be possible—that he’s more of a hot potato destined
to bounce between the waiver wire and the rosters of owners who
will keep him for a week or two before cutting him to make room
for someone else. In any case, please share your thoughts on Cooper
as trade bait in the comment section below or by emailing
Survivor Pool Picks
Trap Game: Dolphins at Texans
The Texans are home favorites by more than a TD vs. the discombobulated
Dolphins, who have had to rely on backup QB Brock Osweiler (with
starter Ryan Tannehill nursing a shoulder injury). How will Osweiler
handle returning to a stadium where Texan fans had such high hopes
(and then such dashed expectations) in him as a starting QB in 2016?
I don’t think we’ll know until it’s too late to
change our bets, which is why I won’t be placing any bets
on this one.
Pick #3: Colts over Raiders (6-1; GB, NO, CHI, LAC, CIN, car, TB)
A year ago, the Raiders had Khalil Mack on defense, Marshawn Lynch
in the backfield, Michael Crabtree catching TD passes, and Amari Cooper catching (and dropping) other passes. Now Mack is a Bear,
Lynch is injured, Crabtree is a Raven, and Cooper is (suddenly)
a Cowboy. But hey, at least Oakland has Jon Gruden (for what that’s
worth). The 2-5 Colts are better than their record suggests (and
they’ve also won twice as many games as the Raiders). The
usually porous Colt defense was stout in Week 6 vs. Buffalo, a team
with a brand new QB (Derek Anderson) under center. I expect to see
an equally stout performance against a Raider team on which a different
QB named Derek will be surrounded by backups.
Pick #2: Steelers over Browns (5-2; no, LAC, hou, GB, CAR, MIN, IND)
These teams tied in Week 1 with Baker Mayfield on the sidelines,
so there are doubtless Dawg Pound faithful who believe that with
Mayfield under center, the Browns can win in Pittsburgh. That seems
unlikely given that Mayfield has no real surrounding cast—certainly
nothing to rival the productivity that we see out of Antonio Brown,
Juju Smith-Schuster, and James Conner for Pittsburgh. Even if Mayfield’s
future is brighter than Ben Roethlisberger’s past (which we
don’t yet know for certain, by the way), there’s only
so much a QB can do in a vacuum. If this weren’t a divisional
contest, it would be my top choice of the week because of the stark
disparity in offensive talent between these teams. The tie 7 weeks
ago is from a different (almost unrecognizable) football universe,
with Josh Gordon catching a TD from Tyrod Taylor for Cleveland.
Pick #1: Bears over Jets (6-1; BAL, LAR, min, JAX, NO, GB, LAC)
The Jets have played exactly one good game on the road this season.
It was back in Week 1 against Detroit, with the Jet defenders decoding
Matthew Stafford’s hand signals in a way that left the Lions
embarrassed at home. In their other road games (vs. Cleveland and
Jacksonville), they were held to the teens. Considering that they
were also held in the teens at home by Minnesota and Miami, it seems
likely that the impression the Jets made in Week 1 was more of a
misimpression. The Bears, on the other hand, have demonstrated that
Trey Burton is an excellent tight end, that Tarik Cohen is an explosive
pass-catching back, and that Mitch Trubisky is capable of living
up to the hype. Gimme da Bears at home.
Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and
playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning
a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms)
can be found here.