Originally created 11/07/02

Fantasy Football: Save yourself: Make a trade



OK, admit it. Your fantasy team hasn't been what you hoped. Your draft day dreams have turned into a total disaster.

Your No. 1 pick has been a dud, your sleeper pick refuses to stop hitting the snooze button and, at this point, your draft selections are being likened to a Cincinnati Bengals draft-day plan.

But there's still hope for you yet. There's still time to make a trade.

As the trade deadline approaches for most leagues, a struggling team shouldn't hesitate to try to improve itself. A lot of times, a late-season trade might be just the thing to sneak your team into the playoffs. Most of the time, you won't do it through waiver-wire or free-agent pickups.

You probably won't be able to pick up San Francisco's Terrell Owens or Green Bay's Brett Favre, nor should you. Odds are, their owners aren't going to give them up and, if they're willing, you're going to give up way too much.

Instead, try concentrating on the middle-of-the-pack players, ones who will give you solid - if not spectacular - numbers down the stretch.

Try to pull off a deal for Philadelphia's Duce Staley or Atlanta's T.J. Duckett. Maybe you could get Chad Pennington of the New York Jets or even Tommy Maddox of Pittsburgh. It couldn't hurt to try for a No. 2 receiver in Peerless Price of Buffalo or maybe even a No. 1 on a bad team such as Baltimore's Travis Taylor.

If you do manage to strike a deal, the important thing to remember is to be fair. Nobody likes collusion among owners. That can be a death sentence to your league reputation.

Remember, though, not everyone can make the playoffs. Even if you made a great deal to strengthen your team, nothing is guaranteed. However, you might just bring one of the middle teams down to your level, thanks to your late-season deal.

After all, misery loves company.

START THEM

Thomas Jones, Arizona: Flashback to Week 2, and you might remember Jones' career-high 173-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Seahawks. I know Jones' owners do, especially because he hasn't been productive since.

Eddie George, Tennessee: He's starting to pick things up and should have a great game against the fledgling Texans defense.

Kerry Collins, New York Giants: What does Kerry Collins have in common with Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson? They'll both burn Minnesota's horrid pass defense. Even without Ike Hilliard, who's out for the season, Collins should have a good day.

SIT THEM

Jim Miller, Chicago: He's quickly approaching Chris Chandler status. Miller has been hurt way too much this year to be reliable. If he does play this week, despite the tendinitis in his shoulder, he won't do much against the Patriots.

Chad Pennington, New York Jets: After a great game against San Diego, he'll come back down to earth against a Miami defense that will more than make up for the bad play at quarterback.

Michael Vick, Atlanta: He'll make some plays, but Pittsburgh has the speed and talent to keep him in check.

ROOKIE WATCH

T.J. Duckett, Atlanta: He's been scoring and running strong the past few weeks. He'll have to be strong Sunday for the Falcons to continue their winning ways.

SLEEPER

Travis Taylor, Baltimore: He hasn't played up to his No. 1 receiver role with the Ravens, but he'll get plenty of chances against the Bengals on Sunday.

Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or raymond.beasock@augustachronicle.com.