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Tuesday Brunch: Think like a Raider today

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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It won't be difficult to craft a joke or two at Oakland's expense over the next couple of days; the price for Carson Palmer was a steep one. The team with the most Heisman Trophies wins. Terrelle Pryor once again is demoted from clipboard to headset.

But even if you don't agree with the value the Raiders surrendered for Palmer, you have to appreciate the nerve of the trade, the willingness to take a chance, play for today, go for it (Clark and Rusty Griswold are nodding their heads.)

The Raiders recognize that the AFC West is there for the taking. The Chargers are 4-1 but they don't look like anyone's juggernaut; they've got road games with the Jets and Chiefs before a Week 9 home match against Oakland. The Raiders have a dynamic ground game and impressive offensive line, a physical defense, and a winning streak in-division that dates back to 2009. Beware the junkyard dogs.

In a fantasy keeper league, I'd look to do the same thing the Raiders did — forget about next year, let's win the thing now if we can. It doesn't mean I'd look to trade with the Mike Brown of my league, mind you, but sometimes you don't have a lot of options. At the end of the day, flags fly forever, banners hang forever, and rings shine on forever — even when you're pawning them on e-bay. Don't be afraid to push your chips into the middle of the table.

Here are a few other moves of fantasy aggression that I'm always willing to consider if the timing is right:{ysp:more}

- Doubling down. If you're facing a must-win game and you think you'll have trouble beating your superior opponent, see if you can match one of your quarterbacks with his best target. This doesn't mean you mortgage the future for Colt McCoy and Greg Little, per se, but a team might be better off with Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace than it would be with Big Ben and Greg Jennings.

-- Bold moves with FAAB bidding. I'm always going to be one of the more aggressive FAAB bidders, with the idea that anyone you grab in September or October can help you for multiple months. Once funds get low or even depleted, you can still work the waiver wire and add value — you just have to be one step ahead of the current, more often than not. Get in there early.

-- Mobilization. We've talked about this in recent weeks, the idea of dealing players as they hit their bye week or injured players for warmer bodies. I know my Andre Johnson deal was panned in this space a week ago but I'll stand behind it; Marques Colston is better than many realize. And even if you don't agree with the return I scored for AJ, at least see the reason why I did it. Heck, maybe I overpaid for Colston similar to how the Raiders overpaid for Palmer. Sometimes you don't have a lot of options.

-- Dog Day Afternoons. In any kind of pick-em game, I'm going to start off predisposed to the underdog. You'll have to talk me into the favorite. It's a world of chalk-players: we want to be against that current.

One other stray thought here: never let draft-day prices or name-brand value affect your decisions. Don't become married to underperforming players because you spent an early pick on them. Don't become timid on a small-name producer because he's an out-of-nowhere story. The values are fluid in our game, and we always have to be recalibrating them. That's why we do Shuffles every week. That's why the rankings are significantly different every week. Everything we thought from August, trash it. It might as well be five years ago.

Back in Black, gamers. Think different, change the world.

As for the rest of the renegades around the league:

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• The anti-Raiders from Week 6 were the Cowboys, who had the Patriots in the crosshairs all afternoon but were too scared to pull the trigger. Jason Garrett played for the friendliest loss in the fourth period and ultimately it got him beat. It's a mistake to compare this to the giveaway against the Lions; when you're ahead 24 points in the second half, sure, conservative calls should follow. But when you're tied with the Patriots in their building, or merely up three, you can't go into Turtle Mode. To no one's great surprise, Tom Brady carved the Cowboys up on a sublime final drive and made them pay. You can't play nervous out there, amigos.

• Cedric Benson isn't elusive as a runner, but he's hard to pin down off the field. According to Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network, the league has dropped Benson's suspension down to one game. This likely means Benson will sit out the next two weeks (Cincinnati's Week 7 bye and the Week 8 game at Seattle), then return for the Week 9 match against the Titans. Bernard's Scott's value is going to be short-term; consider him a potential flex play for the Seahawks game.

• The Mike Shanahanigans from Week 6 were no great surprise, considering the career path of the Washington genius. When you hitch your fantasy hopes up to an arrogant offensive designer, this is what happens. Shanahan is the Tony La Russa of the NFL; he always thinks the guy in the bullpen can bail things out, and he wants to remind you constantly that it's his master plan at work. Sean Payton is much the same way in New Orleans — good luck to you, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas owners — and don't think that Todd Haley isn't going to tick us off sooner or later with the Jackie Battle story.

• Get to the waiver wire early and often over the next few days, because Week 7 is the meatiest bye week of the season. Four offenses stocked with fantasy goodies don't play (Patriots, Eagles, Giants, Bills), and the Niners and Bengals also push valuable assets to the sidelines. It's the worst sit-down week we'll be dealing with this season.

Look for a strong Philly effort when they host Dallas in the Sunday Night game in Week 8. Embattled Andy Reid is a master when it comes to extra prep time; he's 12-0 after his regular-season bye week.

• Wasn't it a dream to have a fall Sunday completely removed from Joe Buck? Football fans can enjoy another Buckless Day in Week 7 — he'll be on the World Series — and then it's business as usual in Week 8.

• If scouting Blaine Gabbert is your passion in life, good news: we're looking at three prime-time Jaguars games in the next eight weeks (two on Monday, one on Thursday). Gabbert will be running for his life this week, at home against the Ravens with the country watching. I can't see how that one doesn't get out of hand. I don't know what anti-NFL operative wrecked the 2011 Monday Night Schedule, but it's a joke. (What's the over/under on when the Jaguars move to LA? It's happening this decade, right?)

• There are some odd stats tied to the New England defense. Despite being dead last in yardage allowed per game and passing allowed per game (and they're no treat on the efficiency numbers, either), the Patriots rank 13th in points allowed per game. Something has to give there.

Meanwhile, the Bills look a little suspicious with their scoring offense; they're second in the league in points per game, despite ranking ninth in yards. Those three interception returns for touchdowns have been pennies from heaven, but eventually that sort of luck runs out. Mind you, I'm not saying the Bills will collapse; merely that they have a 9-7 tint to me, a team that can challenge for the playoffs but isn't guaranteed a thing. In the meantime, if Fred Jackson needs anything during his bye week (sandwich, drink, kidney), I'm here for him.

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• Like most elite quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers has one favorite receiver: the guy who's open. He'll pick on matchups, he'll take what the defense gives him, and he'll make wonderful adjustments when a play breaks down (the Donald Driver touchdown flip against St. Louis was a thing of beauty). Sorry it went down like this, Jermichael Finley fans, but Rodgers is simply doing what's best for the club. Here's hoping the Packers need to play out their schedule, for two reasons: no one wants to see a Green Bay Week 16 shutdown in the fantasy finals, and Rodgers has a shot at some notable records if he's allowed to chuck it all season.

• It wouldn't surprise me if the Falcons won in Detroit this week and I could see the Lions having trouble making the playoffs. I'm on board with the big pieces here, of course (Megatron, Stafford, the defensive line), but Detroit doesn't have a reliable second wideout and the Lions will have trouble salting away games given how weak the rushing game is. And the schedule gets tricky over the next six games, with trips to Chicago and New Orleans on the way, in addition to the Thanksgiving showdown against the Packers. Mind you, I'm not throwing this team in the dumpster — merely suggesting that they might have been accepted as a playoff team too early in some corners.

And no, Jim Schwartz, I don't want to wrestle over it.

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Images courtesy of US Presswire (Madden) and Associated Press (Garrett, Novak)

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