Fantasy Doctor: Compete, but don't antagonize

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Fantasy Doctor: Compete, but don't antagonize

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Fantasy Doctor: Compete, but don't antagonize

Every Wednesday, The Fantasy Doctor ponders fantasy-football dilemmas and prescribes advice with an eye on helping you win. Email your fantasy questions to

Hi PFW Fantasy Doctor,

What's your take about using certain "tactics" to deny players to your opponent? For example, picking up the two best RBs on the waiver wire to deny them to an opponent that desperately needs one? Or floating an absurd trade offer to an opponent — say, three players for one from the opponent's team?  Some opponents will bench a starter while waiting on the trade to be finalized. Also, what about poaching another team's waiver-wire target? Keep up the great work!

Your fan,

These are some very interesting questions, Gordon, and I am glad you asked them.

I don’t have any problems with working the waiver wire. The risk, of course, is that owners who claim players they don’t need risk dropping useful players who could help other teams. What’s more, owners who make it outwardly clear that they are simply claiming players to keep them from other teams risk 1) hurting some relationships and 2) having other owners pulling the same stunt on them at some point.

The “sham trade” scenario has a lot of flaws. For starters, most rival owners simply will reject it out of hand. Moreover, other owners likely will be hesitant to deal with owners who act in such a manner.  

It’s OK to have a competitive streak. What’s more, fantasy owners should act in their own self-interest, so a little  gamesmanship is understandable. Nevertheless, fantasy owners who push the boundaries of decorum better be ready for some push-back. Me? I don’t like the drama. I frequently interact with most of the owners in my leagues outside of fantasy football, so it does not behoove me to try to antagonize, say, the best man in my wedding, or my bosses.

I want to win, and I manage my teams accordingly. And that’s the key point: in those leagues, I primarily worry about managing my teams.

Hey Doc,

I'm in a standard 12-team league where I have James Jones as a bench player. I'm thinking about trading him and Donald Brown for Ryan Mathews. Should I make an offer or hold off because of Greg Jennings’ injury, which may linger for awhile? I have Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Lloyd, which means Jones may sit if I keep him. However, I would put Mathews in a flex (I have Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, Mikel Leshoure and Ryan Williams).


I’m all for trying to acquire Mathews using Brown and Jones as the primary parts of the package. Mathews can be maddening, but he has a good deal of upside. If he has a strong game or two where he holds on to the ball and clearly outproduces Jackie Battle, Mathews very easily could start to see his fantasy value increase.

This is the time to make the move for Mathews. You would be getting the best of it were you able to move two players that project as backups, given your RB and WR depth, for Mathews. While I like Jones quite a bit, there’s a good deal of competition for targets in Green Bay even if Jennings is out.

I have a person in my league who wants to trade away Darren McFadden and Steve Smith (Panthers). I am interested, but since both are having down years, I am a little hesitant. He would like the same positions in return. Currently, I have RBs Alfred Morris, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mikel Leshoure and Rashard Mendenhall. My receivers are Danny Amendola, Jordy Nelson, Calvin Johnson, Jerome Simpson and Brandon Lloyd. We play in a PPR league. Do you think I should try to trade for either player and if so, who should I offer up in return?

— Troy

Both are fine trade targets. To me, McFadden might be the better player to focus upon, as your WR depth looks stronger than your RB lineup. I wouldn’t be hesitant to trade any of your backs for Mendenhall, with Morris the most valuable of the group, in my view. Your WR corps is enviable, with Johnson perhaps the game’s best at his position and Nelson and Lloyd also every-week fantasy starters.

Hey Doc,

I'm 1-3 right now so I really need a win. My question is: should I start Eli Manning, who is playing the Browns’ defense, or Cam Newton, who is playing the Seahawks’ defense? Any advice would be appreciated.

— Kameron

I’d start Newton. Manning has the better matchup, but Newton’s rushing ability gives him that extra boost of upside — and that makes the Panthers’ starter so tough to sit. Through four games, Newton is on pace for 668 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. For the record, he racked up 706 yards and 14 TDs as a rookie. If he gets anywhere close to his 2011 rushing totals … well, he’s going to make a lot of fantasy owners happy once again.

I have a dire RB situation, and I really need a win this week. PPR league, I have to choose two between C.J. Spiller, Stevan Ridley, Jonathan Stewart and Brandon Bolden. Thoughts?

— Ben

I’d go with Ridley and Spiller. Ridley’s the must-start of the group, in my view, with Stewart and Spiller each having tough matchups. Nevertheless, Spiller’s big-play ability gives him the edge. Bolden is a good back to have for the long term, but he’s hard to start in Week Five, given your RB depth.

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