Scott Pianowski can see it now.
Late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Baltimore Ravens-Indianapolis Colts game, Derrick Mason will streak downfield with Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson. Ten yards into his route, Mason will jab his left foot into the turf of the Lucas Oil Stadium, curl around toward the right sideline and shoot out his hands.
At that exact moment, Joe Flacco's bullet pass will approach Mason's black gloves. The veteran will pull in the catch, Jackson will tackle him for a 13-yard gain, and on Tuesday morning, Pianowski will look back at a one-point loss realizing he just traded away a win.
For the first time all season, a trade has happened in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League. It isn't a blockbuster. It isn't a medium-sized deal. It would be barely worth mentioning if it wasn't for the timing of it all.
Pianowski traded Mason to Andy Behrens for Brandon Jackson on the same week the two Yahoo! experts face one another.
"I like to trade," Pianowski said in an email interview. "It was Andy who offered the swap, and I like to reward owners who come to me with legitimate proposals. … I'm carrying Ryan Grant, so I guess the handcuff makes sense, even as the merit of that strategy is vastly overrated (the juice Jackson showed in the first month of the year swayed me; I don't believe in cuffing just for the sake of cuffing, but I see an upside here.)"
The only risk for Pianowski is if Mason does well on Sunday, it will come at his expense. Behrens has Dwayne Bowe on a bye and Anquan Boldin (potentially) out due to injury, so he will start Mason this week as his No. 3 wide receiver behind Brandon Marshall and Antwaan Randle El.
"It's just bye-week maintenance for me, and as Scott says, Jackson is a useful piece for a Ryan Grant owner," Behrens said. "I'm not some huge fan of the Joe Flacco-Derrick Mason magic, but I liked Mason better than the available free agent WRs, at least for Week 6. He's not an every-week starter for Scott, so it's not much of a loss for him."
Unless, of course, it is a loss. But time will tell, and until it does, Pianowski can only hope his vision of Mason streaking downfield and costing him a win is one of simple paranoia – not clairvoyance.
Working the wire
The following section catalogs the transactions that were made in the Friends and Family League following each week of the regular season.
The move: I dropped Kevin Boss and added Justin Fargas with the No. 5 waiver priority
The logic: After being sidelined by a groin injury for three weeks, Fargas will return to action on Sunday to face a Sedrick Ellis-less New Orleans run defense. Darren McFadden is still battling a toe injury, so Fargas should see the vast majority of the carries. I wouldn't call myself a huge Fargas believer, but he's solid depth.
The move: I dropped Anthony Gonzalez and added Correll Buckhalter
The logic: Buckhalter will replace Brian Westbrook (broken ribs) for the second time in three weeks when he gets the start in San Francisco. This add, together with that of Fargas, gives me something to think about when I set my lineup.
Other adds: Darren Sproles, Derrick Ward, Washington defense, Gus Frerotte, Andre Hall, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Donte' Stallworth, Green Bay defense, Devin Hester, Kevin Faulk, New York Jets defense, Deion Branch, Donald Lee, Josh Scobee, Hank Baskett
Other drops: Amani Toomer, Rian Lindell, Anthony Gonzalez, Ahmad Bradshaw, New England defense, Brian Griese, Justin Gage, Joey Galloway, Reggie Williams, Kerry Collins, Josh Reed, Pierre Thomas, Carolina defense, Dustin Keller, Ladell Betts, Adam Vinatieri
Setting the lineup
The following section shows the logic behind the sit/start decisions I have made for my team leading into Week 6.
QB: Cleveland's secondary has been lucky. In Week 2, it had Ben Roethlisberger throwing in the rain with 60 mph wind gusts. The next week it went up against Flacco, a rookie. Most recently, it had to stop Bengals backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This Monday night, the luck of Cleveland's secondary runs out. It faces Eli Manning, who last week passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns without his top receiver. He's back now, and I'll be starting Manning over Philip Rivers (NE) with confidence.
WR: This could be the week that Andre Johnson (Mia) and Plaxico Burress (at Cle) both go off for me. At the third spot, the decision is between DeSean Jackson (at SF) and Kevin Walter (Mia). Jackson is more explosive, and I'd rather not put too many eggs in the Texans' basket just yet, so the rookie gets the nod.
RB: Marion Barber (at Arz) is a must-start. After that, it gets interesting. My options are Jonathan Stewart (at TB), Felix Jones (at Arz), Justin Fargas (at NO), Correll Buckhalter (at SF) and Darren Sproles (NE). All five of those backs could have productive days, but Buckhalter is the only one who isn't shadowed by another talented back. He starts.
TE: I'm going to risk it and start Kellen Winslow on Monday night. If he doesn't play, I'll score a zero here.
K: I'll add a kicker sometime Saturday after dropping a running back, maybe Fargas, probably Sproles.
DEF: If the San Diego defense can't get fired up to play the New England Patriots on Sunday night, it may be time to cast off this injury-plagued unit entirely.