When things completely bottom out for a fantasy prospect, you'll take an upgrade anywhere you can get one. But bluntly put, I don't feel that much better about Braylon Edwards(notes) and Michael Crabtree(notes) today than I did 24 hours ago.
The Jets and Browns gave us a rare midseason trade Wednesday; Cleveland shipped the unhappy Edwards to New York while the Browns get Chansi Stuckey(notes), linebacker Jason Trusnik(notes) and a couple of mid-round draft picks. It's a logical deal for both teams; the Jets get a potential game breaker for their offense, while the Browns ship a disappointing malcontent out of town.
But let's remember why in-season deals are so infrequent in the NFL – it's very tricky to head to a new club and learn a new scheme, especially on offense. Roy Williams was liberated from Detroit 12 months ago and turned into a monstrous flop for the Cowboys. For all the fantasy hope that Edwards will be reinvigorated by a different city and a winning club, we also have to consider that chemistry with Mark Sanchez(notes) won't happen overnight.
At the end of the day I'll give Edwards a modest bump forward on my rest-of-season cheat sheet (which debuts later Wednesday, peeps) because I expect him to actually try with the Jets, something he wasn't really doing in Cleveland. Sanchez also gets a tiny raise if the Jets can get anything out of Edwards. Jerricho Cotchery(notes) owners can't be thrilled at the news, but I'll leave his rank alone; he's had four strong games in a row with Sanchez and he offers a different skill set than Edwards anyway.
Derek Anderson(notes) will probably be the only Brown who really misses Edwards, albeit the duo couldn't connect last week against Cincinnati. Mohamed Massaquoi's(notes) free-agent buzz gets a push with Edwards out of town; I made a healthy bid for the rookie receiver in the Friends & Family League last night (something in the teens) but was overbid by John Hansen of Fantasy Guru ($27).
As for the Crabtree deal, it's a shame that it took so long to shake down. The rookie receiver accepted a six-year offer early Wednesday that was similar to what was on the table in July. He's 2-3 months behind the learning curve during his rookie year and a monumental climb is in front of him.
The 49ers are 3-1 without Crabtree and Vernon Davis(notes) has been a star at tight end, but there's no doubt that their passing game needs a threat on the outside. Isaac Bruce(notes) leads the wide receivers with a mere 13 catches – he's at the end of his career, no doubt – and Josh Morgan(notes) has been erratic through four games (nine receptions, some loose routes and drops). If Crabtree is an amazingly quick study, perhaps he'll be ready to be a factor in November or December. But let's not forget that he played in a gimmicky offense at Texas Tech and he's had no time to work with his new teammates. Even if Crabtree is a free agent in any of my fantasy leagues right now, I'm not handing him a bench spot. He'll have to play his way onto my radar.