Friends and Family Matters

Brad Evans wanted Donnie Avery bad.

In his Week 7 Shocker Special, the Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert correctly predicted the Rams rookie's first career touchdown. In Week 8, he watched him explode for 163 yards and a score. Before Week 9 could come along, he had to have him.

So Evans did what any fantasy manager would do: find Avery's owner and try to make a deal. The owner was Chris Liss, and the deal they made might go down as the greatest "sell high/buy low" trade in Yahoo! Friends and Family League history.

Trade discussions opened with Evans offering Randy Moss and Warrick Dunn for Earnest Graham and Avery. Liss, unwilling to downgrade at running back but happy to sell high on a young receiver, countered with Avery for Moss straight up. Evans rejected, and in an act of age discrimination, made the following proposal, which Liss accepted: Moss and Torry Holt for Avery and Steve Breaston.

That's 13 Pro Bowls and six All-Pro selections for a rookie and No. 3 wide receiver.

"Avery and Breaston are good players," Liss said, "but I'd rather have the superstars who have done it before and are still in the lineup every day."

Evans couldn't be reached for comment. He's busy shopping online for Avery's Fathead and as many mint condition Avery rookie cards he can find.

Meanwhile, a pair of owners quietly pulled off a deal. Matt Buser upgraded at tight end, trading Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Orton to Jeff Erickson for Jason Witten and Brad Johnson.

With a home matchup against Detroit, Orton instantly becomes serviceable for Erickson, who's living life without Carson Palmer.

"I like the quarterback matchup a lot for this week, and I've been playing musical chairs at the position anyhow," Erickson said. "Giving up on Witten is tough, but I'm basically assuming nothing from him this week, and next week he has his bye, and I'm getting an emerging tight end in Shiancoe that has a decent matchup this week."

Erickson and Buser face each other this week, so we'll see if the trade has any effect on their matchup.

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: Jeff Erickson dropped Matt Ryan and added Leon Washington.
The logic: With DeAngelo Williams and Frank Gore on byes and Darren McFadden (toe) out, Erickson is starved for running back help. In Washington, he has a player who has scored three touchdowns the last two weeks and has long-term value as do-everything No. 2 back behind Thomas Jones.

The move: I dropped Jeremy Shockey and added Antonio Pittman.
The logic: Steven Jackson is a game-time decision for Week 9. If he's ruled out, Pittman starts, and I have a play at RB2, albeit a very boring one.

Other adds: Ted Ginn Jr., Chester Taylor, Chad Pennington, Jacksonville defense, Robbie Gould, Green Bay defense, Reggie Williams, Amani Toomer, Visanthe Shiancoe, Ray Rice, Ryan Longwell, Matt Bryant, Rian Lindell, Donald Lee, Matt Prater

Other drops: Joe Nedney, Ahman Green, Todd Heap, J.T. O'Sullivan, Washington defense, Shaun Suisham, San Francisco defense, Malcom Floyd, Buffalo defense, L.J. Smith, Donte' Stallworth, Nate Kaeding, Jeff Reed, Patrick Crayton, Brad Johnson, John Kasay

Setting the lineup The following section shows the logic behind the sit/start decisions I have made for my team (leading into Week 9).

QB: Eli Manning (Dal) starts with Philip Rivers on a bye.
WR: Andre Johnson (at Min) and Plaxico Burress (Dal) are must-starts. The choice for my WR3 is between Desean Jackson (at Sea) and Kevin Walter (at Min). With Reggie Brown back for the Eagles, Jackson will likely see fewer looks than he's used to, but he's still the team's big-play threat. I'll take his upside against the NFL's third-worst pass defense over the usually steady Walter.
RB: Marion Barber (at NYG) is the must-start. The long-established plan for this week was to start Ryan Torain (Mia) at RB2. I added him way back on Sept. 24 believing a potential "this year's Ryan Grant" was worth the wait. But now it looks like I'll have to wait even more. Torain, having seen limited practice time since returning from a training camp elbow injury, could be eased into things on Sunday, making him a big Week 9 fantasy gamble. With the Antonio Pittman add, this decision is going to be made Sunday morning based on Steven Jackson's status. If Jackson sits, Pittman starts. If Jackson goes, I will either roll the dice on Torain or drop Pittman and maneuver a Sunday morning add-and-start on Michael Bush, who will see increased carries with McFadden out.
TE: The matchup is brutal and he hasn't scored since Week 1, but Kellen Winslow (Bal) has to get back on track sometime.
K: Kris Brown (at Min) hasn't attempted a field goal the last two weeks while the offense has scored a combined eight touchdowns. His inactivity should end Sunday with the Vikings defense likely to stall the Texans in the red zone at least once.

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