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Fantasy football: Week 12 trade deadline strategies

  • By Matt "Money" Smith NFL.com
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With the trade deadline upon us (Friday 11/23) instead of asking you to observe, critique and analyze the specific trade requests I've been asked to peruse, let's get a look at some of the more compelling players that can help you win your fantasy league thanks to a beneficial schedule down the stretch for Weeks 14, 15 and 16. Remember you're no longer concerned with a bye week, you can't worry about depth due to injury, the theory here is; make every deal possible to get the most formidable starting lineup. That means trading two players for one, or perhaps taking back a lesser player at a position of need while dealing away a position of strength.

Running Back

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: A big week against the Steelers was followed up by a solid 11.8 points in a blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The key with Charles is he gets the carries. If he doesn't, someone is going to lose their job. We learned that after they fell to the Oakland Raiders and he only touched the ball five times. Even though opponents will be stacking the box to stop him due to a lack of a passing attack, he's still good for one big run per contest to ensure you're not left with a five- or six-spot to stew over. Add to that the fact his playoff schedule includes Cleveland, Oakland and Indianapolis, and this could be the heist of the season if you can pull it off.

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Wide Receiver

Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots: In the face of adversity, you search for security. Rob Gronkowski is out, Aaron Hernandez is hurt, Brandon Lloyd has been an abject failure this fantasy season and Julian Edelman is making an appearance once again for the Patriots. As they make a push for the best record in the AFC, look for Brady to get that connection with his favorite target back into power rotation from here on out. With Welker nursing an injury the past five weeks, he ought to be in the clear and ready to get back to the player he was when he was averaging 14 points per week. Sure the schedule isn't the most favorable, with Houston and San Francisco in back-to-back weeks, but this isn't some young quarterback we're talking about having to step up with the stakes raised. Plus, if you make it to the Super Bowl, you're looking at Jacksonville in Week 16.

Quarterback

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Whoever drafted Newton in your league is likely pretty upset that he's not living up to that first round investment. Chances are it even ruined his season and he won't be making the playoffs, so why not pounce and take Newton off his hands for your playoff run? With Philadelphia this week, followed by Kansas City, Atlanta, San Diego and Oakland in Week 16, Cam is set to light the fantasy world on fire once again -- especially since the Panthers season is officially a disaster and all he has left to play for is personal glory. His 250 yards, one touchdown and 40 yards rushing against the Bucs should be the floor of where I expect him to be by Week 16 against the Raiders, where a 30-point performance wouldn't surprise me in the least.

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Sneaky Plays

Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers, Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints and Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots: If you're a lock for the playoffs, why not offer up your flex player for a No. 1 at the position, if in fact they return to health. Sure it's a big swing and could lead to a big miss, but play the trade as though the guys are going to make it back to the field and return to form. You still have three weeks for them to regain their health before you have to start your fantasy post-season. If Hernandez has no issues with that ankle, he'll be a big part of the Patriots passing attack. Sproles is the back of choice in a Saints offense that's hit its stride, Maurice Jones-Drew is a fantasy player himself, and while it won't have any effect on how he plays, you have to believe MJD has a tremendous amount of pride, not to mention love for his owners. Greg Jennings is pretty simple: Aaron Rodgers throws him the ball. If he's healthy he'll be seeing targets.

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