Oct 28, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) runs the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Football Mailbag: 11/03/2012

Sep 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) during player introductions prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire

Need help with preparing for your fantasy football league? The Fantasy Guru is here once again to give you a few tips on how to play the crazy game of fantasy football.

It’s Friday and Friday means it’s time to open the mailbag again. Let’s just get right into it with this week’s emails.

Q: I own Calvin Johnson and I want to trade him because I am sick of his lack of touchdowns. Two questions – what do you think I should get for him and do you believe he is a victim of the fabled “Madden Curse”? – Kevin Nelson from Madison, Wisconsin

A: Second bit first – I am not really the superstitious type but it is spooky just how many of those who appear on the cover of Madden have a poor statistical season that year. With that said, Megatron is still having a fairly good season overall. Despite having only one touchdown, he’s still a top 20 wide receiver scoring wise, still getting double digit targets every week, averages six receptions per game and averages an unreal 91 yards per game. The only number that is lacking is the touchdowns so I wouldn’t call Calvin a Madden Curse victim just yet.

Now, what’s he worth? Well, first of all I’d advise you to check out my Rest Of Season Rankings that come out tomorrow. I’ll be listing my top 200 players – maybe top 250 – to finish the season. Here’s a sneak peek – I still have Calvin Johnson in my top 20 overall and maybe top 15. I would target top guys with high upside that their owners may be a little wary of – the likes of Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, A.J. Green, Mike Wallace, Jimmy Graham or Robert Griffin III. With that said, I wouldn’t rush to get rid of Megatron – I think he’s in for a big second half.

Q: I am leading my keeper league and am looking to trade for Tony Gonzalez to help me. Do you think I can get a discount because he’s probably retiring? – David Jackson from Des Moines, Iowa

A: The short answer is no. The thing about Tony Gonzalez is that he may be on his way out but he is still an elite tight end in a year when the position is pretty shallow compared to the explosion of offense we saw in 2011. You may be heading to the playoffs but your opponents will also be working to get better before the trade deadline too. If you don’t pay enough, someone else may get Gonzo by outbidding you – that of course is if he’s even available. If the team that has Tony G is likely to miss playoffs, you might get a slight discount but because of how few top tight ends there are this year I would advise that his value is still relatively high and the minimum anyone should get for him is a good keeper to make it worth the other owner’s time – so minimum top 40.

Q: DeAngelo Williams didn’t get traded yesterday. What this mean for the fantasy value of DWill, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton? – Sam Hockerley from Cleveland, Ohio

A: Start with the QB – I don’t believe this has much impact on Cam’s value. The Panthers run game has been bad as a whole this year but I don’t see Williams’ remaining in Carolina impacting on Newton. The other guy it doesn’t really affect is Mike Tolbert. Had DWill left, then he would have entered the discussion – however, he didn’t so Tolbert remains irrelevant at this point.

So now we’re back at the old fantasy conundrum – Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams? For me it’s clear as day – it’s Stewart. All the word out of Carolina is that the Panthers are switching to more of a one back run game with Jonathan Stewart taking the lead role. Going forward, JStew is gonna be a top 25 running back every week whereas I doubt I even rank DWill most weeks unless something changes.

Q: You have Michael Vick in your top 10 this week. Does this mean you think he keeps his job? – Rich from Atlanta, Georgia

A: My weekly rankings are entirely based on how I think a player will do any given week and are based primarily on probability. The New Orleans Saints have been as favorable a match-up to QBs in fantasy as any team in the NFL so there’s a decent chance that Vick puts up some good numbers this week – a decent guess would be 230 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, 2 passing TDs and a rushing TD with three picks and a fumble which in most leagues would net you 20 points and be a solid top 10.

As to the broader question, Michael Vick is a risky proposition right now. I would not trade for him unless I was giving up a depth player with little value like Joique Bell, Beanie Wells, Brian Hartline or Andy Dalton. Personally, I think he makes it to the end of the season – just – but is gone from Philly after that. I wouldn’t bet a single thing on it though as this situation is an absolute mess. If you own Michael Vick, you better have a decent backup or you are likely to get burned.

Q: In my 2 QB dynasty league, I’ve been offered Brandon Marshall and Sam Bradford for Matthew Stafford, Donald Brown and James Jones. What do you think? – Nick Lumas from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

A: I’m a big believer in Brandon Marshall who has really shone in his first year with the Bears and I like Sam Bradford to mature in a very good professional quarterback as his team improves around him but whoever offered this trade is asking for way too much.

Stafford is having a tough year but he is still a very good signal caller on a high powered passing offense with a good and improving receiving corps. Donald Brown has had his issues with blocking and assignments at times but we have seen some steady improvement as Bruce Arians has simplified the playbook in Indy following Peyton Manning’s departure and I expect he’ll be fantasy relevant for at least 3-4 more years. As for James Jones, I believe Greg Jennings time in Green Bay is almost over and Jones is the player I feel will step into that role which for me makes him at least a top 25 WR in dynasty formats with the potential to be top 10. So I would not do this deal unless Jones was removed – then it’s much better.


That’s a wrap for this week. If you’d like to have a question answered in next week’s Fantasy Mailbag, please send it to [email protected] and you may be a part of the action. Remember to check out my weekly rankings and I’ll be back tomorrow when my Rest of Season Rankings will be released. Finally, be sure to follow me @chrissmithsz on Twitter.

Until next time, this is the Fantasy Guru signing off.

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