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Prime time for fantasy trades

Posted Nov 7, 2012

The NFL's trade deadline came and went quietly last week, but the trade deadline in your fantasy football league could be a great time to make some noise.

If you're trying desperately to eke into the playoffs like myself, now is the time to be aggressive in an attempt to acquire that one player who can get you over the top. If you're coasting into the playoffs, now is the time to be aggressive by improving your starting lineup for the playoff weeks to come while possibly taking advantage of a desperate bubble team.

In either case, here are some players you might want to consider adding or subtracting.

QUARTERBACK

Trade For: A Manning – Peyton Manning brings the Broncos to Bank of America this Sunday having thrown three touchdowns in five consecutive games. From now until Week 16, the Panthers are one of just two pass defenses in the top half of the league that he'll face.

While few owners are likely to be willing to part with Peyton, it could be a different story with Eli. He's in the middle of the pack of fantasy quarterbacks and has gone two games without a single touchdown pass. The Giants, however, have a recent history of strong finishes, and the schedule is friendly to that end with the Redskins and Saints among the remaining opponents.

Trade Away: A Matt – Matt Ryan is right there with Peyton Manning among the league leaders, but his pace has somewhat slowed with four touchdown passes in his last three games. The Falcons' remaining schedule is a mix of juicy and challenging matchups, but the real concern with Ryan will be how the unbeaten Falcons use him down the stretch when a playoff berth has been secured.

Matt Stafford's numbers are similar to Eli Manning's. He seemed to break out with a three-touchdown game against a tough Seattle defense in Week 8 after throwing exactly one touchdown in each of his first five games, but he didn't even have one touchdown last week as the Lions ran all over the Jaguars. Stafford could still put it together down the stretch, but the reality is that he's averaging one touchdown pass a game halfway through the season after averaging 2.5 a game in 2011.

RUNNING BACK

Trade For: Shonn Greene – Less than a month ago, I would have advocated trading away the New York Jets runner. After grinding out 217 yards and one touchdown over the first five games of the season, he looked like the perfect "sell high" candidate after gashing the Colts for 161 yards and three touchdowns.

If you did trade for him, good for you. If you didn't, consider trading for him next week.

Greene could struggle against the stingy Seahawks on Sunday, perhaps prompting fantasy owners to decide the promise he showed against the Colts was an aberration. He's unlikely to put up those same numbers again, of course, but the remainder of the fantasy regular season schedule isn't overly daunting. The Jets play the Jaguars and Titans in Weeks 14 and 15. They do face a good rush defense in the Chargers in Week 16, but if your league plays its title game in Week 17, the Bills will more than make up for that.

Trade Away: Mikel Leshoure – The Detroit back is where Greene was a month ago, coming off a three-touchdown performance, though he did it on 70 yards instead of 161.

Leshoure, who also is involved in the passing game, certainly has value down the stretch but might be more valuable as trade bait after such a big game. The Lions' schedule is middle-of-the-road, but the Lions clearly aren't a run-first team, and they continue to use Joique Bell late in games more than Leshoure.

WIDE RECEIVER

Trade For: Reggie Wayne – The Colts veteran leads the NFL with 835 receiving yards and is one off the receptions lead with 61, but perhaps his owner in your league is feeling a bit impatient because Wayne has just three touchdowns.

If the touchdowns do come – he had one last week – Wayne could be as valuable as any receiver down the stretch. His next three games are against a trio of defenses in the bottom quarter of the league against the pass, and his fantasy playoff schedule features games against the Titans and Chiefs.

Trade Away: Larry Fitzgerald – Wayne and Fitzgerald have both been perennial first- or second-round fantasy picks for years, but Fitzgerald went a lot earlier than Wayne in most draft this year with the Colts coming off a difficult season and starting a rookie quarterback.

Fitzgerald, however, is the one with quarterback issues. He's as talented as ever, but the Cardinals' offensive line isn't giving John Skelton/Kevin Kolb enough time to stay healthy, let alone to spot Fitzgerald.

Plus, their fantasy playoff schedule features the Seahawks, surprisingly stingy Lions, Bears and 49ers if you have a Week 17 title game. That's tough sledding.