8 buy-low players to target

Many of you have asked why the “Trade Talk” section hasn’t been more active prior to today. Simple. How can we properly evaluate the best players to target based on one or no games of production?

Sure, we could talk about potential trades after Week 1 or prior to the start of the season, but that could lead to a disastrous outcome based on inflated statistics.

With two weeks officially in the books, we can now begin to get an accurate assessment of what certain fantasy players are currently worth. The philosophy behind today’s “buy-low” article is to help identify valuable assets that can be had for an excellent price.

Be advised: We aren’t saying that each player on the following list is set to blow up. We’re simply analyzing some quality talent that can be had at a very reasonable price.

Here are eight players that are currently owned by people who are probably beginning to grow frustrated:

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Nobody likes to draft a running back in the first five picks and then watch that player score zero touchdowns and rank 29th in scoring among RBs after two games. MJD owners are nervous and rightfully so. A preseason mid-level back like Clinton Portis coupled with a mid-level receiver could be enough to land the Jaguars’ best offensive weapon.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: As we mentioned prior to the start of the season, Charles was overvalued by many other fantasy publications because of last year’s numbers. We ranked him lower because of the acquisition of former Jet Thomas Jones, and to date we appear to be correct. Charles has a ton of talent and has been racking up some nice yardage totals, but his current owner is likely scared to hell about Jones’ role in the offense.

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: Panic has set in for Flacco owners who were looking to land a sleeper but instead drafted a QB that ranks 28th in fantasy scoring after two weeks. His current owner is probably shaking his head and wondering what went wrong. The problem is obvious: He’s played two tough road games against some very good NFL defenses (NY Jets, Cincinnati Bengals). Over the next five games, Flacco gets the Browns, Broncos, Patriots and Bills. He’s set to bounce back.

Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: The injury bug has hit the quarterbacks on the Pittsbugh depth chart like nothing we’ve ever seen. Couple that fear with the fact that Ward has caught just seven passes and scored zero touchdowns and you can bet his current owner is thinking about moving the savvy veteran to the bench, which is why now is the time to pounce. Remember, Big Ben returns in Week 5. Things are going to get a lot better.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins: Zero touchdowns and just 12 receptions in two weeks for a guy that currently plays on the league’s 22nd ranked scoring offense (14.5 pts/gm). You think Marshall’s owner is happy with that type of production? During trade talks, mention the fact that Marshall has a showdown with the Jets this weekend and that quarterback Chad Henne is a bum. He’ll already know that, but reminding him of those two key elements will help stir the pot. Marshall’s owner will likely think more about that than the 100+ catches he’s caught in each of the past three years.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers: The rookie from Fresno State tore up the Western Athletic Conference last season. Too bad he got hurt on Sunday. Oh yeah, be sure remind his current owner that Mathews has a history of durability concerns that date back to his early college days. After a mediocre showing at Kansas City in Week 1 and an injury-shortened Week 2 against the Jags, Mathews owners are definitely second-guessing this pick.

Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants: Smith hauled in 107 receptions last year in a breakout campaign with the G-Men, but through two weeks this season has caught just nine passes for 78 yards with zero touchdowns. The fact that second-year wideout Hakeem Nicks scored three touchdowns on four receptions in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers is certainly weighing on the shoulders of current Smith owners, who thought they were drafting the next big thing. Be sure to mention how wideout Mario Manningham (who is currently on waivers) is killing Smith in the stats department so far this year.

Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons: The Burner went down with an injury on Sunday against the Cardinals (doesn’t appear to be serious), so his owners were lucky enough to watch the Jason Snelling show. No doubt everyone is currently thinking “Michael Turner 2009” instead of “Michael Turner 2008.” His Week 1 flop against Pittsburgh wasn’t his fault (the Steelers shut down Chris Johnson as well), but his current owner is well aware that he’s gotten very little so far out of his first-round pick.

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