Fantasy Football: Bait and Switch

8/22/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Every season in the NFL, there are good players who get off to slow starts. This can be due to a variety of reasons, whether it be a holdout, an injury, or anything that causes a lack of preseason preparation. This is a list of players who you may want to consider passing on come draft day, but attempting to trade for a few weeks into the season when the player's stock is down.

Jan 8, 2010; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) stiff arms New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter (22) en route to a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC wild card playoff at Qwest Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Nelson-US PRESSWIREMarshawn Lynch (RB - SEA): Lynch is perhaps the strangest player on this list, as he won't start the season poorly for any particular reason. The only reason I put him on this list is because of his tendency to be a completely different player in the final eight games of each year.

Last season, Lynch averaged 57 yards and scored four touchdowns through the Seahawks' first eight games, then had 101 yards with eight touchdowns in the final eight. In 2010 he scored one touchdown in the first eight games and five in the final eight. In 2008 he went from averaging 58 yards (3.5 per carry) in the first eight games to 81 yards (4.8 per carry) in the final eight.

His numbers always look solid, but what goes unnoticed is that the majority of his stats come in the second half of the season. Let someone else draft him, wait until he thinks Lynch is a bust, and steal him by offering a mediocre player.

Mike Wallace (WR - PIT): Expected to sign his tender and report to camp this weekend after holding out through the whole offseason, there's no telling whether or not restricted free agent Mike Wallace will be in game shape when the season starts. He's widely considered a top-echelon fantasy receiver, but will it take him a couple weeks to gain a step back so he can continue to blow by opposing secondaries? Quite possibly. Let someone else take him and deal with his early season headaches, then swoop in on him when his price is low.
Oct 15, 2011; Oxford, MS, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson (3) runs up the field against the Mississippi Rebels during the game at Vaught Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Trent Richardson (RB - CLE): Expected to begin outdoor running next week, Richardson will only have a week or two to get ready for the Browns' season opener. An August 9th knee scope has severely limited Richardson through the preseason. There's a solid chance that his early season workload will be limited due to his lack of preparation in live action with the team. Even if he does play, he may be rusty after missing all four of the Browns' preseason games.

A less knowledgeable fantasy owner may attribute his early lack of production to the fact that he's a rookie adapting to the NFL, but he'll likely hit his stride when he is fully healthy and is able to shake the rust off. Wait until Week 3 or 4 when some owners think the Browns drafted a bust, then try to get him for a player with much less upside, such as an Ahmad Bradshaw type player.
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