The invention of fantasy football has completely changed the way fans follow the sport. Gone are the simple days of rooting for your favorite team or player. Now, Sundays are spent watching multiple games, flipping the channels from hometown favorites to the players we drafted. Statistics and trends hold high values. The National Football League fan has evolved. We are no longer just fans: We’re analysts. This article is a tool to help you build the strongest team possible while you still can.
Players to Acquire:
1. Frank Gore (RB) — To a knowledgeable fan this might seem counterintuitive. But to acquire Gore, another owner must be willing to give him up. Last season, Gore’s second half numbers dropped dramatically. His yardage per carry and total carries per game decreased rapidly. San Francisco also acquired Brandon Jacobs in the offseason to dispel Gore. However, there is a tremendous upside to this risk. Because of his situation, you can acquire Gore by giving up a somewhat lesser talent. Gore is a veteran back, and his team will rely on him in crucial moments later in the season. So far, Gore has posted impressive numbers: 201 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Do your best to pick him up.
2. Danny Amendola (WR) — If you can add Amendola from the free agent list, you absolutely should. Two weeks into the season, the little-known Rams receiver is only seven yards behind the league leader in receiving yards. Quarterback Sam Bradford is playing extremely well, and last week he connected with Amendola for a Rams’ record 12 times in the first half. If you have space on your roster, it is worth a shot.
3. Dennis Pitta (TE) — Pitta is already emerging as a trusted option in the Ravens’ passing game. After two weeks of the season, he is playing impressively well and shows no signs of slowing down. So far, he has 13 receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown. Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Pitta was targeted a game-high 15 times. After week one, he was owned by one percent of fantasy owners. Now he is owned by 30 percent of fantasy owners. Act quickly.
Players to Drop or Trade:
1. Jay Cutler (QB) — Simply put, there are better quarterbacks out there. While the Chicago Bears may be a strong team this season, I don’t expect Cutler to be very impressive. He has shown that while he may shine against weaker teams, he cannot rise up to the pressure of stronger defenses. Cutler is inconsistent and not worth the gamble. But he is still considered a solid quarterback by many, so he will be good leverage in
2. Rashad Jennings (RB) — After last year’s best rusher Maurice Jones-Drew held out, Jennings was expected to get a majority of Jacksonville’s carries this season. After a week-one knee injury, it seems as if his performance this season will suffer, and Jacksonville will explore other options. He was a gamble selection on draft day, but at this point he is just taking up space on your roster. Even if he is healthy, he is no competition for Maurice Jones-Drew.
3. Dustin Keller (TE) — Keller is always a solid option for a fantasy tight end because of his red zone production. This year, however, it seems as if Mark Sanchez has grown more comfortable throwing to his wideouts, even in the red zone. Keller is limping along with a hamstring injury, and he may not see a ball thrown his way for a few weeks. Trade him to a disinterested owner or drop him altogether, and pick up a guy like Amendola or Pitta.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 19 print edition. Nishaad Ruparel is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]