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Week 5 Faceoffs: Moss deal fallout

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: Each week Senior Fantasy Writers Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg will debate the value of a handful of key Fantasy players heading into a certain week that they genuinely disagree on. They not only state their case below, but they also provide owners with some alternatives. Read their takes, then make the call.

Biggest loser in the Randy Moss deal?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard Aaron Hernandez has been living the rookie dream, going from fourth-round pick to starting offensive contributor on a playoff contender. But with Randy Moss gone from New England, defenses will turn their attention to other possible middle- to deep-threat targets on the Pats, and that includes Hernandez. Look, if the Patriots are using Hernandez as a receiver, defenses will cover him like one, and perhaps some of those double-teams that went Moss' way will now go Hernandez's way. It's crazy to think like that since he's a rookie, but he's a unique case. His stats (18 rec., 240 yards) and his targets (20) suggest that he's about as good as he'll get now that Moss is gone. With the Patriots spreading the ball around to all their receivers and backs, Hernandez will be about as good as he has been for the rest of the year. His value won't go up as you might expect. Jamey Eisenberg Tom Brady played two full seasons with Randy Moss in 2007 and 2009 (he missed 2008 with a knee injury). It was the two best years of his career from a statistical standpoint. In two years with Moss, Brady averaged 39 touchdown passes and threw for more than 4,000 yards each year. In six years without Moss, Brady never had more than 28 touchdowns with only one 4,000-yard season. He remains a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, but he's no longer an elite Fantasy option. He loses value in this deal, and so does Wes Welker, who will now see extra coverage from opposing defenses. The only Patriots who benefit from this move are Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Tate. Hernandez will continue to get single coverage, and he should thrive as a wide receiver playing tight end. Tate now steps into the starting role vacated by Moss, and he has the chance to be a quality No. 3 Fantasy option. You're not going to bench Brady most weeks, but he's no longer a Top 5 Fantasy quarterback.
Biggest winner in the Randy Moss deal?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard I don't deny that Percy Harvin benefits from Moss' arrival, but I think the Patriots can't make this move without being comfortable with their run game. True, defensive coverage will change for BenJarvus Green-Ellis since the safeties and outside linebackers won't be as concerned about getting beat through the air, but the opportunities that Moss had will be spread out amongst all Pats, and the run game is no exception. Green-Ellis is the lead dog in the Pats' rushing force now and will benefit. The mere fact that the Patriots traded Moss is evidence that they're done trying to be a dynamic passing offense. Now they'll look for a little more balance, and Green-Ellis is the healthy back who has scored in each of his last two games and has earned the trust of the coaching staff. That trust will only grow, and so will his touches. Jamey Eisenberg Percy Harvin was a star last year when he wasn't the No. 1 wide receiver and Sidney Rice was commanding attention. It's the same scenario now with Moss playing the role of Rice - - only Moss is better. Harvin, as Wes Welker did, can roam the middle of the field as the slot receiver, and he should again post outstanding stats. Last year, Harvin dominated as a rookie with 60 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns. Moss coming to Minnesota makes Brett Favre, Visanthe Shiancoe and Harvin better in the passing game, and Adrian Peterson won't see as many defenders near the line of scrimmage. In New England, the running game for the Patriots gets worse with Moss gone because that consistent deep threat is no longer there. I still like Green-Ellis as a flex option, but don't forget that Fred Taylor (toe) could return as early as Week 6. There's no way that Green-Ellis benefits from this move. Instead, he will suffer.
Better Buffalo back in Week 5: C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard The Bills didn't draft Spiller with their top pick in April for his special-teams play, nor did they pick him to get a few touches per week. They might have been coddling him for a little bit, but by trading away Marshawn Lynch they're in a position to take the training wheels off of Spiller even if Jackson starts. What better time to do it than against a bad defense at home? Jacksonville has allowed six rushing touchdowns this season and struggled with smaller backs, a perfect fit for Buffalo to roll its rookie out for a bigger workload. It's risky, but if you've been waiting patiently with Spiller, using him as a flex or even a No. 2 rusher in deeper leagues could pay off better than if you use Jackson, whose versatility will be lost because Spiller has better receiving skills and speed. Jamey Eisenberg The Bills named Jackson the starter for Week 5 against Jacksonville with Marshawn Lynch now in Seattle, and he will be the better Fantasy running back this week. Spiller should also play well, but he's better suited as a flex option. I would consider Jackson as a No. 2 Fantasy running back based on the amount of carries he will get as well as the matchup. The Jaguars have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and a rushing touchdown in each game when you factor in Michael Vick scoring in Week 3. Jackson has the chance for his best game this year, and he should start to play well now that Lynch is gone. If you have to choose between Jackson and Spiller, Jackson is your best bet.
Start Joe Flacco vs. Denver?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard So far the only time we saw Flacco put up big numbers with Anquan Boldin was against the Browns, who Boldin shredded for three scores. The Broncos are a different animal -- they have done a great job this year limiting the opponents' star receiver, including Reggie Wayne in Week 3. That's Champ Bailey doing his thing, and he'll be lined up across from Boldin for much of Sunday. Denver has also done a great job against opposing tight ends and rushers out of the backfield. That means Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh will have to pick up the slack -- a lot to ask. If you're looking for stats, Fantasy no-name guys like Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford should outperform Flacco. He faced these same Broncos at home last year and had 175 yards and one touchdown -- a fair expectation for Week 5.
I'd rather start: Shaun Hill (vs. STL), Sam Bradford (at DET), Mark Sanchez (vs. MIN)
Jamey Eisenberg Flacco has turned the corner after the debacle at Cincinnati in Week 2, and he's ready to be the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback many expected. He dominated the Browns in Week 3, and he showed a lot of poise in the comeback effort at Pittsburgh. This week he faces the Broncos at home, and he will keep on rolling. Denver is still dealing with injuries in the secondary with starting cornerback Andre Goodman (quad), and the Broncos have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks with three interceptions (all from Matt Hasselbeck). Flacco is also tremendous at home with nine touchdowns and one interception in his past five games with at least 230 passing yards in each contest. This is also Denver's second game in a row heading east for a 1 p.m. start, and that's never a good situation. Flacco should be considered a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in this matchup.
I'd start him over: Sam Bradford (at DET), Mark Sanchez (vs. MIN), Matt Schaub (vs. NYG)
Start Malcom Floyd at Oakland?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard Forget about Floyd's history against the Raiders -- he was in a different role with them in the past and didn't have the same kinds of opportunities he has now. And forget about last week -- Floyd didn't do much because the Chargers didn't need him, instead relying on Antonio Gates. But Gates' history against the Raiders isn't pretty (one touchdown in his last five meetings with no 100-yard games) because they try to take him out of the Bolts' game plan, sometimes with a cornerback you might have heard of, Nnamdi Asomugha. So when Rivers looks to throw, Floyd has as good a chance as any receiver to make a play. I like the way Rivers is moving the ball, and with him throwing at least two touchdowns in every game this season and Gates struggling against the Raiders, Floyd could make some plays.
I'd start him over: Santana Moss (vs. GB), Johnny Knox (at CAR), Derrick Mason (vs. DEN)
Jamey Eisenberg Floyd has been great this year and has done well replacing Vincent Jackson, but he should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week. He will likely see a lot of Nnamdi Asomugha, and that means little production. The Raiders have allowed five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, but only Nate Washington has topped 50 yards in a game this season. Floyd, in a secondary role, has struggled with Oakland with only six catches for 125 yards and no touchdowns in his past five meetings. He's going to see more targets, but he will also get increased attention. That could lead to a bad outing based on the matchup.
I'd rather start: Donald Driver (at WAS), Chad Ochocinco (vs. TB), Percy Harvin (at NYJ)

Do you agree with Dave or Jamey? Cast your vote and send your thoughts or questions to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Fantasy Faceoff in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state.

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"I haven't had a chance to talk to him and see where he is. As I said yesterday, we want to get him in there as quickly as possible. We also want to respect him and do the right thing."


 
 
 
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