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Trade players while they still have value

As the NFL season heads into Week 6, the draft, held only a month-and-a-half ago, seems like ancient history. Gone is the misconception that Texans QB David Carr is just some up-and-comer on an expansion team that just might turn out to be good someday. Or that Drew Brees is a washed-up – or never-has-been – QB in San Diego. Although these guys aren’t in the league of Daunte Culpepper or Peyton Manning yet, they are putting up solid numbers and have their teams headed in the right direction. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to these guys, but the real trick is to know when to jump off a bandwagon. Players like Kevan Barlow (RB-San Francisco), Travis Henry (RB-Buffalo) and Michael Vick (QB-Atlanta) were highly recommended by every fantasy draft guide in the country, but none has lived up to expectations. Barlow is a good player on a bad team, and unfortunately for him, that bad team has decided to throw more than run. In five games, Barlow has 288 yards and scored two touchdowns – numbers that fall far short of expectations.Henry has suffered a similar fate. He’s complied 273 yards and no TDs in four games. These stats, coupled with last year’s first-round pick Willis McGahee nipping at his heels makes Henry an easy scapegoat if the Bills scoring woes continue. Athletically, Vick is in a class by himself, but that has not translated into points in 2004. First-year coach Jim Mora has installed a new offense, which, until last Sunday, had produced four straight wins featuring everyone other than Vick, who may not be cut out for Mora’s new offensive scheme.Oddly enough, the loss to the Lions might be the ticket for Vick to return to a system that highlights his skills instead of masking them. Several players have fallen short of expectations this season, and as a fantasy owner, decisions need to be made soon while trade value still exists. As for these three, the only lock to hold is Vick. Although he’s struggling, his ability alone should carry him through. Barlow and Henry are quality backs and dropping them outright is not an option, but shopping them for lesser-known but productive talent may be your best option. Ask the PunditDear Pundit: I have Baltimore as my defensive team, and scoring is based on several factors such as sacks, defensive scoring, INTs and, most important, points allowed. The Ravens are on a bye week, but all the good teams are taken. Any advice?- Stacey, Bozeman, Mont.Dear Stacey: Sounds like you’re looking for a one-week fix. If that’s the case, your best bet is to look for a favorable matchup. At 0-4, Buffalo is likely available in your league; considering they are playing the Dolphins, the Bills should be a good bet. The Fish have scored a total of 42 points this season and will not have the luxury of playing in South Florida. Add the Bills for a week and then return to the Ravens. – The Pigskin PunditQuestion for the Pundit? Send it toPigskinpundit@hotmail.com Question for the Pundit? Send it toPigskinpundit@hotmail.com


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