Week 7 Watch List: Winners and losers of busy NFL trade deadline
Darren McFadden could abe a 10- to 15-TD threat playing with Carson Palmer
Maurice Morris likely to get bulk of carries for Lions with Jahvid Best sidelined
Ronnie Brown may get cut from Eagles, making Dion Lewis intriguing addition
The NFL trade deadline usually is so quiet, we tend to forget there even is a trade deadline at all. It sneaks up on us and passes without much of a whimper. Heck, isn't there a rule the teams can only make trades on Day 1 of the draft?
Ah, but this one was interesting. Not Herschel Walker to the Vikings grand, but noteworthy nonetheless.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson, just a week-plus after the passing of renegade Al Davis died, claimed his team pulled off the greatest trade in history. No, that is still the Walker trade that helped build the Cowboys' dynasty in the '90s. But Carson Palmer went from being a player Bengals owner Mike Brown would never trade, to being an Oakland Raider. Davis would be so proud of what he left behind.
In this week's Fantasy Watch List, we break down the winners and losers of the trade deadline, evaluating some you might not have thought immediately were affected.
RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
Palmer has never really been a popular teammate. Some might even consider him a bit selfish. But McFadden must have been doing back flips when he heard the deal was struck.
And McFadden's fantasy owners were doing cartwheels.
All that kept McFadden from being an elite pick among Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice on draft day was a quarterback. No one had faith Jason Campbell could take the pressure off him seeing eight men in the box.
Campbell wound up being surprisingly serviceable, and McFadden is the NFL's rushing leader to date. Only Fred Jackson and LeSean McCoy have scored more fantasy points and both have had decidedly better passing games to allow some running lanes.
Palmer won't make miracles happen in his first week off unemployment, but once he gets some work, kicks off the rust and, uh, learns a couple of plays, he should be pretty threatening to opposing defenses. That should lead the Raiders into the red zone more and complete McFadden's arrival as an elite fantasy back.
We knew the Raiders were committed to the run with Run D-Mc, but we didn't figure he would be a 10- to 15-touchdown threat. He is now. We'll thank Al Davis for the Raiders' inspiration.
WR Brandon Lloyd, Rams
No, you cannot expect instant results from an NFL trade, maybe that's why the trade deadline is no uninteresting in this league, unlike baseball. It can take weeks to get up to speed. Ask Chris Johnson owners, and all he missed were a few preseason games.
But has anyone forgotten who was the No. 1 scoring wide receiver in fantasy last season and why? It was Lloyd, and not because of the quarterbacks he had to work with in Denver a year ago.
It was because of some offensive coordinator named Josh McDaniel. He has more ruined than released Sam Bradford in fantasy, but Lloyd finally gives Bradford, McDaniel and the Rams a legit outside receiver.
We liked the McDaniels factor so much, we put some time in hyping the mediocre likes of Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, rookie tight end Lance Kendricks and even dispatched injury-returnee Donnie Avery. (This writer still hated Mike Sims-Walker). The thought was someone had to emerge for the arrival of mini-stardom of Bradford with a winging-it offensive coordinator like McDaniels.
"He provided the right environment for me to thrive in," Lloyd said.
Which brings us to our next point: Lloyd is right at home and should look that way right away.
"[he] kind of stepped in there and looked like he had been in there for a month," Steve Spagnuolo said.
A month? He played in this McDaniels offense for a full season. If any of the traded players can make an impact right away, it has to be Lloyd. Bradford is better than he has shown.
QB Carson Palmer, Raiders
Jackson's greatest football trade ever only ranks Palmer third on this list. But, hey, count up how many other players his arrival will impact.
Palmer is no longer in his prime and is coming right off the street, but the fact he is starting with only a few days of practice says a lot about him and what he brings to the table. Kyle Boller has been a starter in this league and wasn't trusted to even be a one-week placeholder before the bye week.
Don't start Palmer right away, but you should have stashed him. He could prove to be a useful fantasy starter before this season is done, especially because he will be backed by one of the best running games in the league. There should be plenty of run, run, run ... then throw deep opportunities. Just like Al Davis drew it up decades ago.
RB Maurice Morris, Lions
Somehow he makes the list without being involved in a trade. The Lions tried to make a deal for Ronnie Brown, but it fell through because of Jerome Harrison's health issues.
Morris now becomes the feature back in one of the NFL's burgeoning offensive juggernauts. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are must-start fantasy options and must-stop defensive focuses, so eventually the running game is going to benefit.
Jahvid Best (concussion) was nearly, reportedly, ruled out for the season. The reports are the Lions are still expecting him to play again this season, but it doesn't sound like that will be anytime soon.
The Lions, instead of turning to Brown, will feature Morris and his backup Keiland Williams. Both are worth stashing in fantasy, but we should figure Morris gets the most of the carries. He can help fantasy owners in a bye-week crunch and he might even take off as a viable starter thereafter.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Denarius Moore, and TE Kevin Boss, Raiders
DHB has put together three consecutive weeks of solid production, Moore has shown flashes in his rookie year and Boss is finally healthy -- all of this in time for the Raiders' starting quarterback to go down.
Well, it was a blessing in disguise for everyone except Mr. Campbell. The Raiders get a legit quarterback in Palmer, who should be able to keep this trio productive for fantasy owners -- if not help them take off like DHB has.
You might not want them active this Sunday, or next (they are on a bye), but the crucial weeks down the fantasy stretch should prove pretty intriguing.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Physics class taught us that. So someone has to lose if all of those players above are to gain. It cannot be all put on Mr. Campbell. He has enough to deal with right now.
QB Kyle Orton, Broncos
The fact the Broncos will turn to Tim Tebow -- at Miami this Sunday when his Florida Gators championship teams are being honored at halftime, go figure -- should have finally helped close the deal on an Orton trade.
Instead, the Dolphins are in Suck for Luck mode: Meaning, they wouldn't mind losing every game to earn the right to draft first and pick Stanford junior Andrew Luck.
We are left to wonder what John Elway turned down this August when the Dolphins were considering making a deal for Orton then. Whatever it was, it had to be better than nothing.
That is exactly what Orton becomes for fantasy owners: Nothing. By the time we find out if Tebow is their quarterback of the future, the Broncos are going to be so far out of it, they might as well give Brady Quinn a look as a starter. (Tebow is going to be more than fine.)
Heck, the Broncos could be so far out of it, Elway -- speaking of Broncos quarterbacks of the past -- could be scrapping all three current QBs on the roster to pick Luck himself.
RB Ronnie Brown, Eagles
Stuck back in Philly, Brown is worthless in fantasy now: It was that dumb-dumb backward pass/fumble on the goal line weeks ago.
That put Brown in the Andy Reid doghouse and he is not coming back out of it.
Brown will remain worthless in Philly until he gets cut, which an Eagles source told the Philadelphia Inquirer is in the works. The Eagles backup to have remains rookie Dion Lewis. If McCoy is hurt, the Pitt product Lewis will become a must-have in fantasy.
That is not too shabby a status for someone owned in just 1 percent of fantasy leagues. That should be Brown's ownership percentage, not 25 percent.
And, to think, how awesome Brown could have been with the Lions ... seriously.
RB Peyton Hillis, Browns
The Madden Curse has a new cover boy. Hillis brings a new dynamic to the jinx: He is so hexed he cannot even get traded out of Cleveland.
Hillis was a fantasy star as a Browns battering ram a year ago. Now, he is banged up -- as we expected he would be -- and losing games and carries to injury-return Montario Hardesty -- also as we expected.
A trade of Hillis to, say, Detroit would have meant a lot to his disappointed fantasy owners. Instead, they are left wishing it was 2010. Might as well go play Madden, because your fantasy season isn't turning around now. Stupid, cursed cover.
WR Chad Ochocinco, Patriots
Ochocinco is on the Ronnie Brown plan: Brought in during this abbreviated offseason to plenty of hoopla and, now, barely any playing time.
Like Orton, he is a multimillion dollar backup -- and just as worthless in fantasy.
The Pats could have dealt him, if anyone would have taken on his salary, and he would have at least made some noise again, unlike he has as the Patriots' No. 3 receiver to Wes Welker and Deion Branch.
Maybe rating him No. 3 is too generous; Ocho-stinko is actually the Pats' fifth option behind the tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
WR Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars
Last and most certainly least, MSW: He bombed out in St. Louis, where McDaniels was bound to create some kind of receiving star. Now the Rams have Lloyd and MSW was left to go crawling back to the Jaguars.
The Jags might have a future passing game behind rookie Blaine Gabbert, but if Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis cannot do anything for us in fantasy, MSW surely won't.
This is not 2009 anymore, ask Ochocino.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com, including the Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, the Weekend Fantasy Watch List and his Sunday night staple Fantasy Football Fast Forward. If you need a further clarification on lineups this week hit him up on Twitter. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.
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