Being loyal is generally thought of as being a good thing.
Loyal friend. Loyal fan. Loyal worker. Loyal family pet.
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But when it comes to fantasy football, loyalty should take a big, fat backseat to good old-fashioned production.
Those of you suffering with the likes of Tony Romo, Tom Brady and Cam Newton are no doubt looking at those players and wondering just how long you should stay loyal to them, and in the process allow them to ruin your season.
Of course, the thought of benching a household name like Brady, especially on a long-term basis, seems insane.
But is it?
The Patriots are struggling mightily for a multitude of reasons:
•The loss of Wes Welker. Everyone thought Danny Amendola was the answer, but the injury-prone WR is out 2-6 weeks. And even healthy, he's no Welker.
•The loss of Rob Gronkowski. Brady dearly misses his No. 1 red zone target.
•The loss of Aaron Hernandez. This probably can't be emphasized enough. Hernandez and Gronk formed the most impossible-to-defend 1-2 tight end duo in the league.
•The loss of Shane Vereen. Placed on IR/designated to return, Vereen -- a speedy and deadly tailback -- is a critical part of the offense out of the backfield but isn't eligible to return until Week 11.
All of these losses are proving too much for Brady and Co. to overcome.
So should you stay loyal to Brady? To Romo? To Newton?
No way. They aren't producing, so find somebody who will.
My suggestion is to consider using St. Louis' Sam Bradford, or at the very least pick up San Diego's Philip Rivers (7 TD passes, fourth in fantasy points among QBs).
Bradford or Rivers may look like a red-headed stepchild sitting in your lineup as the mug shots of Brady or Romo or Newton smile at you from the bench.
And your league-mates might start sending you nasty, smack-filled texts and emails when they see what you're up to.
But when the stepchild (in Rivers case) has a tantalizing Week 3-9 schedule (at Tennessee, vs. Dallas, at Oakland, vs. Indy, at Jacksonville, bye, at Washington), you adopt him and hug him as the points roll in. Bradford's schedule isn't very daunting either and he will be solid all season.
It takes guts to make a decision like this -- and to be clear, I believe Brady will be fine eventually -- but in the meantime, it's all about winning.
Show Rivers or Bradford some respect and you'll become loyal to them in no time.
Trent Richardson owners should be doing a little jig after the Browns shipped the talented tailback to Indianapolis for a first-round pick Wednesday. Richardson will breathe life into a lackluster running game and should easily finish in the top 8 among RBs in fantasy points by season's end.
On the flip side, of course, Ahmad Bradshaw owners just saw their player relegated to backup duty.
As for the Browns, they signed free agent Willis McGahee and astute fantasy owners pounced on the opportunity to pick up an everydown back. I'd wait a week or two to use him, but McGahee should provide value to fantasy teams thin at the position.
Bad news for Manning?
The loss of LT Ryan Clady for the season seriously hurts the Broncos' Super Bowl chances as Peyton Manning just lost a three-time Pro Bowler who was protecting his blind side. It also figures to slow down the team's offense, but not enough that any fantasy owners are about to bench any of the key players. It will be an interesting situation to follow over the coming weeks.
My teams: A pretty blah start as my auction team is 1-1 thanks to nice games by Matt Forte, Mike Wallace and Jimmy Graham. My regular team is 0-2 thanks to a 106-105 loss in Week 2. Maurice Jones-Drew (27 yards) and Arian Foster (79 yards) couldn't get me a few more yards? Pathetic.
•Cowboys QB Tony Romo vs. St. Louis. Bouncing like a pingpong ball from Good Bets to Bad, Romo makes an excellent play against a Rams D that gave up 327 yards to Carson Palmer and 374 to Matt Ryan.
•Bengals QB Andy Dalton vs. Green Bay. Barely in the top 20 among QBs in fantasy scoring, watch for Dalton to join Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick in dissecting the Packers' weak pass defense.
•Lions RB Joique Bell at Washington. Reggie Bush (knee) is likely a game-time decision, so this pick hinges a bit on how that turns out. Even if Bush plays, I like Bell as a solid flex option; if Bush is out, Bell will maul the Redskins to the tune of 140-170 yards from scrimmage and 1-2 TDs.
•Niners RB Frank Gore vs. Indianapolis. Few backs are off to a worse start than Gore (30 carries, 60 yards), but he will make amends this week with a solid game against the Colts.
•Rams WR Tavon Austin at Dallas. Leading the Rams with 19 targets, Austin should be a nice WR3 going forward.
•Patriots WR Julian Edelman vs. Tampa Bay. Until Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are 100 percent, Edelman is the perfect WR3 -- a guy who will consistently get you 7-9 points a week.
•Vikings defense vs. Cleveland. The Browns just traded Trent Richardson and are starting Brian Hoyer at QB. Yahtzee!
•Colts QB Andrew Luck at San Francisco. ESPN.com has Sam Bradford, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton all ranked behind Luck, which is ludicrous. Those five will all outscore Luck, with Bradford and Dalton likely to finish in the top 10.
•Panthers QB Cam Newton vs. New York Giants. Another ludicrous ranking: Newton is four spots above Romo on the ESPN site. Absurd.
•Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew at Seattle. A banged-up MJD is no more than a desperation flex play in Seattle this week. I have this waste of skin, and he's riding the pine. Welcome to the first team, Joique Bell!
•Bills RB C.J. Spiller at New York Jets. The two feature backs to face the Jets this season have just 105 yards on 40 carries (2.63 ypc). Spiller may hit 70-90 yards from scrimmage, but I don't see a huge day on the horizon.
•Chargers WR Eddie Royal at Tennessee. With 5 TDs already, Royal has been everybody's favorite waiver-wire pickup. Just remember that he's already reached his career high for TDs and is unlikely to score another 5 before the season's out.
•Vikings WR Greg Jennings vs. Cleveland. Nice bounce-back effort by Jennings (5-84) against the Bears, but CB Joe Haden will make it a long afternoon Sunday. There are many other good options out there this week.
•Steelers WR Antonio Brown vs. the Bears. The Steelers have 19 points in two games. Until rookie RB Le'Veon Bell comes back from his foot injury -- hopefully in Week 6 -- all Steelers should be sitting.