The Randy Moss trade has some obvious implications for household names like Tom Brady and Brett Favre. But the deal also has some serious ramifications for guys who are probably on your league's waiver wire. Below are a few of those names and how you should treat them in the wake of the in-season blockbuster.
Before the Randy Moss trade became official the rumor mill began to suppose that disgruntled WR Vincent Jackson could fit into Moss' Flanker role in New England. While Jackson does posses the blend of size and speed to adequately replace a talent like Moss the speculation doesn't hold up to scrutiny when you consider the Patriots covetous attitude towards draft picks. V-Jax would likely cost New England as much as they received in the Moss deal. Furthermore, As a condition of Jackson's suspension he would not be able to lend his services to Tom Brady and the offense until at least week 9. Jackson is also on a short leash with the NFL league office and faces a full season suspension should he violate their substance policy again.
The bottom line is that if the Patriots cared enough to secure the services of a player in the mold of the mercurial Charger holdout-they could have just kept Moss. If you drafted Jackson, you are holding onto him in the hopes something gives to get him on the field. If Jackson is available on your waiver wire, pick him up if you have room, as he is likely to be traded in the next few weeks. But don't trade for him on the rare chance he lands a gig playing under Bill Bellichick.
The million dollar question in New England this week? Who will replace Randy Moss? Okay-well, no one will Randy Moss. But someone will have to line up in his WR spot. While some speculate that the Patriots will unveil a new look 3-TE set, featuring Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and veteran Alge Crumpler, we think it's much more likely that rookie WR Brandon Tate will crack the starting lineup. Tate looked serviceable as a receiver, catching 4 passes in the Patriots week 4 shellacking of the Dolphins on Monday night, but perhaps his electric 103 yard return in the special team game that made the Patriot Brass more comfortable with parting ways with Randy Moss. Granted Bellichick and his staff didn't conclude that Tate would be a superior receiving option over Moss, but I can't imagine they would have dealt their best deep threat if they didn't think they had something with the Sophomore Tar Heel standout. Tate is somebody who fantasy GM's should rush to acquire in light of the Moss trade. While Tate won't post elite WR1 totals like the man whose place he is taking, Tate could be a valuable assest to any fantasy team as opposing defenses key in on reception monster Wes Welker and breakout TE Aaron Hernandez.
Speaking of Hernandez, the rookie TE might be the single greatest benefactor of the Moss departure (with Brett Favre as a notable exception). With Moss no longer serving as a decoy (1 target against MIA) conventional wisdom is that Safety help will roll towards WR Wes Welker. With Welker seeing additional coverage and no Moss to throw to, QB Tom Brady is left with a lot of balls that need targeting. Hernandez seems a natural choice for an uptick as he and Brady have developed a nice rapport through 4 weeks of this campaign. Hernandez has proven that he can be a possession type receiver and also excels in open space, when matched against larger, slower LB's. Hernandez should be rostered in all leagues already, but if he's available-RUN-to acquire the next big fantasy football TE1 with some serious upside. TE Rob Gronkowski should also be rostered in all 12-man leagues as more of a TE2. Gronkoski is actually a better option than Hernandez in TD only leagues as he has registered a score in 2 of the 4 Patriot games.