Early-season fantasy trade targets

Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III could struggle early in fantasy season

Originally Published: September 4, 2012
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Peyton ManningAP Photo/David ZalubowskiPeyton Manning has a tough early schedule for fantasy owners.

One of the most frustrating aspects of fantasy football is when a highly valued player gets out of the gate with subpar point totals. The 13-week regular-season schedule means a fantasy football owner can't afford to wait very long before making a change, but pulling the trigger on a personnel move can backfire if the player in question suddenly turns things around after the poor early start.

To help alleviate the potential heartburn that comes along with this situation, this week's Pass Plays article will be devoted to reviewing which notable players might have rough starts that will be alleviated with an easier later-season schedule, and which ones are likely to continue struggling with brutal matchups all year long.

This can help owners weather a possible performance storm and identify some early trade targets.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Manning's mixed preseason performances (passer ratings of 36.3, 55.9 and 148.6) and observations that he is having trouble throwing to his right may already be of concern for his fantasy football owners, and those concerns are likely to continue to some degree when the Broncos face the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans defenses to open the 2012 campaign.

Those teams garner a red rating in eight of the 15 individual passing personnel matchups for those contests (a red rating being the toughest matchup type), thus making it difficult for Manning to take full advantage of his intelligent on-field adjustments in targeting coverage weaknesses.